A1 Amplifier

The tentatively-named A1 Amplifier is an experiment in minimal interfaces. It’s currently in the final breadboard stage.

Amplifiers (more commonly called receivers) are traditionally black or silver boxes with one big knob and infinitely many buttons and menu levels. The overwhelming options go unused and only confuse and complicate the owenership experience. A1 aims to rid the amplifier of all but one control: volume. A simple touch to the top edge will adjust volume, and sliding the volume all the way to the bottom will put A1 to sleep.

The LED front panel gives direct and intuitive feedback. As you slide your finger along A1, the volume changes and the LED panel illuminates to follow your touch.

A1 has two audio inputs: RCA jacks for a media box (like an Apple TV) and an auxiliary 3.5mm input for portable devices. A1 will automatically switch to the auxiliary input when it detects a signal, and then it will switch back to the main input when you’re done. There’s no need to remember which input is selected and there’s no controls to clutter the interface.

A1 is built with Arduino, lots of custom analog audio circuitry and a high-quality Sure Electronics amplifier module.