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Classé introduces Ultimate stereo preamp

With the new Mark III, the resolution and dynamic range brought about by new medias such as SACD and DVD-Audio are fully revealed.

The Classé Omega Preamplifier Mark III is a two-chassis componant with a separate power-supply component can provide. And while it shares the footprint and basic chassis of the original and Mark IIdesigns, the Mark III is entirely new within, with all-new circuit boards, layouts, and designs.

The actual preamplifier circuitry boasts two independent input stages for each channel, one optimized for balanced operation via XLR jacks, one for unbalanced via RCA jacks. Both are refinements ofClassé’s PDXB (Pure Differential Cross Balance) circuit topology, which delivers dynamic potential, sonic purity, and freedom from forms of noise and distortion. The Mark III employs a true “R2-R”resistive network, which maintains the constant-load, constant-source-impedance operation.

This relay-based section employs gas-filled, gold-over-silver relays (as are used throughout the preamp), which combine with the Mark III’s exacting differential DC-servo circuit. At its output, theClassé relies on proprietary discrete-complementary cascode (DCCA) circuitry, running from ±30-volt supplies.

The Classé Omega Preamplifier furnishes inputs for three line-level stereo sources, each one available at balanced (XLR) or unbalanced (RCA) jacks; balanced and unbalanced outputs are both provided,as is a single, unbalanced tape output. The preamp also features a stereo unity-gain “pass-through” unbalanced input for main-channel signals from a surround-sound processor.

Throughout the Mark III, Classé uses non-inductive metal-foil resistors of 0.1% absolute tolerance, and fully modular, temperature-compensated circuit layouts that ensure that every OmegaPreamplifier will exceed its specified performance under real-world conditions. The Omega Preamplifier is specified for channel-to-channel gain matching of better than 0.05 dB at any volumesetting.

The Omega Preamplifier Mark III was released this March, at a manufacturer’s suggested price of $14,000.