With literally hundreds of creations behind him, Bruce the grown-up physicist is now the proud inventor of what many believe is ‘the world’s most advanced amplifier’.

But the Halcro amplifier, retailing for $US25,000, not only boasts advanced sound technology, it has also outsmarted competitors with its innovative tower-like design.

According to Tony Kearney and Max Dickison from industrial design firm Designmakers Pty Ltd, the challenge was to design an amplifier that would house the unique configuration of electronics in a manner that did not compromise the product’s performance.

“The final product had to sit comfortably within a contemporary domestic environment, establish a visual signature for the new Halcro brand that differentiated it from other high-end amplifiers and have an appearance that reflected the high level of technical innovation. 

“Our first meeting with Halcro was a memorable one. We sat quietly as we were introduced to three plastic milk crates, each wired to the next and all crammed with assorted electronic components. Bruce calmly looked us in the eye and announced, ‘you are looking at the world’s most advanced amplifier’.”

Kearney admits he took little convincing and views Bruce as a genius.

“In an industry that took fifty years to reduce distortion levels from 0.1% to 0.001%, he had reduced distortion levels down to less than 0.00001% or, put another way, he had achieved a more than 100 fold improvement over the amplifier’s closest competitor. In a market that judged advances in technology by points of a percent, this was a truly quantum leap.”

Bruce Candy teamed up with David Pope to market the technology and formed Extraordinary Technology (Hi-fi) Pty Ltd that now trades as Halcro.

“To achieve the technical superiority and to operate efficiently, the electronics had to be accommodated in four heavily shielded modules, an Audio Power Module, an Audio Drive Module, an Inductor Module and a Power Supply Module.

“The amplifiers had to have unusually large heatsinks to passively remove excess heat and they had to be made from 100% non-ferrous materials. Due to the relatively small production numbers, all of this had to be achieved with minimal capital investment in tooling.”

Kearney said the materials and finishes were critical in order to introduce softer forms and the housing was made almost exclusively from aluminium.

After the final concept took shape, a full scale foam model was produced (to validate the proportions) along with CAD renderings for concept presentation.

Research for the project meant attending the largest electronics showcase in the world, the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held annually in Las Vegas. The show gave the designers an appreciation of the traditional high-end audio market – the aesthetics, the materials, finishes, volumes and proportions. 

“In a shed on a small property in the Adelaide hills in the middle of one of Adelaide’s hottest summers, we assembled the first two pairs of Halcro dm58s. While Bruce worked on debugging the electronics, Lance Hewitt(from Halcro), Max and I assembled this jigsaw of components to an impending deadline.

"The amps were to be the centrepiece of a product launch back in Las Vegas (one year after the first research trip) in the first week of January. This was the last week of December.

“Currently the amps are being made at volumes of about 120 pairs per annum. They are distributed in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Denmark, USA, Canada, Brazil, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia and Russia. They are designed and manufactured in South Australia, with final assembly being carried out in a small facility in Adelaide.”

According to Kearney, rave reviews continue from leading audio magazines two years after the release of the amplifiers.  And with a collection of audio awards to their credit, they appear to be living up to Bruce’s earlier claim of ‘world’s best’.

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