Half way through the review, a thought struck me about the Constellation Audio Perseus, the people behind the Constellation Audio Perseus, and the people who will buy the Constellation Audio Perseus. That thought was, second best is for other people.’ There will be some who read that and think it the absolute height of arrogance. They will probably also be the kind of people who will burst a blood vessel or two at the very thought of a phono stage costing £30000. But the fact is for some, second best IS for other people, and that price tag is something to shoot for rather than something to shoot at. Ultimately, if you dismiss second best as someone else’s lifestyle, that road leads inexorably to a Constellation Audio Perseus phono preamplifier. - Hifi Plus
The circuit board of the Perseus is built on a metal “raft” that floats on an elastomeric suspension, isolating the delicate circuits from outside vibrations. This is especially important in a phono preamp. Because of the low signal level coming from the phono cartridge, phono preamp circuits tend to microphonic; external vibrations can be amplified and become part of the audio signal. Thanks to the floating circuit board suspension, microphonics are practically eliminated.
The separate power supply provides an R-core transformer for left- and right-channel analog circuits and an independent supply for the control circuitry. Analog circuits receive pure, clean DC power. As a result, noise drops to insignificant levels and all of the intricate details of the music are revealed. Hypertronics interface cables and connectors, originally designed for demanding aerospace applications, provide ample conduits for the power supply's clean, high-current output.
Fully complementary circuitry: The Perseus's balanced audio circuitry is essentially two mirror-imaged preamp circuits, one to amplify the positive half of the audio signal, the other to amplify the negative half. The fully balanced design cancels the effects of interference-an important capability considering the low level of the signals inside a phono preamp-and also increases slew rate and frequency response.
Mechanically isolated circuit board: The audio circuit board floats on an elastomeric suspension to isolate it from the effects of outside vibration. Consider it like a raft floating on a calm lake, protected from disturbances on shore.
Machined solid aluminium chassis: A heavy aluminium chassis with 8.2mm minimum wall thickness shields the internal circuitry from all forms of electromagnetic interference, and also helps damp vibration that might affect the audio circuitry.
Balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs: Easily interfaces with any turntable and any preamplifier.
Three moving-coil inputs, one moving-magnet input: Ample inputs even for the most exotic triple-tonearm turntables.
Adjustable source impedance: The Perseus provides enough adjustment range to suit any cartridge manufacturer's specification or any personal taste. Source impedance for the moving-coil cartridge inputs is continuously adjustable from 3? to 500?, while source impedance for the moving-magnet cartridge input can be set to 33K?, 47K?, 68K? or 100K?
Adjustable load capacitance :The Perseus's load capacitance can be set from 200 to 400 pF in 50-pF increments to meet the needs of any moving-magnet phono cartridge.
Separate power supply: A separate power supply enclosure protects the sensitive analog audio circuits from interference. A high-quality R-core transformer feeds the analog audio circuitry while a separate supply feeds the Perseus's control circuitry. Hypersonics cables and connectors provide a reliable, high-current power transfer. The result is an ample and consistent supply of clean DC.