The Emperor Preampflier is part of our 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 Emperor’s acuity lies in finely drawn tonal shadings and timbral portraits, which help to define and locate each instrument without relying on imaging cues. I had no trouble discerning who was playing and where they were located.Marshall Nack, Positive Feedback, July 2019
The signal path is totally discrete and the design is fully balanced throughout for optimum noise rejection
The design’s 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.
Easy to use
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.
High quality remote control
The high quality remote control is machined from a solid block of aluminium
The solid construction of the remote control matches the equally solid construction of the main chassis. It feels reassuringly heavy and fits comfortably in the hand. It allows control of the volume, mute and input selection functions. To improve the ease of use, all the buttons have a firm and positive action.
A touch of luxury
The user manual is supplied in a custom made leather pouch
In keeping with the very high quality of the Emperor preamplifier and the attention to detail devoted to its design and manufacture, the user manual is supplied in a custom made leather pouch, which is marked with the German Physiks logo. This provides a convenient place to store the user manual and ensure that it is kept in pristine condition.
Quality and reliability
The Emperor Preamplifier is designed and manufactured in Germany. To ensure excellent sound performance and high reliability, great care and attention has been devoted to all stages of production: from the initial design to component selection and final manufacture
Before a single component was soldered, many hours were spent carrying out detailed computer modelling, in order to optimise the technical performance of the various sections of the design. All the components were selected for both their technical excellence and reliability. To further enhance the reliability, all components are operated well within their maximum limits. The final selection of components and topology was made on the basis of exhaustive listening tests, as well as detailed measurements.
It is well known that the operating temperature of electronic equipment has a direct effect on its reliability and the length of its useful service life. The higher the operating temperature, the poorer the reliability and the shorter the service life. When the Emperor range was designed, we employed a specialist engineer to analyse the airflow through the products and optimise the cooling effect. Consequently, they run very cool, maximising both the reliability and the useful service life.
Great attention was also paid to the aesthetics and the mechanical construction. This is a very high quality product, so the look and build quality had to be of a commensurate level. The construction uses an internal steel chassis with a 15mm thick silver anodised aluminium outer case.
This provides magnetic screening, together with structural rigidity to minimise the effects of external vibration. The fit and finish of the chassis is first class and this combined with the impressively smooth feel of the controls, reassures the user of the high level of quality that this product offers.
Before dispatch, each unit is given a prolonged burn-in run before being subject to an intensive battery of electronic tests. Only when it has successfully passed these and been given a final physical inspection is it judged ready to be sent to the customer.
Specifications and Price
|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)|
Publication: Positive Feedback
Date: July 2019
Product: Emperor Preamplifier
Author: Marshall Nack
Date: December 2018
Language: English Translation
Product: Emperor preamplifier and Emperor Extreme power amplifier