RHEA PHONO STAGE
Rhea is an all-tube phono stage, suitable for moving coil and moving magnet cartridges. It offers high maximum gain at 75 dB, making it ideal for low output cartridges. Rhea broke new ground as the first phono stage with 3 phono inputs, the first with gain and loading settings stored in memory for every input, and the first with full remote control adjustability. Dual-mono audio boards provide superb channel separation and soundstaging. A cartridge demagnetizer is a built-in convenience that can also be operated by remote control. The all-aluminum chassis is designed for rigidity and acoustic inertness, the brushed anodized panels are beautiful too. Rhea has enjoyed worldwide acclaim for its sound quality, build quality, flexibility and ease of use.
- Three RCA inputs.
- Each input has its own gain and loading setting that is saved even when in standby mode or the unit is turned off.
- Zero feedback.
- 40-75dB gain maximum, selectable via front panel or remote control.
- 9 MC loading settings: 75-47,000 ohms, selectable via front panel or remote control.
- Remote control of gain, loading, input switching, mute, and demagnetizer.
- Built-in MC cartridge demagnetizer.
- Two sets of XLR and two sets of RCA outputs per channel.
- All tube amplification and output (10 tubes total).
- Full function remote included.
- Available in black or silver faceplate.
Rhea is available in three versions: Standard, Signature and Eclipse.
The standard version uses high-grade Rel-Cap polypropylene coupling capacitors. The Signature version uses exotic and expensive coupling capacitors and other critical parts to bring the performance to a higher level.
All versions of Rhea can be factory upgraded to Signature.
The Aesthetix Rhea Signature version uses custom-made inter-stage Teflon hybrid coupling capacitors, replacing the polypropylene units, between the 2nd and 3rd, and 3rd and 4th, gain stages (4 total per channel). The change in these capacitors results in higher resolution, extension, less grain and more air. The 2uF coupling capacitor between the 1st and 2nd gain stages is replaced with a 4uF Dynamicap by Peter Moncrief (1 per channel). This change removes grain and provides more openness, while also increasing bass dynamics and slam. The 2uF output coupling capacitors (4 per channel) are also replaced with 4uF Dynamicaps. This change provides more drive, bass extension, resolution and dynamics while also reducing grain. Highly specialized adjustable air-core capacitors, used primarily in the radio-frequency realm, are installed and adjusted to "tweek" each unit to a rigid standard. The five rubber feet are replaced with Harmonic Resolutions Systems' Nimbus Couplers specially made for Aesthetix (Earlier Signature Saturn pieces did not incorporate this, please contact Aesthetix for this free upgrade if you have an earlier Signature piece without the Nimbus Couplers). This change results in a lower noise floor and more air and space. The cost of these specialized parts alone is about 1/4 the manufacturing cost of a brand new unit! Any tubes that can be bettered by our special stock of graded and matched tubes are replaced. Any other improvements needed to make the unit current are installed, including software updates, etc. A new lens with "SIGNATURE" stenciled is installed. Each Signature unit undergoes rigorous test procedures and listening.
NEW RHEA ECLIPSE
First phase: Internal changes to the Rhea start with .22uF / 600v Stealth coupling capacitors used between the second and third gain stages, and the third gain stage and output stage. Eight total of these exotic capacitors are used.
There are four 2uF / 400v coupling capacitors used in each channel of the output stage of the Rhea. In the Eclipse version, these are replaced with Stealth copper foil 4uF/400v, improving low frequency response. This capacitor is also used between the first and second gain stages.
Second phase: High frequency tuning capacitors are installed and hand-adjusted to tailor the frequency response to a tight .1dB standard (as also found on our Signature version).
Third phase: The high voltage transformer, heater transformer and high voltage choke are all re-installed on isolation mounts. Harmonic Resolutions Systems' Nimbus Couplers specially made for Aesthetix replace the four rubber feet of standard units (as also found on our Signature version). The new power supply is installed with enhanced ventilation. Additional damping material is added to key chassis points.
Fourth phase: A single point ground system is used to ground the transformer cases as they are no longer electrically grounded to the chassis via physical contact due to their isolation mounts. All Eclipse Rhea, Calypso and Janus units receive a new power supply, which has been refined by improved trace routing to further reduce extraneous noise.
