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MUSICAL SURROUNDINGS - Supernova II Phono Preamp

Phono Preamps

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The New Reference Phonostage from the Creator of the Phonomena

The Musical Surroundings SuperNova II is a 2010 Golden Ear Award Winner from The Absolute Sound Magazine 

Michael Yee has created some of analog's best phono preamplifiers, and his new Musical Surroundings SuperNova II is no exception. The first thing you'll notice is the shape; its one of the most unique devices of its kind.

Inside the SuperNova II you'll find fully discrete, dual mono circuitry with LAM (Large Area Monolithic) Super Matched Pair Transistors. There are three inputs with adjustability for up to three separate tonearm/cartridges. A wide selection of gain and loading settings, accessible from the back panel, allow you to optimize your phono cartridges and to tailor the sound to your exact preferences.

The coolest part is the outboard, fully-balanced, dual mono Battery Power Supply, which runs completely isolated from A/C power for up to three hours. This smart power supply knows when it needs to be recharged and you will never hear the charging effects in your playback! The SuperNova II is designed to sound great without the battery supply fully engaged; so you can listen long into the night. The SuperNova II includes both RCA direct-out and an 11 position Limited Attenuator, which allows you to run it directly into an amplifier. This is a great sounding phono preamp.

The Supernova II uses the most well thought out battery power supply we've seen. Instead of using disposable batteries which clutter up landfills and fade out just as the music starts going, the Supernova II has an external battery pack built for long life, long listening sessions and ultimate reliability.

• 3 Phono Inputs
• User adjustable gain from 40 to 60 dB
• User adjustable loading from 30 Ohms to 100kOhms
• Independent Gain and Loading settings for each of the 3 Phono Inputs
• There are no “signal path” switches except for switched attenuator if used
• Normal “Line Out", and “Variable” outputs
• Variable output Switched Attenuator allows SuperNova II to drive a power amp directly
• Large Area Monolithic Super Matched Pairs for lowest noise performance

Remote Power Supply features:
• Rechargeable batteries.
• The charging circuits completely disconnect from the batteries when in battery mode.
• Optically coupled voltage monitors will wake up the processor to engage the charging of the batteries if the batteries are discharged enough.
• Four, seven cell NiMH “AA” packs, one for each positive and negative power supply, and each channel.
• Four separate charging circuits.
• Positive and Negative battery packs are charged separately in case there is different current usage between positive and negative power supplies. This prevents repeated overcharging one battery pack while undercharging the other.
• The batteries will be “topped off” by putting the unit into charge mode if there is no activity for a week.
• Fully Dual Mono even when not in Battery Mode.
• The power supply has been designed to sound excellent even without the batteries installed.
How the Limited Attenuator Works:

Gain in a typical system:
Moving Coil Phono Stage 60dB
Line Amp 18dB
Power Amp 30dB
Total Gain 108dB
Required Attenuation -30dB

Gain with the SuperNova Limited Attenuator:
Moving Coil Phono Stage 40dB
Power Amp 30dB
Total Gain 70dB
Required Attenuation -5dB

Most audio systems have far too much gain. The excess gain needs to reduced by setting an attenuator by a typical –30dB. By fine tuning the SuperNova gain switches and using the Limited Attenuator, typical listening can be done with little or no excess gain. By reducing unneeded gain, the system does not need to work as hard, thereby achieving a more natural sound. The extra 25dB gain equates to about 20 times more work, imagine working 20 times harder than you need to. The Limited Attenuator has a major advantage over a standard passive attenuator. A passive attenuator typically has significant output impedance creating sensitivity to the particular type of output cable. The SuperNova Attenuator has much lower output impedance.

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