16
Apr
12

The Constellations Have Landed!

The first shipment of the long-awaited Constellation Audio Performance Series amplifiers have finally landed in Singapore! Consisting of the Virgo preamp and Centaur power amplifier, this pair presents an imposing physical presence indeed! First off, let me say that the fit and finish and attention to detail of these products are indeed awe inspiring and are of world class! Even the photos don’t do these electronic beauties full justice – you really need to see and feel them in the flesh!

Overview – Virgo line stage preamp

Borrowing heavily from the state-of-the-art Altair Reference Series line stage, the fundamental circuit topology is the same. The core of the Virgo is Constellation Audio’s Line Stage Gain Module, a fully balanced preamplifier circuit that achieves essentially perfect balance between the positive and negative halves of the audio signal. The resulting transparency and musicality of this circuit is claimed to be unrivalled in any other preamps available today!

The circuitry inside the Virgo is built on a “raft” assembly that floats on an elastomeric suspension so it is isolated from outside vibration, just as a raft floating on a lake is not affected by disturbances on shore. The audio circuitry sits atop the raft, and the control circuit is mounted beneath it. A metal plate isolates the two halves from each other to block interference between them.

A separate power supply enclosure contains any electromagnetic fields generated by the power supply so they do not affect the Virgo’s sensitive analogue circuitry. Inside the enclosure are two separate supplies. One is a linear supply with an R-core transformer; it provides ultra-clean power to the analogue circuits. The other supply provides power for the control circuitry.

The chassis of the Virgo is as functional as it is beautiful. The enclosure is machined from solid aluminium to a minimum thickness of 8.2mm, adequate to block all common forms of electromagnetic interference.

Overview – Centaur Stereo power Amplifier

The Centaur is the only stereo amplifier in the world that is claimed to be able to deliver the power of a large solid-state design with all the delicacy and detail of the finest single-ended triode tube amplifiers.

Like the Hercules, Constellation Audio’s top-of-the-line Reference series amplifier, the Centaur uses a balanced drive design, a unique, fully complementary circuit topology that achieves an essentially perfect balance between the positive and negative halves of an audio signal. Other fully complementary amplifiers use different types of transistors for the positive and negative halves of the signal, so they are never quite perfectly matched. The Centaur instead uses matched single-ended amplifier modules employing only N-type output transistors. Thus, an ideal balance—and the best possible fidelity—is achieved.

Of course, the signal emerging from the Centaur can only be perfectly balanced if the incoming signal is perfectly balanced. This is why the incoming signals are conditioned using the same Line Stage Gain Module found in the Virgo preamp. Thus the signal that the Centaur provides to your speakers will be perfectly balanced, no matter what preamp you use.

The Centaur could only achieve its outstanding performance with a clean, abundant source of power. To this end, it is equipped with the best dual-mono power supply that is available at this price, as well as massive storage capacitors and fully regulated supplies for line-level circuits.

The resulting combination is truly worthy of being called ‘world class’! The sound quality that is produced by the Virgo and Centaur combination is honestly the best solid state reproduction of music that I have had the honour of experiencing (apart from Constellation’s own Reference Series amplification, of course)! They don’t have the traditional solid state shortcomings of sounding hard, dry or analytical. I am instead constantly amazed at the ease at which they produce notes that sound superbly natural, grainless, musical and non-fatiguing.

The Virgo and Centaur is on constant demo in our main showroom right now.

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