I’m surprised how many principals and designers are at this show, as opposed to local dealers and distributorsalthough perhaps I shouldn’t be, considering that it’s February and this is Florida.
In the Cardas/Joseph/Doshi room, I found both Jeff Joseph and Nick Doshi. I also found very good sound, produced by Jeff Joseph’s Perspective 2 Graphene loudspeakers ($15,000/pair), which John Atkinson reviewed in the July 2018 issue of Stereophile. I won’t comment on the speakers except to say that they sounded great; I’ll just refer readers to JA’s review.
Here, I’ll focus on Doshi electronics, which I don’t know as well. Specifically, I’ll focus on the V3 Stereo Amplifier.
Nick Doshi is, foremost, an engineer. The son of two Indian musiciansan early memory is sitting on his mother’s lap while she was singing onstagehe comes from the communications industry; he described to me a project he led involving PBS, satellites, cell phones, and the Emergency Warning System. I didn’t catch all the details. Not long agowas it 2015?he followed his passion into the hi-fi business. He started fast: He already has two products in Class A of Stereophile‘s Recommended Components list.
The Doshi philosophy involves several principles: Components are overspecified to reduce thermal (and other kinds of) stress. He tries to keep things as simple as possible, with, eg, fewer stages in amplifiers. He doesn’t design to a price point; rather, Doshi products “are priced according to their build.” (The quote is from a Doshi marketing brochure.)
A key aspect of his approach, he told me, was to evaluate numerous designsDoshi literature mentions a historical review of audio electronicsand choose the best approach for the particular application. That includes the choice of output device: tubes? MOSFETs?
A good example is the Doshi Audio V3 Stereo Amplifier ($20,000), a hybrid design, but not the usual sort. It’s inverted relative to the norm: The output stage is tubed, with four EL34/6CA7 output tubes (two pairs) per channel. It has just two active stages, and less than 10dB of global feedback is claimed. While rated at a relatively modest 65Wpc, the circuit is heavily biased into class-A, with a claimed 50Wpc of class-A power. The literature says “it can drive virtually any loudspeaker, regardless of impedance or other load characteristics;” it was comfortable driving the Perspective 2’s, which are fairly insensitive at 83.6dB(B)/2.86V/m, but otherwise, according to JA’s measurements, an easy load. Doshi told me the output impedancethere’s just one tap, optimized for a 6 ohm loadis 0.8 ohms. Much attention is paid to dealing with vibrations, minimizing external and internal resonances. The insides of their transformers are painted with vibration-damping paint developed to silence submarines.
Here’s a feature I’d never seen before: a mute switch on the back panel, intended for use while changing cables, that blocks signal on inputs and outputs.
Also notable in the system was the $18,000 Evolution Series Tape Preamplifier, which was taking output directly from the head of a Studer reel-to-reel, which was playing the title track from Patricia Barber’s Café Blue. It was a pretty thing, with styling that evokes Luxman. Doshi told me that when he was 11 years old, he drew VU meters in his notebooks. Welcome home, Nick.
Cabling was from Cardas Audio’s Clear Beyond Series.
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