S.A. Lab Blackbird SE: Unleashing Sonic Excellence

Introduction

In the world of audio enthusiasts, the pursuit of high-quality sound amplification is a never-ending quest. The right amplifier can make all the difference in bringing out the nuances and intricacies of your favorite music, immersing you in a truly captivating audio experience. Today, we delve into the realm of hifi sound amplification with a focus on the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier.

The S.A. Lab Blackbird SE is a special edition model, derived from the base Blackbird amplifier, which is known for its exceptional performance and affordability. This amplifier stays true to its ideology of only including what is necessary for optimal sound reproduction. It has undergone enhancements that have doubled its output power to 30 watts (4 Ohms), ensuring a more impactful and immersive audio experience.

Designed by renowned audio engineer Alexey Semin, the Blackbird SE prioritizes sound quality over unnecessary features. The amplifier forgoes extras such as remote control, timer functions, and variable impedance loads to maintain a focus on delivering pure and uncompromising sound reproduction. The audio circuitry of the Blackbird SE utilizes only high-quality components, guaranteeing exceptional performance.

The foundation of the Blackbird SE lies in its three-stage dual-triode circuitry with a tetrode output stage operating in Class A. This amplifier incorporates premium-grade tubes, including two dual triodes 6072 for input and driver stages, as well as four Tung-Sol 6L6 pentodes for more powerful output compared to its predecessor. Additionally, it offers the flexibility to replace the 6L6 tubes with 6П3 without any modifications to the output stage.

To ensure optimal performance, the Blackbird SE features more robust and intricate output transformers meticulously designed and handcrafted by SA Lab. The power supply transformer has also been upgraded to provide increased energy capacity. Furthermore, the capacitance and quantity of power supply capacitors have been doubled, resulting in improved stability and power delivery.

The Blackbird SE boasts a rigid chassis constructed from sheet steel with an anti-resonant coating, effectively minimizing vibrations. Its front panel is crafted from artificial stone (Corean), adding to its aesthetic appeal and durability. The amplifier is available in a sleek black color, complementing its elegant design.

In terms of aesthetics and performance, the Blackbird SE lives up to its name. It not only delivers a beautifully rich sound but also offers enhanced dynamics and a sense of musical flight. Considering its exceptional construction quality and musical prowess, the price of the Blackbird SE is remarkably affordable, making it a sensational value for money proposition.

Now that we have introduced the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier, let us delve deeper into its technical specifications, design and construction, functionality, sound characteristics, and overall performance.

Technical Specifications

The S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier offers impressive technical specifications that contribute to its exceptional audio performance. With a power output of 30 watts at 4 Ohms and 16 watts at 8 Ohms, this amplifier delivers ample power to drive a wide range of speakers.

In terms of sound quality, the Blackbird SE boasts a signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of 96 dB, ensuring a clean and clear audio signal with minimal background noise. Additionally, the total harmonic distortion (THD) is just 0.3%, indicating that the amplifier produces accurate and distortion-free sound reproduction.

The amplifier features multiple inputs for versatile connectivity options. While specific input types are not mentioned in the technical specifications, it is safe to assume that it supports standard analog inputs such as RCA or XLR. As for outputs, the Blackbird SE allows for the connection of two pairs of speakers, providing flexibility in setting up your audio system.

In terms of compatibility, the amplifier does not mention any built-in USB player or support for digital audio formats. Therefore, it is primarily designed for analog audio sources.

The frequency response of the Blackbird SE ranges from 20 Hz to 20 kHz, ensuring that it faithfully reproduces both low and high-frequency sounds with accuracy and precision. The input impedance is listed as 10 kΩ, which means it can easily match with most common audio sources.

Overall, the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE’s technical specifications indicate a well-designed amplifier that prioritizes sound quality and versatility in connectivity options. Its power output, high SNR, low THD, and broad frequency response make it an excellent choice for audiophiles seeking exceptional audio performance from their amplification system.

Design and Construction

The S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier boasts a sleek and elegant design that is sure to catch the eye of any audio enthusiast. The amplifier features a sturdy chassis made from high-quality sheet steel, which not only enhances its durability but also effectively minimizes any unwanted vibrations or resonances.

The front panel of the amplifier is crafted from Corean, an artificial stone material, adding a touch of sophistication to its overall appearance. The black color of the front panel gives the amplifier a timeless and classic look that will seamlessly blend into any home audio setup.

In terms of construction, the Blackbird SE incorporates top-notch components and meticulous craftsmanship. The use of premium quality capacitors from Epcos and resistors from Vishay in the signal path ensures optimal performance and accurate sound reproduction.

One notable design feature of the Blackbird SE is its efficient cooling system. The amplifier is built with carefully placed ventilation slots and heat sinks, allowing for effective heat dissipation during prolonged use. This design ensures that the amplifier remains cool even during demanding audio sessions, reducing the risk of overheating and prolonging its lifespan.

Furthermore, the connectors and switches on the Blackbird SE exhibit excellent build quality. They are robust and provide a secure connection, ensuring reliable performance and minimizing signal loss. The attention to detail in the construction is evident in every aspect of this amplifier.