RHEA REVIEWS & ACCOLADES
...transient quickness and speed without etch, a feeling of effortlessness on crescendos, and a deep layered soundstage..." The Absolute Sound High-End Audio Buyers Guide (Spring 2013, RHEA and RHEA SIGNATURE)
...redefines what's possible at this price level not only sonically, but functionally... transient quickness and speed without etch, a feeling of effortlessness on crescendos, and a deep, layered soundstage..." -Robert Harley, TAS
The metal work, industrial design, interior layout and build quality are exemplary." -Robert Harley, TAS
The Absolute Sound Editor's Choice Award (2005-2011, RHEA and RHEA SIGNATURE phono stage). Please email us your address to receive a reprint of TAS Issue 196 that includes Robert Harley's review of Rhea and an interview with Jim White.
Rhea's most remarkable accomplishment is to put together an extraordinary combination of sonic performance and useful features at a price that is within reach." -Michael Fremer, Stereophile Class A Recommended Component: RHEA phono stage
...where the Rhea really shone was dimensionality... senses of heft, depth, and height... a musical flow that is more like a live performance... (Rhea) clearly distinguishes itself as the most accomplisehd of the three." -Peter Roth SoundStage!HI-FI (SoundStage.com, 2011, RHEA SIGNATURE phono stage) Rhea Signature comparison with Parasound Halo JC 3 and Ayre P-5xe phono stages, read review
The Absolute Sound Product of the Year (2009, RHEA SIGNATURE phono stage) The Absolute Sound Product of the Year (2003, RHEA phono stage)
The Absolute Sound Top Pick (2009, RHEA phono stage)
I loved the Rhea...very well built, pleasant aesthetics...quality similar to my reference phono stage which costs double" -Marco Benedetti, AudioReference.it (Italy, 2010) read review
Review by CAЛOH Audio Video (Russia, 2010, RHEA phono stage)
Ultimately, the essence of the Rheas proved to be their ability to capture the gestalt of the music being played -- a communication of the wholeness of the performance with its emotional impact intact." -Peter Roth, UltraAudio.com (2009, RHEA and RHEA SIGNATURE phono stage), read review
...a top choice for smooth, accurate, uncolored, highly detailed sound." -Robert Levi, Positive-Feedback.com (2004, RHEA phono stage), read review
The Rhea's (performance) was further proof, if any were needed, of the microdynamic magic of fine tubes... Judged by the high standards Jim White set for himself in designing it or considered strictly on its own merits, the Aesthetix Rhea is a runaway success." -Paul Bolin, Stereophile (2003, RHEA phonostage), read review
Please email us your regular mailing address to receive a hard copy reprint of TAS Issue 196 that includes Robert Harley's review of Rhea and an interview with Jim White.
Inputs: 3 discrete phono inputs with RCA (SE)
Gain settings (selectable for each input): 8 total; 75, 68, 62, 56, 50, 44, 38 dB, and off
Load settings (selectable for each input): 9 total: 47 K ohms, 10K, 5K, 2.5K, 1K, 500 ohms, 250, 125, and 75 ohms
Outputs: 2 RCA (SE) and 2 XLR (balanced)
Output impedence: 1K ohms RCA (SE), 600 ohms XLR (balanced)
Front panel controls: phono input, mute, gain, loading, demagnetizer, and standby
Remote controls: phono input, mute, gain, loading, demagnetizer, and standby
Frequency response: +- 0.25 dB, 20 Hz - 20 KHz
Signal to noise: measured at 70 dB minimum A-weighted (ref 1 mv input, 75 dB gain setting)
Recommended load: 10 k ohms or greater
Tubes (each channel): V1 & V2 (12AX7LP-factory graded low noise), V3 & V4 (12AX7 or equivalent) and V5 (6922)
Power consumption: 20 watts standby, 100 watts active
Physical dimensions: 4 3/8" high, 17 7/8" wide, 18" deep including jacks
Shipping weight: 40 lbs.
Specifications subject to improvement or change without notice.