For us it is really the month of top level preamplifiers. We just had an excellent review by René van Es on the Audia Strumento No. 1. He thought it was so good, that he refused to let it go back to us. Audio Research just announced their new REF10 preamplifier. For sure also top level performance. Rhapsody just did a show with the Dartzeel NHB-18NS preamplifier in combination with the D’Agostino Momentum stereo poweramplifier. If you have seen the report from Werner Ero on our blog, you know already the Sonus faber AIDA was singing and also why she was singing. Not to forget the Krell’s Phantom preamplifier which “walked through our listening room” and already found a new owner.
OK, but now we ask your attention for the D’Agostino preamplifier and we let the company itself picture and describe this product. Biggest news is that Dan D’Agostino is (re-)introducing tone-controls again in the world of high-end ….
Why is the Momentum stereo preamplifier the only preamp capable of matching the extraordinary performance of the Momentum stereo and mono block amplifiers? Because it is the only preamp designed and built to the same exacting standards. Dan D’Agostino, perhaps the best-known electronics designer in the high-end audio industry, created the Momentum preamp specifically to complement the Momentum power amplifiers.
The Momentum preamp mirrors the approach pioneered with the power amps. First, use the most advanced and evolved circuit designs D’Agostino has ever created. Second, employ superior, yet time-consuming construction methods that the rest of the industry abandoned in the rush to automated assembly. Third, maximize fidelity while minimizing power consumption. And fourth, encase the circuits in metalwork that even high-end watchmakers might envy.
The Momentum preamp carries the same distinctive front meter design as the Momentum amplifiers. Inspired by the face of Breguet watches, the meter provides an indicator for the settings of the preamp’s controls.
D’Agostino’s boldest move with the Momentum preamp is the inclusion of tone controls, a feature effectively banished from high-end preamps decades ago because the sloppily implemented designs of the past impacted sound quality. However, D’Agostino always missed the utility of tone controls in making subtle corrections to compensate for flaws in recordings.
To create the Momentum preamp’s bass and treble controls, D’Agostino experimented with numerous filter designs to find the ones that sounded the most musical. He then implemented them using the highest-quality electrical components. The result is a set of controls that can make flawed recordings sound dramatically better. Of course, the tone controls can be switched out of the audio circuit entirely when not in use.
A circular remote control provides access to the Momentum preamp’s basic functions. The remote uses radio-frequency (RF) technology, so it works through walls.
In designing the Momentum preamp, D’Agostino used fully discrete audio circuitry. No op amps are used in the signal path. Zero-feedback design assures the most musical sound quality. Volume adjustment is made through a resistor ladder governed by an optical controller—the cleanest, most transparent possible method of controlling volume.
All components in the audio signal path are mounted using through-hole construction instead of the more common and affordable surface-mount technique. Through-hole construction delivers superior sound quality while producing a more durable and reliable product.
A 300 VA power supply is housed in a separate chassis, which also serves as a base for the preamp. This arrangement isolates the preamp’s sensitive circuitry from electromagnetic interference and noise. Separate supplies power audio and control circuitry, so the control circuits are completely isolated from the audio circuits.
Each Momentum preamplifier is hand-built and individually tested in D’Agostino’s Connecticut facility.
Frequency response 1 Hz to 1 MHz, -1 dB – 20Hz to 20 kHz, ±0 dB
Distortion <0.006%, 20 Hz to 20 kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio -105 dB, unweighted
Gain +6 to +12 dB, adjustable
Power consumption at standby <1 watt
Inputs 6 balanced XLR stereo
Outputs 1 balanced XLR stereo
Weight 40 lbs with power supply/ 00 kg
Dimensions (preamp) 4.3 x 18 x 12 inches (hwd) – 10.8 x 45 x 30 cm (hwd)
Dimensions (power supply/base) 3 x 11 x 8 inches (hwd) – 7.5 x 27.5 x 20 cm (hwd)