When it came time to create the Perseus phono preamp for our Performance line, we couldn't bear to depart from the design of the Orion Reference line phono pre. After all, the Orion blended the best efforts of our "dream team": the circuit wizardry of legendary engineer John Curl, the industrial design prowess of Alex Rasmussen at Neal Feay Company, and the engineering and manufacturing mastery of Peter Madnick. In the end, we decided not to change what works so well-thus, the Orion uses the same incomparable John Curl circuit, implemented in a way that is simpler and less expensive to manufacture.
Curl is revered by audiophiles as the world's greatest designer of phono preamps, having designed acclaimed phono pres for CTC, Mark Levinson, Parasound, SOTA, and Vendetta Research. In Constellation Audio products, his circuits receive greater care and more elaborate execution than any other manufacturer has ever offered.
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.
More sonic improvements come from the machined aluminium chassis, which has a minimum wall thickness of 8.2mm-enough to block even the strong 50/60 Hz electromagnetic interference from household electrical circuits and appliances. The mass of the heavy metal enclosure also improves rejection of external vibration.
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.
The Perseus can be tuned to optimize its performance for even the most exotic phono cartridges. Front-panel controls allow adjustment of source impedance and load capacitance for the ideal performance from any cartridge you choose. Impedance is continuously adjustable from 0 to 500 ohms for moving-coil cartridges. For moving-magnet cartridges, the Perseus provides four impedance selections from 33 to 100 kilohms as well as five load capacitance options from 200 to 400 picofarads. Whether you decide to follow the cartridge manufacturer's recommendations or explore your own course, the Perseus has the versatility to get the best possible sound from your cartridge.
As appealing as the Perseus's design may sound in prose, its quality can be appreciated only when you hear it. We can't say it's the world's best phono preamp-that would be the Orion-but we think it's a clear second-best.
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?, Separate Power Supply 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.