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:::  ultra high end line pre amplifier  :::

:::  Préamplificateur ligne ultra haut de gamme  :::

 

 

REVIEWS:

Mike Wright, The StereoTimes concluded:
''...this vacuum tube-based unit is a combination of looks, build quality and sonic enjoyment that I could not, in good conscious, bypass. The clear acrylic top allows you to peer inside and smile at how well it’s built and show off for your friends, and of course, sonically, it makes music quite enjoyable. The biggest secret yet lays hidden deep inside of this preamp, beyond the visage of the human eye. Once you replace the stock tubes with NOS tubes, the performance escalates to a higher level and gives the Eclipse the ability to perform at a much higher level, comparable to preamps costing two to three times its cost. Using NOS tubes, the performance at the frequency extremes becomes noticeably better and the midrange becomes eerily life-like. It’s a good preamp with stock tubes that becomes an exceptional one using NOS tubes..."

Ken Kessler for Ultimate Audio concluded:
"...it was easy to fall in love with the AudioValve pair (Eclipse pre-amp and Challenger mono-blocks), even the baroque styling; it was like looking at a gigantic Montblanc pen. The Eklipse impressed me because of its authoritative performance, openness, ergonomics and build quality. The Challengers? Deceptive they are, like U-boats. Small footprint, not too heavy for a 6-valve amp with huge transformers - yet they drive any bad without complaint, maintaining their composure at all times. Yeah, 1 could live with these without complaint..."

Robert Reina, Stereophile concluded:
"...this preamp is a tube rollers dream. Depending on what your sonic tastes are will determine which tubes you will want to use in your Eclipse. While you may like the sound of the Eclipse with the stock Harmonix tubes, in my humble opinion, NOS tubes like the RCA Clear Top take its performance to a higher level. Highly recommended!"

Art Dudley, Stereophile concluded:
"...for the past several weeks, the Audio Valve Eclipse has been a joy: fun to audition, fun to look at, even fun to deoxidize. Visitors have noticed its styling, too, and praised it for looking less dour than most: for looking both modern and retro in one neat stroke...the Eclipse competes in a tightly run race, but does so gamely: Other choices offer different combinations of strengths, some of which will suit you more than others, but the Eclipse isn't shamed by any of them. In fact, to the listener who prizes musical drama above all else, the superbly crafted Eclipse could be seen as the only choice. Reasonably. A lovely product, and a decent value for the money: The Eclipse has me wondering what Audio Valve's power amplifiers sound like..."

FEEDBACK:

"..now, this preamp is like nothing I have ever heard. And I used to be an assistant in a company here in Perth that made possibly the world's best solid state preamp back in the late seventies. This preamp (known as HSA) consistently beat all preamps that it went up against, even the Mark Levinson. The point is that I do have a very good ear, and I have never heard a system that could beat the old HSA. Many can now, but none as well as your Eklipse..."

"...the detail is stunning. With the clarity of my Soundlab M1 electrostatics and the explosive power of the Sanders Sounds ESL monoblock amplifiers the sound is electrifying! Bass - I had started to doubt that the Soundlabs had any bass - WOW the bass now is amazing!!!! Guitar strings and piano are stunning but then a voice comes in and the singer is standing in the room - fantastic!"

"...once again - thank you for designing and building such a wonderful instrument. The design and build quality are stunning but it is the sound quality that is on a different level to anything that I have ever heard. Thank you for this gift of sound..."

 

 

The EKLIPSE is AudioValves latest product, which is the result of the experience gained in preamplifier design over a span of 15 years. In every aspect it is quite different from other Audio`Valve products. Our absolute priority in the design of the EKLIPSE was total shielding from RFI and unwanted noise which could degrade the purity of the signal.

The chassis is, therefore, machined from laser cut 5mm steel fully isolating its 4*12AU7/6189 tubes. The circuitry is housed on a double-sided circuit board designed by the most advanced computer technology.

The EKLIPSE is a true class A line stage pre-amp. Designed for the audiophiles who want pure analog with the highest quality sound available, without the price of one.

All that combined with the 1% film resistors, Draloric NOS carbon resistors, polypropylene caps and built on a solid FR4 material with Military specs PC board, 2 oz copper. The Eklipse components are soldered by hand and all matches to perfection between the left and right channels.

Audio and power traces are separated from each other by lanes and blocks of ground. Alps motor pot is used for volume control mounted on a PC board, like wise input selector and volume control by hand or remote controlled 

The quality of sound is a dream come true, with a true 3 dimensional sound. Where the depth of instruments and their location, the warmth and transparency puts you in a world where only few have been. You will discover that your music has details that were held back and now are being revealed.

The quality of sound is of highest you can imagine. Precise, dynamic, warm, and full. It is very quiet and detailed. The Eklipse is warranteed for 2 years, parts and labor from day of purchase and it is transferable to second owner.

