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An informal trademark of FirstWatt is inner simplicity. If good sound can happen with fewer parts, why use more? Voilà, the proof:
Two Mosfets per channel, one small power supply board, one compact toroid and the kinky bits - those distortion-increasing input transformers strategically shielded from RF. And prying eyes. Ah, but how to know which type of measurable distortion sounds more real to the ear? And after that, how to create it just so? In a nutshell, that seems to be the core exercise the M2 is engaged with.

The rationale, again, is how to say more with less. And there's this implication too - if the circuit is solid, it won't take boutique parts to dress it up or misdirect attention at what matters less.


To the right - one of just four output devices in the entire amplifier. It doesn't get a whole lot more basic. The back panel is just as simple of course - two RCAs, no XLRs, single binding posts, a power IEC, a mains rocker and mains fuse holder. C'est ca.

Lined up for battle were the F5 and J2 from the same stable, the 100wpc ModWright KWA-100, the 95wpc Burson Audio Series 160 amp and the 250wpc Wyred4Sound ST-500. A quick check of life upon arrival netted high audible distortion for the M2. That's because I already had signal running when I flicked the power switch. "The bias circuits take a couple of minutes to fully charge but then they settle into high precision. The slow charge is how I avoid that precision from creating any sonic artifacts. The first ones I made took a full 2 minutes before any sound came out at all. You can imagine the messages I got. I should have put something in the manual about it. Something like that's the tubes warming up! Also, as the M2 biases up, the output stage goes from class B to class AB to class A. What you get to listen to is the character of each without feedback. Ontogeny recapitulates philogeny." While valve amps build in slow-start circuits to mute the outputs until full operational status is reached, the M2 eliminates such circuitry. The simple solution is to not hit 'play' until the amp's been on for a few minutes.