California-based Aesthetix has announced the launch of the "Signature" edition of its Atlas hybrid power amplifier, which comes six years after the original model was first released.
Back in 2008 when we first put the Atlas to the test, we said "it remains the best we've heard at this price level or anywhere near it" – quite a tough act for this latest edition to follow.
MORE: Aesthetix Atlas – review
The design of the amp features a bipolar output stage, bipolar driver stage and vacuum tube input gain stage, while one 6SN7 tube per channel provides all the voltage gain for the amp.
More after the break
Elsewhere, the amp boasts two transformers and three chokes that are housed under a stainless steel cover to stop magnetic fields from interfering with the audio circuitry.
A 6dB/octave high-pass crossover can be set to 16 different values between 40 and 200Hz, while you can also use a direct input on the rear panel to bypass all the switches and crossovers.
The Atlas Stereo Signature is the latest addition to the range – joining the standard Atlas Stereo and the Atlas Mono Signature. The former can be upgraded to the Signature version.
One of the main differences between the Stereo and the Stereo Signature is that Peter Moncrief's StealthCaps are used as inter-stage coupling capacitors, rather than Rel-Caps.
Aesthetix says the result "revolutionises the sound beyond expectations", while the output stage power supply capacitance has been doubled in order to boost bass drive.
All three versions of the Atlas – including the Stereo Signature (£10000) – are now available with either black or silver faceplate. The Stereo costs £8000 and the Mono Signature is £16000.
by Pete Hayman