Constellation Amplifiers with other brand preamplifiers
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  1. #1
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    Constellation Amplifiers with other brand preamplifiers

    Hello,

    I've recently had a chance to demo both an Constellation Inspiration 1.0 integrated amplifier, along with an Taurus amplifier, via Mark Jones of Audio by Mark Jones here in Ontario, Canada.

    I'm pretty sold on the sound of these amplifiers - they are very impressive - and I've started to budget for the purchase of either the Integrated, or if I can afford it, a combination of the Stereo 1.0 Amplifier and a separate pre-amplifier.

    I am considering an all-Constellation system, but I am curious if anyone has experience mating Constellation amplifiers with pre-amplifiers from other brands - particularly valve based pre-amps with built in phono; such as VAC, Audio Research, Modwright, etc, (or others).

    When visiting Mark I did experiment with his Taurus power amp connected to my own EAR 868 PL pre-amp, but that combination wasn't as good as the All-Constellation system.

    So I'm curious if anyone has either positive or negative experiences that they are willing to share, mating Constellation amplifiers with other brand pre-amps.

    Essentially I'm assessing three options:

    1. Constellation Inspiration 1.0 Integrated
    2. Constellation 1.0 pre-amp and Stereo 1.0 amplifier combo
    2. Constellation Stereo 1.0 Amplifier with another brand pre-amplifier that includes built in phono.

    My main motive is the simply keep the number of components down, and avoid separates for every item in the system. I know getting an Integrated amplifier is one way to accomplish this, but I'd love to gather more information before making my choice.

    My speakers are Tannoy Kensington GR, my DAC is a PS Audio Direct Stream, and my turntable is a Clearaudio Ovation turntable with and AMG tonearm.

    Thanks,

    David

  2. #2
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    Re: Constellation Amplifiers with other brand preamplifiers

    Sorry, only heard Constellation combos so dar.


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  3. #3
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    Re: Constellation Amplifiers with other brand preamplifiers

    I think the real magic of Constellation shines through when you pair their amps and preamps together via the “direct” connection on the back of each. I have tried other preamps and it’s very good, but admittedly, there is something so special about their amps and preamps together.

    I would vote for option 2 and I’m certain Mark can set you up with a great phonostage - maybe even a Constellation. John Curl works on the Phonostages for Constellation and he told me he’s very very proud of them.

    You’re in great hands with Mark and Constellation is a great choice: sounds like tubes, doesn’t get hot, made in the U.S.A. Isn’t this the amp we’ve been dreaming of?

    Good luck with your search.
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  5. #4
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    Re: Constellation Amplifiers with other brand preamplifiers

    Thanks for the reply Mike.

    Of all people I thought you might be the one who's experimented with Constellation amps and VAC preamps. That's a combo that I'm curious about. But I agree that the synergy of Constellation products is very high. From my perspective, it's too bad they don't have a phono-board option for their pre-amps.

    I think my first choice is to go with the Integrated 1.0 and to add a separate phono amp.

    I can't afford any of the current Constellation phono amps. Do you happen to know if they are developing a phono option within the Inspiration line? Currently units from Modwright, VAC Renaissance, Nagra and Allnic are all on my radar.

    Thanks for taking the time,

    Best,

    David

  6. #5
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    Re: Constellation Amplifiers with other brand preamplifiers

    Welcome to AS.

    Curl also does work on the Parasound, you might investigate their JC3 phono stage. My phono stage was built by Ron Sutherland, who also makes some nice stages at a wide price range. I like it with my Clearaudio but I can't say what type of synergy with Constellation.

    Quote Originally Posted by DavidMcCallum View Post
    Thanks for the reply Mike.

    Of all people I thought you might be the one who's experimented with Constellation amps and VAC preamps. That's a combo that I'm curious about. But I agree that the synergy of Constellation products is very high. From my perspective, it's too bad they don't have a phono-board option for their pre-amps.

    I think my first choice is to go with the Integrated 1.0 and to add a separate phono amp.

    I can't afford any of the current Constellation phono amps. Do you happen to know if they are developing a phono option within the Inspiration line? Currently units from Modwright, VAC Renaissance, Nagra and Allnic are all on my radar.

    Thanks for taking the time,

    Best,

    David
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  7. #6
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    Re: Constellation Amplifiers with other brand preamplifiers

    Lot's of good phono stages out there. I purchased a used Aesthetic Rhea and sent it in for the big upgrade. It was a huge bargain and about as good as it gets with phono. Audio Research, as most feel, makes a great phono stage also. I'm sure you will have great options. Mike has a few of these lines and I'm sure has heard them with his Constellation amps. Keep us posted.
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