Sprout offers sonic ideals and design principles enjoyed by many thousands of users daily. Its ease of use should make it appealing and accessible to those who would find most audio gear intimidating; it should also appeal to those who have “been there, done that” and seek a better, simpler way to play music in their home.
Sprout’s design principles will never change: compact, elegant versatility that brings the content of yesterday to the technology of today. Sprout’s performance and features have been overhauled: more power, more resolution, more romance. We hope you enjoy.
How is Sprout100 different from the original?
To start, Sprout100 offers double the output power, which—apart from providing renewed efficiency, lowered distortion, and greater separation and detail—also serves to galvanize the sonic benefits of extended headroom.
Sprout100 offers a DAC with maximum resolution—one that decodes even 128DSD and 384/24PCM. We hear you want a remote control, an indicator light, a defeatable bass-boost, and an optical input? It’s all there. Sprout100 also differs from the original by offering a variable subwoofer mono output, full RCA analog in/out connectors, a redesigned world-class RIAA phono-stage, and a newly designed z-feedback low-impedance headphone amplifier. And with Sprout100’s universal internal power supply (100 – 240VAC @ 50/60Hz with auto-detect) you can take your new integrated amplifier abroad for maximum flexibility. By adapting new high-resolution/low-distortion topologies, a beefy 240-watt power supply, and bleeding-edge ICEpower amplifier technology, Sprout100 offers increased headroom, lower noise floor, and extended and nuanced frequency response. Z-feedback innovations reveal temporal accuracy and increased transient impulse response. Sonically notable for its lucid spatial detail, acute tonal retrieval, and commanding noise immunity, Sprout100 is even more equipped to drive your loudspeakers and headphones than before.
But many things didn’t change. For example, the size, feel, shape and style are the same. Like its predecessor, Sprout100 is adorned with real walnut and machined aluminum knobs—making each and every Sprout100 unique. Our attention to detail is the same. Our passion remains true. Our philosophy will never change.
Sprout100 is the all-new, heavily-updated replacement for the original PS Audio Sprout. Many improvements have been made: we doubled the output power, we fully redesigned the headphone amplifier, and we included Stereo-RCA analog in/outputs, a DAC that decodes full resolution PCM & DSD, a subwoofer output, and a sleek, brushed aluminum remote control. Sprout100 is identical to the original PS Audio Sprout in many ways as well: size, shape, look and feel. Materials of machined and bead-blasted aluminum. Real walnut. And all the sound quality you have come to expect from PS Audio.
Scott McGowan grew up at the PS Audio factory, sharing his father Paul’s love of music and high-end performance audio. But he disliked the complexity, cost and tangle typical of Audiophile systems. Why couldn’t he have the performance levels of his father’s creations packaged in a single, beautiful product he and his friends could afford to own? It should be powerful yet simple to operate. Its aesthetics should be inspired by the “less, but better” designs of Braun’s Dieter Rams and Apple’s Jony Ive. He would call it Sprout.
Sprout100, the newest edition of the beloved original, is a simple, elegant source of music for those who want quality sound without the hassles that come with it. Appealing to the eye and ear, solid and reassuring to the touch, Sprout’s user interface is human, providing visual and audible feedback to the user and connecting her to the music. Sprout’s ease of use makes it appealing and accessible to music lovers around the world. It features a phono preamplifier for vinyl, a Bluetooth receiver for music streamed from smartphones, a high-quality hi-res DAC to handle anything stored on a computer, enough power for any speaker, and a headphone amp that drives even the toughest loads.
Sprout is for those who care about their home, their music, and their enjoyment of music in their home. We believe there are a lot of such folks out there.
Scott chose the name Sprout to represent what he saw as a rebirth of hi-fi in the home, a chance to get away from massive, unaffordable instruments that dominated living rooms and required a pilot’s license to operate.