AUDIOVALVE`s Eklipse provides an exception to the rule. A look inside the unit reveals a special two sided, 2 oz. pure copper panel known as a FR4, a military approved high-quality PC motherboard. Created with special software, the FR4's design eliminates the need for point-to-point soldering. The signal and power lanes are separated by ground traces or block of grounds to minimize cross talk or noise. The result is a tube component board void of maze-like lanes and jumpers that can compromise sound quality. A tight and secure component board is the heart and soul of AUDIOVALVE`S Eklipse.

Most pre-amps on the market today are designed with a point-to-point soldering system, a cluttered and disorganized, albeit economical and quick method of production, characterized by numerous wires and cables.

The power supply's components are over rated in wattage and precise in value. All resistors (Dale Vishay certified) are 1% wire wound. The caps can withstand temperatures up to 105 degrees Celsius. Like all of AUDIOVALVE`s components, the caps and resistors are soldered to the power supply board, resulting in a silent pre-amp that is void of hum or noise.

AUDIOVALVE`s Eklipse regulated power supply is superior in its design and a draw to the true audiophile. Split into two sections - the filter and regulation circuitry - the power supply's voltage is held to a constant level and never affected by AC line fluctuations.  

 The pre-amp is contained in a black anodized 4 mm steel chassis with custom designed face plate and knob. The power supply employs the highest quality 160 VA toroidal transformer with dual primary and secondary winding. Each secondary has its own full wave bridge rectifier. All electrolytic caps are bypassed by polypropylene caps. The power supply is regulated by four adjustable regulators for an exact plate - and heating volts DC. And both of the regulators are fully protected against any short through diodes.

The Eklipse is broken in for at least 48 hours before shipping to customer. With a 2 year transferable warranty. Warmup time is 15-30 minutes.

AUDIOVALVE`s  Eklipse comes equipped with high quality ALPS motor volume control flawlessly installed onto its wired PC board. Specially designed  in steel bracket provide extra support for the controls, which are linked to a volume control rod using a special universal joint. All parts are matched between the left and right channels to perfection (resisters and caps). The output stage is capable of driving any load at any ohmage.

The face plate features sleek, custom made brass anodized knobs. Added to the front panel are more color LED displays, which change color in different mode. 

The AUDIOVALVE´s Eklipse features a striking faceplate stroked with easy-to-read gold lettering. The back panel and bottom plate of the chassis is made of  4 mm  rugged steel polished in a smooth black finish.

The Eklipse is generous in input and output, 20 in all. All gold plated and soldered directly to the I/O board. Among the connectors: seven line inputs, one complete tape loop (I/O), and two pre-amp outputs. Added to the unit are two high quality rotary switches. They are warranted and tested for 25,000 rotations. Additionally, the switches are sealed, keeping dust and corrosion to a minimum. Screws are used to attach the switches to a specially designed I/O board. Again, no wires are used, resulting in shorter signal paths and less noise.

All parts were carefully matched for the most exacting tolerances. Condensers are of the highest quality and the total is completed by the use of classic NOS resistors. The EKLIPSE is versatile, as well. Its solid and slightly projecting rear has both balanced and single ended outputs as well as a full array of single ended input connections.

The beauty and elegance of the EKLIPSE`s design and construction mirrors the purity and vibrancy of its musical presentation. Music is freed from the boundaries of the speakers. The EKLIPSE was created to pay a special homage to all musicians and the music they create.

  • Concept: high class douple mono pre-amplifer
  • Output Level: 15 V max.
  • Power Bandwide: 4 - 45.000 Hz.
  • Distortion: 0,1 % (1V)
  • Noise: 0,05 mV (Volume noise limiter)
  • Inputs: 7 Line In, & 1 Line Out, tape loop
  • Output Impedance: 300 Ohms
  • Power Consumption: 40 Watt
  • Line Voltage: 117 up to 240 VAC
  • Valve Line - Up: 4*6189 (12AU7)
  • Spec.-Features: Stand By & Mute Function, rem. - Control
  • Dimensions: (w-d-h) 420 * 320 * 130 mm
  • Weight Net: 20 kg
  • input configuration:
    CD1 - 17 dB - 20K
    CD1 - 22 dB - 16K5
    AU1 - 15 dB - 19K
    AU2 - 20 dB - 15K
    AU3 - 24 dB - 15K
    TUN - 26 dB - 17K
    TP   - 26 dB - 17K 

 

NOTE: please examine the inputs for your needs. Also for sound quality examine the more sensitive inputs.

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     new remote controls unit for all models, black or silver anodized, in a really heavy full metal aluminium case !

     

    L'EKlipse est le dernier produit d`AudioValve, qui combine tous d'expérience de plus de 15 ans dans le développement de préamplificateurs. Il est différent dans chaque aspect d'autres produits d`AudioValve. Notre priorité absolue dans le développement de l`Eklipse était totale blindage de RFI et les bruits indésirables, ce qui pourrait réduire la pureté du signal.

