ASR Basis Exclusive 2X MKII, Battery Powered Phono Preamp, Absolutely Stunning

$7,499

Fully tested in our lab and in perfect working condition. Has a few light scuffs on the soft acrylic top. The Faceplate is clean and intact.

Original boxes and manual are included with your purchase, along with the special umbilical power cord as shown in our photos.

Between $11,000 to $13,000 MSRP depending on options.

Great review from the expert Mr. Michael Fremer (via Sterophile c.2003):

"Everybody's gotta get into the act!" Jimmy Durante used to say. That's what's happening with phono preamplifiers—they just keep being built, and I keep getting them for review. Up for evaluation in next month's column are new models from Perreaux, Musical Fidelity, Graham Slee, and a Chinese one, Ming Da. You can bet there'll be more.

This month, I concentrate on one: from German designer Friedrich Schäfer, the unique and exceptionally fine-sounding ASR Basis Exclusive, built in Germany and imported by Fanfare International. This two-piece, battery-operated design is connected to the power supply via a large-diameter umbilical cord hardwired to the main section and terminated in a massive multi-pin connector. The battery supply—larger and heavier than the amplification and equalization section—is housed in a metal chassis with a thick acrylic front panel. The main unit consists of a single, unusually large double-sided circuit board in a plain-looking acrylic chassis that will win no points for industrial design—unless you like acrylic.

Unusually, the Exclusive is actually two complete, fully balanced stereo phono preamplifiers on a single chassis, entirely independent except for a shared, switchable output. You can have two turntables connected simultaneously, or have two tonearms on a single 'table (as I do), and easily switch between them. The fully balanced input stages feature both single-ended RCA and balanced XLR inputs, as does the shared output.

Each preamplifier is independently configurable via a series of DIP switches that control gain, capacitance, and resistance. An additional DIP switch acts as a "rumble filter" to allow you to limit low-frequency response to 2Hz or 20Hz. 10 more DIP switches allow loading to be adjusted from 5 ohms to 1k ohm for moving-coil (MC) cartridges; and, for moving-magnet (MM) types, 50k ohms in balanced mode and 36k ohms in unbalanced. There are switch positions for values of 5, 7, 10, 15, 22, 47, 64, 100, 220, 360, 470, 1k, and 50k ohms; other values are possible by choosing different combinations of switch positions.

Specifications:
Solid-state phono preamplifier with external battery power supply, balanced (XLR) and unbalanced (RCA) inputs, unbalanced, (RCA) and balanced (XLR) outputs

Frequency Response:
3Hz–200kHz, –3dB

RIAA Accuracy:
<0.5dB, 20Hz–20kHz

Weighted S/N Ratio:
>68dB, depending on gain (MC)

Distortion:
<0.01% 5mV–5V into 100 ohms at 1kHz
<0,05%, 20Hz–20kHz

Input Impedance:
5–1000 ohms (MC)

Input Capacitance:
Adjustable between 100pF and 320pF

Gain:
Universally adjustable with DIP switches from 32dB to 64dB

Dimensions:
Main Unit: 17" (430mm) W by 14.6" (370mm) D by 4.7" (120mm) H
Power Unit: 18.1" (460mm) W by 13" D (330mm) by 6.3" (160mm) H

Weight:
Main Unit: 22 lbs (10kg)
Battery Power Unit: 57 lbs (26kg)

The SkyFi Testing Process for Preamplifiers:

We start with a visual inspection of all internal components to make sure there are no signs of stress or aging. Capacitors are checked for telltale sings of bulging or leaking, resistors are checked for signs of overheating or cracking, and transistors are checked for signs of stress or damage. Special attention is paid to the power supply which is the most common source of failure for preamps. We then power up the unit and run a simple 1k sine wave while monitoring the low voltage output on an oscilloscope for signs of distortion or noise to get a baseline.

At this point we will lubricate and clean all switches and potentiometers (that are not sealed) with a high quality contact cleaner, and then re-test all functions for any signs of noise or scratching.

Final testing involves putting actual music through the preamplifier. We have learned over time that some issues are only noticeable to a trained ear while listening to a familiar source material. Our test bench has reference vintage KEF speakers that we are super familiar with which will quickly reveal any discrepancies. Some preamps will then move into the listening room where they will be tested with our in-house reference system.

Please click here for detailed specifics regarding our specialized packing process that separates us from the rest.

Item

Included

Original Box

Yes

Manual

No

Remote

Not Applicable

Cables

Yes - Power/Umbilical

Physical Condition

8

Working Condition

10

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