Unofficial Orchard Audio StarKrimson Ultra Amplifier Owners

Reposting details about my loaner Amplifier from Orchard Audio. If there are other owners of the fully assembled or DIY boxes. Please feel free to post here.

Obviously all the "Armchair Engineers" can feel free to either deficate or praise your thoughts on GaN LClass D Amplifiers even if you’ve never heard one but feel to have an opinion. Then there’s the brainwashed Placebo Effected Guys that feel Class D just ain’t there yet. You can post here as well while the rest of us laugh. It’s usually the Geezer crowed that has a n issue with Class D. Anyway here’s my repost :

I actually have the Orchard Audio StarKrimson Ultra on loan for the Arizona A/V Club to get passed around. Leo Ayzenshtat is great to work with and sent us the original StarKrimson (then BOSC) Amplifiers and power supplies last year. Yes, it was a kludgy setup but sounded so good I sent all my PS Audio M700’s & an S300 off to The Music Room ! After I DIY’d some of his GaN boards, they went up in smoke because of a not recommended Power Supply bring up method I had going (long story). But they sounded amazing when I didn’t let the smoke out of them.

Fast forward to the StarKrimson Ultra just received for my review (YouTube & for the Club & Leo). They are amazinger sounding. He’s hit it out of the park again and then some. All the issues I had last year have been resolved. No break in required either. These are out of the box perfect. Understand that I’m an all Tube Guy and I will do a comparison between the currently direct connection form my PS Audio DSSr. DAC into the Ultra and the DSSr. into my BAT VK50-SE then head to head out to the Ultra and my Jolida 3502p KT150 Tube Amplifier.

Speakers in my Evaluation :
Bose 901 Series 1 from 1968
my Homebrew DIY Open Baffle Speakers
KEF 105/3 modified
Future plans of mine are to DIY from blank PCB’s 5 Ultra Amplifier Modules for a kick ass Home Theater setup and for the Summer, use two of those 5 channels for the main L & R. Fall/Winter/Spring would be back to the Tubes for the L & R while the Center & Surrounds would be powered by the Ultra’s. Surface MOunt Soldering for me is easy but the BGA devices will have to be put on by a board shop.

The beauty is you stop listening to the Amplifier and start listening to the music very quickly.
The ClassD Audio stuff is pretty good too (haven’t their GaN’s) through a friend who had a 250Wx2 built for him.

My Evaluation rig is setup so that nothing colors or influences the (no BAT VK50-SE in the chain - until all reviewing is done this way first)
No opinion on the amp as I haven't heard it, but your post is rude and your grammar is bad.
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No opinion on the amp as I haven't heard it, but your post is rude and your grammar is bad.

+1 @roxy54 Not everyone wants a Class D amplifier, like not everyone wants the jab. No need to berate either subset of people. OP, Do what you like and I'll do the same......
Glass shelves?  Get some serious shelving and footers....will blow your mind.  Get all the cables off the floor.....way more open sound.  Lots to do.
No apologies from me. I think that the amplifier sounds very promising and I have no issue with it. I think his introduction in the thread was very rude, because it was, and that's not a "jab".
Not everyone wants a Class D amplifier
That raises an interesting query. 

Are all Class D amplifiers considered to have the same "sound" flaws*, or are some superior to others?

*Perhaps when compared to tubes - if that's the main reason to reject them.
I've used the PS Audio M700's and M300's for over a year. It was the sound of the Orchard Audio Amplifier's that won me over. I've already fooled people by teling them it's a Class A/b Amplifier with interior heat sinks for about 30 min. of listening and they believed me...LOL !

I'll be doing a comparison later in the week/weekend with my Joilda 3502p and I'll let you folks know my findings. My final listening session will be adding my BAT VK50-SE in front of the Ultra and hear what happens.
Get some serious shelving and footers....will blow your mind. Get all the cables off the floor.....way more open sound. Lots to do.

Nah...that’s all crap talk. But I do have my AC wires separated (for the most part) from the line level (all XLR BTW) & Speaker Cables which are Tri- Wired into my Open Baffle Speakers. I also have Stranded 10AWG Cable running form the Electrical Panel (20A Breaker) into my rig with absolutely no power conditioners or regenerators.

NO fancy "Audiophile" Switches, Cables (mine are of the shielded variety from Amazon Basics & the now defunct Frys Electronics) or Ethernet regenerators. That’s all Placebo Effect & Snake Oil that’s been proven time and time again.
Thanks @rajugsw for letting us know who you are. Are you going by what you read, or you’ve tried these things yourself?

You sound like a noob who hasn’t had much experience. It’s ok, we all had to start somewhere……..
I’ve been doing this Audiophile Crap for over 36 years (High School) and lots of failed and successful DIY projects. Mostly Speakers and some electronics stuff.

I just won’t spend my hard earned money (or credit) on pure snake oil. Instead, take that money and by more music and DIY where it counts the most.

