The signal processing of cartridges is one of the most delicate jobs in amplification. All the more so because it isn’t done merely by boosting a few hundred microvolts to a few hundred millivolts. In fact, at this thousandfold amplification (60 dB) the signal must be processed as cleanly and noise-free as possible. The extremely low signal level and the frequency-dependent amplification which arises from the RIAA equalisation curve applied in the cutting of LPs make the highest demands of the circuit topology and technical realisation of a phono preamplifier.
Our award-winning QUASAR phono stage, with its discrete conception and wide range of features, meets the requirements of even top-class turntable/cartridge combinations without being “unreasonable” in the usual high-end fashion.
The QUASAR is built in dual-mono configuration from the power supply upwards. There are two separate amplifier stages for MM and MC cartridges, both being fed from their own regulated power supply arrangement. Optimum adjustments to the MC cartridge in use can be applied for sensitivity and load by various settings of the jumpers on the PCB. The two separate outputs with different output levels make it possible to fine match for preamps or recorders.
The output stage has huge headroom at extremely low noise levels and, due to its low output impedance and high current delivery, can drive long interconnect cables without any sonic degradation.
The enhanced power supply of the QUASAR, the Q-PSU that also can be used as power supply upgrade with other components, is based around a 50 VA toroidal transformer with low-density magnetic field and very little dispersion. This power, together with a fine voltage regulation system, can feed the circuit with the kind of super-clean current usually delivered only by battery-based supplies, even with extreme dynamic swings.
The Canalot is akin to a nice black brick on steroids. The classic design of Heed Modular devices meets the high-tech solutions of the digital world and in addition, our unique speaker driving system. If you are not into the many-box hi-fi racks or space-eating speakers and amplifiers, Canalot provides a nice alternative.
Like the Canamp, this is also a two-stage amplifier, and has a pure class-A output stage as well. But similarities end here. Canalot is a rare piece amongst the headphone amplifiers with its RC-coupled output. It almost works like our Transcap-technology amplifiers, conveying all of their benefits. Of course, the power delivery system is tuned to the lower demands of the headphones.
Nice connectivity is always a pleasure. The Canalot can utilize our DAC and USB cards, and can work like a 192 kHz / 24 bit capable digital-analogue converter with either a computer or any S/PDIF-output sources.
For a nice and smooth sound the Canalot has a regulated power supply. It works well with the supplied outboard PSU, but of course, there is always an upgrade option. Q-PSU is the next step up with its generously sized linear, regulated power rails.
Headphones can be considered as high quality loudspeakers, but with a much lower power requirement. For this reason, they have distortion levels on an order of magnitude lower than conventional speakers, and therefore are capable of showing up amplifier deficiencies more clearly. What’s more, headphones are one-way systems, with very few exceptions, and for this reason crossovers do not interfere with sound quality. Consequently, a headphone amplifier must offer the best possible sound quality, even at very low volume levels, whilst working not unlike a real power amplifier.
The Canamp, our bestseller headphone amplifier can fulfill all these criteria offering a no-compromise solution in a realistic package. It is the ideal auxiliary amplification for the majority of headphones including many top-class models from all the well-known manufacturers, and even some notoriously low impedance representatives can be driven by the Canamp with astonishingly good results. The synergy of the AKG K701 and the Heed Canamp is legendary.
The Canamp is a two-stage amplifier. While the first – voltage gain – stage is based on an integrated circuit of the highest audio pedigree, the second – power gain – stage is a single-ended, pure Class-A amplifier. It enables the Canamp to drive virtually any headphones from about 30 ohms up to 600 ohms or more. The signal path is kept to a minimum on its PCB, offering a clean and noise-free sound.
The CanAmp not only has a line-level input but offers a line-level output to boot; it can therefore be connected to the TAPE MONITOR output of an amplifier, leaving the TAPE output free for additional components. Gold-plated RCA terminals are used, and soldered directly onto the fiberglass PCB.
In designing the Heed Dactilus, our aim was to create a D-to-A converter device which makes any digital source – CD players, DAB tuners, etc. – more enjoyable to listen to in musical terms. Used with higher ranking digital components it still holds its own against many on-board DACs with its strikingly different approach – a less analytical and processed presentation of music which conveys the musical message in a very fluid, natural, rhythmically engaging fashion. Even the primal Dactilus 1 with our first-ever DAC circuitry, the Dactil 1.0 module was capable of doing all that: “…it’s seldom anything other than an enjoyable one to listen to and we’re happy to recommend it…” as leading UK Magazine Hi-Fi Choice found it in their 2009 review.
The present generation Dactilus 3, equipped with our Dactil 1.2 DAC module, is capable of 24bit/192 kHz high resolution signal processing while extending upon the virtues of the earlier model, injecting extra transparency, information retrieval and dynamic capability. The features list is modest: optical (Toslink) and electrical (Coax SPDIF) digital inputs (selected using a rear-mounted switch) or an asynchronous, 24bit/192 kHz capable USB input into a single unbalanced output.
