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Aesthetix Rhea Signature Phono Stage
Rhea is an all-tube phono stage, suitable for moving coil and moving magnet cartridges. It offers high maximum gain at 75 dB, making it ideal for low output cartridges. Rhea broke new ground as the first phono stage with 3 phono inputs, the first with gain and loading settings stored in memory for every input, and the first with full remote control adjustability. Dual-mono audio boards provide superb channel separation and soundstaging. A cartridge demagnetizer is a built-in convenience that can also be operated by remote control. The all-aluminum chassis is designed for rigidity and acoustic inertness, the brushed anodized panels are beautiful too. Rhea has enjoyed worldwide acclaim for its sound quality, build quality, flexibility and ease of use.
• Three RCA inputs.
• Each input has its own gain and loading setting that is saved even when in standby mode or the unit is turned off.
• Zero feedback.
• 40-75dB gain maximum, selectable via front panel or remote control.
• 9 MC loading settings: 75-47,000 ohms, selectable via front panel or remote control.
• Remote control of gain, loading, input switching, mute, and demagnetizer.
• Built-in MC cartridge demagnetizer.
• Two sets of XLR and two sets of RCA outputs per channel.
• All tube amplification and output (10 tubes total).
• Full function remote included.
• Available in black or silver faceplate.
Rhea is available in two versions: Standard and Signature. The Signature version uses exotic and expensive coupling capacitors and other critical parts to bring the performance to a higher level.
The Signature version uses custom-made inter-stage Teflon hybrid coupling capacitors, replacing the polypropylene units, between the 2nd and 3rd, and 3rd and 4th, gain stages (4 total per channel). The change in these capacitors results in higher resolution, extension, less grain and more air. The 2uF coupling capacitor between the 1st and 2nd gain stages is replaced with a 4uF Dynamicap by Peter Moncrief (1 per channel). This change removes grain and provides more openness, while also increasing bass dynamics and slam. The 2uF output coupling capacitors (4 per channel) are also replaced with 4uF Dynamicaps. This change provides more drive, bass extension, resolution and dynamics while also reducing grain. Highly specialized adjustable air-core capacitors, used primarily in the radio-frequency realm, are installed and adjusted to “tweek” each unit to a rigid standard. The five rubber feet are replaced with Harmonic Resolutions Systems’ Nimbus Couplers specially made for Aesthetix (Earlier Signature Saturn pieces did not incorporate this, please contact Aesthetix for this free upgrade if you have an earlier Signature piece without the Nimbus Couplers). This change results in a lower noise floor and more air and space. The cost of these specialized parts alone is about 1/4 the manufacturing cost of a brand new unit! Any tubes that can be bettered by our special stock of graded and matched tubes are replaced. Any other improvements needed to make the unit current are installed, including software updates, etc. A new lens with “SIGNATURE” stenciled is installed. Each Signature unit undergoes rigorous test procedures and listening.
Inputs: 3 discrete phono inputs with RCA (SE)
Gain settings (selectable for each input): 8 total; 75, 68, 62, 56, 50, 44, 38 dB, and off
Load settings (selectable for each input): 9 total: 47 K ohms, 10K, 5K, 2.5K, 1K, 500 ohms, 250, 125, and 75 ohms
Outputs: 2 RCA (SE) and 2 XLR (balanced)
Output impedence: 1K ohms RCA (SE), 600 ohms XLR (balanced)
Front panel controls: phono input, mute, gain, loading, demagnetizer, and standby
Remote controls: phono input, mute, gain, loading, demagnetizer, and standby
Frequency response: +- 0.25 dB, 20 Hz – 20 KHz
Signal to noise: measured at 70 dB minimum A-weighted (ref 1 mv input, 75 dB gain setting)
Recommended load: 10 k ohms or greater
Tubes (each channel): V1 & V2 (12AX7LP-factory graded low noise), V3 & V4 (12AX7 or equivalent) and V5 (6922)
Power consumption: 20 watts standby, 100 watts active