A classic in every way. Partly because it delivered sound quality that was almost sensational for its time. And partly because it made history – and created a name for the small speaker company in Tøyengata, Oslo.
The little 25-watt amplifier launched one of Norway’s best-known amplifier manufacturers in earnest. Audio Critic in the US tested the 2 Channel Audio Power Amplifier in 1977 and said: “Audio freaks – eat your hearts out: This is the world’s best sounding amplifier, and you can’t buy one in this country.”
The amplifier was Per Abrahamsen and Electrocompaniet’s first hi-fi amplifier. Svein Erik Børja, who worked for Norway’s National Radio, NRK, and had a trained ear for sound, and Terje Sandstrøm helped bringing it to life. But nothing would have happened without Dr Matti Otala and Jan Lohstrog’s original amplifier circuit from 1973.
Otala also pioneered the Harman Kardon Citation XX series, which addressed the problem of transient intermodulation distortion (TIM) in amplifiers. An obnoxious problem that, among other things, created phase errors and other inaccuracies that were detrimental to sound quality.
First seen as a prototype in 1974, the little amplifier went through several revisions before the final version found its way to stores.
One of the early examples managed to start smoking when it was demonstrated to interested parties in the US. The hunt for the source of the fault led to a revision of components in the amplifier, filters were changed and eventually it was fitted with higher quality output transistors.
With increased power thorugh the Philips transistors, better bandwidth (100 KHz) and reduced distortion, the amplifier was not only reliable; it also sounded better. The amplifier’s internal feedback was increased to 30 dB, which, according to the developers, led to a dramatic improvement in sound quality.
Thus a Norwegian legend was born, and the rest, as they say, is history.