Mola-Mola Kaluga Ncore-based Monos: An impression

Interested as I am in trending and promising advances in high power amplification, I sought at RMAF new amplifier designs based on new class D modules like Ncore NC1200 technology and its derivates… Hence my specific interest in listening to the soon to be released Mola Mola Kaluga monoblocks for the first time.

The amps, driving a pair of YG speakers, were in a nice double sized room... 535(?), I believe... This room has no bizarre acoustic interactions, so systems can perform under good conditions.

The differentially balanced Kaluga monoblocks are based on a version of the Hypex Ncore modules, which have been customized by Bruno Putzeys for these devices. Mr. Putzeys is both creator of the underlying Ncore technology, as well as the lead designer of the Kaluga amps. I do not have detailed specs yet, but Kalugas should output approximately 400W/8, 700W/4, and close to 1KW/2 Ohms. Peak current should be in the general neighborhood of 40A. Each half width chassis feature two sets of Furutech binding posts for biwiring, an XLR and an RCA input connector, and a 15A Furutech IEC connector. A small temporary contact switch for standby/operating is in the middle of the front plate.

In case you wondered what the Mola-Mola name comes from… Mola-Mola is a sunfish… The largest bony fish in the world... A lovely oceanic swimmer that can weigh over 1500 Lbs. Hmm, but what about Kaluga? The mighty Kaluga instead is a majorly large sturgeon fish native to the frigid Amur River… Fact is that Kaluga may be the largest fresh-water fish in the world. So, it was not a total surprise when I realized that the shape of the half width chassis of the compact Kaluga amp, seamlessly assembled from thick slabs of complexly machined aluminum slabs, is very much in keeping with the Neptunian theme... The top is broadly wavy, and starts to sweep downwards towards the front of the unit... Where it meets the front faceplate, which is gracefully concave instead... The whole gives the impression of a stylized breaking oceanic wave... Intentional or serendipity? I do not know... Must ask Bruno about it.

The unusually looking Kalugas may be compact, yet they sound as mighty as they feel solidly hefty. The amps drive the big YG with elegant musicality, firm ease, and loads of resolving harmonic richness that extends from deep bass to high treble without obvious constrictions... In the best Ncore tradition, Kalugas never break a sweat with the demanding YGs, and have no problem reproducing bowed 7th cords in my test string sextet (introduction to Dvorak Op. 87) with enchanting finesse and without obvious cross-modulating distortion... a feat that is sadly so painfully difficult to accomplish by many SS and tube amps of classic topologies.

The Kaluga monoblock amps by Mola-Mola are expected to be released by CES 2014... At $15.9K, my highly preliminary impression is that they will prove very strong music performers, congruent with my general goldilockian sonic goals… Definitely worth examinin them in much greater detail.

Here is the US distributor:

On A Higher Note
(949) 544-1990
Contact: Philip O’Hanlon

Saluti, Guido
Yes Guido, that is the one that I am talking about. The power supply board is mounted so that it's heatsink is left of the board. The Amp board is mounted left of that so it there is probably some RF shielding effect.

Hi Bob, the internal construction of the Kaluga may differ considerably from the HYPEX Ncore engineering demo for OEMs... I have not had the opportunity of opening up a Kaluga, but I suspect there might be more internal segregation and RF isolation than on the technology demonstrator. Guido
Am demoing a pair of Kaluga right now. The transparency and detail is the first thing that hits you. Very neutral, with controlled articulate bass, slam and power on tap to drive my Gauder Akoustik speakers in a large room. Not fatiguing after four hours of listening last night. These power amps are very impressive.
Roberts1897, thank you for sharing. Please keep up the listening impressions. would like to hear more as you have more time with them.

Some suggestions.

1) Keep the amps on All the time, do not turn them off. Give them at least 48 hours of warm up once you turn them on as they will slowly improve during that time.
Also make sure they have plenty of demo hours on them.

2) They will most likely sound best plugged straight into the wall, not into a power conditioner.

3) Many amps play well with some power cords vs others so if you can try several. But once you change PC give it some time to settle before any critical listening.

4) If possible keep them off the floor or use amp stands or put them on a self and if you have them anti-vibration footers. I use Stillpoints Ultra SS with great success.

You may already know some all of the above.