Constellation Audio Product Reviews

Inspiration Stereo 1.0 Amplifier - "Reviewer's Choice" award

"It achieves levels of transparency, power, control, tonal color, and dimensionality well beyond those implied by its price and specifications. I believe that Constellation Audio has created something special in the Inspiration Stereo 1.0."

The Absoulte Sound - Julie Mullins on Electronics $20k and Up

The setup also included the Virgo III preamplifier ($32k; here with a DC filter for $6k) and the Centaur II stereo amplifier ($40k) ―both from Constellation― driving Von Schweikert VR-55 Activ loudspeakers ($60k).

SoundStage! Ultra - Inspiration Preamp 1.0 Preamplifier
Inspiration Preamp 1.0
By Aron Garrecht
Posted: June 1, 2016

In high-end audio, overnight successes are extraordinarily rare. Almost every successful audio company I can think of took years, even decades, to establish itself as a globally recognized household name. Moreover, the great majority of these firms can trace their lineage back to one or two passionate engineers working in a garage, armed with little more than ingenuity and ambition.

Stereophile "More from T.H.E. Show"
Constellation Centaur II Stereo Amplifier
By Sasha Matson
Posted: June 9, 2016

It was good to once again hear Constellation Audio components with Von Schweikert Audio loudspeakers, abetted by Critical Mass Systems platforms. (Some manufacturer's gear just seems to fit best with others.)

The Absoulte Sound - JV on Loudspeakers $20k and Up

Von Schweikert Audio showed its three-way VR-55 Aktiv (with built-in, powered, transmission-line-loaded subwoofer) powered by Constellation electronics, wired with Masterbuilt cables, and supported by Critical Mass Systems stands.

The Absolute Sound
Constellation Audio Altair II Linestage and Hercules II Monoblock Power Amplifiers
By Robert Harley
Posted: February 2016

No other electronics manufacturer in recent memory has risen from start-up to major global brand as quickly or as decisively as Constellation Audio. The company appeared on the scene in late 2010 with the ultra-tweaky (and ultra-expensive) Altair linestage and Hercules monoblock power amplifiers. In my review of those electronics in Issue 215 (September, 2011), I concluded "the Altair and Hercules set new standards in transparency, resolution, absence of grain, and sheer realism, in my experience."

The Absolute Sound
Constellation's Inspiration
Posted: December 2015

Constellation burst onto the high end amplifier scene a few years back, with some monster-priced and -sized amplification components which set new standards in their class for power and dynamic range, for stereo image scale and precision, and in particular for transparency.

Star Struck!
Constellation Virgo II pre-amp
Constellation Centaur stereo power amp

The high-end audio arena is filled to the brim with gear linking the promise of trend-setting innovation, cutting-edge technology and flashy aesthetics to stratospheric price tags. But it takes more than that to create a hi-fi start - let alone a Constellation.

hi-fi +
Constellation Audio Inspiration Preamp 1.0 and Mono 1.0 amplifiers
By Alan Sircom
Posted: December 2015

The march of progress in high-end audio often seems to be centered on the price of the product. As things get better, so prices get ever higher. It rarely goes in the other direction. But Constellation Audio is one of the rare exceptions to the rule. Starting with its top end Reference range, then came the Performance series that saw the price of admission come down, and now Inspiration offers Constellation Audio performance at a new level.

HIFI Critic
Inspiration PREAMP 1.0 and MONO 1.0
by Martin Colloms & Victor Henriques
Oct, Nov, Dec, 2015

Constellation's Inspiration.
Constellations Inspiration combo consists of a PREAMP 1.0 and two MONO 1.0 power amplifiers. Martin Colloms and Victor Henriques listen to it.

Rocky Mountain Audio Fest 2015
by Audiophilia Staff
Oct 5th, 2015

So, before Karl takes over with his CANJAM thoughts, I’ll offer what I thought was the best sound of the show. Remembering that I did not hear every room and there were some magnificent systems on offer, my nod goes to the Constellation Audio/Wilson Audio room. Interestingly, I heard Wilson Audio Alexias in another room and they were eclipsed by the set being driven by Constellation Audio. Irv Cross who reps Constellation put on an MA Recordings CD of a viola da gamba. Holy Mother of God, this was bloody brilliant. Flesh, tone, superb musicality and displayed with absolute aplomb by the Constellation Electronics and one of my all time favourite speakers, the Wilson Audio Alexia. No less down the musical food chain, cabling was by magnificent Nordost.

