Heed Audio Quasar, State-of-the-Art MM / MC Phono Stage
The signal processing of cartridges is one of the most delicate jobs in amplification. All the more so because it isn't done merely by boosting a few hundred microvolts to a few hundred millivolts. In fact, at this thousandfold amplification (60 dB) the signal must be processed as cleanly and noise-free as possible. The extremely low signal level and the frequency-related amplification which arises from the RIAA equalisation curve applied in the cutting of LPs make the highest demands of the circuit topology and technical realisation of a phono preamplifier.
The QUASAR, with its discrete conception and wide range of features, represents a unique bargain at this price level. The QUASAR is built in dual-mono configuration from the power supply upwards. There are two separate amplifier stages for MM and MC cartridges, both being fed from their own regulated power supply arrangement. Optimum adjustments to the cartridge in use can be applied for sensitivity and load by various settings of the jumpers on the PCB. The two separate outputs with different sensitivities make it possible for preamps or recorders to be fed via 'Low Out', whilst its 'High Out' can drive power amps directly.
The output stage has huge headroom at extremely low noise levels and, due to its low output impedance and high current delivery, can drive long interconnect cables without any sonic degradation.
The enhanced power supply of the QUASAR is based around a 60 VA toroidal transformer with low-density magnetic field and very little dispersion. This power, together with 40,000 µF filtering, can feed the circuit with the kind of super-clean current usually delivered only by battery-based supplies, even with extreme dynamic swings.
The entirely discrete conception, as well as the short signal paths of the QUASAR, combine the best audiophile tradition with innovative circuit design. This new phono preamplifier makes analogue high-end reproduction affordable at last!
Technical specifications MM input: 3 mV /47 kOhm / 100 pF MC input: adjustable Sensitivity: 100 µV - 220 µV - 600 µV Impedance: 100 Ohm / 220 Ohm / 470 Ohm Output voltage: "Low Out": 220 mV/100 Ohm "High Out": 775 mV (0 dBm)/ 22 Ohm
The QUASAR was awarded first prize for Best Phonostage in 2002 at the biannual "Image Hifi Awards" in Germany, one of Europe's premier hi-fi accolades.