Red Dragon Leviathan Signature Monoblock Power Amp

Founded in 2005, Utah-based Red Dragon Audio is dedicated to class-D power-amp technology. It's flagship product is the Leviathan Signature monoblock, which is designed to look—and feel—as good as it sounds.

A class-D amp converts an analog input signal into a pulse-width modulation (PWM) signal in which the width of each pulse represents the instantaneous amplitude of the input signal at that moment. After this conversion, the internal circuitry simply switches between two specific voltage values at a very high rate that varies according to the width of each pulse. The PWM signal is then amplified, after which it is low-pass filtered to recover the original waveform at a higher amplitude.

The primary advantage of class-D amps is their efficiency—in the Leviathan's case, 83 percent, which means it generates much less heat than comparable class-A or class-AB amps. Based on Bang & Olufsen's ICEpower class-D module, the Leviathan can deliver 500W into 8Ω or 1000W into 4Ω with a frequency range from 0 to 38kHz and a dynamic range over 119dBA. And the hand-polished hardwood casing is a thing of visual and tactile beauty.

At $5995/pair, the Leviathan Signature ain't cheap, but neither is it the most costly amp in the world by any means. Still, Red Dragon has just introduced two less-expensive alternatives—the M1000 (500W into 8Ω, 1000W into 4Ω) and M500 (250W into 8Ω, 500W into 4Ω) in identical extruded-aluminum cases for $900 and $700 each, respectively. Both models can be ordered directly from the company with an RCA or XLR input, making it easy to configure a set for just about any application. In particular, they offer a very cost-effective and efficient way to power a home-theater surround system. I've heard other class-D amps based on ICEpower, and I've enjoyed their sound very much, so I have high hopes for these little gems.