    La découpe laser 5 mm d'épaisseur boîtier en acier, par conséquent, isolés les 4 tubes 12AU7/6189 complète. Le circuit est sur une carte imprimée double-face, développé par la technologie informatique de pointe.

    L'Eklipse est une véritable classe A ligne stage préamplificateur, créé pour les audiophiles qui veulent l'analogie pur avec le son meilleure qualité - sans avoir à payer un prix exorbitant.

    Tout cela combiné avec des résistances stratifiés de 1%, des resistances de carbone Draloric NOS et bouchons en polypropylène sur un matériau solide de F4, avec une carte imprimée précisé militaire de 2 oz de cuivre. Les composants de l`Eklipse sont soudés à la main et s'adapter parfaitement entre les canaux gauche et droit.

    La trace d`audio et de l'énergie sont séparés par des rues et des blocs. Sur une carte imprimée se trouve monté des potentiomètres motorisé Alps pour contrôler le volume. La sélection de l'entrée et le volume peut être commandé manuellement ou par télécommande.

    La qualité du son est un rêve devenu réalité avec le son en trois dimensions. La profondeur des instruments, la chaleur et la transparence va vous guider dans un monde de sons, dans la mesure où seuls quelques-uns ont été autorisés à plonger. Vous trouverez les détails dans votre musique qui ont eu lieu en arrière et enfin révélée.

    La qualité sonore est aussi haut que vous pouvez rêver. Précis, dynamique, chaleureuse et pleine et très calme et détaillée. L'EKlipse dispose de 2 ans à partir de la date d'acquisition. Ceci est transférable à un deuxième propriétaire.

    AudioValve`s Eklipse est une exception à la règle. Un coup d'œil à l'intérieur du unité a révélé une plaque spéciale bilatéral de 2 oz de matériel de cuivre pur (connu sous le nom FR4) - une carte mère d`ordinateur de haute qualité qui étais utilisé pour la première fois dans l'armée. Fabriqué avec un logiciel spécial la conception FR4 élimine la nécessité pour le brasage point à point. La trace de signale et de l'énergie sont séparés par des rues et des blocs terres pour réduire le couplage et les autres bruits. Le résultat est une carte avec des composants du tube, plein de ruelles et de pontages comme un labyrinthe, où la comparaison avec la plus grande qualité sonore n'a pas besoin de la peur. Ce conseil composante dense et sûr est le coeur et l'âme de l'Eklipse.

    La plupart des préamplis sur le marché aujourd'hui sont faits avec un système de soudure point à point - un désordre et pas très organisée, même si économique et rapide méthode de la production, caractérisée par de nombreux fils et câbles.

    Les composants du bloc d'alimentation sont supérieurs en watts et précise de la valeur. Toutes les résistances (Vishay Dale certifiés) sont bobinés 1%. Les bouchons peuvent résister à des températures jusqu'à 105 degrés Celsius. Comme tous les composants d`AudioValve, les chapeaux et les résistances sont soudés à la carte imprimée, ce qui rend le préampli si tranquille et libre de vibrations et de bruit.

    Le règlement de l'apport énergétique dans l`Eklipse d`AudioValve est excellente et une attraction pour le vrai fan de Hi-Fi. Divisé en 2 sections - le système de filtration et le système de contrôle réglementaire - la tension d'alimentation reste à un niveau constant et n`est jamais touchés par les fluctuations de courant AC.

    Le préamplificateur est situé dans un boîtier noir anodisé, en acier d'épaisseur 4 mm, avec une application spécifique boutons du panneau avant. Le bloc d'alimentation utilise un transformateur toroïdal de haute qualité 160 VA avec deux bobinages primaires et secondaires. Chaque site secondaire a son propre redresseur à pont à deux alternances. Tous les bouchons d'électrolyse sont contournés avec bouchons en polypropylène. Le bloc d'alimentation est régie par quatre contrôles ajustables pour atteindre précise circuits de tension et de chauffage. Voici les deux contrôleurs sont entièrement protégés contre tout court-circuit à travers les diodes.

    L'Eklipse passe avant chaque expédition au client un minimum de 48 heures de fonctionnement continu d'essai. Elle a une garantie transférablede et de 2 ans. Le temps de préchauffage est de 15-30 minutes.

    AUDIO VALVE `s Eklipse est équipé d'un contrôle de volume ALPS à moteur, de haute qualité, correctement installé sur sa carte imprimée. La conception clip acier spécialement conçus est un soutien supplémentaire pour les contrôles qui sont associés à une tige de commande de volume, qui utilise un joint universel spécial. Tous les composants sont adaptés à la perfection entre les canaux gauche et droit (résistances et casquettes). L'étage de sortie est capable d'exécuter n'importe quelle charge sur chaque nombre d`Ohm.

