Halcro dm58 monoblock Page 2

This translates into 'fidelity of each pure tone at full power up to 20kHz reproduced at better than 99.9996% purity across the entire audio range'. It features a universal, 'power factor-corrected' power supply with a power factor of one, which automatically operates from 85V through to 270V RMS without any internal or external switches, and boasts series and common mode filtering on the mains input.

Post Grunge
As with the top amplifiers from Linn, the dm58 uses a switch mode power supply, in anticipation of CE regulations and adhering to Candy's belief that the grunge produced by conventional power supplies is one of audio's biggest culprits; like the Linn, the dm58, and the higher-powered dm68, lay to rest any worries that the post-CE-approval future would be one free of hugely powerful amplifiers.


On the rear of the Audio Drive Module can be found solid spade-connector binding posts for bi-wiring, an earthing terminal and inputs for single-ended (RCA) or balanced (XLR) connections

Like the external hardware (and that cool air-pressure switch), the internal components are no-compromise. All of the semi-conductors are 'at least industrial grade', and all electrolytics are rated to 105oC. Resistors were chosen for their linearity, and the capacitors are MKP10/FKP1 types. PCBs are 6-layer for the power amp section to minimise stray magnetic fields and 4-layer in the power supply to minimise EMI and voltage transients, to improve reliability and efficiency.

There's also plenty of mains filtering – EMI filtering on the input and between amp and power supply, plus high-frequency filtering at the inputs and outputs – while the amount of protection it boasts makes it the perfect amp for paranoids. It's short circuit-proof, has over-current limiting, gradual power limiting if it grows too hot, cut out if continuous DC offset appears on the outputs, and protection against mains transients.


The amp's side panels are finned and house heatsinks, while all other surfaces are smooth. The height of the dm58 is 'an awe-inspiring' 790mm, so a pair of dm58s is a 'sight to behold'

Because it can be used in both single-ended and balanced modes, I drove it with the GRAAF 13.5B preamp for most of the listening, as well as with the Musical Fidelity Nu-Vista and Quad QC twenty-four in single-ended mode. Regardless of what you may or may not think of balanced operation, in the case of the Halcro dm58, the superiority is not subtle. Sources, meanwhile, included the Nu-Vista 3D and the Marantz CD-12/DA-12 CD players.

sqnote Skinny Dipping
Damn, is this a fine amplifier. Even though the beast requires a long warm-up period, it sounds so good at cold temperatures that you can only wonder how it might improve. What the warm-up does is free the sound, increasing the already wide dynamic contrasts, while sweetening the treble to almost tube-like levels. Y'see, this amp is so clean and naked-sounding, as the Candy-man intended, that it is merciless in revealing the ills of all that go before it. And in a certain sense, yes, it could be mistaken for the clinical. But it isn't: it's merely open-sounding, probably the most untainted sound I've ever heard.


At the top of the amp are the Audio Drive and Audio Power Modules. These are shielded by a 16mm-thick 'non-ferrous' plate to minimise any magnetic coupling between the power amp and input (voltage) amplifier

Born Free
And yet how does one account for the following: it's neither colourless nor characterless. But if it's truly neutral and clean, and therefore lacking any artefacts (either dissonant or euphonic), how can it have a personality? But it does. It swings, by virtue of the freest, deepest, most life-like bass I've heard this side of the ARC Reference 600, with such speed and precision that I even subjected myself to Rob Wasserman CDs. The bass is so luscious that you're tempted to disconnect the Wilson WATTs...


A peek under the bottom Power Supply Module reveals the mains inlet and primary power switch (the amplifier is intended to be left on). The feet are solid mahogany

But then you feed it some vocals, this month I'm on a Temptations jag. Even though I wanted to lock the whucka-whucka guitars on 'Cloud 9' into A-B repeat mode – this amp could have Marshall emblazoned on it – I headed for 'Papa Was A Rolling Stone' to hear high vocals floating over low. I have no idea what Candy listened to as a kid, but I bet he heard more than his share of Motown. The Halcro dm58 delivers all of the textures and nuances with the flair of a Radford STA25, but with reserves of grunt which no brace of EL34s can, alas, muster.


Original pages from the April 2002 issue of HFN in which Ken Kessler reviewed the £20,750 per pair Halcro dm58 monoblock from Australian company Halcro

It loved the Wilson WATT/Puppies, and a few minutes with the Apogees showed it to be oblivious to loads. Quad electrostatics? No sizzle, no sting, and a dose of control that had me fantasising about how these would sound in the SME Music Room.

Yeah, I'm glad I didn't look at the reviews, or pay attention to the stories about the stunning amp from Down Under. It's so good that the £20,750 per pair seems a veritable snip. So, here's another amp to add to KK's Lottery Win list, alongside the ARC REF600. And to think DTS uses nine of 'em plus five of Halcro's larger dm68s for multichannel...