|Mono 1.0 / Monoblock Power Amplifier / Overview
We're immensely proud of the incomparable sound quality our “dream team” of top engineers and designers achieved with our Reference Hercules II and Performance Centaur monoblock amplifiers. We must admit, though, that building living-room-friendly high-end amplifiers has not been our strong point. Until now.
The Inspiration MONO 1.0 amplifier easily delivers 400 watts per channel into 8 ohms, doubling to 800 into 4 ohms. This is power enough to produce incredible, concert-hall dynamics with any speaker. Yet it is the size of a standard audio amplifier and weighs just 55 pounds. When you consider that the Centaur Monoblock weighs in at 103 pounds, and the Hercules II Monoblock at 220 pounds, the Inspiration's ability to deliver incredible power from a modestly sized chassis is remarkable indeed.
Also remarkable is that the audio circuits are based on the same original schematics our “dream team” originally created for Hercules. In fact, most of the parts are the same. The output stage uses the same Balanced Bridged topology, combining multiple, small single-ended amplifier modules into a large, fully balanced design. This unique concept allows the Inspiration MONO 1.0 to deliver all the delicacy and musicality of a small single-ended amp, with the dynamics and power of a large monoblock.
Mono 1.0 Monoblock Power Amplifier
Instead of employing an output stage made up of half N-type transistors and half P-type transistors as almost all other solid-state amplifiers do, the Balanced Bridged technology uses only N-type output transistors for both positive and negative halves of the audio signal. The result is that the two halves of the audio signal remain in perfect balance because their circuitry and components are identical.
However, our Balanced Bridged design can achieve ideal performance only when it is fed a perfectly balanced signal in the first place. To this end, the Inspiration MONO 1.0's input stage uses the same Line Stage Gain Module circuit found in all Constellation Audio products. This module uses servo circuits to ensure that both halves of an incoming signal are perfectly balanced, no matter what the source.
Mono 1.0 Monoblock Power Amplifier
Systems that use a Constellation Audio preamp with the Inspiration MONO 1.0 can take advantage of our Constellation Direct input. Because our preamps also have the Line Stage Gain Module circuit, the signal does not need to go through the input stage of the Inspiration MONO 1.0. So one amplifier stage can be bypassed entirely, for a more direct signal path and even greater retrieval of inner detail and natural ambience.
The power for the Inspiration MONO 1.0 comes from a custom-wound toroidal transformer, shielded within its own front compartment so its powerful electromagnetic energy does not interfere with the audio circuitry. The transformer feeds a bank of 24 capacitors, each of which offers 10,000 microfarads of storage. With so much energy on tap, the Inspiration can not only deliver incredibly high RMS power, it can also produce breathtaking dynamic peaks.
Moving the transformer to the front allowed us to place the output transistors very close to the back panel, near the output terminals. This arrangement shortens the signal path and keeps the output impedance extremely low. Massive heat sinks on the sides of the amplifier breathe freely through hundreds of ventilation ports, keeping the amp cool and assuring long-term reliability. A special shielded channel carries the AC power from the IEC connector on the rear to the transformer in front.
With tremendous power available, feeding the same circuit designs used in our larger monoblocks, all contained in a smaller chassis that weighs only about half as much as the Centaur Monoblock, the Inspiration MONO 1.0 clearly deserves membership in the Constellation Audio family. It's the essence of its big brothers, the Hercules II and Centaur-not diluted in any way, merely distilled.