SCIENTIST SERIES – ULTIMATE MACHINE STERN

The machine:

Designed by German design legend Hartmut Esslinger of Cupertino fame, our new über-performance preamp STERN combines Audionet’s unique electronics, stratosphere version, with a design quality that has not been seen in the realms of highenddom before.The patented FLOATING PANE DESIGN encorporates the ultimate audiophile qualities.

One amp to rule them all – STERN rises high above anything, anywhere – even our serial show winner PRE G2 (2015 “best sound” at RMAF, AXPONA, T.H.E.SHOW and HIGHEND).

The science:

Special features STERN

  • Magnetically and capactively optimized circuit and device design without any ferro-magnetic materials.
  • Floating Pane Design for optimal resistance against microphonic effects and temperature stability.
  • The floating panels of the body are resonance-optimized by pads on an aluminum frame.
  • Mounting and bolted assembly of transformers made of stainless steel.
  • Double mono layout of circuitry and power supply for maximum channel separation.
  • Air Flow Design circuit boards for an optimum of cooling and stable quiescent currents.
  • Galvanic separation of all analog circuits by opto couplers.
  • The input and output sections as well as the volume control are implemented using enhanced, discrete Audionet operational amplifier modules with state-of-the-art mica capacitors.
  • Rhodium Cinch jacks by Furutech.
  • Volume controller on a double ball-bearing axis and with magnetic ratchet and optical sensing.
  • Volume controlled by electronic switches and real-time linearized precision resistor network.
  • DC coupled with no sound diminishing capacitors or coils, shortest signal paths.
  • One separate transformer per channel for the positive and negative half wave, leading to the perfect power supply.
  • Four encapsulated and decoupled 50 VA toroid transformers.
  • Main power supply capacitors 22,000 µF, optimized for very low impedance and made with silk dielectric.
  • Total capacitance of 176,000 µF.
  • Microprocessor control with separate power supply monitor and control of all functions, informing the user on a high resolution display.
  • By-Pass mode for integration into home cinema systems.
  • Audionet Link outputs for the remote control of further Audionet devices.
  • User definable names for each input, input levels adjustable for each input.
  • User selectable function to remove DC levels from signal sources.
  • Rhodium fuse.
  • DC coupled with no sound diminishing capacitors or coils, shortest signal paths.
  • One separate transformer per channel for the positive and negative half wave, leading to the perfect power supply.
  • Four encapsulated and decoupled 50 VA toroid transformers.
  • Main power supply capacitors 22,000 µF, optimized for very low impedance and made with silk dielectric.
  • Total capacitance of 176,000 µF.
  • Microprocessor control with separate power supply monitor and control of all functions, informing the user on a high resolution display.
  • By-Pass mode for integration into home cinema systems.
  • Audionet Link outputs for the remote control of further Audionet devices.
  • User definable names for each input, input levels adjustable for each input.
  • User selectable function to remove DC levels from signal sources.
  • Rhodium fuse.

Features

Function

Microprocessor controlled Ultimate Linear Preamplifier.

 

In- and Outputs

Inputs: 4 pair RCA line, Rhodium (Furutech)
2 pair XLR balanced, gold plated (Neutrik)
1 D Sub 9 serial port (control only)
1 SMA for WLAN (control only)
Outputs: 2 pair Cinch line, Rhodium (Furutech)
1 pair Cinch inverted, Rhodium (Furutech)
2 pair XLR balanced, gold plated (Neutrik)
2 Audionet Link, optical
1 connector, gold plated, for additional earth connection

Specifications

Technical Data

Frequency response: 0–2,200,000 Hz (-3 dB), DC coupled
0.3–2,200,000 Hz (-3 dB), AC coupled
THD+N: <-104 dB @ 20 kHz
<-116 dB @ 1 kHz
SNR: > 123 dB, 4 VRMS
Channel separation: >144 dB, 20–20,000 Hz
Output impedance: 24 Ω real (Cinch line)
48 Ω real (XLR)
Output current: max. 60 mA
Power consumption: < 0.5 W stand by, typ. 100 W
Mains: 220..240 V or 110..120 V, 50..60 Hz, Rhodium (Furutech)
Dimensions: Vertical:
Width 270 mm
Height 500 mm
Depth 505 mmHorizontal:
Width 450 mm
Height 320 mm
Depth 505 mm
Weight: 38 kg

Finish

Colours: Silver or black
Display: Light or dark color-TFT
Orientation: Horizontal or vertical

Reference

the absolute sound

Acknowledging the remarkable advancements we’ve witnessed in solid-state amplification over the past dozen years or so, especially those leveraged by a number of industry leaders, most notably from the U.S., Germany, and Switzerland, nothing else in my immediate experience better demonstrates the transistor’s ability to accurately and artfully combine delicacy with power, focus with bloom, resolution with body, detail with texture, and clarity with expressiveness than the Stern and Heisenberg. These flagship Scientist Series products from Audionet should be seen as more than merely the significant accomplishment of their vision; they represent the embodiment of the most refined triple threat available today—class-leading design and build-quality, outstanding specifications, and landmark sonic performance.

