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Old 19th August 2003, 06:51 AM   #1
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Default Please! Help me identify this equipment

The name of Swiss audio equipment manufacturer Orpheus Laboratories is all over the Internet recently, but entirely for their new slimline products. These older products are anything but slim! And finding information about them has proven next to impossible for me! I guess they are not mass-produced products but custom-made. There is zero documentation with this set, but the component layout is so simple, I should think it wouldnft be all that hard to service. (Wishful thinking.) Does anyone recognize any of them? Or, by looking at the insides, can you venture an educated guess as to what each piece of equipment might do? Finally, how old might this equipment be, based on the design? I can pick up all five units plus a few stray cables for the equivalent of US $400, including delivery to my door. Is this a no-brainer purchase? Or should I be skeptical? The seller knows less about this stuff than I do, and just wants to see it find a good home. He thinks they may have been used in a studio. I would guess either that or an auditorium. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated! Thank you.

Christopher Witmer
Tokyo

Links to photos of "Orpheus Music Reference" system
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File Type: jpg orpheus00.jpg (24.4 KB, 503 views)
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Old 22nd August 2003, 09:16 AM   #2
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Default Some clarification on how I'm confused

In case anyone is interested in helping me out, I thought I would bring people up to speed on what I have learned so far:

1. It isn't made by Orpheus Laboratories in Switzerland. It is either a small manufacturer's one-off or a individual's work.

2. The set consists of a passive preamp and two power amplifiers. Each power amplifier has a power supply housed in a separate cabinet. The power supply cabinets also house 4 VU meters each. Two of these VU meters are labeled "V" and two are labeled "A," so we have two channels being monitored for voltage and wattage.

3. The power amplifers are of different outputs, so they are intended for bi-amping.

4. The power supplies seem to lack filtering capacitors. I don't see capacitors anywhere. This strikes me as very odd. I'm no expert, and I know DC amplifiers eliminate capacitors between amp stages, but I never heard of an amp that didn't have a capacitor anywhere.

5. Another very peculiar feature is that each amplifier seems to have only a single speaker connection, even though there are clearly two input channels. This almost makes sense -- two monaural amplifiers give stereo -- until one remembers that the two amplifers are of vastly different outputs. They are clearly intended for bi-amping. Biamping for a single loudspeaker? When the amps have two input channels? One person suggested that perhaps the speaker terminals are somewhat similar to the Neutrik Speakon connectors, that use four-core cable to connect multiple speakers with a single connector.

At any rate, these are truly UNUSUAL amplifiers. If anyone can gain any new insights from looking at the pictures, I'd sure be glad to hear!
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Old 22nd August 2003, 09:23 AM   #3
yeti is offline yeti  Germany
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4.) The filtering capacitors may be in the power amplifier cases.

Can you make pictures of the back just to see what kind of connectors there are?

Arne
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Old 22nd August 2003, 09:35 AM   #4
cdl is offline cdl  Denmark
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The top two boxes look rather like power supplies, judging from connectors and insides.

The middle box (with the two knobs) is clearly a preamp with volume control and input selector.

The bottom two are power amps, one possibly more powerful than the other (very small heatsink in one of the amps); one of the heatsinks may have been replaced at some time. Otherwise the electronics seem quite alike.

The abscence of transformers, and the connector layout, suggests that the two top boxes are separate power supplies; probably the big one for the power amps and the small one for the preamp.

No idea as to age, cost etc. I definately wouldn't buy anything before seeing, touching and hearing it in real life... man I had bad experiences with buying used gear even after having touched and heard etc.!

In general, it is seldom that you find something good really cheap, unless there is something wrong with it

Happy hunting
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Old 22nd August 2003, 09:38 AM   #5
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Default The pictures show virtually everything

Arne, thanks for your kind reply. There are 17 pictures in all at the link provided in the original post, and they show each piece of equipment from front, rear, and then inside. The pictures could be a bit sharper, but basically they show almost everything that there is to see.

Gratefully,

Christopher Witmer
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Old 22nd August 2003, 09:46 AM   #6
cdl is offline cdl  Denmark
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I think you are wrong about the two channel inputs on the power amps. I think they are the power connectors - look at the back of the power supply. Same connector type. I think the signal connector is the white one located at beside the speaker terminal (matches the shielded cable inside).

And I think the little PSU may be for the preamp - or possible for preamp and driver stages of power amps. The bigger PSU for both power amps, or only for output stages (explains the two power input connectors). The preamp isn't passive, it has a power input to the left of the back panel. Probably has phono input (has an earth terminal).

The PA's are definately mono; only one input cable (white) and two speaker output cables (copper) inside.

I woudn't be sure about the bi-amping in mono - the more I think of it, the more probable that the amps are electronically identical, but one of them for some reason has a larger heatsink than the other. Look at the components; they seem the same, and the number of power transistors is also the same.

Filtering caps: there looks like a very high inductance after the transformers, which should tackle som PSU noise; the power amps may make do with the blue caps you see on the pictures.

/cdl
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Old 22nd August 2003, 09:53 AM   #7
matth is offline matth  United Kingdom
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I'd buy it just for the parts.
Nice cases.
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Old 22nd August 2003, 10:26 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by cdl
I think you are wrong about (various items mentioned)

/cdl
CDL, I think you are amazing to be able to see something so simple that MANY others -- including some very talented amp designers -- overlooked. I guess sometimes it's all a matter of being able to get the right perspective on something. In any case, I think you have nailed it.

Quote:
Originally posted by cdl
Filtering caps: there looks like a very high inductance after the transformers, which should tackle som PSU noise; the power amps may make do with the blue caps you see on the pictures.

/cdl
You know, I thought those were porcelain wire-wound resistors, and I kept thinking to myself, "What on earth are these huge resistors doing here? It doesn't make sense." I'll say it doesn't make sense! Talk about a nutty idea! But I wonder what kind of capacitors those are? I've never seen anything like them.

Thanks again! Brilliant detective work from afar!

Christopher Witmer
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Old 22nd August 2003, 10:39 AM   #9
cdl is offline cdl  Denmark
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Hi Chris,

I don't think they [green things in PSU's] are capacitors, but inductors (coils, that is), which do (simplified, in any case) just about the opposite of capacitors.

So (very simplified) instead of a large capacitance in parallel with the transformer, and a small inductance / resistance in series with it (as most power supplies), these amps may use the opposite approach:

A large inductance (the green coils) in series with the transformer, and smaller capacitance (the blue caps in the power amp housings) might do just about the same job?

[any comments on this from someone more experienced in electronics than me???]

Anyway, I think that might be the explanation for the lacking filtering caps... would require a rather well-sized tranny, I guess.

Cheers
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Old 22nd August 2003, 11:03 AM   #10
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Default Still more questions !

Now, my only remaining worry is, how hard is something like this going to be to repair if it malfunctions? (Seeing as I lack any documentation.)

I should think that any decent repair technician should be able to find his way around inside this equipment. But if the power amplifiers are getting power from TWO power supplies, it means that if either power amplifier needs servicing, a total of three pieces of equipment will have to be sent in to the shop!

Is isolation of power supplies like this really advantageous from the perspective of hi-fi sound reproduction?

THANKS!

-- Chris Witmer
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