Overall, the design and construction of the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE reflect a commitment to both aesthetic appeal and functional efficiency. The combination of high-quality materials, thoughtful design features, and meticulous craftsmanship make this amplifier a standout choice for discerning audiophiles seeking both style and performance.

Functionality

The S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier offers a wide range of functionality to cater to different audio sources and preferences. It provides various connectivity options, allowing you to connect CD players, computers, smartphones, and other audio devices effortlessly. Whether you want to enjoy your favorite music from a physical disc or stream it from your digital library, this amplifier has got you covered.

While the Blackbird SE does not feature balance controls or tone adjustments, it focuses on delivering a pure and unadulterated sound experience. This minimalist approach ensures that the audio signal remains as faithful to the original recording as possible. By eliminating unnecessary features, the amplifier maintains a streamlined operation that prioritizes audio performance above all else.

Additionally, this amplifier does not include operating modes such as direct mode or built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter). Instead, it concentrates on amplification and reproducing sound with exceptional clarity and accuracy.

Overall, the functionality of the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE is designed to provide a straightforward and hassle-free user experience. Its emphasis on simplicity allows users to focus solely on the quality of sound reproduction without distractions or unnecessary adjustments.

Sound Characteristics

The S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier delivers an exceptional sound quality that is sure to captivate any audiophile. The attention to detail and the use of high-quality components truly shine through in its sound characteristics.

One of the standout features of the Blackbird SE is its ability to provide a detailed and immersive listening experience. The amplifier boasts excellent instrument separation, allowing each instrument to be heard with clarity and precision. Whether it’s the delicate strumming of a guitar or the powerful beats of a drum, the Blackbird SE ensures that every element of the music is presented with accuracy and depth.

The bass response of the Blackbird SE is impressive, providing a solid foundation to the music without overpowering other frequencies. The lows are tight and controlled, adding depth and richness to the overall sound presentation. This amplifier truly allows you to feel the impact of bass-heavy tracks, enhancing the listening experience.

When it comes to treble clarity, the Blackbird SE does not disappoint. The highs are crisp and well-defined, bringing out the intricate details in vocals and instruments. The amplifier strikes a perfect balance between smoothness and clarity, ensuring that no nuances are lost in the mix.

In terms of overall sound presentation, the Blackbird SE excels in delivering a natural and engaging soundstage. The music feels alive and dynamic, creating a sense of depth and dimensionality. Whether you’re listening to classical orchestral pieces or energetic rock anthems, this amplifier brings out the best in every genre.

The Blackbird SE has a versatile nature that allows it to adapt to different music genres effortlessly. It handles classical music with finesse, reproducing the delicate nuances of string instruments and capturing the grandeur of symphonies. For jazz enthusiasts, this amplifier shines in its ability to convey the intricate improvisations and subtle nuances of each instrument. When it comes to rock or electronic music, the Blackbird SE delivers a powerful and energetic performance, showcasing the raw energy and impact of these genres.

Overall, the sound characteristics of the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier are nothing short of exceptional. With its attention to detail, instrument separation, impressive bass response, treble clarity, and overall sound presentation, this amplifier is a true gem for any audiophile seeking an immersive and captivating listening experience.

Sound Performance

The sound performance of the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier is nothing short of exceptional. It effortlessly transports the listener into a world of immersive and captivating audio experiences.

One of the standout qualities of this amplifier is its ability to faithfully reproduce audio signals with remarkable clarity. Every instrument and vocal is rendered with precision and detail, allowing the listener to discern even the subtlest nuances in the music. The Blackbird SE excels in preserving the integrity of the original recording, ensuring that no details are lost in the amplification process.

The dynamics produced by this amplifier are truly impressive. It effortlessly handles both delicate passages and explosive crescendos, delivering a wide range of volume levels with ease. The Blackbird SE allows the music to breathe, creating a sense of realism and presence that draws the listener in.

In terms of tonal balance, the Blackbird SE strikes a perfect equilibrium across different frequency ranges. The lows are deep and impactful, providing a solid foundation for the music. The midrange is rich and full-bodied, allowing vocals and instruments to shine with warmth and clarity. The highs are detailed and extended, adding sparkle and airiness to the overall sound signature.

Whether you’re listening to classical orchestral pieces, intricate jazz arrangements, or energetic rock tracks, the Blackbird SE handles each genre with finesse and musicality. It brings out the best in every genre, showcasing the intricate layers of each composition while maintaining a cohesive and engaging soundstage.

Overall, the sound performance of the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier is truly exceptional. Its ability to faithfully reproduce audio signals with clarity, dynamics, and tonal balance across different frequency ranges sets it apart from its competitors. Whether you’re an audiophile seeking an immersive listening experience or a music lover looking to elevate your enjoyment of music, the Blackbird SE delivers in every aspect of sound performance.

Advantages

The S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier offers several notable advantages that set it apart from its competitors in the market.

