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The top panel features four buttons. The first selects system gain (high = 17.5/23.5dB for RCA/XLR, low = 10/16dB respectively). I had no problem with the low setting in which the S/N ratio is 8dB better. The second button inverts absolute phase and the other two set copy direction between the two monitor loops. What's that for? I have no idea. Apparently it helps integrate the preamp with home theater systems.

The rear panel separates into two sections. The left features available inputs – four pairs of RCA connectors and two pairs of XLRs. The XLRs duplicate two RCA inputs. The balanced inputs are CD and phono or actually a line level input marked as phono. The latter is wired in parallel to its corresponding RCA input while the CD XLR input is transformer-coupled. It should however be borne in mind that it has a much lower input impedance than the RCA – 2kΩ vs. 100kΩ. Next to the connectors we have three toggle switches. The top one switches the CD input between balanced and unbalanced mode, the middle one is a ground lift for the XLR inputs and the bottom one switches the active phono input between balanced and unbalanced mode.

The right section features output connectors and two monitor loops. There are as many as four outputs, two pairs of XLRs (pin 2 = hot) and RCAs each. Next to them is a special multi-pin twist-lock connector for the power supply umbilical.

The interior. The audio circuitry spreads across several PCBs. This very obviously isn’t an old-school point-to-point wired unit as we will surely note the microprocessor control, complex regulated voltage supplies and such. The input PCB attaches vertically to the rear panel with the input connectors connected with straight wires. This PCB also carries the input selector relays. The signal then proceeds via cables to the main PCB. In the input stage we see the rare Siemens E80CC highly valued by Mr. Hofmann. After that we have a German NOS ECC82 manufactured by RFT and finally two ECC802S from Slovakia’s JJ. The tubes are coupled via polypropylene capacitors looking like parts from ERO/Vishay. Unfortunately their logos aren’t visible since they are paired with the printed sides facing each other. It seems that the circuit is a hybrid with solid-state output buffers. This entire PCB is covered by a solid screen with cut-outs for the tubes.

In the center along the length of chassis runs a long shaft between the ball-bearing volume control knob and beautiful potentiometer located right next to the gain section. This large sealed pot is enclosed in metal and a Type C ultra-precision potentiometer from Japanese manufacturer TKD (Tokyo Ko-On Denko headquartered in Yokohama). Most of the interior is occupied by a power supply section and voltage regulators. Although there still is the main outboard power supply, voltage regulators and filter capacitors for most circuits are located right here beside the gain section.

At the rear next to the input PCB are four huge Frolyt filter capacitors parallel-coupled via thick gold-plated copper rails.To the side we see a complex power supply with a number of discrete solid-state voltage regulators. Next to the microcontroller is an ultra-precisision rarely seen though top-class DC/DC power converter and voltage regulator also from XP Power in a metal casing.

The power supply unit. The external power supply’s looks match the linestage. As such it’s not another black ugly box but full-fledged component for the audio system. The front looks like an amplifier - two thick aluminum chunks once again flank a central stone slab with power button and blue LED. The rear panel features an IEC power input, two Neutrik sockets for remote switching of the Jubilee monos and a captive umbilical for the preamp that’s quite long and shielded. An aluminium shield divides the interior into two sections. The rear houses a huge EI power transformer. It is fully shielded and potted in shock-absorbing material. The mains power switch bolts to this canister and couples by long shaft to the front panel switch. The ‘clean’ front section houses two complete power supplies with fast i.e. low noise Shottky diodes (a third rectifier with the same diodes is located in the linestage proper). There are more voltage regulators, a microprocessor-controlled soft-start circuit and such. The enclosure is made of aluminium again. The power supply unit rests on three rubber feet, the linestage on four.

Technical specifications according to the manufacturer:
Frequency response: 3Hz – 500kHz +/- 1.5dB
Distortion (THD): 0.001%/3V/7.5kΩ
Signal to noise ratio: 90dB (high gain), 98dB (low gain)
Maximum output voltage: 8V
Channel crosstalk: 65dB/1kHz
Input to input crosstalk: 86dB/10kHz
Tape play/record crosstalk: 98dB/10kHz
Input impedance: 100kΩ
Output impedance: 30Ω RCA, 2 x 30Ω XLR
Attenuator precision: 0.5dB (-70dB)
Weight: amplifier 17.2kg, power supply 11.5kg
Dimensions: amplifier 435 x 170 x 480mm, power supply 220 x 170 x 480mm

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