Rather than a display screen and endless menus, Sprout’s user interface is a direct hand-to-Sprout connection through two precision rotary switches as well as a handheld remote control. The front panel controls allow intuitive, direct control of the device, and provide feedback to the user through a positive click, while the new remote control offers the convenience you’d expect.
Sprout’s ease of use makes it appealing and accessible to those who would find most audio gear intimidating. It’s also appealing to those who have “been there, done that”, and seek a better, simpler way to play music in their home. Sprout simultaneously appeals to those making their first purchase of an audio component–and those making their last purchase, seeking quality without complication.
Passive EQ moving magnet phono preamplifier
Vinyl is an important part of a growing number of people’s lives today and Sprout100 brings LPs to life as you have rarely experienced. The engineering team at PS Audio has been designing and building vinyl amplification for 4 decades and we know a thing or two about making records sound their best. Within Sprout100’s compact enclosure lies a rich history of audio technology, waiting to be told. Are you a soldier in the Vinyl Revolution? Sprout100 offers a world class phono stage to bring your favorite vinyl, new or classic, to life. We engineered a brand-new hybrid circuit design for the best possible vinyl reproduction. We incorporated a JFET input stage to lower noise and increase headroom. We designed a passive high-frequency RIAA circuit for extended and nuanced high-frequency response. These features culminate the very best of our 44 years’ experience with the phono stage.
High-resolution digital audio
Built inside Sprout is a highly sophisticated Digital To Analog Converter (DAC). Optimized to the cutting edge of digital playback, Sprout100 employs an ultra high-resolution ESS Sabre DAC (9016) with USB-B input that accepts resolutions up to PCM 384/24 and DSD128: bit-perfect playback for your high-rez computer audio, video, and gaming applications. An optical (toslink) input allows you to incorporate a TV or other modern digital device with your kick-ass new system. Bluetooth offers versatility, convenience, and one-touch access to a world of content.
The original Sprout’s 50WPC into passive loudspeakers are incredible to hear. With this wattage the original Sprout urged The Absolute Sound to feel “astonished by the detail and richness of its presentation.” Customers agreed, and PS Audio toiled on. In pursuit of an effortless listener experience, the all-new Sprout100 doubles the output power of it’s predecessor. We incorporated bleeding-edge ICEpower amplifier technology to equip the instrument with 100WPC RMS (peaks of up to 135WPC). This increase in output wattage–apart from providing renewed efficiency, lowered distortion, and greater separation and detail–also serves to galvanize the sonic benefits of extended headroom. Sprout100 fundamentally enlivens the listener’s bookshelf or floorstanding loudspeakers to a revolutionary musical experience.
Selected for its musical virtues, Scott McGowan personally curated this Scandinavian-designed amplifier from among a dozen fine candidates before selecting it for Sprout100. Musical, powerful, never aggressive sounding, the amplifier within Sprout100 honors the music.
Stream right from your phone
Streaming music from a mobile device is common and expected among Sprout owners. That the sound quality of that streaming service is exceptionally good in Sprout is a testament to PS Audio’s engineering team’s decision to pass streaming services through Sprout’s internal ESS Saber 9016 high-resolution DAC.
Connect to anything
Upgraded from a pair of 3.5mm jacks, Sprout100’s analog inputs exhibit stereo RCA connections which serve to welcome legacy devices like classic video game consoles or an open-reel tape deck. If you so choose, preamp Sprout to your external amplifier.
Add a subwoofer
Sprout100 betters its predecessor with the introduction of a built-in subwoofer output (mono RCA, variable). Add all the rumble you want with the powered subwoofer of your choosing.