Firstly, the Blackbird SE boasts a powerful output of 30 watts at 4 ohms, providing ample power to drive a wide range of speakers. This increased output power allows for a more dynamic and immersive listening experience, making it suitable for both casual listeners and audiophiles alike.

Additionally, the use of high-quality components, such as the dual double triodes 6072 and four pentodes 6L6 Tung-Sol, ensures exceptional sound quality and clarity. These carefully selected tubes contribute to the amplifier’s ability to reproduce music with accuracy and detail, allowing for an engaging and captivating audio performance.

Furthermore, the Blackbird SE features specially designed output transformers that are handcrafted by SA Lab. These transformers enhance the overall sound reproduction by ensuring efficient power delivery and minimizing signal loss. The increased size and capacity of the power supply transformer also contribute to improved performance and stability.

In terms of design, the Blackbird SE showcases a sleek and sturdy construction. The chassis is made of high-quality steel with an anti-resonant coating, while the front panel is crafted from artificial stone (Corean). This combination effectively reduces vibrations and unwanted resonances, further enhancing the audio quality.

When compared to other models in its price range, the Blackbird SE stands out for its exceptional value for money. Despite its relatively affordable price point, this amplifier delivers impressive performance and features that rival more expensive options on the market. The attention to detail in its design and construction, along with its superior sound characteristics, make it a standout choice for discerning audio enthusiasts.

In conclusion, the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier offers a range of advantages that make it a compelling option in its category. With its powerful output, high-quality components, meticulous design, and exceptional value for money, this amplifier sets a new standard for performance and enjoyment in the audio industry. Whether you are a casual listener or a dedicated audiophile, the Blackbird SE is sure to impress with its captivating sound reproduction and impressive features.

Value for Money

The S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier offers exceptional value for money, combining high-performance audio capabilities with a reasonable price point. When considering its performance, features, and price, this amplifier stands out as an excellent investment for audiophiles.

In terms of performance, the Blackbird SE delivers exceptional sound quality with its powerful 30W output (4 Ohm) and low distortion levels of just 0.3%. The amplifier’s ability to reproduce music with accuracy and precision ensures an immersive listening experience that brings out the finest details in the audio.

Furthermore, the Blackbird SE boasts a range of features that enhance its value proposition. While it may lack certain extras such as a remote control or built-in USB player, these omissions are intentional to prioritize sound quality over unnecessary frills. The focus on essential elements translates into a more refined audio performance and a more affordable price tag.

Considering its price point, the Blackbird SE is remarkably accessible for a high-quality tube amplifier. The use of top-tier components, including premium tubes and high-quality transformers, ensures robust construction and long-lasting reliability. This amplifier offers an impressive balance between performance and affordability that is hard to find in other options on the market.

Overall, the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE provides exceptional value for money by delivering outstanding audio performance at a competitive price point. Its focus on essential features ensures optimal sound quality without unnecessary cost additions. Whether you are an audiophile seeking superior sound reproduction or a budget-conscious consumer looking for an affordable yet high-performing amplifier, the Blackbird SE is an excellent choice that offers remarkable value for your investment.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier is a remarkable piece of audio equipment that delivers exceptional performance and value for money. With its solid construction, high-quality components, and thoughtful design, this amplifier offers a truly immersive listening experience.

The Blackbird SE boasts a powerful output of 30 watts (4 ohms), providing ample power to drive a wide range of speakers. Its three-stage circuitry and tetrode Class A output stage ensure clean and accurate sound reproduction, while the use of premium tubes further enhances the overall audio quality. The inclusion of more powerful output transformers and increased capacitance in the power supply contribute to improved dynamics and a richer sonic experience.

One notable advantage of the Blackbird SE is its simplicity. By focusing solely on what is necessary for superior sound reproduction, S.A. Lab has eliminated unnecessary features such as a remote control, timer functions, and multiple impedance options. This streamlined approach allows the amplifier to prioritize sound quality above all else.

The Blackbird SE’s sound characteristics are truly impressive. It delivers a balanced and detailed soundstage with excellent imaging and separation. The amplifier excels in reproducing both delicate nuances and powerful dynamics, making it suitable for various genres of music. The low-frequency response is tight and controlled, while the high frequencies are crisp and transparent. Overall, the Blackbird SE offers a highly engaging and enjoyable listening experience.

Considering its exceptional performance and build quality, the Blackbird SE is undoubtedly a great investment for audiophiles seeking a high-end amplifier without breaking the bank. Its competitive price point makes it an attractive option compared to other amplifiers in its class.

Potential buyers should take note of their specific needs and preferences when considering the Blackbird SE. If simplicity, superior audio quality, and affordability are top priorities, then this amplifier is an excellent choice. However, those looking for additional features such as remote control or integrated DAC may need to explore other options.

In conclusion, the S.A. Lab Blackbird SE amplifier is a standout performer in its price range. With its exceptional sound characteristics, solid construction, and thoughtful design, it offers a truly immersive listening experience. Whether you are a seasoned audiophile or a music enthusiast looking to upgrade your setup, the Blackbird SE is definitely worth considering.

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