In this series of articles, we’re taking a close-up look at Japanese high-end car audio brand Bewith and through its products exploring the fascinating world of car audio.
In this article, we’re featuring Bewith’s power amps. A power amp is a unit that takes a weak audio signal from the source unit and amplifies it to a level high enough to drive speakers. Let’s take a look at what makes Bewith’s power amps different from those offered by other companies.
Ordinary source units like AV integrated car navigation system or CD receivers have a power amp as an internal component. When a system like this is used for the main unit of a car audio system, it is not always necessary to add an external power amp. However, these do not provide enough power for hi-fi audio and there are efficiency issues with the speakers. For this reason, a real car audio system needs a separate power amp. In fact, Bewith’s STATE MM-1D source unit doesn’t have an internal power amp. It is a source unit designed to work with an external power amp.
Let’s see how Bewith approaches this issue, starting with a bit of history.
Bewith brought its first product into the world in 2002. This was Confidence, a luxury two-way speaker system that featured the world’s first all-eccentric cone. As we said in the previous articles, the company then released its first main unit in 2005 and its first processor in 2007. Its first power amp, however, came out in February, 2003.
Its release turned Bewith into a real car audio contender with a robust lineup. By now, it had two power amps, one audio regulator, and two speaker series, the original Confidence and its second series, which included grades 2 and 3.
The 2nd grade series was given the name Accurate and the 3rd grade Reference. This power amp released in 2003 took Confidence’s 3rd series’ name, Reference. Through this naming, it was clear to see that there would be something more to come in the future.
February 2006 saw the long-awaited appearance of the high-end Accurate A-110S power amp. Like every product the company has released, it surprised the public. It was a “monoblock” power amp like nothing the world had ever seen before.
Regular power amps come in 2-channel or 4-channel. There are also monaural amps but most of them are used as amps for sub-woofers. At the time of this product’s release, there were almost no brands that offered a monaural power amp as a car-use power amp for driving front speakers.
Naturally, there was good reason why Bewith was offering an integrated monoblock construction for one channel only. The idea behind it was to offer the best possible channel separation. When Accurate A-110S was released in 2006, it was the trend in hi-fi car audio to use multi-amp systems. A multi-amp system is one where one channel is allotted to one speaker so that each can be controlled individually with a digital sound processor. Bewith’s idea for taking advantage the merits of this system as much as possible was to differentiate each individually assigned channel of the power amp.
Although this was ideal in terms of sound, it had disadvantages in terms of cost and ease-of-installation. If you’re driving 2-way speakers with a multi-amp system and you have a 4-channel amp, you only need one power amp. But with a monoblock amp, you need four. You can build an amp that is smaller and less costly than a 4-channel amp, but to use four of these, the cost and space issues will be a problem. It’s simply not a rational solution.
Bewith came up with a solution that was both simple and offered high sound quality. In all of its product development, Bewith always sticks with its absolute first priority â€“ the faithful reproduction of sound.
In 2009, it released a monoblock for the 2nd grade Reference power amp series as well. The name was Reference R-107S. The concept behind the product was to create something more compact and less costly that would sweep away the disadvantages holding back monoblock systems.
Its power amps underwent further evolution with the 2012 release of the high-end Accurate A-110S II. Made of a newly developed acoustic-use magnesium alloy called Magneola, it managed a staggering feat of downsizing, reducing the volume by one-quarter and the weight by one-fifth. Bewith reduced the size and weight significantly while maintaining its strict commitment to the best sound quality possible.
Two years later in 2014 there was a model change from the Accurate A-110S II to P-1 and the Reference R-107S to P-100. The new versions were even more compact and produced even better sound quality. Bewith has continued to develop its power amps by refining the monoblock and constantly pursuing the best sound possible.
One of the great challenges of creating a monoblock system is maintaining accuracy. Total channel separation means that if an error occurs in one of the individual units, this can completely defeat the purpose of sound separation.
However, through Bewith’s exhaustive pursuit of accuracy, it has overcome this challenge to offer excellent sound quality and noise reduction. S/N ratio is an important audio spec. If you increase output, you improve S/N ratio. However, most users don’t listen to music at such a high output. In order to get a good S/N ratio that sounds natural, it is better instead to reduce the noise level. By increasing accuracy and decreasing noise level, Bewith has created the ideal power amp.
The result is that Bewith’s power amps don’t add anything to the sound signal. They also don’t tamper with the tone or power. Rather, they simply increase the sound signal as-is in order to produce the sound as faithfully as possible. This is Bewith’s product development mission and it is carried out in its power amps as well as its other products.
Next time, we’ll take a close look at one more important sound system unit, the audio regulator. As with every product it builds, Bewith goes to great pains to create a unit designed especially for audio enthusiasts.
(Translated by Greg Scott)