The desire to simplify, to weed out excess and get to the heart of the matter is a cyclical human tendency both historically and personally.

In the 1990s, a breath of fresh air blew through some audio designer’s minds and laboratories, leaving us with three classic audio designs whose overriding philosophy is simplicity; the Fi X, Pass Labs Aleph 3 and 47 Laboratory 4706 Gaincard.

I have indulged a rather whimsical interest in combining these deigns with other works that share a similar paired-down intent.

Robert Rauschenberg, Erased de Kooning Drawing, 1953 & “The expression of simplicity and elegance on the outside (Devialet white paper)”: Devialet 800 Integrated amplifier (the amp is the editor’s addition).

“It seems to me that simplicity (often doubted and usually achieved by the most roundabout means) yields the most natural and truest results.” Don Garber

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Lilly Reich, Barcelona Chair, 1929 & Fi X: Single-ended directly heated triode, direct-coupled power amplifier. 3 Watts per channel, 9” high.

“…complexity tends to be the nemesis of musicality…” Nelson Pass

Agnes Martin, Tremolo (1962) & Pass Labs Aleph 3: Mosfet-based, class A, 2-stage power amplifier. 30 Watts per channel, 12″w x 6″h x 12″d.

“Only the simplest can accommodate the most complex.” Junji Kimura, 47 Laboratory

Donald Judd, Untitled, 1988-1991 & 47 Laboratory 4706 Gaincard: Op Amp-based, dual mono, class A/B power amplifier using 9 parts per channel with a 32mm signal path length. 25 Watts per channel, 6.6″w x 1.5″h x 3.9″d.

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