Moonriver 404 amplifier is modular by nature; it can accommodate an MM or MM/MC phono stage and a USB asynchronous DAC. Fitting these modules is simple and can take place at any time, on or after purchase. The USB DAC may also be upgraded with a newer version to meet future needs.
You may find this feature to be vanishingly scarce in audiophile products as a result of today’s “minimalist” design mentality and the various myths accompanying it. However, balance control addresses a common problem; speakers that are positioned in asymmetry, in a non-balanced room environment. It thus provides the simplest tweak towards achieving a proper sound stage.
Living rooms and house furniture are meant to serve everyday life and may not be provisioned with an ideal listening spot, evenly distanced from each speaker to form an equilateral triangle. It is also not uncommon for one speaker to have to be placed nearer room boundaries than the other, having various frequencies boosted in a more or less predictable pattern. More often than not, balance control would come in handy in that it drastically helps overcoming volume level unevenness and in some cases even reclaiming stereo effect and the resulting focused sound stage.
As expected, the way balance control is implemented on the Moonriver 404 amplifier, in parallel, will not degrade or affect the signal in any way determinable.
Discovering the layout
Model 404 incorporates no less than 5 separate power supplies, each featuring overload protection. The power amplifier specifically runs on a dual mono configuration, beginning from separate windings on the toroidal transformer.
Signal switches are implemented via relays, while volume attenuation is trusted on the legendary blue ALPS pot.
A soft start circuit based on a 30A relay ensures that even the on/off switch is thought out to work with virtually no burden or wear for decades.
Components are carefully selected for both suitability and reliability. We make no use of surface-mount in analog circuits, despite the fact that through-hole costs more and requires advanced space management & layout strategies.
Each element utilised has to be of proven stability and sustained higher performance -proficient implementation provided- before making it into our analog paths.
As for the sound, we are not to say whether Model 404 is virtually transparent or inherently forgiving. Voicing it to appreciate the playlist and respect the user at all times has been the sum of all of our effort; a sincere effort to achieve effortlessness.