Hot on the heals of our in-depth review of Dan D’Agostino’s Progression Integrated amplifier, we sit down with the man himself to talk tech, his passion for perfection and how his love of watches has influenced the design language of his instantly recognisable products.
The Progression Integrated Amplifier is the most accessible way into your range. What were your goals when designing it?
Dan replies: “As with all our designs, we practice a trickle forward concept meaning we use our expanding engineering knowledge to inform product development moving forward. This allows for any appropriate component, circuit or topology advancement from a previous design is available when a new product is being conceived.
“Two specific examples in the Progression Integrated Amplifier are the output transistors and the input stages. The output devices are the ones we use throughout the line which started with the Relentless Mono Amplifiers. The Progression Integrated Amplifier input stages are also sourced from the Progression M550 Mono models.”
How do you select the transistors that sit at the heart of your amps?
Dan replies: “The output devices are selected for their power handling capabilities, voltage swing and high-current outputs. We specify the tightest tolerance level available and then put each device through additional testing at our facility, to ensure only the devices meeting our tightest performance specifications are used.”
The Progression is a high biased Class AB design, which means more heat management, how have you compensated for this through your distinctive heatsink designs?
Dan replies: “Our heat sink design is another example of our trickle forward approach. The Progression Integrated features a slimmed down version of the heat sink design pioneered in the Relentless Mono Amplifier.
“This elliptical design gives greater cooling through increased exposed surface area within the same size heat sink. With this increased cooling capability, we can also increase the bias and enjoy the sonic benefits that this brings.”
As an amplifier designer with decades of experience at the highest level, why do you favour Class AB?
Dan replies: “We’ve explored other topologies and have always come back to a linear-based platform.
“The dynamic capability of a linear design is simply superior to any other design. Instantaneous dynamic performance is critical to truly lifelike reproduction and this is only possible with a linear topology.”
Your dive bezel inspired dials and Breguet style meters are clear nods to the hi-end watch world, do you see similarities between the two industries?
Dan replies: “There are definite similarities between the customers who are interested in both products. Watch aficionados and high performance audio fans not only appreciate the end result but are passionate about the design nuances and workmanship required to achieve the end goal.
“Details in applied technology coupled to refined fit and finish drives both customer groups to our class of products and other high craftsmanship industries.”
Your products are more than just audio products, they’re design statements. What similar pieces from the watch world do you think also stand the test of time (pun intended)?
Dan replies: “We take great pride in producing products have long life spans and have made a lasting mark in the industry and our customers’ homes and systems.
“Since you’re asking, a favourite watch of mine that has achieved legendary status has to be Breguet’s Grandes Complication!”