Visually, the Stern/Heisenberg combination also makes an arresting impression. There are only a handful of audio devices that speak anywhere near as strongly to my aesthetic sensibilities and can convey this remarkable sense of a powerful and imposing identity.

On the test bench, the other contenders in this luxury class, be they the most highly regarded from Switzerland, the United States, or Germany, cannot measure up in some areas; taken at face value, many of the Audionet specifications appear in select areas to set today’s benchmarks.

And sonically, this linestage and monoblock combo offers a degree of resolution and subsequent transparency I’ve yet to hear from any other equivalently or lesser-priced series of electronics, and in fact, surpasses the performance I’ve heard from any solid-state players at any price. Yet much like anything else in audio, and across most all disciplines in general, it is not the individual constituent capabilities that infuse these remarkable machines with their undeniable and enchanting magic; it is their synergy.

I know that if I had the means (I’ll be paying for my new speakers for some time yet), the Audionet Stern and Heisenberg’s would be a permanent part of my system. Those of you reading this who can afford to acquire such exotic and exquisite equipment should make sure to find a way to audition the Scientist Series devices before you settle on any purchase. If you don’t, and you get to hear their contributions afterward, you may discover that you are still riding the audiophile-upgrade merry-go-round. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

the absolute sound, 10/2020, Greg Weaver

 

AV Showrooms

Review STERN and HEISENBERG
Product of the Year + Gold Award by AVShowrooms for our statement Amps STERN and HEISENBERG. It doesn’t get better than this in the High End, guys. Thank you!!!

 

Stereo Times

“The bass was quick-footed, articulate and most importantly it conveyed a musicality that belied both its size and build. All I could say was DAMN! Ironically, instead of more powerful, the system appeared more relaxed and resolving – as if the added wattage aided in providing less stress and more realism. In a sense, it sounded as though the Heisenberg/Stern combo took full control of the massive YG XV’s many individual drivers and made them a single source.

The very look and feel bespoke “state of the art” throughout while the sound is powerful and taut, yet elegant and ultra-refined. Voices hover above the floor at the right height and size but elicit a sense life that’s quite uncanny for a solid-state design. Music just flowed into this huge listening space in way that it had not in the past. It made the room seem smaller and more intimate. Weird. This made it somewhat difficult to concentrate on anything except the music. What higher accolade is there when a system can achieve that?

I don’t know what else to say except that listening to the Audionet Heisenberg and Stern combination was truly an adventure!”
Stereo Times, Clement Perry

 

the absolute sound

“We chose to listen exclusively to LPs for this audition. I got to spend the entire day listening to this remarkable system, and virtually every LP we played (I had a dozen of my own favorite records with me) left me astounded. From the moment the needle landed in the groove, the utter naturalness of the presentation became apparent. I was hearing subtleties of hall and performance ambiance that I’d never before heard in all my years of listening to this LP on literally hundreds of systems. Transients were crisper, more sharply and accurately delineated, tone color and texture were astonishingly accurate, and every aspect of the presentation was depicted with full, honest bloom, accurate weight, and ample body.

Dynamic scaling was spectacular, and I was overwhelmed by the degree of ambient detail conveyed. The way this system recreated the sound of a snare drum—its location, size, tone, body, and retort—was chilling. This system expressed a fine degree of delicacy and finesse that I’d never experienced prior, and yet, at the same time, there existed an enhanced measure of power and speed. Both of these characteristics coexisted in equal measure; neither showed compromise.

An absolute revelation of the musicians’ spatial relationships within the soundstage and of vibrant, faithful timbre. And the rhythmic pace, the timing and drive of the music, had never sounded more frenetic!

During my time in front of this system, my impressions about a number of attributes that this new linestage and monoblocks demonstrated solidified. One was the overwhelmingly conspicuous absence of any vestige of transistor pall, glare, or grain. Moreover, all instruments, both in their singular, individual voices and in their specific locations throughout the soundstage, had never been so starkly apparent and yet so convincingly natural sounding.

Add to this the expressive and seemingly unflappable sense of unrestricted power and control, and you have a series of electronics capable of recreating a sense of realism unprecedented in my experience of three-plus decades of reporting on the art of music reproduction.

The Stern linestage and Heisenberg monoblocks push the bar to previously unattainable levels.