Discrete zero impedance headphone amp
Listening to music through a fine set of headphones is an experience many of us cannot be without and Sprout100 honors the music with one of the finest headphone amplifiers made. Conventional headphone amplifiers focus on lowering output impedance at the expense of temporal accuracy. To solve this problem, PS Audio engineered a new low-impedance Z feedback circuit to drive virtually any pair of headphones you can throw at it with perfect transient impulse response. Slew rate, the ability of an amplifier to reproduce transient musical information, is critical to the lifelike presentation of sound. The human ear reacts instantly to temporal shift. We rely on this sensitivity to realize our setting and the movements around us. Paying keen attention to phase shift and temporal accuracy, Sprout100’s headphone amp slews at an unheard-of 1,300-volts/microsecond–100 times faster than that of its predecessor–producing lucid spatial detail and acute tonal retrieval. The same Z Feedback topology that delivers stunning clarity also enables commanding noise immunity. Listen at low levels or high.
Sprout100 keeps the positive feel of its two, machined, front panel controls while adding the convenience of a beautiful new remote control that comfortably fits in the palm of your hand.
The real challenge for PS Audio Engineering was how to package the nine major subsystems in Sprout100 within the confines of this elegant, minimalist package, while maintaining our high standards for reliability and performance. It was not an easy task.
The first challenge would be to settle on the power amplification stage of Sprout. There are many excellent designs of small and reliable power amplifiers on the OEM marketplace today; but only a very few with high enough performance standards to even be considered for Sprout. The field was quickly narrowed down to the top contenders for this all important task. PS Audio’s chief of engineering, Bob Stadtherr, built a test bed for Sprout’s designer, Scott McGowan, enabling him to easily listen at length to any of the candidates. Hundreds of hours were spent with endless debate but finally one design was adopted.
Sprout100’s DAC and phono stage were easy: this was technology honed over the last few decades of engineering and the team merely had to select from our stable of designs that which perfectly matched the musical qualities of the chosen power amplifier.
Much debate was expended on Sprout100’s human interface. Both the original PS Audio Sprout and the new Sprout100 offer a hands-on, precision human interface for the front panel (a stepped tactile volume control and input selector mechanism). The new Sprout100 retains the hands-on romance of the original instrument. Sprout100 also hears the demands of thousands of customers who yearn for more accessibility, more versatility, more fun. We have worked hard and included a brushed-aluminum remote control for every Sprout100.
Speaking of versatility, did you know that many of our most satisfied Sprout customers travel with their unit? Yup, they stick it right in their suitcase. We want to offer our customers even more adaptability. Don’t feel constrained by regional voltage standards: Sprout100 adapts to any worldwide voltage configuration, accepting a 100V-240V input range, at either 50Hz or 60Hz, with internal auto-detect. That’s right, just plug and play, the world around.
“We spend a great deal of time interacting with our machines,” says Scott, “and the choice of which device to bring into our homes is a personal, intimate decision. I do not want to lose sight of that which brings music into our lives. I want to touch, to see, to hear, to interact with Sprout100. Sprout100 is audio furniture. It’s personal. The days of hiding gear behind the closed doors of your equipment rack are long gone.”
The PS Audio Sprout100 is one of the best-sounding, minimalist amps built for the modern age that you can buy. With a top notch phono pre-amp and excellent DAC built in, the Sprout100 can handle anything from a turntable to a game console and make it sound its best.
The Absolute Sound
With the release of its next-generation Sprout100, PS Audio has succeeded in making the tired terms “new and improved” actually mean something by addressing many real-world audio needs. There are upgraded features outside and updated technologies inside. Sonically, you get more headroom, heft, and body, plus greater substance and resolution. Revisiting my review of the original Sprout, I can say that my conclusion still rings true: “The Sprout offers plenty of quality without complication. Just connect the little guy and use the knobs on the front. For simplicity, versatility, portability, and affordability, it’s tough to beat. You get a helluva lot for your money. It’s hard to imagine a more fun, cool component.” With the Sprout100, expect big sound and even bigger bang for the buck.
The Sprout100 seems born to stream music and play vinyl via a low-cost MM cartridge. Its best trait was that it made recordings sound tuneful and attractive. Its worst trait was that it made recordings sound tuneful and attractive. It did not do such audiophile tricks as strong, tight bass, precise imaging, transparency, or airy highs. It just played music enjoyably.