Ensemble Virtuoso Hybrid Tube and Solid State Preamp

$2,499

One of the most unique preamps to ever come across our lab.  

It is a thing of beauty - both inside and out. Swiss Made.

Externally it's finished in a polished stainless top with a gold faceplate. The knobs are made out of an exotic hardwood which gives it an amazing feel.

There's also a small window in the front that shows the goings-on of the single tube used in the circuitry.

On the back you’ll find four sets of analog inputs and two tape loops. On the front you’ll find the typical controls for source/record, balance, and volume. There's also a handy -12 db attenuator in case your amp runs loud. Finally, the headphone output completes this very well equipped preamp.

Looking at the inside one immediately notices that this is a hand crafted piece of equipment made with the highest quality parts and attention to detail. There is a large oversized toroidal power supply, an Alps volume potentiometer, and mil spec switching relay for the inputs. Truly a work of art.

Condition is very respectable.  The faceplate and knobs look like new, but the highly polished steel top shows some scratches (likely from stacking other equipment on top of it). Nothing crazy, but not perfect. Since the top is stainless they could be polished out if this sort of thing bothers you.

We also have an optional Ensemble spiked plinth that could be sold with the unit. Let us know if you're interested.

This is a very rare and unique piece of audio equipment that's well regarded in the community. Don’t miss your chance as they don’t come up often.

The Virtuoso is a hybrid line preamplifier

Features:

  • Hybrid circuitry (ECC81/12AT7 tubes and bi-polar transistors in shunt-regulated push-pull configuration).
  • Class A operation
  • Input/tape loop switching controlled by air-tight relays
  • Automatic switch-on mute; servo control of DC offset
  • 6 line inputs (incl. 2 tape loops and two-way tape to tape dubbing)
  • Separate Listen and Record
  • Active and Passive Out
  • Mono/Stereo switch
  • -12dB attenuation switch
  • 6.3mm (1/4) socket for headphones

Specifications:

  • Frequency response: 20 Hz to 20kHz 0/-0.1dB
  • Sensitivity: 200 mV
  • Input impedance: 22 kOhms min., 50 kOhms max.
  • Output impedance: Active 6 Ohms / Passsive 22 kOhms
  • Gain: 12dB (0 dB attenuation)
  • S/N Ratio: 89dB (1V)
  • THD: 0.01% (1V / 30Hz to 20kHz)
  • Dimensions: 440 x 320 x 95 mm (WDH)
  • Weight (gross): 10 kg (22 lbs)
  • Weight (net): 8 kg (17.6 lbs)

Our Testing Process for Preamplifiers at SkyFi:

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

No

Manual

No

Remote

N/A

Cables

No

Physical Condition

7

Working Condition

10

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