Kickstarter appears to be the place where all the cool kids hang out, and PS Audio’s Scott McGowan definitely seems to be a cool kid. His new project, called Sprout, is an elegantly styled “hub” for your audio needs. Sure, it’s a stereo amplifier and at 50 watts per channel (into 4 Ω speakers), it’s got enough juice to drive just about any modestly sized speaker currently being made. But that’s just the start.
Looking over the specs, this thing practically writes its own advertisement as it’s chock-a-block stuffed with features.
The Vinyl Revolution that Stereophile’s Michael Fremer has been preaching about for the last three decades actually seems to be taking hold, and it looks like Sprout has you covered. It’s got a phono preamp built into it (of the moving-magnet variety) — all you need is a turntable. You do have turntable, don’t you? Of course you do.
If, however, you don’t happen to have a pair of loudspeakers, however — well, you’re weird but you’re still okay. The Sprout does have a headphone amplifier (500mW at 16Ω, 425mW at 300Ω) with a big ¼” phono plug right there on the wrap-around metal face plate, next to the chunky knobs for source selection and volume.
Hey, do you have an iPhone? Or, better still, a Bluetooth phone with the aptX codec like a Samsung Galaxy? Then Sprout is your Huckleberry — it supports aptX, and by my experience, this is a dramatically better way to wirelessly stream audio.
If you’re more “traditional” in your digital-ness, the integrated a DAC is a Wolfson WM8524, using the XMOS USB transceiver (asynchronous USB 2.0), and has support for up to 24bit/192kHz sampling. All you need is a computer! John Darko has a Q&A with Scott on his site Digital Audio Review and covers some more particulars.
So, that’s pretty much it. As crowd-funded campaigns go, this one gets chalked up in to the “winner” column; they blew past their $36,000 goal and currently stand just shy of $300k. Sprout is definitely going to be built.
Whether you’re into vinyl, headphones or high-res audio — the trifecta in audio’s high-end — you’re covered. All for $799. Or, if you click over to the Kickstarter campaign in the next two weeks, you can grab one for $499.