    Le front a des boutons brillants, sur mesure, en laiton anodisé. En outre, le plastron offre des affiches LED coloré qui change le couleur dans des modes différentes.

    Sur le front panneau impressionnant de l`Eklipse d`AudioValve se trouve en outre une inscription d`or,facile à lire. La plaque arrière et en bas du boîtier sont faites d`acier dur de 4mm puissance, polie pour une finition lisse et noir.

    L'Eklipse est généreux avec ses total de 20 entrées et les sorties. Tout l'or et directement avec la carte E / S soudé. Pour la connexions: sept entrées ligne, une boucle de bande complète (entrée / sortie), et deux sorties préampli. Ajouté à l'unité sont deux commutateurs rotatifs de qualité. Ils garantissent également et sont testés avec 25.000 rotations. En plus, les commutateurs sont scellés pour empêcher la poussière et la corrosion aussi faible que possible. Les vis utilisées pour fixer le passage à une spécialement conçus carte d`entrée /sortie. Encore une fois, pas de câbles sont utilisés pour réaliser les chemins de signal plus courte et moins de bruit.

    Toutes les pièces ont été soigneusement comparer pour des tolérances exigeantes. Les condensateurs sont de la plus haute qualité. Le tout est complété par l`utilisation de résistances classique NOS. L'Eklipse est aussi polyvalent. Leur solide, un peu précédent revers a à la fois, des sorties balance et single-ended, aussi qu`une gamme complète de connexions d'entrée single-ended.

    La beauté et l'élégance de la conception et la construction de l'Eklipse reflètent la pureté et la résonance de sa présentation de la musique. La musique est libérée des liens des haut-parleurs. L'EKLIPSE était créée, quand un hommage à tous les musiciens et à la musique ils créent.

     

    • Concepte : Mono préamplificateur d'haut niveau
    • Niveau de sortie: 15 V maximale
    • Plage de puissance: 4 – 45.000 Hz
    • distorsion:0,1 % (1V)
    • bruit: 0,05 mV (limiteur de volume sonore)
    • les intrants: 7 Line-Intrants, 1 Line-sorties, bouffette
    • impedance de sortie: 300 Ohm
    • la consommation d'énergie: 40 Watt
    • la tension de ligne: 117 bis 240 VAC
    • tubes: 4 * 6189 (12AU7)
    • les caractéristiques spéciales: fonctions Stand-by et silencieux, contrôle à distance
    • mensurations 420*320*130mm
    • poids: 20 kg net

     

    • la configuration d'entrée:
      CD1 - 17 dB - 20K
      CD1 - 22 dB - 16K5
      AU1 - 15 dB - 19K
      AU2 - 20 dB - 15K
      AU3 - 24 dB - 15K
      TUN - 26 dB - 17K
      TP   - 26 dB - 17K

     

    NOTE: S'il vous plaît vérifier les entrées selon vos besoins. Inspecter pour une bonne qualité sonore aussi les entrées sensibles.

    Nouvelle unité de contrôle à distance pour tous les modèles, noir ou argent anodisé dans un lourd boîtier métallique en aluminium plein!

     

     

     

     

     

     


    NEW FEATURE since 09 / 2009
    home theatre bypass for EKLIPSE !

    The Audio Valve Eklipse Pre-amplifier now has an optional Home Theater Bypass "Direct Output" feature.

    This feature is especially useful with a combination home theater system and two channel stereo system.  It enables you to use the volume control of your home theater processor without have to make any connection cable changes from your stereo system.


    How It Works


    To enable this function, simply connect your home theater processor to "Tape In" (RCA connectors on back) and turn the input knob to "Tape In" and the signal passed directly to the XLR output connectors going to your amplifier.  This way you can use the volume control of your processor without any influence from the Eklipse.  Switch the input knob to any of the other inputs to go back to normal stereo use.

    Please note, that the volume control on the Eklipse is no longer in use when the Home Theater Bypass mode is enabled.  Be careful, or you might experience full level output  !!!

    NOUVEAU DISPOSITIF depuis 09 / 2009
    Dérivation du cinéma-maison pour l'Eklipse!!!

    La préamplificateur Eklipse d`AudioValve dispose désormais d'une option de contournement home-cinéma "sortie directe".

    Cette offre spéciale est particulièrement utile en combinaison avec un système de cinéma maison et un système stéréo à deux canaux. Il vous permet d'utiliser la commande de volume de votre processeur home cinéma sans changer de modifications dans le câble de votre système stéréo.


    Comment ça marche?


    Pour utiliser cette fonction, il suffit de connecter votre processeur home cinéma avec "tape in" (connecteurs RCA à l'arrière) et tournez le bouton d'entrée sur "tape in" et le signal est acheminé directement vers les sorties XLR qui mènent à votre amplificateur.

