The THX AAA-0 headphone amplifier is the first electronics component from THX, the company founded by George Lucas in 1983 that is synonymous with high-fidelity sound. According to THX, this new amplifier offers the world’s best specifications when it comes to measurable distortion, noise levels, and at-rest power consumption.
According to the press release, this stereo headphone amplifier reduces harmonic distortion, intermodulation distortion, and crossover distortion by a factor of 20 to 100 versus existing designs. Furthermore, by drawing only 5 mW when at rest, the technology significantly extends the battery life of this portable device.
The THX AAA technology found in this amplifier is not new. Laurie Fincham, the senior VP of audio R&D at THX, notes that “We first introduced AAA technology in the Benchmark Media AHB2 Power Amplifier, which was designed with low distortion and noise levels to meet the high demands of prosumers and studio settings. Now, we have adapted the technology to offer the same listening experience to consumers by minimizing the distortion while using less power and preserving more battery.”
While the press release describes an exciting product, there are a few things missing from the description. For example, cost is unknown, there’s no description of what form factor it will take—although battery power hints at portability—and we don’t know when it will go on sale. That said, the company refers to it as a flagship product and boasts of “nearly unmeasurable distortion of -137 dB, high output power of 63 mW, and only 5 mW of quiescent power consumption.”
THX was recently purchased by video gaming-accessory maker Razer, which is in the hardware business. It’ll be interesting to see if THX gains traction as a hardware brand, as opposed to a certification.
I have requested additional details as well as a photograph. If I get a response, I will add those items to this article.
I received the following email this morning in response to request for more information:
Where can I hear it?
“At CES 2017 we will have three models on display, including our lowest power THXAAA-0, medium power THXAAA-38, and highest powered configuration THXAAA-888.”
Is this a portable amp?
“THX AAA is a hardware amplifier technology applicable to a variety of products, both portable and stationary. Examples include wireless headphones, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and DAC/amp products.”
Size and pricing?
“The THX AAA circuitry measures 14 x 35 mm and only 3 mm high. For higher volume products a license is available now for design-in to customer product. For medium volume products, standard circuit modules will be available in Q2 2017. We are gauging interest for a custom IC version of THXAAA-0 measuring 2 x 2 mm available in Q1 2018.”