Starting Off Saturday at RMAF Right
By Jason Victor Serinus
Posted: Oct 8, 2015

Doing the honors, speaker-wise, were Wilson Audio's Alexias ($52,000/pair). From Constellation Audio, we heard the Virgo III preamplifier ($30,000) with separate DC supply ($5000), Cygnus Media Server/DAC ($36,000) with separate DC supply ($5000), Centaur II 500W monoblock amplifiers ($80,000/pair), a complete complement of Nordost Odin 2 cabling plus a QB8 star ground power distributor ($lots), Artesiana equipment racks, and a whole bunch of Stillpoints Aperture acoustic treatment panels ($650/each).

The Absolute Sound
Digital and Headphones
Show report
by Steven Stone
Oct 6th, 2015

My assignments, covering headphones and digital products, required walking all the floors of RMAF. During my travels, I couldn't help but notice the differences in demographics and energy between the two-channel demos in rooms and the open-air festive atmosphere in CanJam. It's heartwarming to see so many young'uns bitten by the audio bug.

Audio & Cinema Em Casa
Constellation Audio Inspiration Series

Inspiration series product review from Portuguese language magazine Audio & Cinema Em Casa No. 250 January / February 2015.

hi-fi +
Constellation Audio Hercules II
By Alan Sircom
Posted: July 2015

This Constellation Audio Hercules II stereo amplifier from the company's Reference Class is the best amplifier I have ever heard, and by a significant margin. OK, at £85,000 it's also one of the most expensive, too. But, I have had a lot of experience with audio's top table, and the Hercules II pushes 'best' to new levels.

The Absolute Sound
Constellation Audio Inspiration Series Preamp 1.0 Linestage, Stereo 1.0 Stereo Amplifier, and Mono 1.0 Monoblock Amplifiers
By Robert Harley
Posted: January 2015

The Inspiration Series brings more than a taste of world-class performance to electronics within reach of music lovers for whom six-figure amplifiers are out of the question. Although not budget-priced, the Inspiration Series delivers much more than a taste of the musical virtues of the Altair and Hercules. The sonic differences between the Reference, Performance, and Inspiration Series are a matter of degree, not of fundamental character.

hi-fi +
Constellation Audio Virgo preamplifier and Centaur power amplifier
By Jason Kennedy
Posted: August 9, 2013

When Constellation Audio first appeared at CES three years ago, I was not the only one to be taken aback by the quality and style of the casework. However, I was the first to say as much to the man who would eventually become the distributor for the brand in the UK. I am now very glad that I did so, because I got first ‘dibs’ on the product range. Not only do the Constellation products look better than any other high end audio component, they sound better than all of those that I have had the opportunity to hear at home. What’s more, I only have the Performance Series models, Constellation’s ‘entry level’ pre/power combo the Virgo and Centaur Stereo.

Stereo Sounds
Constellation Audio's Virgo and Centaur
Posted: July 2013

Constellation Audio has a cover story in the July 2013 issue of hi-fi news covering the Centaur Stereo Power Amplifier and the Virgo Line Stage.

hi-fi +
Constellation Audio Perseus phono preamplifier

The Constellation Audio Perseus represents the high ground of phono reproduction. So, how does that high ground sound? Pretty damn awesome.

In most high-end electronics, there seems to be a trade-off between detail and tone; you can have an incredibly high-resolution system, or you can have one that paints music in rich tonal shades, but it typically seems you can’t have both at the same level. The Perseus is the exception. It does tone…It does detail…But most of all, you get the two combined and balanced perfectly...

The Robb Report
Constellation Audio Scales New Heights

Arriving on the heels of Constellation Audio's $345,000 cost-is-no-object Reference system—which launched in stages last year and pushes the limits of high fidelity—comes the Southern California manufacturer's more "modestly priced" Performance Series.

By simplifying and automating its manufacturing and assembly processes, and using fewer exotic parts, Constellation succeeds in creating components whose sound retains much of the Reference line’s boundary-breaking achievement.

Stereo Sound
Altair/Hercules review in Stereo Sound 2012 Winter No.181 P374-376

"Ability of the dream team is far beyond imagination. The penetrating strength of sound is incredible. Amazing!"

"Dressed in delicate and massive aluminum chassis transcending the image
of audio equipments"

"The sound is tremendously clear and yet natural"

The Absolute Sound
First Listen: Constellation Audio Performance Series Centaur Amp, Virgo Linestage, Perseus Phonostage--The Best For Less

Constellation Audio’s littler friends—the Performance Series electronics, comprising the Centaur amplifier, the Virgo linestage, the Perseus phonostage and the the Cygnus file player/DAC.

