... what the press says

In “The Absolute Sound” issue No 157 December 2005 Harry Pearson gave the Emitter II Exclusive Model 2005 “The Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award 2005 ”
And wrote

In every respect, a triumph of audio design. It is a solid-state unit that has no transistor“sound,” nor tube-like colorations for that matter.
It doesn’t require an input stage, having a sort-of one in its battery-operated front end. Its noise floor is so spectacularly low that analogue and digital can be heard at their unmodulated best, and its output devices (20, count ’em) provide seemingly unlimited amounts of power, without ever crossing the line into hardness or distortion. But most of all, the ASR is like unto magic in its ability to let you hear so deeply into the sound field that you’ll almost believe you are really “there” with the music.

In the American magazine “The Absolute Sound” issue No 156 October 2005
Harry Pearson reviewed the

ASR EMITTER II EXCLUSIVE MODEL 2004 $25,900 and wrote

Revolution in a Black Box—The ASR Emitter II.
This amp is so far beyond the usual that I call it “revolutionary,” and this in a field where design breakthroughs are, at best, evolutionary. It’s taken me six months to get its measure and in the process i've had to upgrade the reference system to meet the ASR’s metal. No dynamic compression of fortissimo blockbuster passages nor any dynamic smearing, either. Nope. I found the ASR’s performance so bewitching, authoritative, and just plain dazzling.

Stereo June 2004 (Japan) Emitter II plus "Best amplifier of the year"

THE ABSOLUTE SOUND December 2004 (www.theabsolutesound.com) Basis Excl. "Golden Ear Award"

Harry Pearson wrote about the Basis Exclusive : ASR has overcome the typical battery power source problem that often plagued other battery-sourced pre-amp before, and the ASR Basis is the best phone stage he has listened to so far.

In the same issue we have also got “The Absolute Sound Golden Ear Award” for the Basis Exclusive

STEREOPHILE 10/2004 (America) (www.stereophile.com) Basis Exclusive "Recommend components"
In the October 2004 issue of the American magazine “Stereophile” the ASR Basis Exclusive

has been nominated under the recommended Components with an “A” rating


In the October 2003 issue of the American stereophile magazine we got a very good test of the Basis exclusive.Michael Framer wrote: Rhythmic snap, among the deepest, cleanest, most dynamic bass I have heard; and midrange and high frequency transparency and clarity without etch, grain or brightness.I absolutely love the ASR Basis Exclusive.

Translation of the reprint from (German) STEREO 11/1998
Review by Mr. Matthias Boede


Emitter II as far as the eye can see and no end in sight. There´s hardly another amplifier, that has been in production and maturing for such a long time than the heavy-weight amps of the manufacturers ASR Audio Systeme Friedrich Schaefer in Herborn/Germany. And no other amplifier has been modified so often over its production time like the Emitter II. Hifi Exclusiv (part of STEREO-magazine) listens to three versions of the Emitter II. One thing we realized at the beginning: the Emitter II-story is a never-ending story.

Simply the basic facts of this review are very impressive: more than 300 kilograms (= 660 lbs.) of amplifiers and separate power supplies had to be moved, connected together and listened to. Background of this unusual efforts: (STEREO wants) to document the last stage of development of the Emitter II and to pay tribute to this living legend of german amplifiers. In addition to an Emitter II plus (reviewed in STEREO´s HIFI EXKLUSIV 04/1995) an actual Emitter II plus and the top-model, Emitter II HD 1.3 had lined up, to demonstrate the evolution of the Emitter II in the last years.

Looking at this three Emitter II´s means, just looking at the "modern times" of the long Emitter II-history, which starts back in 1982. The Original-Emitter II had been built with just a single separate power supply up to approximately 1990 and the Emitter II-concept has been modified constantly since this times. An Emitter II plus, built between 1991 and 1996 and still (modified, of course) in production, is not the same than an Emitter II built after 1996. Additional, from 1996 there has been a significant different equipped variation of the Emitter II, the HD, called HD 1.3 in its latest edition. Got it? Going into the history of this amplifier means "be careful" not to loose track.

The very designation integrated amplifier is, if not wrong, but a little out of focus. Strictly speaking it is a power amplifier with a volume control. ASR co-founder and "father" of the Emitters, Mr. Friedrich Schaefer, wants to ensure short signal paths and unaffected input signals. Therefore the Emitter II is equipped with a two-stage volume control. The input level will be altered up to "51" (showing in the big display, which can be turned off and is big enough, to be read even in a few feet distance), above "51" the gain will be altered. Since 1993, the Emitter II is equipped with an intelligent energy management. Thanks to two parallel transformer windings, the amplifier can be driven at half of the usual voltage of 80 volts. According to Friedrich Schaefer, the parameter of the circuitry would be stable down to 22 volts. When turned on, the Emitter II remains in the energy-saving 40 volt-position for one minute anyway. After 60 seconds, there are 80 volts and the maximum output power available, if the power switch is turned to position "2". If the power switch remains in position "1", there are 40 volts and 25% of the maximum output power available- still a lot of output power, if the maximum output data is divided by four.

