By Dr. Panagiotis Karavitis
Constellation Audio has been a leader in audio for the last few years. Unfortunately being a leader implies being expensive and for the vast majority of audiophiles both the Reference and Performance series have been out of reach. This year things changed.
No, you won’t be finding Constellation products in a Walmart right next to your gym. Still, the new Inspiration series gets close to the almost affordable price range. Preamp 1.0 at $9.000, the stereo power AMP 1.0 (conservatively rated at 200Watts/8Ohm, doubling at 4) at $10.000 and a pair of Monos at $20.000.
In other words you can have a pre-power combo for $19.K, with the fit n finish in typical Constellation quality. And the juice is very similar in taste to the big ones. Trickled down technology from the higher series, with same circuit solutions (“Balanced Bridged circuit topology” which combines multiple single-ended amplifier modules in a fully balanced design for the power amps and same” Line Stage Gain Module” design in a fully balanced configuration for the pre). Goodies do not end here, a sculpted remote control and HT bypass capability complete the offering.
The Inspiration series will be completed later this year with a separate phono stage, a DAC and finally an integrated amplifier.
During the show we had the chance to listen to the fresh out of the factory models paired with pieces from the bigger series and the Alexia speakers by Wilson Audio. Listening to Rimsky-Korsakov’s “The Sea and Sinbad’s Ship” from Scheherazade made me have a couple of thoughts. First that excellent sound can be achieved without a new mortgage and more importantly that Constellation people know what they have achieved and were not afraid of playing big scale symphonic music in a show room.