The Absolute Sound
An unprecedented assault on the state of the art

New High-End Stars. Constellation's new state-of-the-art electronics.

Constellation Audio Shoots for the Stars - Part II
The second part of Michael Fremer’s interview with Constellation Audio principals Murali Murugasu and David Payes.
By Michael Fremer
Posted: March 25, 2010

In the first part of this interview, I talked with Murali Murugasu and David Payes about the genesis of Constellation Audio and its products. In this second part, I find out specifics, including who is designing these new-to-the-market extreme products.

Constellation Audio Shoots for the Stars - Part I
Audacious start-up assembles a veteran "dream team."
By Michael Fremer
Posted: March 19, 2010

When the groundbreaking $150,000 Caliburn turntable is your first venture into high-end-audio manufacturing, what do you do for an encore? This question must have crossed the minds of Continuum founders David Payes and Murali Murugasu even before the first Mark Doehmann-designed Caliburn sold.

Robb Report
Stars Align - Constellation Audio assembles an engineering dream team to design its stellar debut system.

The formation of Constellation Audio in 2008 sent audiophiles’ expectations sky high. The Southern California company’s founders, Australia-based financiers Murali Murugasu and David Payes, launched the venture on the heels of their success with Continuum Audio Labs, producer of a $150,000 reference turntable system that attained legendary status among aficionados. “There was a lot of pressure on Constellation, because the [Continuum] turntable achieved such fame so quickly,” recalls Murugasu, now CEO and president of Constellation. “We knew that whatever we came out with next would be judged against it, so we had to develop something that sonically was on a different level.”

The Absolute Sound
Most Significant Product Introduction at CES

The new line of electronics from Constellation Audio is perhaps the most ambitious assault yet on the state of the art in audio amplification. This Australian company who brought us the Continuum turntable has engaged a team of the world’s best designers (including John Curl, Bascom King, and Demian Martin, with Peter Madnick as the project leader) to create no-holds-barred products.

Constellation’s Hercules amplifiers

“Go check out the Constellation Audio room,” said Jon Iverson. So I did. As I entered the room filled with unworldly looking gear I spied Michael Fremer, engrossed in one of his famous mix CDs, burned from his vast vinyl collection. Michael, ever the gentleman, relinquished the sweet spot to me and both of us took in some big, clean, transparent sound.

Constellation Cygnus Transport/DAC/File Player

Constellation's Peter Madnick and Dr. Murali Murugasu return with a new digital source component which, at the moment I had walked in the room, had not yet received a name. But by the time I left was dubbed the Cygnus.

Performance from Constellation

Constellation also showed a brand new line of products at a more “real-world” price point. The components of the new Performance line will each go for between $15,000 and $20,000 and feature (from left to right) a preamp, digital source, phono preamp, and power amp.

The Audio Beat
CES & THE Show 2011 • Sounds & Sights

Earlier in his professional life, Peter Madnick was involved with the Dennesen and Audio Alchemy brands, but his new position, as head of engineering for Constellation Audio, is at a completely different level in terms of pricing.

The Absolute Sound
CES Report

Staying in the upper atmosphere for a while longer, the new Constellation Audio amplifiers (brought to you from the people who created the Continuum turntable) are designed by a dream team of top engineers...

Ultimate AV Magazine
Constellation Hercules Monoblock Power Amp

Founded in 2009, one of the newest kids on the audiophile block is California-based Constellation Audio. Not that its principal players are newbies by any means—in fact, Constellation has assembled a "dream team" of engineers and designers to create unparalleled audio products, among the first of which is the Hercules monoblock power amp.

Ultimate AV Magazine
Constellation Altair 2-Channel Preamp

With a dream team of audio engineers and designers, the newly formed Constellation Audio is bound to make some serious waves. Along with the Hercules monoblock power amp, the company's first offerings include the Altair 2-channel preamp, which sports one of the coolest-looking industrial designs I've ever seen.

The Audiophiliac
Drop-dead sexy audio gear from here and abroad

In the U.S., Constellation Audio is advancing the state-of-the-art in high-end electronics. The company's engineering team boasts a full roster of the most legendary names in the industry. The circuit boards inside the Constellation Altair stereo preamplifier are isolated from external vibration and interference, "much like rafts floating on a calm lake on a windless day."

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