Rare Audio is a startup that won a CES Innovations Award in 2013 and came to CES this month with a prototype, high end DSP amplifier that connects to a tablet or smartphone and lets you literally draw an eq curve on the screen to adjust the amplifier’s equalization settings.
You can also stream music from a smartphone or tablet to the amplifier.
Rare Audio says its digital amplifier uses no electrolytic capacitors. Any energy returning to the amplifier from the speakers is sent to recharge the car battery. So the amplifier is ideal for electric vehicles.
Also, in electric vehicles there is much less background noise. So a better quality audio system can be appreciated, says the company.
Rare Audio has 3 amplifiers that start at about $2,500. Power rating is 4 x 125 watts RMS and 2 x 250 watts RMS for subwoofer channels.
A 4.2 channel digital amplifier comes in versions with inputs for different systems including a MOST input to work with many European cars, a digital input for use with aftermarket car radios and an analog input for most factory or aftermarket car radios.
The amplifier works via Bluetooth with devices running iOS, Android and Windows 8 so you can remotely adjust the settings on the amp and stream music.
It has both a CAN and Parrot Bluetooth interface.
It’s a 1-inch high Class D amp, “but it sounds much better because of the power control,” which is more rapid than is typical, say Rare Audio. The amp uses technologies from mObridge in DSP and from INDICE for power control.
Efficiency is rated at more than 95 percent with very low Total Harmonic Distortion of less than 0.06 percent, and Signal to Noise Ratio greater than 100dB .
Rare Audio is based in Australia, but it may open an office in the U.S. Chief Marketing Officer James Eccleston said, “We are keen to hear from premium installers and dealers from all over the US who would be interested in promoting the Rare Audio amplifier to end customers. I would like to see us with premium dealers and installers in every US state by this time next year.”
He said, “We don’t currently have a US office, however we are looking at this possibility for the future.”