Marking a natural step up from the vibrant Obelisk Si integrated, the Obelisk PRE is the “command centre” of the Obelisk of the seperates range, a thoroughbred analogue pre-amplifier with the option of using one or two of its inputs for digital-to-analogue conversion by add-on DAC or MM phono modules. It is a clear-out design that we’re convinced more than holds its own against many class-leading high-end competitors.
Although rather traditional in its basic topology, the circuit design of the Obelisk PRE represents the convergence of cutting edge ideas with highest-grade components. As opposed to many pre-amplifiers that have “dumbed-down” internal power supplies in order to present more dramatic sonic benefits with optional auxiliary power supply upgrades, the PRE has a sophisticated and generously sized on-board power supply that is based on a top-quality transformer and high-grade capacitors, custom made to Heed's own specifications.
Nevertheless, as with all things Heed - there is of course an upgrade available in the power supply department if required, as the last ounce of the PRE’s performance can be elicited by adding the Obelisk PX power supply. As with any seperate power supply upgrade - those wanting more performance without changing all components, can enhance the PRE with the PX. This simple upgrade opens up the extended dynamics of the PRE making presentation more three dimensional, with more depth and dexterity.
This variant of the Obelisk PRE is fitted with the DAC 2.3 card (24bit/192 kHz). This means this unit still has 5 dedicated line level inputs for analogue sources, but also has both a dedicated selectable digital input with the addition of the DAC 2.3 card (via 75 Ohm S/PDIF or optical TOSLINK connections). Outputs are identical across the board, with 2 variable pre-out's and a dedicated 'tape out' (AKA a designated fixed line output - to all of those who will struggle with the term!). In this incarnation of the PRE, you benefit from the maximum inputs available in the design. The pre-fitted DAC 2.3 module occupies input 1 (a toggle switch on the rear enables selection via 75 Ohm S/PDIF or optical TOSLINK connections), the and the remaining 5 analogue RCA inputs occupy selections 2 through to 6.
The Obelisk PRE can have a maximum of 2 cards fitted, and this particular variant features the more flexible DAC 2.3 (which uses a Wolfson WM8740 DAC chip). This latest generation card has jumper settings for 3 desired playback and system set-up preferences. Due to the enhanced thought and desgin principles behind the PRE, Heed have ensured that these options are garnered for flexibility that will not change performance in detriment of this adaptability. With the Heed Obelisk PRE, all analogue amplifying stages (including the DAC's and MM phono module) are built in dual-mono configuration and fed through no less than seven fully regulated voltage supply rails. Modules can be easily inserted into slots on the main PCB and dedicated by jumper settings. Using modules internally instead of stand-alone auxiliary units provides many advantages: absolute synergy, no external cables and plugs, shortest possible signal paths, saving unnecessary costs for external case and power supply, etc.
Obviously if you do decide to add in your desired TT for vinyl playback - the unit can be upgraded with the addition of the Vinyl MM Phono input card. This can be simply done by inserting the card into the PCB of the PRE and adjusting some of the internal jumpers accordingly. Then you can have input 2 on the unit as the designated Phono input for your system requirements, and it still leaves 4 RCA analogue inputs available.
The two pre-out connections of the Obelisk PRE make various configurations possible. Beside traditional single power amplification, it is also possible to use two power amplifiers for bi-amping or active mode. The tape-out connection is also available for use with a recorder or possibly more importantly a headphone amplifier (such as the Canamp or Canalot for instance if you want to keep everything in line with the Heed stable).
The Obelisk PRE is ultimately designed to be suited with their highly musical and decpetively punchy Obelisk PS stereo power amplifier to complete your pre and power combo. It can of course be paired with a host of alternate power amplifiers if required.Functions of the included remote control (again - standard functionality of input selection 'out of the box' is mechanical) include volume control, but pair the Obelisk PRE with the superb Obelisk DA (purpose built multi-input DAC) and the remote will control input selection of the Obelisk DA too, making the PRE a consummate command centre for the most 'integrated' and sublime acoustic experience.
Available in a black casing with black fascia.
Heed Audio Obelisk Pre: Stereo Pre-Amplifier (with DAC 2.3 Card) - Features & Benefits:
Upgradeable power supply (see Obelisk PX)
Independent supply rails for analogue and digital
Heed Audio Obelisk Pre: Stereo Pre-Amplifier (with DAC 2.3 Card) - Specifications:
Inputs: 6 x inputs (1 x S/PDIF or TOSLINK & 5 x Analogue line inputs)
Outputs: 2 x preamplifier output / 1 x Tape out (Fixed).
Frequency response (+0, -1 dB): 1 Hz – 105 kHz
Input impedance: 10 kΩ
Input sensitivity (for 775 mV out): 220 mV
Output impedance: < 35 Ω
Max. output level: 7.5 V
Gain: 10 dB
Headroom: 20 dB
SNR: > 100 dB
Supported upgrade cards: MM Phono card
Power supply options: Internal / Obelisk PX
Max. consumption: 10 W
Weight: 4.5 kg
Dimensions (WxHxD): 22 x 8.5 x 36 cm