What started a number of years ago as a project to upgrade to the optional DAC module for the Eloquence series integrated amplifiers, has lead to the retirement of the eloquence 250i and the release of the new 255i integrated amplifier.
The eloquence 250i was in so many ways the best integrated amplifier we have ever produced at Perreaux and was warmly received everywhere it was shipped. We were aware that its' major shortcoming was with the internal DAC module, so a number of years ago we set about redesigning the DAC module in order to bring the amplifier fully up to speed. Our DP32 USB DAC Pre-amplifier featured the top of the line ESS Technology Sabre³² Reference ES9018 32-bit DAC, so this became the benchmark for our redevelopment effort. We also wanted to incorporate the very best USB interface into the mix, so we opted for full galvanic isolation and using the X-MOS chipset, we also chose to make the USB interface operate asynchronously. We were just putting the finishing touches on the development when we got word from ESS that they were about to release a brand new top of the range DAC chipset. We took a deep breath and let off some stream and then considered our options.
On the face of it, it seemed pretty much like a drop in replacement. So we decided to go for it. Oh how wrong we were. The new DAC chip had massively increased current draw and heat dissipation issues to cope with. In the end, we ended up having to redesign the power supply board and give special consideration to heat dissipation around the DAC chipset. It turned out to be quite a mission in the end, but we finally got there. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and we are very pleased to have this all behind us now and to be able to offer ESS highest spec DAC the ES9038PRO in our 255i flagship integrated amplifier.
The 250i had a staggering maximum power rating of 360W into 8 ohms and 530W into 4 ohms. These massive power reserves were more than enough for most loudspeaker loads. Nothing much has changed with the new 255i. After all how do you improve on those kind of specs in a class AB design of such a comparatively small footprint? Still we felt we needed to do something, so we upped the 8 x mains supply smoothing capacitors from 5600uF to 6800uF units and also opted for the very best quality small signal capacitors to be used around the amplifier as we could source.
We also wanted to address the look of the unit. The Perreaux lettering on the front panel was substantially increased in size and we opted for a cleaner 90 degree cut front panel and heat sinking solution. The exception to this is that the bottom of the front panel and heatsinks feature a small curve, which we find to be a subtle but refreshing looking addition.
Add the new top of the line ES 9038PRO DAC and phono as options and the new 255i is unleashed. The new DAC module reads the following formats.
One of the complaints of the 250i was that the volume control readout was difficult to read when distant from it. We have addressed this issue in the new 255i as the volume control will revert to full screen lettering when any adjustments are made.
The other feature we have incorporated when the optional DAC module is installed is to breifly flash up on the display the sample rate of the track being played. We are finding this feature to be of interest to those who are keen to listen to tracks recorded at a variety of sample rates.
The Perreaux 255i features everything you could wish for in a top of the line integrated amplifier. Actually there are too many features to list easily, so it is probably best that you refer to our website.