The NuForce Reference
18 Mono Amplifier
Music lovers have long esteemed NuForce's
award-winning amps for the clarity they bring to the source. Those
qualities that set NuForce amps apart -- superior resolution,
transparency, dynamic finesse, harmonic integrity, and the projection of
a precise, well detailed soundstage -- have advanced incrementally to
our proudest accomplishment, the Ref 18.
A recent proprietary development, the Cross-Matrix
Array (CMA) capacitor board, along with a number of ancillary
refinements, combine to produce an amp we’d not hesitate to compare with
anything out there. A delicate tap on a glockenspiel, a sound so
lifelike that it seems to occur in the listening room, will of course
demonstrate an amp's ability to deliver lightning-swift transients. Less
obvious, perhaps, is the perception of harmonic and textural wealth --
in a word, the musical truth that swift, meticulous power delivers.
Subtleties suddenly spring to life. A panoramic, rock-steady soundstage,
a richly engaging, all-embracing midrange, sweet, airborne highs, tight,
extended lows, high-volume playing that simply will not congeal: if it’s
there in the music, it’s yours to enjoy. The Ref 18 takes ultra-high-end
sound to a place that belies the amp’s real-world price.
The Ref 18's every aspect has been evaluated against those of the Ref
9V3SE in order to identify areas available to improvement. Input-stage
circuitry, solid-state and passive components have been reconfigured
with an eye to providing a quieter, more distortion-free environment,
and greater speed via the Cross-Matrix Array (CMA)
capacitor board, the effectiveness of which becomes especially apparent
in the supremely fast delivery of musical transients (read more about
Capacitor Array Technology)
Owing to the CMA's larger size relative to the Ref 9V3SE's Sequential
Linear Array, the Ref 18 occupies a commensurately wider chassis that
likewise allows for a more effective routing of internal wiring,
resulting in a reduction of background noise.
In addition to the Ref 18's performance gains, the amp features a
touch-sensitive front panel, WBT binding posts and a 12-volt On-Off
trigger permitting it to operate as the cornerstone of any premium
installation, be it two-channel, home theater, and other domestic or
As always, in keeping with NuForce policy, customer access to upgrades
offers an assurance of non-obsolesce. Advances in technology and circuit
architecture will remain available for the new Ref 18 platform, as well
as for that of our Ref 9 designs -- and again, as always, at a
In summary, NuForce's Ref 18 elevates the already excellent performance
characteristics of the Ref 9V3SE -- most notably, liquidity and
neutrality -- to a degree that must be heard to be believed. As with the
Ref 9V3SE, operation in a less than well resolved and transparent system
may mask the Ref 18's advantages. Conversely, a pair of Ref 18s in a
fine, audiophile-grade system will reveal the following qualities:
- Sweeter, more natural highs.
- A near-palpable midrange and harmonic structure,
resulting in a more natural and relaxed presentation.
- A beautifully textured low end exceeding even that
of the Ref 9V3SE's exemplary authority and control.
- A deeper, more coherent soundstage.
In short, the answer to a discriminating audiophile's