    De cette façon, vous pouvez utiliser la commande de volume de votre processeur sans aucune influence de l'Eklipse. Mettez le bouton d'entrée sur l'un des autres intrants pour le retour utilisation en mode stéréo normal.

    S'il vous plaît noter que la commande de volume sur l'Eklipse ne sera pas utilisée si l'appareil est en mode de contournement de cinéma maison. Faites attention ou vous pourriez éprouver de la tension de sortie complète!!!!

     

    important message:

    the test of the stereo file via the eclipse is misleading in terms of the output resistance. Clients have brought to our attention and we want to correct the at this point.The output resistance of the Eclipse is 256 ohm. We have enclosed a copy as documentation of the calculation. We have the output capacitor in its capacity now quintupled, so that at low frequencies the output resistance is based. Please kindly note this. Becker

    http://www.stereophile.com/content/audio-valve-eclipse-preamplifier-measurements

     

     

     

    ( read the complete test in the EKLIPSE sub directory folder - "test reviews" - Stereophile, issue August 2008 )
     
    (Lire le test complet dans l`Eklipse sous-dossier "recensions de test - Stereophile, édition août 2008)

    more pictures - click on the picture below for a large view

            

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    "Now, this preamp is like nothing I have ever heard. And I used to be an assistant in a company here in Perth that made possibly the world's best solid state preamp back in the late seventies. This preamp (known as HSA) consistently beat all preamps that it went up against, even the Mark Levinson.

    So much so that Remy Thorens (of Thorens) wanted to have the world distribution rights, but costs put the tiny company out of business.

    The point is that I do have a very good ear, and I have never heard a system that could beat the old HSA. Many can now, but none as well as your Eklipse.

    The detail is stunning. With the clarity of my Soundlab M1 electrostatics and the explosive power of the Sanders Sounds ESL monoblock amplifiers the sound is electrifying !

    Bass - I had started to doubt that the Soundlabs had any bass - WOW the bass now is amazing !!!!

    Guitar strings and piano are stunning but then a voice comes in and the singer is standing in the room - fantastic !

    Once again - thank you for designing and building such a wonderful instrument.

    The design and build quality are stunning but it is the sound quality that is on a different level to anything that I have ever heard.

    Thank you for this gift of sound."

    Peter Ferguson Perth, Western Australia, 2009

    «Alors, cet amplificateur est comparable à rien que je n'ai jamais entendu. Et j'ai été assistant dans une entreprise ici à Perth, qui a probablement produit le meilleur préamplificateur à semi-conducteurs dans le monde de la fin des années septante. Ce pré-amplificateur (connu sous le nom HSA) a suggéré que tous préamplificateur contre laquelle il a pris, même le Mark Levinson.

    Il est même allé si loin que Remy Thorens (de Thorens) voulait avoir les droits de distribution à travers le monde, mais le coût a diminué la petite entreprise à la faillite.

    Le fait est que j'ai une très bonne oreille, et je n'ai jamais entendu un système qui pouvait battu l'ancien HSA. Aujourd'hui, le nombre, mais aucun n'est aussi bon que l'Eklipse.

    Le détail est à couper le souffle. Combiné avec la clarté de ma M1 Soundlab électrostatique et la puissance explosive de l'amplificateur Sanders Sound ESL-monobloc, le son est électrisant!

    La basse - J'avais déjà commencé à douter de la Labs Sound a toute la basse - WOW, la basse est incroyable maintenant!

    La guitare et le son du piano est déjà écrasante, mais alors une voix lui vient, et il se sent être le chanteur dans la salle elle-même serait - fantastique!

    Une fois encore, je tiens à vous remercier - pour le développement et la fabrication d'un instrument tel merveilleux.

    La qualité de conception et de production sont bonnes, mais c'est la qualité du son, qui est à un niveau aussi élevé, comme je l'ai jamais entendu.

    Je vous remercie pour ce don de la musicalité et le son. "

    Peter Ferguson, Perth, Australie de l`ouest

     

     

    Audio Valve Eclipse preamplifier Robert J. Reina, June 2008

    Robert J. Reina wrote about the Audio Valve Eclipse preamplifier in June 2008 (Vol.31 No.6):

    I was excited when I heard that Art Dudley was going to review the Eclipse line preamplifier from German manufacturer Audio Valve (Stereophile, August 2007). I have owned the preamp for four years now and have enjoyed every minute of it. But I wondered what Art might say about it. To my ears, the Eclipse was detailed and dynamic, but had no sound of its own—no coloration, no sonic signature. How could AD stretch that into an entire review and make it informative and entertaining? I then thought that AD is such a talented writer that he can spend an entire article discussing cole slaw and make it informative and entertaining. (Come to think of it, I think he already has.) Anyway, John Atkinson was amenable to my suggestion that I add my two cents to Artie's spot-on review.

