With the addition of several new features and connections, the Argo is almost an entertainment system unto itself. It accommodates four analog audio sources (two XLR, two RCA). Simply connect a pair of speakers and you have a complete music system. Or plug in a set of headphones and enjoy the sound of the Argo on a more intimate scale. All told, the Argo is something quite unprecedented in high-end audio: the incomparable quality of Constellation Audio, with the convenience of an A/V receiver.
From the Line Stage Gain Module, we route the perfectly balanced signals into our balanced bridged modular amplifier, built using the same single-ended 125-watt circuit module used in our state-of-the-art, 1,000-watt Hercules II monoblock amplifiers. These modules receive an abundant supply of clean power from our custom-wound toroidal transformer and substantial storage capacitors. The same distinctive (and highly effective) passive ventilation system used on the Hercules II and Centaur amps provides ample cooling.
The Argo employs the same core preamplification circuit found in all other Constellation Audio products: our Line Stage Gain Module, which employs servo circuits and hand-selected field-effect transistors (FETs) to achieve an essentially perfect balance between the positive and negative halves of the audio signal. In the Argo, this signal travels directly into the power amplifier circuitry with no additional gain stage needed, just as in a system employing our separate amps and preamps. The result is musicality that is truly incredible not only for an integrated amplifier, but for any audio component.
We know that two-channel music systems sometimes have to serve as part of a home theater surround-sound system. The Argo’s home theater bypass function allows it to serve as the amplifier for the front left and right speakers of a home theater system without compromising two-channel sound quality in any way.
The Argo’s integral power supply starts with a custom-wound toroidal transformer. From there, AC power travels into separate storage capacitors, rectifiers and voltage regulators for each channel. Thus, heavy demands on one channel do not influence the performance of the other channel.
The Argo’s power amplification is constructed from the same single-ended, 125-watt circuit schematic used for Constellation Audio’s Hercules II and Centaur power amplifiers. While the Argo cannot match the power and dynamics of those larger amplifiers, its transparency, musicality and sound are fundamentally the same.
Key chassis components in the Argo are machined from solid slabs of aluminum to a minimum thickness of 8.2mm, which is necessary to block 50/60 Hz electromagnetic interference from household wiring and appliances. With interference blocked, every smallest detail of the music is free to pass through.
The Argo offers a feature as yet found in no other Constellation Audio component: a headphone amplifier capable of driving any dynamic or planar-magnetic headphone to live-concert levels without the slightest hint of dynamic compression-even with the most insensitive, hard-to-drive headphones.
If you someday decide to upgrade to a larger amplifier, the Argo is ready-the back panel has a stereo XLR balanced output, suitable to driver the Constellation Audio Hercules II and Centaur amps (or any other high-quality power amp).
Through a 432 x 230-pixel front touchscreen, the Argo provides instant access to its advanced features without cluttering up the unit with unneeded physical switches.
The Argo’s striking industrial design is complemented by an equally striking remote control, machined from aluminum to complement the Argo’s looks. The remote’s hefty feel and ergonomic design help make the Argo sheer pleasure to use..
The Absolute Sound granted a number of our components with their Editors Choice Award 2020, including:
Altair II. Argo. Centaur II, Hercules II/Hercules II Stereo, Inspiration 1.0, Inspiration Mono 1.0, Inspiration Preamp 1.0, Inspiration Stereo 1.0, Perseus, Andromeda, Pictor, Taurus Stereo, and Taurus Mono Amplifier.
Constellation Audio won multiple awards this year in The Absolute Sounds Editors’ Choice Awards 2021.
Constellation Audio won multiple awards this year in The Absolute Sounds Editors’ Choice Awards 2022.
Inspiration STEREO 1.0, Inspiration MONO 1.0, Inspiration PREAMP 1.0, Centaur Stereo, Argo, Perseus, Virgo III, Altair II, Hercules II Mono have been awarded the Absolute Sound 2015 Editor’s Choice award.
Editors Choice Awards from Issue #271 of TAS
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