Stunning Ikarus boutique amp nears completion
Australian-born artist and designer, electrical engineer and recording engineer Kostas Metaxas started making and selling high-end audio systems in 1981. He considers art and design to be "visual music" and has combined haute horology watchmaking techniques, electrical and mechanical engineering and fine art for his latest eye-popping project – the Ikarus integrated amplifier. First revealed earlier this year in a series of computer-generated images, the Ikarus is now being readied for release.
Described as an audio sculpture, the overall look of the upcoming Ikarus is said to have been inspired by racing cars of the 1950s and 60s, from iconic designers like Ercole Spada and Pininfarina. The curvaceous housing is machined from a solid block of aircraft-grade aluminum, copper or titanium, with the integrated amp design based on the company's Iraklis power amplifier schematic, but with a 10 dB increase in overall gain.
It's reported to act as both line stage and power amp stage to eliminate "an unnecessary amplifier circuit from the signal path" and features dual mono power supplies with two 300 W toroid transformers. Elsewhere, there's a double-sided, oxygen-free PCB, machined knobs and mil-spec connectors.
The amp outputs 50 watts RMS per channel into 8 ohms or 100 watts RMS into 4 ohms, with less than 0.05 percent total harmonic distortion across a frequency range of 20 Hz to 20 kHz. Input impedance is given as 50 kOhms in parallel with 56 picofarads, there's a reported signal-to-noise figure of -117 dBV unweighted and 0.5 V RMS in for 50 W RMS out (35 dB) sensitivity. As the signal meets very few components on its way to appropriately-styled cabled loudspeakers, the maker promises that listeners will be treated to an "incredible wealth of fine musical nuisance."
The first production sample is due to be completed in early December, with the first 10 amps delivered before the holidays. Each Ikarus is bespoke, so buyers can choose the type of finish or color. And the price? That would be US$29,500 each.
Naturally, customers will also need a high quality turntable and/or CD player to go with that stylish amplifier, so a full hi-fi system setup could end up costing the same as two or three Heirloom tiny homes.
The video below shows the housing of the Ikarus being machined from a solid block of aluminum.
Source: Metaxas & Sins