Project Polaris - Headphone Amplifier and Pre-Amplifier:
A solid state? From G1217? YES! Polaris has been on our minds and in our thoughts for a long time now. And it took us equally long before we decided to release the beast into the wild! There are a lot of solid state amplifiers on the market, some better than others and honestly, the market is rather saturated. So what made us decide to build our own? Because no one offered what we wanted out of a solid state design. No, really... no one does so we decided to make this killer amplifier!
In our opinions, a good amplifier is NOT a pair of inputs with a volume knob and MAYBE a line out. Which is the norm across most designers and manufacturers. After some discussions, we decided what we wanted. Our goals:
- Has to be able to power most any headphone on the market
- Must offer variable output impedance (the way many manufacturers make their amplifiers sound a bit different) So 3 settings were included.
- Must offer variable gain to work with a wide variety of headphone sensitivities. 3 settings were included along with an input attenuation module to further customize gain. By default, this gives Polaris 6 settings. From IEM's to planars, Polaris has you covered. Polaris is easy to dial in so that you do not shred your eardrums at 5% volume, or set her up to power the most difficult to drive headphones!
- Sprinkle on bandwidth adjustment. This rolls off the high frequencies at certain points to help tame the very upper octaves that can cause fatigue or harshness. While not a WOW feature, it is something to toy with to nail the exact sound you are looking for. Many owners are already finding that this subtle setting can make many tracks or headphones much more enjoyable
- Polaris must be drastically more resilient to noise / interference vs. tube designs and accomplish this with an open chassis and affordable medical grade power supply. We nailed this one on the head, a black background she HAS
- We did NOT want another harsh, clinical, razor blade of an amplifier. Frans cooked up a wonderful JFET input stage which lightly mimics pleasant distortions found in tube designs. While not on the major side of these distortions, Polaris still offers a SILKY smooth, non fatiguing sound that leaves a BIG smile without having a glowing bottle on top. All of this pushes Polaris into a different realm of solid state amplification
- Polaris must stick with our commitment to quality yet still deliver on all of the goals above - for a price that keeps your wallet from springing a leak. Yes... we did it again!
In short, if you are in the market for a solid state amplifier, give Polaris SERIOUS consideration. She hits WAY above her price point without reservation. In a world of featureless, low power tin cans that all sound identical, Polaris stands out and makes others, difficult to enjoy.
So to summarize what Polaris has to offer...
- Advanced Startup protection circuit
- Advanced cooling design to keep temps nice and low when demand is high
- Three output resistance settings from 0.1, 35 and 120 Ohm
- 3 selectable gain settings with a quick swap attenuation module effectively giving 6 settings
- Three bandwidth settings
- Pre-amp output so it can double as a volume controlled preamplifier
- Very efficient, low power consumption, low temperatures
- Awesome choice for headphones from 16-600 Ohm
- Loads of headroom and more than enough output power (up to 2.4W continuous per channel, depending on headphone and settings)
- Comes with power supply. Plug in your source to the RCA jacks, plug in your headphones and fire her up!
- Not an audiophile feature, but you can change the power LED's brightness or turn it off. You can also rather easily change out the LED without soldering to change the desired color
- Solid state output stage with JFET input stage
- Power consumption: (0.03A cont, 0.25A peak)
- Power supply: 48VDC
- Input Resistance: 11k or 21k depending on gain setting
- Gain: 12.5X / 7.5X / 4.5X without Attenuation Module. With Module, reduce by ½.
- Max Output voltage: 16Vrms at 300 Ohm
- Max RCA Output voltage: 2.9V
- Output Resistance: Selectable 0.1, 35 or 120Ohm
- Frequency range (High BW - 30 Ohm load) -3dB: 2Hz-290kHz
- Frequency range (High BW - 30 Ohm load) -.5dB: 6Hz-100kHz
- Dynamic Range 108dB
- Noise level -109dB
- Crosstalk: -98 dB (very conservative!)
- THD: > 0.045%
- Phase shift: 180 (inverting amplifier) on wide BW and 30 Ohm load 15Hz - 28kHz (+/- 10)
- Slewrate: +16V/us, -20V/us
- Suitable for: 16-600ohm Headphones
- Acrylic Chassis .65lb (without power supply)
- Aluminum chassis 1lb (without power supply)
Optimized for Headphones 16 - 600ohm
Aggressive Bandwidth Option on Polaris
Mellow Bandwidth Option on Polaris
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