November
2023

Country of Origin

France

Quasar & Albedo One

Reviewer: Srajan Ebaen
Financial interests: click here
Main system: Sources: Retina 5K 27" iMac (i5, 256GB SSD, 40GB RAM, Sonoma 14), 4TB external SSD with Thunderbolt 3, Audirvana Studio, Qobuz Sublime, Singxer SU-6 USB bridge, LHY Audio SW-8 & SW-6 switch, Cen.Grand DSDAC 1.0 Deluxe; Active filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Power amplifiers: Kinki Studio EX-B7 monos & EX-M7 on subwoofer; Headamp: Cen.Grand Silver Fox; Phones: HifiMan Susvara, Meze 109 Pro; Loudspeakers: Qualio IQ [on loan] Cables: Kinki Studio Earth, Furutech; Power delivery: Vibex Granada/Alhambra on all source components, Vibex One 11R on amps, Furutech DPS-4.1 between wall and conditioners; Equipment rack: Artesanía Audio Exoteryc double-wide 3-tier with optional glass shelves, Exoteryc amp stands; Sundry accessories: Acoustic System resonators, LessLoss Firewall for loudspeakers, Furutech NCF Signal Boosters; Room: 6 x 8m with open door behind listening seat
2nd system: Source: FiiO R7 into Soundaware D300Ref SD transport to Sonnet Pasithea; Preamp/filter: Lifesaver Audio Gradient Box 2; Amplifiers: Gold Note PA-10 Evo monos; Loudspeakers: MonAcoustic SuperMon Mini or Acelec Model One + Dynaudio S18 sub; Power delivery: Furutech GTO 2D NCF, Akiko Audio Corelli; Equipment rack: Hifistay Mythology Transform X-Frame [on extended loan]; Sundry accessories: Audioquest Fog Lifters; Furutech NFC Clear Lines; Room: ~3.5 x 8m
Desktop system: Source: HP Z230 work station Win10/64; USB bridge: Singxer SU-2; DAC: iFi Pro iDSD Signature; Clock: LHY Audio OCK-2;  Head/speaker amp: Enleum AMP-23R; Speakers: EnigmAcoustics Mythology M1;
 Headphones: Final D-8000 & Sonorous X, Audeze LCD-XC, Raal-Requisite SR1a
Upstairs headfi system: FiiO R7; Headphones: Meze 109 Pro

2-channel video system: Source: Oppo BDP-105; All-in-One: Gold Note IS-1000 Deluxe; Loudspeakers: Zu Soul VI; Subwoofer: Zu Submission; Power delivery: Furutech eTP-8, Room: ~6x4m

Review component retail: Quasar €6'640, Albedo One €7'940

May 5, 1789. La révolution. By 2023 so 250 years later, France enjoys established hifi brands Devialet, Focal, Métronome and Triangle; plus more rebellious outliers Audionec, Aurai, Neodio; and today's Kallyste whose Défi preamp names as piqued challenge. There are many more brands on either side of my artificial mainstream x underground divide. But this is no thesis on Gallic entrepreneurs. It's mere segue into Pascal Curin's Quasar and Albedo One tube preamplifier and companion 70wpc stereo amp. We first crossed Pascal's path in my unfolding review of his Amethyste headfi/preamp. That was introduced to me by Oleh Lizohoub of Berlin's boutique Camerton. He is a designer who clearly knows his beans. Whilst working up that assignment, Kallyste indicated wanting to follow up with another gig. So here were are. We recall that Pascal is both a Methodist who likes tubes and transistors in circuit junctions best suited to either; and a Pentodist who denies the dowdy dogma of triodes. For now we'll let a few photos do all the talking.