At the heart of the Dactilus 3 lies our Dactil 1.2 DAC module, which is based on a highly integrated Wolfson D/A chip. It handles all sources up to 24bit/192 kHz high resolution signals and, in spite of its striking minimalism, is capable of achieving astonishingly good performance.
In order to avoid undesirable electro-magnetic interference within the chassis, the Dactilus has no on-board power supply, employing an external PSU. This can be upgraded with our Q-PSU for maximum performance.
The Questars are destined to be the best entry-level options of the Heed modular line for vinyl reply that money can buy. Under the hood of their hefty, shielded steel chassis beats the heart of our Quasar MM/MC phonostage, conveniently divided into neatly-specialized a’ la carte portions.
The QUESTAR MM largely incorporates the Quasar’s unsurpassed MM circuitry, while its sibling, the Questar MC deploys a streamlined version of the Quasar’s MC stage, eliminating the need for jumper switches by optimising the amplifier to suit the 300-600 µV/100 Ohm output range characterising the vast majority of today’s moving coils. Considering its generous 18 dB headroom, ideal cartridge matching is virtually assured.
The internal construction of the Questars meets the most critical high-end standards in every respect. The amplifier employs an entirely dual-mono configuration and uses a two-stage – passive/active – RIAA equalisation. Gain adjustment has been optimised for maximum headroom and highest signal-to-noise ratio. Component parts are selected to exacting tolerances matching those of our Quasar.
The Questars are suitable for any line-level amplifier input, and can easily drive virtually any length of interconnect. There is no internal wiring or binding, and all high-current parts of the circuit are shielded. Both models feature gold-plated RCA terminals soldered directly onto the PCB, limiting all signal paths to a bare minimum.
The Questars utilise an external power supply to avoid undesirable electro-magnetic interference within the chassis. Sonic performance can be even further enhanced by upgrading to the Q-PSU.
The speed accuracy and stability of many belt drive turntables driven by a synchronous motor depends entirely upon the quality/consistency of frequency delivered by the domestic mains supply. However, mains frequency at 50Hz / 60Hz leaves much to be desired since it is subject to fluctuation, distortion, and other innumerable problems prior to reaching your listening room. The Heed Orbit 1 and Heed Orbit 2 off-board turntable power supplies offer a sophisticated solution to stabilise and improve any 4-pole, low-power 110V synchronous motor drive, elevating your deck’s sonic performance to startling new levels of musicality. Backgrounds become „blacker”, separation of instruments more sharply defined, while bass gains added depth, and the overall soundstage widens accordingly.
Both Orbit models give the added convenience of electronic speed change between 33 1/3 and 45 RPM via one single, elegant push-button in lieu of the rather fussy manual speed change arrangement of many turntables (removing the platter and shifting the belt on the motor pulley time and time again.)
The Orbit regulates your turntable’s motor drive via an intricate quadrature-quartz speed generator, providing unsurpassed speed accuracy and pitch stability. Packed into a hefty shielded steel casework (protecting the unit from electromagnetic interference and vibration) are two mains-filtering transformers, and a high-current amplification circuit to assure that the power passed onto your motor is smooth and constant, with no fluctuation and virtually immeasurable distortion.
The Orbit 1 requires a small modification of the motor circuitry (must be carried out by your qualified dealer/technician). The Orbit 2 adds the convenience of genuine plug & play compatibility (no modification necessary). Choosing between them is down to optimum performance vs. convenience of installation. You may rest assured, however, that the Orbit 2 trades in very little of the Orbit 1’s uncompromising technical and sonic performance for its plug & play practicability.
The Orbits can be the ideal partner for the vast majority of classic Rega turntables equipped with 4-pole, 110V synchronous motors (Planars 2&3, P2, P3, P25 and their OEM derivatives as marketed by the likes of NAD and Goldring – however not to the new 24V AC synchronous motor drive in their latest turntables), as well as various models offered by Nottingham Analogue, Thorens (TD150/160 series), Systemdeck, and Kuzma to name just a few. Last but not least the Orbit 1 also compliments the Linn Sondek LP12 as an affordable alternative to Linn’s top-of-the-line LP12/Lingo combination.
The enhanced power supply of the Modular Series, the Q-PSU can be used as power supply upgrade with any components in the family. It is based around a 50 VA toroidal transformer with low-density magnetic field and very little dispersion. This power, together with 20,000 µF filtering, can feed the circuit with the kind of super-clean current usually delivered only by battery-based supplies, even with extreme dynamic swings.
Further on, the 3rd version of our Q-PSU has an internal voltage regulator system. By this improvement, all the attached devices leap a huge step forward in terms of noiseless and smooth music representation. Plural it is, because the Q-PSU III has a dual output connector. It can feed a for example Quasar AND a Dactilus at the same time without any problem.
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