Californian brand Aesthetix’ Saturn Series of hi-fi components has, since its first incarnation more than a decade ago, steadily earned a worldwide audiophile fan base and a healthy collection of accolades and awards. Now the Series’ performance has risen to new heights thanks to a range of impressive enhancements in the form of the Saturn Eclipse edition, which has just arrived on UK shores. Aesthetix’ award-winning audio components come in two series, Jupiter and Saturn, both of which share an outstanding level of electrical and mechanical engineering along with special attention to power supply design, making them the ideal platform for pushing the sonic envelope. Now, the Saturn Series pushes that bit further with the latest Eclipse edition upgrades. Enhancements include the use of new exotic StealthCap capacitors; electrical upgrades including hand-tuned capacitors, super-matched output devices and distributed node film capacitor technology; advanced mechanical chassis isolation; and sophisticated power supply grounding.
Peter Moncrieff’s StealthCaps are renowned for their ability to dramatically reduce reflections, with incredible sonic results. The Saturn Eclipse Series incorporates numerous StealthCap capacitors in critical inter-stage and output coupling functions. Each capacitor is individually hand-crafted and tailored specifically for Aesthetix Eclipse.
Using radical new Stealth Technology (patents pending), these caps use exceptional new conductors, dielectrics, and exotic composite resins to radically reduce reflections.
A typical capacitor behaves like a long plate and the signal’s many reflections off the boundaries of this long plate can cause numerous echoes that mask your music. A good analogy is a typical gymnasium. Stand at one end of the gym and try speaking to someone standing at the other end. The two of you can hardly understand what each other are saying, since the multiple reflections from the gym’s boundaries garble the sonic message. As you speak more loudly and dynamically, the problem gets even more pronounced. The same reflection problem happens in all typical capacitors.
The new Stealth Technology in the StealthCaps, however, dramatically reduces corrupting signal reflections in the capacitor plate, in a similar way that stealth technology in an aircraft tackles radar signal reflections.
The addition of these superlative capacitors elevates each Saturn Eclipse component to new heights of performance, notably an incredible inter-transient silence and an breathtakingly quiet, black background. The amazing transparency of the StealthCaps reveals a wealth of subtle detail and reproduces a new level of rich spatial imaging, in which every musical note and its transient envelope comes into crystal clear focus and articulation. In short, a whole new horizon of musical realism and micro-dynamics.
Electrical upgrades to the signal path and output stages
In the Eclipse editions of the Janus and Calypso preamplifiers, high-frequency tuning capacitors are installed and hand-adjusted to tailor the frequency response to a tight 0.1dB standard. The Eclipse edition of the Atlas power amplifier features super-matched output devices, which serve to lower specific aspects of output stage distortion by as much as 40dB. In all editions of the Atlas, each bi-polar output device (16 per channel) receives its power supply through a copper bus bar design, radically reducing impedance compared to standard circuit board traces. In the Eclipse edition, distributed node film capacitors are added at each output device, further reducing impedance for increased current capacity and improved transient capability.
Advanced mechanical chassis isolation and heat dissipation
In earlier editions of the Saturn Series, the transformers are mounted directly on the chassis with a layer of damping material separating them. In the Eclipse edition, the transformers are isolated from the chassis using specially designed isolation mounts thus reducing the amount of mechanical vibration introduced into the chassis. Damping material is added at critical chassis points, particularly those with large surface areas, which reduces noise added to the system due to airborne or mechanical sources.
Eclipse editions of the Rhea phonostage and Calypso and Janus preamplifiers receive a new power supply with improvements in heat dissipation capability, overvoltage and spike protection. The casework changes bring the preamps to new levels of articulation and clarity while also allowing each unit to ventilate better, improving longevity and reliability.
All Saturn Eclipse components now feature Harmonic Resolutions Systems’ Nimbus Couplers made specially for Aesthetix, replacing the earlier four rubber feet. This upgrade, also found in the brand’s Signature editions, results in a lower noise floor and hence more air and space around the instruments.
Sophisticated electrical signal grounding in the power supply
Since the transformers are no longer electrically grounded to the chassis via physical contact due to their isolation mounts, a single-point system is now used to ground the transformer cases, significantly reducing the amount of ground-induced noise and thus further increasing dynamic range.
The new power supply found in the Eclipse editions of the Rhea phonostage and Calypso and Janus preamplifiers has been refined by improving trace routing to further reduce extraneous noise.
Full details of the specific upgrades to each component can be found at www.aesthetix.net.
Pricing and availability
All components in the Saturn Eclipse Series are available now. Current Saturn Series products can be upgraded to Eclipse editions.
UK retail prices (incl VAT):
Rhea Eclipse all-valve phonostage: £ 12,455
Calypso Eclipse linestage preamplifier: £ 12,455
Janus Eclipse full function preamplifier: £ 16,200
Atlas Eclipse power amplifier: £ 18,700
Atlas Eclipse mono power amplifier (pair): £ 31,190
Pandora Eclipse DAC: £ 14,950
Romulus Eclipse DAC/CD Player: £ 16,200