Dan D'Agostino is one of the founding fathers of American high-end audio. He began his audio odyssey at age 11, patching together more than his share of amplifier kits as his father built Klipsch speakers. By 14, he graduated to a Marantz preamp and power amplifier, and AR 1 speakers with Janszen electrostatic tweeters, all purchased with money he earned "polishing the tubes, and sweeping up the floors" at his hometown hi-fi shop, the Audio Center in Niagara Falls, N.Y. He went on to receive his electrical engineering degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
He started his first company, Krell Industries, in 1980 and served as its chief engineer for 30 years, designing amplifiers, preamplifiers, CD players, surround-sound processors, and speakers. Krell was the Ferrrari of the American high end industry; D'Agostino sold his interest in Krell in 2009.
Now he's back with Dan D'Agostino, Inc., and his first product will be the Momentum mono block power amplifier (you need two for stereo). It's a 300-watt design, but draws just one watt when not playing music. So the Momentum is easily the "greenest" amplifier D'Agostino has ever designed. The Momentum amplifier is an all-analog design, including all of the protection circuits.
I spoke with D'Agostino yesterday to learn more about his new venture. He spelled out his objectives this way: "We're a small company dedicated to two-channel audio, and we'll hand-build everything, including the chassis, in Connecticut."
The Momentum Series will also include a preamplifier, stereo power amplifier, phono preamplifier, and a CD player. The amp will arrive first, but the Momentum preamp will boast a number of unusual features for a high-end preamp, including streaming audio/internet radio, USB inputs, and the preamp will use an iPod Touch as its remote control.
The Momentum amplifier retails for $42,000 a pair and will start shipping in December.