    When I think of the Eclipse ($4200), I think of Audio Research Corporation, for several reasons. First, in his review of the Parasound Halo JC 2 line preamp (March 2008), JA discussed his old Audio Research SP10 and how neutral that component is. Neutral is the first word that comes to mind when I think of the Eclipse. I also think of the last great preamp that visited my house prior to the Eclipse, the Audio Research Reference 3. I loved that preamp as well, but when I bought the Eclipse, I thought it reminded me of a more neutral, more dynamic Reference 3. Finally, I recently spent quite a bit of time comparing ARC's Reference 3 with the Eclipse (see Follow-Up, June 2007, Vol.30 No.6). But the Eclipse is much more than a "poor man's" ARC.

    For my discourse on the Eclipse, I mined some of my favorite LPs, using the Vendetta phono stage. The Eclipse loved well-recorded vocal discs. The original UK pressing of the Beatles' first album, Please Please Me (LP, Parlophone PCS3042), sonically the band's best recording (except for Love, of course), let the Eclipse strut its stuff. Lennon's note-for-note cover of Arthur Alexander's "Anna (Go to Him)" betters the original, and has the most powerful vocal Lennon ever recorded with the group. His silky yet stressful and pleading voice was holographic through the Eclipse, vibrant and bathed in the warm light of studio reverb. On "I Saw Her Standing There" (the best punk-rock tune ever written), the interplay of Lennon's rhythm guitar with Paul McCartney's melodic bass line and Ringo Starr's chunking, churning rhythms demonstrated that the Elipse's capabilities of dynamic and transient articulation were beyond reproach. The sound was completely coherent, every transient attack in the right spot at the right time, with no sharpness, blunting, dullness, or sluggishness.

    When I listened to "Gloria's Step," from Bill Evans' Live at the Village Vanguard Featuring Scott La Faro (LP, Riverside/Acoustic Sounds 9376), the Eclipse's sonic signature (or lack thereof)—its open, detailed, uncolored midrange and high frequencies—rendered Evans's piano as delicate, silky, rich, and intimate. The title track of Miles Davis' Seven Steps to Heaven (LP, Columbia C12051) presented Davis' trumpet as vibrant, burnished, golden tones with requisite bite, and Tony Williams' drum solo on the title track highlighted the Eclipse's ability to capture every cymbal and snare-drum transient naturally and in the pocket.

    The Eclipse is no silky, syrupy reproducer of tubey high frequencies—the highs were extended and natural on all recordings. The delicate guitar interplay between Lee Ranaldo and Thurston Moore on the intro to "Free City Rhymes," on Sonic Youth's NYC Ghosts and Flowers (LP, Geffen 0069490550), were clean and shimmering, and the Audio Valve captured the silky consonant tension of the gentlemen's unorthodox tunings.

    As for well-recorded classical percussion, oh my God! Charles Wuorinen's Ringing Changes for Percussion Ensemble (LP, Nonesuch H17263) is the acid test. The Eclipse captured every subtle dynamic inflection, from ppp to fff, on that recording's wide, deep soundstage, as well as the acoustic of the recording venue. The long decay of the vibraphones and chimes seemed to extend to infinity, and each subtle, delicate piano inflection was easily discernible beneath the pompous timpani blasts. The lightning-fast piano transients at all volume levels in André Previn's recording of Messiaen's Turanga;îla Symphony (LP, EMI SLS 5117) were perfectly reproduced, and the subtle percussion along the back wall were undeterred by the bass-drum blasts, which shook the room without a hair of overhang.

    Speaking of bass blasts, it's time to discuss the Eclipse's greatest strength. How many times have you read reviews of expensive tube preamps in which the reviewer raves about the bass performance, then ends with this slight caveat: "You can spend more money on a great solid-state preamp and get slightly tighter bass, but then you'd lose the tube magic," etc. Well, not with the Eclipse. The Audio Valve had everything else you'd want from a great tube preamp, as well as kick-ass, slammin', solid-state–like bass. On "Lord's Tundra," from Dean Peer's Ucross (LP, Jazz Planet JP 5002-1), the thundering lower-register pedal tones rumbled and shook the room without overhang, resonance, or any sense of coloration or attenuation of the low bass, as with his right hand Peer plucked bell-like upper-register harmonics that shimmered and sustained. From my notes: "unlimited dynamics."

    I like this preamp very much. I share Art Dudley's enthusiasm for its brick-Scheisshaus construction quality, its point-to-point wiring, its glorious retro-modern look, and the fact that in the four years I've owned the beast, the only trouble it's given me has been a single bad tube. (It runs on four Electro-Harmonix 12AU7s, which you can find cheaply at any Guitar Center store—it's the same tube they use in Fender and Marshall guitar amps.)

