The Avalon Sound - Part 1  
Why does Avalon recording equipment have that exciting, big, rich sound? Is it the Class A operation? Is it the fact that the amplifier stages are made of discrete components and not IC op-amps? Why does Avalon cost more than the “colored variety” of consumer level processors? These are a few of the questions asked over the years as Avalon has reached a more diverse range of clients including high-end music recording studios, live sound reinforcement and project studios - all seeking “that special sound.”
Many of our customers are not engineers and don’t know the difference between a transistor and a diode (and don’t care to learn.) However many would like to know in layman terms how Avalon breathes life into each and every product. The underlying principle behind the Avalon sound is a cumulative effect of many decisions made by Avalon’s founder Wynton Morro.

At every stage of development Wyn made his decisions based on sonic performance and musical integrity - not cost. This “no compromise” design approach enables Avalon’s carefully engineered systems to enhance the creative senses and become one with the music itself.

There are three design principles that form the foundation for all Avalon products.
1. Pure Class A, 100% discrete
2. High voltage, high current design
3. The best components available
Pure Class A, 100% discrete
Class A operation (voltage biased at optimal level), delivers a much smoother and quieter sound than Class A/B (voltage jumps between optimal and non-optimal levels, delivering crossover distorion) designs. Class A amplifiers are smoother sounding, but are inefficient in regards to electricity usage and heat dissipation. This translates to needing a
larger and more expensive transformer and a way to dissipate the heat to run in the preferred sounding Class A mode.
100% discrete means that Avalon uses discrete electronic components in the audio signal path. Only resistors, transistors, capacitors, diodes, tubes, etc. are used in the audio stream. Avalon does not use integrated circuits (IC’s) such as operational amplifiers (op-amp’s) to boost signal level. IC’s and op-amp’s have the distinct characteristic of coloring, distoring, or muffling the sound. Using discrete electronics ensures the purest and biggest sound possible. Also IC’s and op-amps cannot run at high voltages.
To be continued. Part 2 in Summer issue...

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