Magnetic Line Amplifier

INTRODUCING the Magnetic Line Amplifier from Electra-Fidelity Amplification. Designed to offer high performance through the use of passive components, the MLA presents a new design for line stage amplification that results in constant wide bandwidth and excellent dynamics throughout the entire range of the attenuator.

MUCH of what we hear from our home audio set-up is contingent upon proper system matching. Every component plays a role in the ability to put together a well-matched system. An important, and sometimes overlooked component in the mix is the pre-amplifier or line stage. Traditionally, an active component, the purpose of the line stage is to amplify the signal and then allow the listener to attenuate it to the proper listening level. This amplification is generally done through the use of active tube or solid-state circuits. In years past when source component outputs provided low voltages this type of line level amplification was necessary in systems. However, in today’s digital age many source component outputs provide in excess of 2 volts, enough to drive amplifiers to full clipping if connected directly to the input.

SO IF today’s sources can effectively drive an amplifier to clipping, why introduce another amplification stage into the signal path just for the benefit of signal attenuation? The result from high output voltage sources has been the increased popularity of passive attenuators and their increased use has created an interesting debate among audiophiles. Those that prefer active line stages cite their preference for a “fuller sound” with more weight and increased bandwidth. The general feeling is passive line stages reduce dynamics and slam. Those who prefer passive line stages cite their preference for “straight-wire with no gain” providing a true to the source listening experience. The feeling is that the gain within active circuitry results in distortion and artifacts being added to the signal.

SOMETHING to consider in the debate is that properly designed active line stages present less issues with system matching than their passive counterparts, specifically in the area of impedance matching that can have a huge impact on the sound. A primary reason for this is that most passive line stages have variable output impedance and the bandwidth is not constant, offering better results at certain ranges within the attenuator than others. Active line stages with their fixed, and in some cases buffered, outputs greatly minimize these risks and do not require the same level of attention to impedance matching that passive line stages do.

WITH the introduction of the Magnetic Line Amplifier, Electra-Fidelity offers a solution that provides exceptional bandwidth with low distortion, while utilizing a completely passive design. This new circuit design loads the signal source allowing it to operate at its maximum capability. As a result, the MLA delivers a higher voltage at its output than it receives from the input. The result is truly stunning sound that offers exceptional resolution and transparency, as well as reproduction that is totally honest to the source without the addition of artifacts or distortion. The MLA will enable your sources, power amp, and speakers to perform at their best.

HOW is all this accomplished? The proprietary design uses nickel core loading transformers that cause the source to deliver current into a pure impedance primary. The secondary then produces the equivalent voltage into hard termination that is now usable for the next stage of amplification. For best results, the stock MLA is designed to work with source components with an output impedance of less than 400 ohms. Custom versions can be designed to match sources with output impedances greater than 400 ohms. Options include various input and output configurations, as well as 41 step dual attenuators. A Silver Magnetic Line Amplifier is also available using silver wire for the transformer windings.

Magnetic Line Amplifier Prices:

Stock: $695, includes single input, single output, stereo 10k potentiometer, ground lift switch, and stock chassis with hammertone gray or black finish. Additional options include:

Upgraded chassis with transformer cans $100.

Silver wound trnsformers $750.00 per pair.

Additional inputs/outputs add $50 each.

Dual mono 41 step attenuators $400.

Automotive paint finish (multiple color options) $200.

Solid wood side panels (walnut stained cherry) $150.

The version shown below has the following upgrades: Silver wound transformers, upgraded chassis with automotive paint (Jaguar Black and Salsa Red) and wood side panels (walnut stained cherry), 3 inputs, and two outputs. Price as shown $1895.