PS AUDIO TRIO C-100 INTEGRATED AMPLIFIERS
The C-100 control amplifier is part of PS Audio’s Trio line of small-footprint electronics, which also includes the P-200 preamplifier and the A-100, a Class D amplifier that Barry Willis praised in Issue 170. A paragon of efficient, attractive packaging, the C-100 shares the narrow width and long depth of the Rowland Research Model 201, which as it turns out is also a Class D amp. Not exactly bad company to be keeping. The look of the front panel is open and friendly with a single input button and volume-control knob and should appeal to all but the most electrophobic users. However, don’t call this amp “lifestyle.” There’s some serious engineering happening here. The dual-mono ICEpower output stage is supplied from independently regulated power supplies. On tap are 100 watts into 8 ohms and 200 watts into 4 ohms. On the back panel are three RCA inputs, and provisions for bi-amping. The C-100 is remote-controlled, but on the downside the remote’s soft pad keyboard is hard to manipulate and ultimately annoying.
Importantly, the Trio family liberally shares key aspects of PS Audio’s proprietary technology—most notably its Gain Cell technology. Not a typical volume control, the Gain Cell is an active stage whose gain is determined by the volume-control setting, rather than by adjuting the gain with a potentiometer that merely attenuates the signal. This eliminates a stage, says PS Audio, but further details are, as they say, proprietary.