My current system is :

  • Onkyo PR-SC5530 (for Home Theater & 5.1 SACD’s & DVD/BluRay 5.1
  • Blueosund Node 2i (for AmazonHD & my Server’s PCM collection - No more Qobuz and definitely not Tidal)
  • PS Audio DirectStream DAC Sr.
  • Sony UBP-X1000ES ( with HDMI to I2S Adapter Boards for the DirectStream) for all my DSD, CD, DVD-Audio, & BluRay for disc spinning
  • Balanced Audio Technology VK50-SE
  • Jolida 3502p (selling it for $1200 if anyone is interested) with KT150 Tubes
  • 5 Channel Orchard Audio StarKrimson Ultra Amplifier (still a DIY WIP - proceeds from the Jolida will pay for it’s build )
  • KEF R3’s (on loan from a friend)
  • Bose 901’s from 1968 resto-modded by me with a miniDSP in place of the original EQ. My own custom curve dialed in to suit my room
  • My own DIY Full Range Open Baffle’s with integrated stacked 12" H Frame Woofer
You sound like a noob who hasn’t had much experience. It’s ok, we all had to start somewhere……..

Running the Ultra with the BAT Preamp this weekend elevated everything. Just like last years little monoblocks. These higher power modules reaches out to the lower Bass of any Speaker I throw at it !

A great Amplifier just got greater. 
I've had my Starkrimson diy amp, bought via ebay, for 2 months now (bought for $1,100!). Not the ultra but his standard modules. Since then I've sold both my tube amps as I'm going Gan all the way now. Sound so good it makes me tinkle. 
The one downside is the low gain, at 17db. Only matters when playing vinyl. However, my Nad C658 has Dirac included up to 500hz. I created the filter for my room, and I can adjust the filter gain. So that one issue is solved. Ergo: that's one way to boost gain for other vinyl playing owners out there (and dirac). 
I'll prolly buy the ultra next year out of curiosity; won't be able to resist. 

What "Corp". The Orchard just sounds better than the rest. Read Dick Olsher’s TAS review and Tom Martin of TAS on YouTube. Don’t trust my opinion. I’m a Schill for the Company.


Update after one year with Hypex SMPS 1200 Power Supply version. I’ve gone ahead and ordered and installed 5 Rev.3 Ultra Amplifier modules from Orchard’s website and a 1500VAC Toroidal Power Supply from Antek.

This is the Quietest Amplifier I have ever built or owned. I even added another 40,000uF of Kemet low ESR/100V Capacitors in addition to the Antek’s 15,000uF Epsilon Caps.

A very simple Power Supply with what is now the State of The Art in GanFET (GanSystems Chips) Amplification. But ya still need that BAT VK50-SE Tube Preamp in front of it Eh !


I started home audition of  Starkrimson ultra stereo amp two days ago.


It sounds much better than my expectation.


I will keep it updated of the progresss.



I dropped at my friend's hous Friday with Schitt Freya+ and Starkrimson.

Alas, I did not bring balanced cable and he does not have any.

It is 70 minute's drive thus I just enjoyed his system of Pap trio driven by Dartzeel.

Kindly, he let me borrow his Dartzeel to compare with Starkrimson at my home.

He came to my house on Saturday to compare between Starkrimson, Dartzeel 108 and Line Magnetic 508 fitted with vintage tubes.

His conclusion is my Line Magnetic 508 is beyond both Starkrimson, Dartzeel 108 in overall musicality.

He found Starkrimson sound thin compared with Dartzeel 108 although very transparent with lot of details.

When he came, one of tube in Schitt Freya+ got dead, thus I had to use SS balanced buffer.

He is of the opinion that Atma D matches Dartzeel but Starkrimson is not on the same level as Dartzeel 108/

After he left, I replaced dead tube in Schitt Freya+ and with that Starkrimson sounds much more musical

I sent this link to my friend.

He also agreed that it got much better.

I have few more days to listen to Starkrimson but regard it as good value.

Unfortunately, I can not give opinion between Starkrimson and Atma D.


It will be nice if I have chance to audition Atma D before making final purchase decision.




This one was driven by Line Magnetic 508.


My friend's voice is heard of his frustration with his cell phone;)


Although I like my LM508, I turn if off after two hour's playing.


Thus I am looking for Class D amp for longer casual listening.,


So far my impression of Orchard Audio D class amp is favorable with nice transparency and details at reasonable price.




If you tune the sound with tube pre, Starkrimson sounds pretty nice.

I use Sylvania vt231 at input Amperex at buffer in Schitt Freya+ just in front of Starkrimson for balanced output.

Main tower is Scaena 3.2

180hz and up


Altec A7 basshorn 180 hz and down



I had switched to Vaughn Cabernett ii speaker.

How about voide of Billie Ellish?

It doesn not sound thin at all.



Pretty deep soundstage and fast sound.

I believe that Orchard is a really nice class D amp at reasonable price.


It sounds pretty musical.


