New THX technology enables high-performance amps that run cool and without mains power, available in flexible formats for anything from hi-fi to in-car applications

THX has showcased a working prototype of its latest audio development: high-performance yet compact and battery-powered amplifier technology that claims to deliver "sound quality on par with the finest Class A/B amplifiers".

Described succinctly by Laurie Fincham, THX's senior vice president of audio research and development, as "analogue done differently", the patented high-efficiency amplifier design enables a new generation of compact, flexible-format amps that could be used for anything from home hi-fi to in-car audio.

The prototype THX amplifier we saw was a 2x400W design in a sllmline case about the size of a large tray of chocolates. Running just on its own integrated battery pack, the amp was able to drive a large pair of Sonus Faber floorstander speakers to sustained high volumes. All without running hot; it was cool to touch after the demo.

This prototype - complete with a range of inputs, including XLR - is just one possible iteration; the use of scalable, low-profile components allows for a wide range of power outputs and form factors. It could be made small enough for in-car or portable systems, or scaled up for multichannel use.

Battery life would obviously depend on usage, but Fincham claims even at high-volume levels, a high-powered amp like the prototype would run 'for longer than you'd want to listen in a day'. He said the battery wouldn't last longer than 24 hours between charges, however.

This amp technology is just one development THX is making in the area of energy efficiency. One of the company's latest recruits is an energy-management specialist whom races in the World Solar Challenge for fun...

We look forward to seeing real-world products based on this energy- and space-saving THX technology; we'll keep you posted as and when they arrive.

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