(In position "1") the last 15 dB can not be realised and the volume control can not be increased any higher than "61" - a very effective insurance for the speakers. At levels higher than "31" (the Emitter II) automatically switches to 80 volts to avoid any output power bottleneck. A slight "click" in the two separate power units indicates that the amplifier is switching to the 80 volts. According to the Emitter II´s dual-mono construction, each of the two channels is individually driven by a heavy (32kg = 70 lbs.) separate power supply. The power supplies are connected to the amplifier via thick, multi-core cable with tightly arresting plugs. Each of these cables transmits eight separate voltages for the voltage-amplification-, the driver- and the output-stages. Since the power supply cabinets have been mechanically improved in 1997 they are now even more solid and have an attractive acrylic glass face plate.
Every Emitter II HD-power supply unit is equipped with two 700 watts transformers (Emitter II plus = 500 watts) and one transformer for the protect- and control-section. Additionaly every HD power supply unit is equipped with 56 fast rectifiers and 166.000?F of storage capacitors. Adding the storage capacitors in the “basement” of the Emitter II HD main unit totals up to a huge 862.000?F (Emitter II plus 410.000?F). Just mentioning this number gives an impression of the mass of good parts Mr. Schaefer puts in his amplifiers.

Mr. Schaefer uses – as a result of extensive listening sessions – Philips and Wima capacitors. This capacitors cost a lot more than these used in the Emitter plus-versions and is part of the extra charge for the Emitter HD-versions. The HD-versions contain additionally a highly selected pair of military grade chips and some other refinements in a lot of details. Direct input comes at no extra charge in the HD-versions. At additional charge you can order e. g. a balanced input (XLR), additional high level inputs and speaker outputs, phono MM/MC plug-in board, different styles for the acrylic glass and the three knobs on the front and a lot of other “special features”. To name them all is impossible in this test. Everyone can order “his” Emitter with the specials he personally needs /wants.

The most interesting special feature is the battery power supply for the input stage of the Emitter HD, which feeds the voltage amplifier with distortion-free electricity.
Mr. Schaefer said that he found out the special proneness of the input stage to voltage instability and distortion. The battery power supply unit is equipped with accumulators, an additional 400.000?F of storage capacitors and an automatic accumulator charge control. When the Emitter is turned off, the accumulators will be charged. In position “Standby”, “1” or “2” the input stages are directly supplied from the battery power unit, which gives you at least 100 hours of music listening time without charging the accumulators. If you want to leave your Emitter at the “1”- or “2”-postion all the time, the charge control automatically charges the accumulators. (...)

If a product line is on the (hifi/high end) market for such a long time like the ASR Emitters are, a lot of legends have built up and a lot of opinions come up in the (hifi/high end) scene. Some say, the Emitter II sounds “slow”. If I (Matthias Boede of STEREO) hear this (this is some dealer´s opinion), meanwhile I have to ask: which version of the Emitter II? Plus or HD-version and built when? Through all generations the Emitter II retained its already proverbial quietness, calmness and masterly sound concept. The (Emitter II) HD 1.3 is no exception to this rule but his performance gives an ultramodern impression. Like just no other integrated amplifier, the Emitter II is in the position to built up a rhythmic, tonal and three-dimensional soundstage. An 1994 Emitter II plus already played more dynamically and tighter than its predecessor and so does the 1995 plus-version. In comparison with the 1998-plus, the 1995-plus sounds really smooth and thick in the lower frequencies. The 1998-plus now has the amount of control and tightness, that the older 1995-plus only separated from the reference amplifiers. A big step forward. This is even more true when talking about the 1998-HD 1.3. This amplifier creates (played at the same level then the 1998-plus) an even wider and more accurate sound environment in front of the listener.

By re-connecting the plus power supplies it was soon apparent, that the HD power supply earned its name honestly. The difference was not found in the output power but in definition, precision and clarity of the soundstage. Tuttis in classical music and brutal impulses were reproduced effortless, airy and without saying. The three-dimensional imaging is even more apparent than with the plus power supplies.

The voltage supply´s importance can be auditioned at once. Compared to the HD power supplies, the plus power supplies represent a limitation (even if on a very high standard) of sound quality. This is surely one of the reasons, why the Emitter II HD 1.3 lacks the slight vagueness of the 1998 Emitter II plus.

The Emitter II was and still is an amplifier like a rock. At any levels! Beside other speakers, we connected the very critical-to-run Hales Transcendence 5 (82 dB efficiency, 2? minimum bass-impedance) to the Emitter II and played it with high levels. The Emitter II HD 1.3 performance can just be called impressive. The PASS Labs mono-amplifiers X600 (listened for comparison) just sounded musical more intense, but not more sovereign. The amplifier made in Herborn easily drives most of the loudspeakers on the market. Of course, we listened to the battery power supply, too. It is up to now the last step on the way to perfection. And the musical performance in fact gained even more transparence and authority. And the imagination of depth nearly became holographic, you suppose, you can see around and behind the musicians – this is what even supports the impression of the soundstage of the majestic Emitter II HD 1.3.

Of all the integrated amplifiers on the market today, the Emitter II HD 1.3 is an exception to the rule. Just looking at the basic facts – the Emitter II HD 1.3 with battery power supply ´total weight is 130 kg (= 290 lbs.) – shows how exceptional the Emitter II is. Sound quality can rather be compared with big pre-/power-amplifiers than with common integrated amplifiers. Only Linear Acoustics´ fabulous Tube 1 can catch up with the Emitter II HD 1.3 with battery power supply. The matured Herborn-made amplifier is the new top-reference (of STEREO magazine). This is the happy end of this story. But the Emitter-story will go on. Mr. Schaefer brought already a prototype of a special filtered powerwire ....

(Translation by Klaus Henkes Klangkonzepte, 01/1999)

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