At CES today, British hi-fi specialist Naim has today revealed an amplifier that will make all other hi-fi's cower before it. Not least because it looks like Darth Vader's house. The system - known imposingly as Statement - is capable of powering the loudest speakers in the world.
The three-pillar design comprises a pre-amplifier and two mono power valve amplifiers. These each handle one channel of stereo sound, keeping the processes separate for total clarity.
It can connect to vinyl, CD or digital music sources, and will need a suitably huge pair of speakers to do it justice. The Statement's two power amps each produce 746 watts of power - the equivalent of one horsepower.
The awe-inspiring stats don't stop there. Each 2.5ft pillar weighs an enormous 101kg - thanks to the metals used in its construction.
If you think that's jaw-dropping, consider this: the Statement alone costs £125,000 - so the only statement you'll be paying attention is the one that comes from your bank. That's before you shell out for any accompanying components.
Naim has said it has no plans to produce any other hi-fi components to sit alongside the Statement in its product line-up - but they do make CD players and network streamers that are merely very expensive.
There are a few reasons why it costs so much. For a start, there's the diamond paste used to transfer heat generated by the valves to the aluminium heatsink (the aggressive-looking grille on the end). Diamond conducts heat 2.5 times better than copper, apparently, so that's what they went for.
The heatsink itself is milled from a solid hunk of aluminium over several hours, then electro-plated to ensure a perfect black finish. Each amp is hand-wired and inspected several times over.
Inside the attention to details is never ending. The control panel and all the major electronics are suspended on an insulated brass platform, to ensure there's as little interference transmitted to any of the other components as possible.
Lead engineer Steve Sells said: “It’s a dream come true to actually make a product like Statement a reality. It’s been in my sketch book for years and an ambition ever since I first started to design amplifiers
as a teenager. It’s a massive project. To really push the boundaries of what we could achieve has required the efforts of teams from across Naim Audio. Electronic, mechanical and industrial design engineers with combined experience totaling well over a hundred years have contributed to these products.”
The Statement will go on sale in July 2014. www.naimaudio.com