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