|Warranty length||3 Years|
Frequency response: 8Hz-100kHz +/1 0.1dB
Maximum signal level: 4VRMS 8Hz / 10VRMS 20Hz
Maximum DC offset: 5mV (For undistorted 8Hz).
Distortion: Less than 0.01% at 400Hz, 10V (2nd and 3rd harmonic only)
Impedance: Input impedance is dependent upon the load impedance and gain setting. So, with a power amplifier having 20kohm input impedance (typical): At 0dB, input impedance is 20kohm. At -10dB (normal listening) input impedance is 200k
Inputs: 6 pairs RCA phono sockets (gold plated)
Outputs: 1 pair RCA phono sockets (gold plated)
Dimensions: 127mm (5in) W x 45mm (1.8in) H x 305mm (12in) D
Weight: 1.5kg (3.3lb)
Townshend Allegri is an autotransformer line-level passive preamplifier designed to provide ultimate signal transparency in high end hi-fi systems. This unit simply selects 6 inputs, adjusts gain and provides two outputs, but its beauty is in its simplicity and the sheer quality of its purist design. This is essentially a cut down version of the amazing Townshend Audio Glastonbury Pre 1 Autotransformer Preamp. The Allegri preamp has almost the same sound as the Glastonbury Pre 1, but with no remote control, mono, mute, -10dB, +1dB, balanced operation, or AC coupling.
At the heart of the preamplifier designs is Townshend Audio’s new 24-tap Fractal-Wire wound autotransformer with 80% nickel mu-metal laminations for ultimate performance. All internal signal connections are by Fractal-Wire. As the Allegri preamps are purely passive devices there is no mains-born noise degradation. This, when combined with Fractal-Wire, results in the most accurate, uncoloured and open-sounding preamplifier possible – with astonishing transparency and resolution of fine detail.
There are 6 RCA phono line level inputs and two sets of phono stereo outputs. Input selection is by manual control using the rotary selector knob on the left of the fascia. Volume control is by a 24-position rotary switch divided into suitably chosen increments to provide a control range from +4dB to -60 dB and then mute.
As the Allegri preamp is DC coupled, so it is important that there is no DC offset on an input as distortion may occur. With the volume control set at 0 dB, the signal is connected directly from the input to the output. The bright anodised aluminium metal case of the Allegri preamp is connected to the internal star earthing point of the signal ground to prevent hum.
After 40 years of research encompassing all styles of amplification – including discrete transistor (bipolar & FET), integrated circuit valve (tube) and digital – we have found that all active implementations inevitably cause a slight veiling, noise and detail loss. Furthermore all volume controls – potentiometers (carbon, plastic film and cermet), switched resistor, optical and digital – similarly cause varying degrees of veiling and detail loss. Conventional transformer volume controls are excellent, but it is very difficult to achieve a flat frequency response at all volume settings due to the stray capacitance reacting with the unterminated coil sections. The claim that transformer controls allow for balanced operation is only partly true as the circuit cannot truly be balanced due to asymmetry in the configuration.
By far the best solution is the autotransformer control which provides virtually zero noise, optimum impedance matching and up to 4dB of gain. Add to this Townshend Audio’s radical new (and proprietary) Fractal-Wire and the results are truly astonishing. Sound is clear, powerful, engaging, amazingly smooth and highly detailed. When set at 0 dB gain, the input is connected directly to the output with a single wire, so there is nothing in the way to change the sound.
When the autotransformer is removed from the circuit (in the 0 dB case) there is no change in the sound whatsoever. This leads us to the conclusion that the Allegri Pre is truly “The closest approach to a straight wire with gain”. Substitute transformers wound with regular copper, silver or even DCT copper wire and the sound degrades with the addition of the transformer. But not so with the Fractal-Wire wound autotransformer. It is acoustically invisible! When laminated with the best ultra-thin 80% nickel laminations Townshend Audio’s autotransformer is, we feel, the ideal high fidelity component.
If you can put up with the lack of features this is a terrific-sounding product. The controls, such as they are, feel nice and chunky. It doesn’t matter whether you listen to the drama-fuelled Dark Knight OST, the beautiful Tabula Rasa by Arvo Pärt or the sheer energy of Blur’s Song 2, the Allegri shines. It communicates the tiniest of details in an unexaggerated and unvarnished manner. If sound is all important, we suspect you’ll be smitten. (What Hi-Fi Magazine)