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A recent proprietary development, the Cross-Matrix Array (CMA) capacitor board, along with a number of ancillary refinements, combine to produce an amp we’d not hesitate to compare with anything out there. A delicate tap on a glockenspiel, a sound so lifelike that it seems to occur in the listening room, will of course demonstrate an amp's ability to deliver lightning-swift transients. Less obvious, perhaps, is the perception of harmonic and textural wealth -- in a word, the musical truth that swift, meticulous power delivers. Subtleties suddenly spring to life. A panoramic, rock-steady soundstage, a richly engaging, all-embracing midrange, sweet, airborne highs, tight, extended lows, high-volume playing that simply will not congeal: if it’s there in the music, it’s yours to enjoy. The Ref 18 takes ultra-high-end sound to a place that belies the amp’s real-world price.
The Ref 18's every aspect has been evaluated against those of the Ref 9V3SE in order to identify areas available to improvement. Input-stage circuitry, solid-state and passive components have been reconfigured with an eye to providing a quieter, more distortion-free environment, and greater speed via the Cross-Matrix Array (CMA) capacitor board, the effectiveness of which becomes especially apparent in the supremely fast delivery of musical transients.
Owing to the CMA's larger size relative to the Ref 9V3SE's Sequential Linear Array, the Ref 18 occupies a commensurately wider chassis that likewise allows for a more effective routing of internal wiring, resulting in a reduction of background noise.
In addition to the Ref 18's performance gains, the amp features a touch-sensitive front panel, WBT binding posts and a 12-volt On-Off trigger permitting it to operate as the cornerstone of any premium installation, be it two-channel, home theater, and other domestic or commercial application.
As always, in keeping with NuForce policy, customer access to upgrades offers an assurance of non-obsolesce. Advances in technology and circuit architecture will remain available for the new Ref 18 platform, as well as for that of our Ref 9 designs -- and again, as always, at a reasonable cost.
In summary, NuForce's Ref 18 elevates the already excellent performance characteristics of the Ref 9V3SE -- most notably, liquidity and neutrality -- to a degree that must be heard to be believed. As with the Ref 9V3SE, operation in a less than well resolved and transparent system may mask the Ref 18's advantages.
Conversely, a pair of Ref 18s in a fine, audiophile-grade system will reveal the following qualities:
Sweeter, more natural highs.
A near-palpable midrange and harmonic structure, resulting in a more natural and relaxed presentation.
A beautifully textured low end exceeding even that of the Ref 9V3SE's exemplary authority and control.
A deeper, more coherent soundstage.
Configuration:Mono Input: RCA and true balance XLR
Frequency Response:20 Hz -0.3 dB - 120 kHz -3 dB
Power/Load :8 ohm, 4 ohm, 2 ohm
Peak Output Power :8 ohm (325W) 4 ohm (650W) 2 ohm (1300W)
RMS Power :8 ohm (175W) 4 ohm (335W) 2 ohm (335W)
Input Impedance:22K ohm
Input sensitivity :252mV, 1W @ 8 Ohm; 2.57V, 100W @ 8 Ohm; 1.81V, 100W @ 4 Ohm
THD+N :0.01%, 1kHz, 1W to 10W, A Weighted.
Input sensitivity for maximum power :3.33V
Dimensions :17 in W x 15 in D x 1.97 in H (2.56 in H include feet)
Weight :16 lbs
Worldwide AC voltage :(84VAC to 264VAC). No need for AC regulator if the AC voltage falls within the specified range.
AC Fuse:Slow blow, 5A, 250VAC
This ad was originally posted on US Audio Mart.