Ypsilon Phaethon SE
Integrated Hybrid Amplifier Silver Edition
In terms of a compact one box integrated amplifier solution, the Ypsilon Phaethon is considered one of the most sonically accomplished amplifiers in the world. It uses many of the technical solutions developed for the Aelius mono block amplifiers and the PST100 Mk2 preamplifier in a compact and elegant design. It is a hybrid line level amplifier utilising only three active gain stages. The input and driver stages incorporate low noise valves operating in a single-ended class A topography. It also features a transformer attenuator built in-house, embedded in the preamplifier section using advanced post-attenuation techniques.
The tube driver stage is coupled to the output stage with a wide bandwidth inter-stage transformer that provides perfect phase splitting for the output stage. The output stage features same polarity semiconductors for both phases in a “balanced single-ended architecture”, resulting in the sonic quality of pure single-ended designs combined with the power of push-pull designs. There are separate power supplies for the tube and output stage utilising five power supply inductors for low noise filtering. All these technologies are designed to operate in unison offering unmatched sound quality, thus providing a clear advantage of a single chassis, compact and cost-effective integrated amplifier platform. All functions are remote controlled and are visible through a high quality LCD display with large characters so it can be read from across the room.
There are 3 design features that combine to give the Phaethon a sound quality that takes it to the summit of integrated amplifier performance:
- In-house custom made high quality transformer attenuator (volume control) results in highly open transparent sound free from artefacts.
- Only three gain stages. One of them the active preamp stage with tubes. This results in a clarity / purity of sound.
- Unique “bridged single-ended” output stage biased in class A for the ‘first most important watts’, results in an immediacy, direct emotional connection.
Despite the Phaethon’s performance credentials, Ypsilon decided to build an ‘ultimate’ version for those that wished to have the very best amplification possible in a compact one box solution. To achieve this, the Phaethon SE (Silver Edition) has pure silver windings in the transformer attenuators and inter-stage transformers and pure silver wiring in the signal path and power supplies. Ypsilon have also changed some components in some key areas of the design. For example, some critical resistors in the output stage have been changed to tantalum versions.
When compared to the standard Phaethon, the Phaethon SE has a smoother, silkier and more refined sound. It feels like there is literally nothing between you and the music. Every mechanical, electrical or machine-like quality is removed, leaving only music…..and it is quite startling! The difference in cost of this upgrade is considerable as the custom-made pure silver transformers are very expensive to produce.
Is the high cost for this improvement to SE status worth it, considering the fact that the Phaethon is already a reference level product and so enjoyable? Perhaps for most people, it may not be justifiable but for those who desire to experience just what is possible in integrated amplifier performance, or in any type of amplifier performance, the Phaethon SE is worth it. A once in a lifetime opportunity, heirloom piece of musical pleasure exotica.
|Type||Stereo Integrated Amplifier|
|Number of Chassis||One|
|Output Power Before Clipping||110W rms @ 8 Ohm
180W rms @4 Ohm
|Bandwidth||11Hz -75kHz -3dB|
|Output Impedance||0.5 Ohm|
|Input Impedance||47 kOhm|
|Inputs||3 x RCA Unbalanced, 1 x XLR (Unbalanced)|
|Power Consumption||125W idle|
|Dimensions||400mm (W) x 185mm (H) x 425mm (D)|