In short, the combination of the Audionet Scientist Series Stern linestage and Heisenberg monoblock amplifiers establishes a new benchmark.”
the absolute sound, Nov 13th, 2017, Greg Weaver

 

Hi-Fi+

“What is more, low-level textural, transient, and timbral details were rendered in a more complete and holistic way and with a heightened sense of focus and nuance. As a result, the voices of instruments and human singers became at once more natural sounding, more pure, and more focused. The sheer effortless clarity I heard was unlike anything I had heard from any hi-fi system in the past, and as a result, large-scale choral and orchestral works took a quantum leap forward in overall intelligibility and lucidity. Even more depth, more focus, and much more bass detail, yet that is exactly what the Stern/Heisenberg electronics delivered. Third, (and perhaps this come as no surprise) the extremely powerful Heisenberg amplifiers (1,050 watts @ 4 ohms) gave the system a certain “ceilings unlimited” quality in terms of dynamics.

Now those raised in the ‘smaller-is-better’ ethos of hi-fi amplification might well wonder if blockbuster amps such as the Heisenbergs could be anything but muscle-bound, but that isn’t the case at all. In fact, I suspect the Heisenberg might just be the most fleet-footed and agile audio amplifier I’ve ever experienced. Two major benefits of the Stern/Heisenberg package are these: first, the strengths of ancillary components seem greatly magnified by the Audionet electronics, and second, with the Audionet components in play recordings can be explored in much greater depth and with more insight than listeners might have thought possible.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not the only one who finds these components beautiful; in fact, the Stern is now on display as part of the Smithsonian’s National Gallery.

The bottom line is that Stern and Heisenberg have, in my opinion, raised the performance bar for high-end audio electronics, and I say this having heard top-tier components from Audio Research, Constellation, Dan D’Agostino Master Audio Systems, Naim Audio, Pass Labs, Soulution, and others). They also serve admirably as audio objets d’arts that are, in a very literal sense, of museum quality. Therefore, I would encourage listeners to go hear and see the Audionet components, if only for a glimpse of what’s possible when performance constraints are removed.”
Hi-Fi+, Nov 08th, 2017, Chris Martens

 

Positive Feedback

“The Heisenberg and Stern have a serious, we’re-not-playing-around, visual that will stop you in your tracks with their scale, cosmetics—and ambition! Both units are encased in nearly identical aluminum chassis of flawless German metalwork (by German design legend Hartmut Esslinger). The Stern has already been placed in the Smithsonian’s National Gallery of Art. The Stern has got to be one of the largest preamps on the planet. Why so much real estate? I was told the interior is chock-a-block with circuitry. It boasts some amazing specs. There’s more: more tone, more timbre and, most especially, triumphantly, the grandest dynamic peaks I’ve encountered in residential audio. I’m always fiddling with or critiquing tonal balance—it’s rare to find a system that leaves me with no complaint—but with this rig I didn’t want to change a thing. The tone was BIG, with 100% saturation, and striking in its uniformity from top to bottom. The treble was sweet and extended, but never harsh, and certainly not of a quality I associate with solid-state. The mids were clean; the bass full, round and tight. All of uncommon purity. Yay! The tone showed no compromise. The instruments on The Blues and the Abstract Truth grew from ff like you get with other über components, and then pushed beyond that to full fff, where no amp has gone before. Edge-of-the-art for what’s possible in audio reproduction.”
Positive Feedback, Issue 94, Marshall Nack

 

Audiotechnique

Review STERN and HEISENBERG
“Stern and Heisenberg take the transistor amplifier to a new level. An ultimate position, a new benchmark. Most strongly recommended by Audiotechnique. … This Audionet system is ABSOLUTELY THE BEST OF TRANSISTOR AMPLIFIER TODAY, with the highest end performance.”
AUDIOTECHNIQUE magazine Hongkong, Editor-in-Chief Lincoln Cheng

 

i-fidelity

Review STERN and HEISENBERG

“With the Stern preamp and the Heisenberg mono blocks, Audionet chimes in a new chapter of amplifier building. In more than one respect this trio is blasting conventions; sound quality and price fall definitely within. The attractive – also because it won’t reveal itself at first glance – styling by Hartmut Esslinger and the extent of innovative hightech from Audionet’s R&D department form in this triumvirate a passionate symbiosis which brought me a true joy of heart. The fact that these components bear the names of Noble Prize winners won’t cause any harm, for Otto Stern and Werner Heisenberg would certainly be proud to stand bail as namesakes for the new i-fidelity.net references.”

 

hifi&records

Review STERN and HEISENBERG

“Unheard-of-supremacy… A new leaf in the book of ampbuilding… Soundwise, musically and aesthetically the three towers are performing in a different league, a new class that needs no other superlative.”

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