I also have Crown Xls 2502 but it is no match with Starkrimson in refinement at all.


I brough down two Lanshce 4.1 speakers (85lb) each from third floor by myself.


It was lot of work.


The only helping hand is the elevator in my house without it I could not move them.


I bought Lanshce 4.1 speakers new paying 50k$ on 2006.


It has plasma tweeter and 99db/w claimed efficiency(real efficiency may be 95db/w).


I used to drive this speaker with Silbatone 300b amp fitted with WE 300b made in 50’s.


But after movijng to larger listening space, Silbatone could not do it.


Thus I had tried Cronus Rogue Magnum II for a while and then Line Magnetic 508 since 2017.


But after I got Altec A7, 2021, I got enamored by its unlimited dynamics.


Thus Lansche got a break in the attic.


Then after I assembled Scaena 3.2, I use main tower of Scaena 3.2 for upper frequency, and use Alted basshorn for bass using active by amping.


12 3.5 inch mid drivers of Scaena 3.2 has no passive network.

9 ribbon drivers are also connect with simple low pass using a capacitor.


Thus Scaena 3.2 is very revealing speaker.


But plasma twetter of Lansche 4.1 give slightly more details.


I drive Lansche 4.1 using Starkrimson from 180 hz up while Altec basshorn and two Scaena 18 inch subwoofers are still engaged.


Tomorrow, I will try to drive Lansche 4.1 using Starkrimson full range.




I got the feeling that Class D amp had improved a lot in musicality.

It would be better to audition Atma and Audion Agd D amps but i could not around Seattle area.

"AGD Audions are lovely.

Atma Ds are more detailed and transparent.

But some may prefer the AGDs"

Above is from someone who listened to both.

I drive Lansche 4.2 with Starkrimson full range.

My impression of Starkrimson is very positive.

But amplifier and speakers need to have synergy due to impedance and frequrency aberration.

Thus the best way is to do audition it yourself.

I will send my tour unit to the person in next line tomorrow.




Before seinding it to the person in next line on tour, I took more video clips.

it seems that Starkrims work better with Lansche 4.1 than Scaena 3.2

I plan to write comprehensive review after spening my time with Line Magnetic 508 and Schitt Aegir.



I attended Pacific Audiofest held at Seattle last July.

Big genesis driven by Merril Audio class D amp sounds really spectacular.

But the combined price of pre and monoblocks is 54k$.

I do not believe that Starkrimson is at ths same level as Merril Audio class D amp.

But it seems to be good value.

As I listen to Scaena through Schitt Aegir again now, I miss transparency and details of Starkrimson although Aegir sounds musical with full body.


I am back to one of my tube amps, Rogue Cronuns Magnum II fitted with Tungsol Kt120, vintage Telefuken 12ax7 and Amperex 12au7.


As good as class D amp is with transparency and details, tube amp sounds more lively.


But if you want no heat and limit of playing time, it is good to try class D amp.

I usually turn  off tube amp after two hours of playing.


In that way, i had used my tube amps without any problem for long time.

Starkrimsom got very close to nice tube amp in musicality.



After auditioning Orchard Audio Starkrimson Ultra for 8 days, I had been listening to Line Magnetic 508 and Rogue Cronus Magnum II fitted with vintage tubes.

8 days is too short to reach clear conclusionl without doing cable rolling or comparsion with other refutable class D amp like Atmashphere or Audion.

But Starkrimson clearly has no serious fault at all.

It sounds very transparent with lot of details.

Soundstage is wide and deep enough ( not the best but close to it).

The reason that my friend Rex found it sound thin compared with Dartzeel 108 could be due to upstream source and super revealing nature of Scaena 3.2

Starkrimson works nice with both Lansche 4.1 and Vaugn Cabernett II.

Thus it is a nice value for sure.


I recommend you try it by being in the line for tour.

But both Rex and I favor my Line Magnetic 508 fitted with vintage tubes over Starkrimson.

The reason is my tube amp give halo around each instrument and nuanced details.

Next week I will visit Korea to see my 100 days’ old granddaughter.

Luckily, I could attend Seoul Audio show which will be held at Kangnam, Seoul.

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it had been 20 years since I attened the Seoul Audio show which is pretty big.

After being back to US late March, I plant to audition one of Atma and Audion or Orchard Bosc monoblocks.

Then I may give more clear conclusion.





i enjoyed my time with Starkrimson.


After I am back to US, i may order Bosc monoblocks as sub amp to my tube amp.






Starkrimson monoblocks sounds nice driving main tower of Scaena 3.2 from  180 hz and up.



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You had a system-wide grounding issue that took out 3 of your components simultaneously (DAC + PRE + AMP). If i were not 100% sure of this I would have covered it under warranty without question.

I have no idea, but jrizk13 states "My system worked flawlessly with a Parasound amp for 5 years but I plugged this in and I am unlucky to discover I have a grounding issue."

I honestly don’t understand why I have never heard of this happening before when the only variable was a new amp?