As many of you know, NuForce is one of the major players in Class D amplification for high-end audio applications (yeah, I realize that some of you feel that the words “Class D” and “high-end audio applications” don’t belong in the same sentence, but open your minds and work with me here). NuForce’s flagship monoblock amps have always been designated as “Reference 9” models, and I have been tracking their development ever since a set Ref 9 pre-production prototypes showed up on my doorstep more than four years ago. Over time, there have been a number of successive editions of the amplifier following roughly this sequence:
· Reference 9 V1 (only it wasn’t called the V1 at the time, since no one—not even the NuForce folks—realized that there would be successive versions).
· Reference 9 V1 Special Edition (NuForce’s Special Edition models are standard models equipped with beefed up power supplies and other audiophile-oriented tweaks).
· Reference 9 V2.
· Reference 9 V2 Special Edition.
· Reference 9 V3.
· Reference 9 V3 Special Edition (just released this Fall).
· …and along the way, NuForce was granted a patent for its “analog switching amplifier” circuit.
I’ve just received review samples of the new Reference 9 V3 SE amps (see photo), which are the subjects of this blog.
If one were to summarize reactions to the NuForce designs, strengths and weaknesses would probably get listed somewhat like this:
· Killer bass resulting, in part, from the incredibly high damping factor the NuForce circuit provides (these amps control woofer movements as few other do).
· Extremely open and transparent midrange—in my mind one of the unsung virtues of the NuForce design.
· Very good to excellent transient speed and definition.