High End 2012 - Munich, Germany
- Written by Jeff Fritz Jeff Fritz
- Parent Category: High End 2012 High End 2012
- Created: 05 May 2012 05 May 2012
The Mystery of Qualia & Co.
Qualia & Co.'s marketing department is based in Los Angeles, their materials research is conducted in France, and their products are designed and manufactured in Japan. The products' prices and build quality are extreme by anyone's standards. So just who is behind Qualia & Co.?
The company might be a complete unknown to most audiophiles -- they've been around for just over two years -- but the buyers who shop at the stratosphere end of the market might want to take note. The Qualia & Co. line is at this time all contained within the company's Indigo series of products.
The first thing you'll notice about each Qualia & Co. Indigo component is the extreme construction quality, which will remind you of fine jewelry or an expensive wristwatch. Each Indigo model's build quality is simply off the charts by any measure, with casework milled of solid billets of an alloy of nickel and cobalt that results in an ultra-strong monocoque chassis. The hand wiring contained within is as precise as we've ever seen, as is the parts layout. The result is an extremely clean, almost surgically precise internal appearance.
The current Qualia Indigo product line consists of a USB DAC ($49,000 in the United States), a phono stage ($94,000), and a preamplifier ($77,000). A mono amplifier, which was shown at High End 2012, is in the works and will be available in late summer / early fall to complete the line. Although the price of the amplifier is not yet available -- you can bet it will be expensive! -- a few details were: it will be an all-solid-state design that will produce approximately 200W in class A/B. We were told that extremely high resolution is an overall design goal.
In the photo above you see Masannori Stansfield Fuji, the principal designer of all Qualia & Co. products. Although the products' prices are extremely high by anyone's standards, if the sound quality of these products proves to be the equal of the build quality, then the audiophile world should look out for this interesting new company -- they're certainly on our radar now.
Editor-in-Chief, The SoundStage! Network
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