    Can the Audio Valve Eclipse be improved on? Sure—it might be possible to find a tube preamp that has a slightly wider, deeper soundstage, retrieves slightly more ambience, resolves a bit more detail, and has a slightly more extended bandwidth on top. I can think of two offhand, but both have prices in five figures. Probably the greatest praise I can heap on the Eclipse is that, after living with the stunning Audio Research Reference 3 for several months, and shaking my head at how that preamp did some things right that I've never heard any other audio component do, I was not disappointed when I replaced it with the Audio Valve Eclipse.

    Finally, although the Eclipse's price has risen in the four years since I bought my unit (that damn euro again), it's still a bargain at $4200. I don't understand why every tube-loving audiophile doesn't own one.—Robert J. Reina

     

    John Atkinson - Stereofile
    The Eclipse was non-inverting; ie, it preserved absolute polarity.

    The Eclipse could deliver very high output voltages with moderately low distortion. Fig.2 shows how the THD+noise percentage changes with output level into loads ranging from 1k ohm to 100k ohms. The downward slope of the traces below 1V or so in this graph results from the measurement being dominated by noise. The actual THD starts to rise out of the noise when the traces "bottom"; the fact that this occurs between 1V and 2V into the higher impedances—the highest voltage the preamp will be asked to deliver into a typical power amplifier—suggests that the Eclipse's gain architecture has been sensibly arranged. The preamp is obviously not comfortable driving the lowest impedance (top trace),
    but peculiarly, the Eclipse is most linear into 10k ohms (bottom) rather than the usual 100k ohms (middle).

    NOTE by AudioValve: we replace the output condenser by a higher capacitor one as result for more stable signal in the low frequency range.

    Fig.2 Audio Valve Eclipse, distortion (%) vs 1kHz output level into (from bottom to top at 2V): 100k, 10k, 5k, 1k ohms.

    Plotting the THD+N percentage at an output level of 1V into a range of load impedances gave the graph shown in fig.3. Again, the preamplifier is most linear into 10k ohms (bottom trace), but also again, the Eclipse is uncomfortable driving a load as low as 1k ohm (top trace - uninteressting impedance ). However, the THD+N into 5k ohms (second trace from top) is not much worse than that into 100k ohms (third trace from top), suggesting that the preamp will be well behaved with real-world power amplifiers.

    Fig.3 Audio Valve Eclipse, THD+N (%) vs frequency at 1V into (from bottom to top): 100k, 10k, 5k, 1k ohms.

    As is usually the case with single-ended tube preamplifiers, the distortion spectrum consists predominantly of the subjectively benign second harmonic (fig.4), at levels of –68dB (left) and –70dB (right). However, the right channel has more third, fourth, and fifth harmonic evident (red trace), although still at a low level in absolute terms. Intermodulation distortion was also relatively low (fig.5), with the difference component resulting from an equal mix of 19 and 20kHz tones lying at –73dB (0.023%). This was into a fairly low impedance; into 100k ohms, the difference component rose to –62dB (0.076%), though this is still low.

    Fig.4 Audio Valve Eclipse, spectrum of 1kHz sinewave, DC–10kHz, at 1V into 8k ohms (linear frequency scale).

    Fig.5 Audio Valve Eclipse, HF intermodulation spectrum, DC–24kHz, 19+20kHz at 1V peak into 8k ohms (linear frequency scale).

    Provided it is used with power amplifiers having an input impedance of at least 30k ohms, the Audio Valve Eclipse measures well for a tube design, with its performance optimized for real-world conditions. John Atkinson

     

    The very first thing I did as I carefully peeled away the protective covering after lifting the Eclipse out of its carton was whisper and astonished “Wow”.  The pre-amp is gorgeous to look at!  An absolutely stunning mixture of Art Deco architectural loveliness and German hi-tech precision.  It has a see-through perspex top and is gently internally illuminated with a couple of red LEDs when in operation.  You just have to see it, photos really do not do it justice.

    AudioValve have been around for quite a while and have earned a reputation for making good sounding valve-based equipment with salon-level visual appearance.  The current product range encompasses 14 different models of valve amplification, from headphone amps to pre and power amps, and integrateds.

    The Eclipse (or Eklipse as it is called in German speaking areas) is a valve (tube)-based remote controlled pre-amplifier.  The review sample had “Eclipse” on its faceplate.

    It has 7 stereo RCA inputs, 2 pairs of RCA outputs and 1 pair of XLR outputs.

    The front panel sports and output selector (including mute), source selector, volume control and, quite unusually, a balance control. 

    Valve options

    I decided to perform this review with the pre-amp valves in stock form; four Electro-Harmonix 12AU7A.  The audiophile world is practically awash in tube-rolling options, and undoubtedly the overall flavour and presentation of the Eclipse pre-amp can be substantially modified by inserting your own choice of valves.  Which in a way makes this review something of a snapshot of a moving target, but hey ho, that’s part of the fun of valve based kit, I guess!

