The Epifania is fundamentally different from all of our previous linestage preamplifier designs. If you take a look at the rest of our web site, you'll see that the Poeta, Sira, and Sira-LE are all based on the same general design principle (just as were the Prima and Erato before them). All of our other designs have been based on two audio stages; they consist of a voltage amplifier stage followed by an actively loaded cathode follower circuit to reduce output impedance. This configuration has served us very well and the Poeta, Sira, and Sira-LE remain as top performers in their price categories.
The pinnacle of the above mentioned design topology is certainly the Sira-LE--truly one of the best linestage preamplifiers available at any cost. I won't deny that we were quite pleased with the Sira-LE and often wondered whether there was even much room for improvement at that link of the audio system chain. But, that wondering grew into desire. We really wanted to push the issue--to make a new level of performance where there hadn't been one before. So, to some extent, we started over. We began looking at ways to improve on the topology we had so thoroughly exploited in the Sira-LE.
What we've developed is a design that offers the same low output impedance as our cathode follower designs, but with no cathode follower. The Epifania's circuit is a bit like taking the voltage amplifier stage, the cathode follower stage, and the active loading of our other designs and combining them into a single hybrid audio stage. The audio signal passes through only one tube on its path to the power amplifier.
We've made changes to the power supply, as well. For starters, we've eliminated all electrolytic capacitors from the high voltage supply. The hi voltage DC is filtered with smaller value oil filled capacitors and a large choke. The filtered DC is then current regulated for each channel before being voltage regulated with gas filled regulator tubes. We've even taken special care with the heater supply for the audio tubes. This supply is filtered with a large input choke followed by quality filter capacitors.
The level of component parts quality is very high in the Epifania. The chassis is constructed from very thick (0.1 inch) stainless steel and beautiful granadillo wood. The power transformer is a special design of our own and is potted. We use Yamamoto machined Teflon tube sockets, throughout. The RCA audio connectors are all WBT Topline. Even the rectifier tube is the fantastic Sophia meshplate 274B. And, of course all of the other tubes, including the type 12B4A audio tubes are new old stock production.
Some key specs that may be of interest are:
Input Impedance range=100K-150K
Output Impedance=150 Ohms
Gain=up to 15db
Inputs=5 single-ended line level
Outputs=2 variable single-ended line level active, 1 fixed single-ended passive
So, how does all of this affect sound? The result is music that is dramatically more detailed, open, three dimensional, and organic, while being much less noisy and etched. Even our wonderful Sira-LE makes singers and musicians sound a bit like ghosts compared to the Epifania. With the Epifania, performers are real flesh and blood. To borrow a popular description, the Epifania presents musicians that are truly palpable.
The US retail price for the Epifania is $16,995. And, yes--we are aware the Epifania's price may put it out of range for many music lovers. For this reason, we expect its production will always be quite limited. But, the musical value presented by the Epifania over our next best linestage (and, I believe, over all other linestage preamplifiers) is so very great, we just could not shelve the design. The Epifania is by far our greatest musical creation.
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