BAS Message
January 2016

1. How is American manufacturing doing in the era of cheap imports?

For an answer we journeyed to Shirley MA to see Brian Zolner of Bricasti Design, They manufacture the M28 amplifier and M1 stereo DAC. Printed circuit board assembly is outsourced, high value processes such as final assembly and test and chassis construction is done in-house. The amplifier has custom machined wing nuts for the outputs so you can tighten them with your fingers. However no ¾ inch spacing since there would not be enough room. The amplifier was sitting there with the Rohde and Schwarz analyser (which he prefers to the Audio Precision) showing .0008% distortion at 1/3 power and 1 kHz.

They use CNC (computer numeric control) machines to cut the front panel and other parts out of solid billets of aluminum. Even the circuit board stand-offs are machined out of a continuous piece of aluminum! The panel takes about an hour to do. They have a large bin of aluminum shavings for recycling. Fully 50% of the cost of the final unit is in the packaging. And 40% of production goes overseas. They do custom units, such as a gold plated DAC (40 millions of an inch thickness, about $250). He says for some reason the gold plated unit sounds better. [I doubt that]

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The Boston Audio Society
PO BOX 260211
Boston MA 02126

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updated 2/6/16