German Physiks Emperor Extreme Preamp
The Emperor Preamplifier is part of the new Emperor Extreme range of high-end audiophile electronics. It has been designed to provide a perfect match with the Emperor Extreme stereo and Emperor Extreme mono power amplifiers. Careful selection of the input impedances and sensitivities, as well as the output impedances and levels, ensures that it will also work well with good quality power amplifiers from other makers.
3 balanced and 3 unbalanced inputs are provided per channel, allowing flexibility for use in a wide range of system configurations. Each channel also has 2 balanced and 2 unbalanced outputs, making it easy to use in multi-amp systems.
The signal path is totally discrete and the design is fully balanced throughout for optimum noise rejection. The design’s very wide bandwidth provides exceptional transparency and resolution. High voltage power supply rails ensure a very wide dynamic range.
The volume control uses a sophisticated relay-switched resistor network design, allowing precise adjustment with very accurate channel balance. This also gives the volume control stage a constant input and output impedance, which prevents the changes in sound quality that can occur at different settings with simpler designs.
The heart of an amplifier is the power supply, so great care was taken with the design to ensure that it would be able to provide the audio section with a source of power that was as stable and noise free as possible.
The preamplifier’s incoming mains power is not routed through the power switch, as these can have a detrimental effect on the sound. Instead, this switch supplies power to the standby circuit and when the front panel ‘On’ button is pressed, this turns on a high-current relay which connects the mains source to the unit’s power supply.
The power supplies for the audio and control sections have their own independent toroidal power transformers. These were chosen for their low external magnetic fields. To reduce this further, they are housed in their own screened enclosures. High quality power supply capacitors are used with additional decoupling capacitors located physically as close as possible to where they are needed in the circuit.
Great care was also taken with the internal grounding to prevent the introduction of noise. As a further noise reduction measure, a front panel ground lift switch allows the amplifier’s signal ground to be disconnected from the chassis safety ground and is useful in eliminating hum when this is caused by a ground loop. This is where there is more than one ground connection between two pieces of audio equipment, thus forming a loop. This can act as a single turn coil and stray magnetic fields from nearby equipment and/or power cables can induce a mains frequency current in this loop, which then produces a hum that is heard from the loudspeakers. If this is the cause of hum in a system, using the ground lift switch to break this loop will stop the hum.
A large, easy to read front panel display provides a clear indication of the volume control setting and the unit’s status. A front panel switch allows the display to be dimmed to 50%, or switched off altogether. When the display is switched off and a front panel control is operated, the display will come on for a few seconds before switching off again. Input selection and volume level may be adjusted from the front panel, or via an infrared remote control, which is included. This is housed in a heavy machined aluminium body to match the solid feel of the unit’s main chassis.
The Emperor Preamplifier is the creation of some of the most gifted people in audio design. This is an all-out-assault to make the best sounding preamplifier possible. Apart from carrying out the required functions of a preamplifier, what separates the truly outstanding products is the ability of the preamplifier to do its job while disappearing sonically, meaning to make the most minimal contribution to the sonic presentation as possible. The Emperor Preamplifier has this ability in spades. In fact, reviewers and customers alike are describing it as an ‘analogue device’, meaning it has a totally natural sound, free from any artificial characteristics. These are the subtle details that add up to make a piece of high-end equipment exceptional and the Emperor impresses from the moment you encounter its magic. Spellbinding!
|Signal to noise ratio – XLR in, XLR out||-103 dB A
Ref 2V, A weighted
|Signal to noise ratio – RCA in, RCA out||104 dB A
Ref 2V, A weighted
|THD + Noise||0.001% @ 2kHz output (22Hz to 22kHz)|
|Maximum output voltage||20V into 600Ω|
|Frequency response||0.5Hz-95kHz (-3dB) @ 2V output|
|Pre-amp inputs||RCA x 3 pairs
XLR x 3 pairs
|Pre-amp outputs||RCA x 2 pairs
XLR x 2 pairs
|Supplied accessories||Infra-red remote control|
|Other information||Trigger input & output for remote operation
Custom cable used for internal wiring
|Finish||Silver anodized aluminium|
|Dimensions||474mm (W) x 160mm (H) x 474mm (D)|