D'Agostino Progression S350 Power Amplifier

hfnoutstandingTaking inspiration from the industrial design and key circuit features of D'Agostino's Momentum series, this second-gen Progression amplifier may upset its own applecart

It struck me, around halfway through the first track, that designer/CEO Dan D'Agostino was emulating the way supercar companies delineate their model ranges. Hey, I needed something to explain why the new Progression S350 Stereo power amplifier at £34,998 costs just over half that of the Momentum S250 MxV's £54,998, and yet it is over two times the size and rated at 100W more per channel: 350W vs 250W. Also, at 454x230x584mm (whd) against a Momentum's 318x133x546mm, the Progression S350 dwarfs the dearer unit. It was like the comedy Twins, with Schwarzenegger standing next to DeVito.

Here's the graduation, then, as I imagine it, between the Progression, Momentum and Relentless lines, to support the analogy. At the extreme cost-no-object/flagship level, you have the six-figures-plus Relentless amplifier [HFN Mar '20 & Mar '22], which is spiritually equal to, say, Ferrari's limited edition LaFerrari.

Hit The Road
Next, the Momentum series corresponds to the default Ferrari GTs, in the middle of the price span. Lastly is the most affordable level, where the Progression range resides, and which runs parallel to a new phenomenon among supercar makers: these amplifiers are the D'Agostino equivalent of a luxury SUV.

Its Progression series ticks all the same boxes. It's 'entry-level', and the most practical to own, being the one that is the most sensible for day-to-day usage despite its bulk (no longer a concern once in place). I even think it might be cheaper to run than either Momentum or Relentless amplifiers, at least according to hourly readings of the smart meter in my listening room. I have weenie valve amps that suck up more juice.


Massive 2kVA toroidal transformer and 8x12,000µF/120V reservoir cans feed 24 pairs of ON Semiconductor power transistors mounted onto two solid alloy side plates [top and bottom], complete with cooling venturis

Moreover, the Progression S350 is somehow less fussy and apparently utterly bombproof. Declared PM in an e-mail, 'It's a belter that'll drive anything!' And he would know, as HFN is still the only lab to have power-tested the Relentless monoblocks.

Minimalist Monster Amp
I pondered the S350's seeming indestructibility, wondering how it would have fared with notorious amp-eaters like the late 1ohm Apogee Scintillas. Suffice it to say, my easier-to-drive Wilson Audio Sasha DAWs [HFN Mar '19] would take to the Progression S350, and vice versa, like gin to tonic. The rear panel tells you all you need to know about its user friendliness (two-person lift aside), and you will have it connected in about 90 seconds!

Minimalism rules the back: an IEC mains socket, XLR inputs and multi-way binding posts. Connectivity is balanced-only and, correct or not, many of us still regard balanced operation as sounding superior to single-ended. Anyway, it's unlikely a partnering preamp, regardless of make, will lack balanced XLR outputs. Unless you're one who swears balanced cables only matter over 10m distances and audiophiles are fantasists, that debate is over.

Only two controls reside on the S350's rear. The larger rocker is for primary power on, while a tiny toggle switches between two levels of dial illumination, or turning off the lighting completely. Alongside are sockets for 12V remote power-on triggers, and that's it. Dominating the front, meanwhile, is the brand's massive, signature, green-lit, Breguet watch-inspired meter with two pointers showing the left-and-right channels' output.

Run your finger underneath the bottom edge at the front, below the meter, and you'll find the hidden soft-touch switch to take the Progression S350 out of standby mode. By the way, you will rarely see those needles flicker; I had to cover my ears and turn the system up to 'Stupid' to get them to budge even slightly.

sqnote Theory Of Evolution
There's nothing more to do except enjoy the Progression S350, and in my system it was up and running with the Wilson Audio Sasha DAWs in a trice. Regrettably, the amp arrived just as the DeVore O/93 speakers [HFN Mar '23] were being collected, although with hindsight it would surely have been overkill for the high-sensitivity O/93s, the amp barely ticking over.

D'Agostino LLC
Connecticut, USA
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909