    According to Steve Dorian, of the UK distributor Audioelec, “The Eclipse is a “tube rollers” dream. Depending on what your sonic tastes are will determine which tubes you will want to use in the Eklipse. While you may like the sound of the Eklipse with the stock Harmonix tubes, in my opinion, NOS tubes like the RCA Clear Top take its performance to a higher level. 
    Yep, based on my experience of other valve pre-amps, I can well believe that.
      And I would certainly encourage Eclipse owners to try a few alternatives to see how the sonic standard can be raised further from the excellent performance already available with the ElectroHarmonix valves.

    The Sound in Eclipse

    This is a very fine sounding pre-amp – there’s an immediate feeling of rightness and a wonderful sense of dynamic ebb and flow.  I knew I was going to enjoy this review from the off.

    Overall tonality is pretty much spot on, I think.  A genuinely full-range sound, from the generous (but not too generous!) bass thru a very palpable midrange to a smoothly extended treble which gets vocal sibilance (a difficult challenge) just right.

    Vocals have more individuality and character than I often hear, with excellent articulation and clarity, and sheer in-the-room presence. There’s a rich tonal texture conveyed in voices that make them seem more real than usual with the Eclipse.  Very nice indeed.

    Bass is deep, textured, controlled, powerful and vibrant. It really is impressive.  I’m tempted to characterise it as solid state bass done right!   Those listeners who prefer some valvey bloomy loveliness to the lower frequencies may well be disappointed by this valve pre-amp, but my own view is that the Eclipse is far more realistic in its portrayal of lower frequencies than that.

    There is an impressive lucidity in complex, multi-strand music.  Nothing seems to phase it, music is just presented clearly and without confusion no matter how ‘busy’ it gets.  I was very impressed by this, all too often the musical plot is lost as the going gets going, not so with this pre-amp.

    Despite the eulogy of praise so far presented in this review, its imaging ability is, quite possibly, where the Eclipse pleases me most.  There’s a wholeness to the soundstage, a sense of immersion in the recording space that really encourages involvement in the musical experience.  There’s a ‘you are there’ feel to the presentation that really tops off an already impressive performance.

    The one area that I have any real reservation about is in the ultimate resolution of detail.  Leading edges of transients are slightly smoothed over, a little of the ‘spang’ of plucked strings, for example, is lost; rapid runs become just slightly homogenised and run together.  The feeling of musical immediacy is reduced compared to some amps, you may feel that you are seated a little further back from the musicians than with some components.  I know that some listeners will like this aspect of the Eclipse’s presentation, those who enjoy a slightly laidback and less intrusive presentation.  Others, like me, would prefer to feel they are closer to the action.

    I often find it illuminating to try and come up with a single word which encapsulates a hifi component’s nature, a word that instantly conveys my emotional response to its sound.  For the Eclipse I think that word would be “vibrant”.

    Usability

    There’s a warm-up period of about a minute after switch-on before the Eclipse becomes operational.

    The remote control of volume is nicely slow in operation but not too slow, you are unlikely to get whisked to unexpectedly high volumes by the careless press of a button.
    But the manically flashing red light indicating remote operation is a bit distracting!
      – personally, I’d cover this with a small piece of black insulating tape.

    An unusual feature of the Eclipse is its ability to clean and deoxidize the internal relays’ contacts.  An amazing racket of clicking switches results when this feature is selected – it’s quite worrying when you first do this.  And there is a firm recommendation in the user manual to turn your power amp OFF when using this function – I suggest you follow this recommendation!

    Tube hiss / valve noise?  Nope, I never heard any.  OK, if I turned up the volume toward full there was a faint tracery of hiss – but the volume level would have been insanely, ridiculously, speaker-destroyingly loud – I can’t believe that anyone would ever have an issue with this.

    Value for money

    This strikes me as being reasonable, not one of the world’s great bargains, but you get what you pay for.  Current UK pricing is £3,700, for which you obtain wonderful appearance (subject of course to personal taste), superb build quality and genuine high end sound.  My feeling is that you pay a bit extra for the visual design aspects, but that seems fair enough to me and will be an important aspect for many buyers at this price level.

    Summary

    Despite the slight shortcomings heard in ultimate resolution, I can imagine many music lovers falling in love with the Eclipse pre-amp.  You can count me as one of their number!  It really is a musically rewarding and engrossing pre-amp.

    So the Audio Valve Eclipse pre-amp is recommended! – for its musical palpability and sense of involvement, and yes, the vibrancy of the presentation.  If you want the ultimate in resolution and micro-detail I would suggest you may want to look elsewhere, although you may have to sacrifice other aspects in which the Eclipse excels if you do so!
    Author – Jerry Jacobs

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