Triple Gain 99.99 Ag
Download Marco Benedetti review published on AUDIO REVIEW n 405:
Clinamen strongly believes that the best way to treat the weak signal of moving coil voice cartridge is through completely passive step-up units. It is a natural method, the most logical and therefore fits perfectly into the Clinamen project specifications. The performances achieved are hardly comparable to those offered by active step-ups, especially in terms of signal / noise ratio and micro dynamics. With this model, we want to offer our customer one of the best step-up transformer available on the market.
The benchmark for this Triple gain 99.99 Ag model is:
- High versatility, thanks to three levels of gain availability, obtained without switches which would have partially deteriorated the incoming signal
- Reference musical quality, obtained using the best magnetic materials, simmetrical windings, mumetal shielding , and Silver electrical conductors with a 99.99% degree of purity.
- Stylistic and ergonomic research on the box, with an unique beautiful design and , insensitive to vibrations, and with an excellent degree of shielding.
Clinamenaudio offers "Vacoperm" alloy custom cores (similar to Superpermalloy) for all its family of step-ups, a material with very high permeability that allows, to perceive a great resolution on low-level details and great transients dynamics. The Vacoperm cores are unusually large for these applications, this allows to have a large primary inductance with very low resistive losses. The design of the windings is done to obtain the minimum dispersed inductance, for this, the slew rate ,in the square wave test is very fast, and for all models, a bandwith ,referred to -1dB attenuations, always better than 15 Hz -> 98 KHz! Much attention has also been given to avoiding resonances inside and outside the audio band.
In our Silver Line step up transformer, we used a secondary Silver winding with 99.99% degree of purity . About this we want tell:
- We used the Silver wire only on the secondary winding: in a step-up transformer, about 70% of the wire used in the windings is the wire assigned to the secondary winding. This is due to the strong step-up ratio between primary and secondary. So we can say that Clinamenaudio Silver line transformer are truely Silver windings. But the reason why we use copper windings in the three primary windings is for obtain a natural tonal balance: in the listen session , the copper/silver configuration, is the only that make a very natural sound. So, we are proud to tell that Clinamenaudio is the unique factory that building step-up tranformer with hybrid Copper/Silver windings. Countless listening tests have supported this choice. The use of silver windings ( with 99.99% purity) has allowed us to lower the resistance of the secondary to an enviable value of 180 ohms, ( this value is exceptional if you keep in mind that Clinamen transformers have many turns in order to provide a lot of primary inductance )
- The silver we used has a 99.99% purity degree. We emphasize this fact because silver exhibits better electrical conductivity values than copper if and only if it has a very high degree of purity. If we already take commercial silver with a 99.9% purity grade, it will have worse electrical conductivity than copper. As an example we report the following table taken from the Elektrisola website:
So when some manufacturer claims to build silver cables, or to use silver windings in its transformers, always investigate about the degree of purity of the silver used. If purity does not reach 99.99%, the use of silver is only a commercial strategy. The 99.9 % SIlver is not expensive, the 99.99% is much expensive!
The box used in the Clinamenaudio Silver Line step up transformer (but also used in our triple gain-Cu model) has been designed on 3D CAD and machined from an ERGAL massive block . The thickness of the 12 mm walls makes the frame very heavy and insensitive to vibrations, as well as offering a shield to the parasitic disturbing fields present in the listening room
When we design the box, we thinking to his functionality, to a stylistic research and elegance in the forms, and ergonomy. An interesting peculiarity is the rear panel for the electrical connections, which is inclined to facilitate the insertion of the cables. Someone will tell that the serigraphs (obtained with laser marking) appear upside-down: but in reality this facilitates their reading when we insert the cables from the front. So, the ergonomics of the product has been designed to facilitate the electrical connections , simply by placing himself above it, witout the need of rotate the box.
Inside, a harmonic cocobolo wood block is applied on the mumetal casing of each transformers.
On the bottom of the box there is a plate which shows the technical data as the Gain and the primary and secondary impedances.
The feets are our CNC Clinamen bronze feets . The paint is our standard glossy metallized Venus grey
All Clinamenaudio step-up family are designed for receive our " Harmonizator network" . They optimized electrical interfacing from cartridge-step-up and MM phono unit. The Harmonizator network are custom for the specified triptych ( cartridge-step up- phono preamplifier) . The Harmonizator network are on the request, and you can put it into two RCA female plug named "SET".
pair of Harmonizator network plugged into the "SET" RCA female plug
These fine calibration elements that Clinamenaudio make available are elements unfairly neglected by all the manufacturers: in fact both the electrical response and tone timbre of any step-up transformers are strongly influenced by the source impedance with which it is driven (cartridge impedance + resistance of the first signal cable ) that from the impedance it must drive (resistance and capacity of the second signal cable + resistance and input capacity of the phono stage).
Having said this, it is easy to deduce that the sound given by a generic step-up will be strongly influenced by the goodness of the interface, and if this is not considered as an element on which to intervene, it is completely left to chance.
The positive influence of the harmonizing networks is greater when a non-optimal coupling is made. In the case of perfect couplings, the influence of the networks is audible, but will not give big difference in the sound.
The range of gain available offers optimal interfacing with any Moving Coil cartridges:
- 1:12 GAIN ( 21,6 dB) is reccomended for cartridges with internal impedance between 15 to 50 ohm
- 1:22 GAIN ( 26,8 dB) is reccomended for cartridges with internal impedance between 5 to 15 ohm
- 1:34 GAIN (30,6 dB) is reccomended for cartridges with internal impedance between 2 to 4 ohm
The Clinamenaudio triple-gain 99.99% Ag step-up is hand wired point to point with silver-plated copper cable and teflon insulator. The welding is made with 4% Ag -Sn alloy.
Will reccomended a minimum 30 hours break in time for the best permormance .
The triple-gain 99.99% Ag step-up will be delivered in a fine wood laser cut box.
- Gain: 1:12 ; 1:22 ; 1:34
- Silver secondary winding with 99.99% purity
- Primary impedance: 25 Ω (gain 1:12) . 7Ω ( gain 1:22) . 3 Ω ( gain 1:34)
- Secondary impedance: 3600 Ω
- DC secondary winding resistance: 180 Ω at 20 °C
- Fully balanced windings , Vacoperm ultra size custom Clinamen cores
- CNC machined ERGAL box, 12 mm thickness
- "SET" connectors for Harmonizers network
- Transformers damping with cocobolo wood blocks
- Clinamenaudio CNC bronze feets
- Point to point hand made wiring
- RCA Shark Wire rodhium plated
- Welding with JANTZEN 4% Ag Sn Alloy
- Weight: 3,7 Kg
- Price: 3200 euro , with standard Clinamenaudio glossy metallized Venus grey, delivered in a fine laser cut wood box.
- Harmonizator network : 120 euro pairs
- Custom painting: 100 euro
- Pearly painting: 140 euro