The front panel of Altair II features a new touchscreen control, which allows all functions to be adjusted directly from the front panel. The enhanced contrast and large font sizes used on the touchscreen allow it to be seen from across a room. Machined remote control An elegant new remote control, machined from aluminum billet and wrapped in leather, provides immediate access to the most commonly used functions, such as volume, balance, mute and phase. While Altair II presents a friendlier, faster interface, its sound quality is in no way changed from the original Altair. The core of Altair II is our proprietary, fully balanced Line Stage Gain Module, one of the quietest and purest preamp circuits ever designed. Key to the module’s performance is the use of servo circuits to maintain a practically perfect balance between the positive and negative halves of the audio signal. To build the module, we rely on our “private stock” of field-effect transistors. These FETs—which, incidentally, are no longer available and are thus practically exclusive to Constellation Audio products—are the quietest we have found, and we assure superior performance by hand-testing and hand-selecting only the best samples from our inventory. Machined aluminum enclosures protect each Line Stage Gain Module circuit from the influence of external vibration and interference. We secure each of these enclosures to a platform incorporating an isolating polymer sheet between sheets of stainless steel. This platform mounts on an elastomeric suspension. The entire assembly works much like a raft floating on a quiet lake, thoroughly protected from onshore disturbances. A machined, solid aluminum enclosure with 8.2mm-thick walls houses the entire assembly and blocks electromagnetic interference. Altair II also benefits from what may be the most precise, sonically benign volume control ever created. Instead of the usual mechanical potentiometer, we use optically controlled resistors that can be adjusted to an accuracy of 0.1 dB. Because the connection between the control circuit is optical, not electronic, there is no possibility for interference between the control circuit’s microprocessor and the audio signal path. Separate Power Supply We power Altair II using a separate, triple-transformer power supply, itself shielded by a machined aluminum chassis. This supply delivers isolated power feeds to left and right channels and the control circuitry, thus preserving Altair II’s fully dual mono operation and outstanding channel separation. With its innovative circuitry and incomparable build quality, Altair II achieves something no other preamp can: the musicality of classic tube preamps with precision and dynamics matched by no other solid-state preamp. Only upon hearing the Altair II can one appreciate the musical experience it delivers.