AUDIA FLIGHT FL-S1 high-end Preamp (optional DAC/Phono/Streamer plug-in modules)

AF 14 PA FLS1
NZ$ 9,995.00 ea (incl. GST)
Audia Flight

"Our products come from the synergy between sophisticated and original design, Italian style."

New

Audia Flight initially announced the FLS1 concept about three years ago but then spent three years more before finally introducing the FLS1. It was crucial for Audia Flight team the experience made with the Strumento n.1 mk2 worldwide awarded preamplifier.

Audia Flight's FLS1 was conceived to address the growing demand for a combined, DAC and preamplifier component without compromise.

Many of todays current DAC/ preamplifiers provide adequate digital performance but, all too often, compromise the best possible preamplifier performance and flexibility by using digital domain volume control and line stage functions. The FLS1 is a true Class A/B analog based preamplifier, combining high performance analog line stage performance with reference design volume control, while providing true reference 32 bit, 192KHz digital conversion capability and entirely separate USB supported DSD 5.6 file, 32 bit, 384 KHz capability.

The FLS1 is an unrivalled preamplifier in its category where speed, driving capability and control ability are elements close to perfection. 

Also a true Headphone power amplifier using Audia Flight technology ensure to your headphone a perfect and relaxed music listening. The output power is 12Wrms on 8 ohm! So it is able to drive any kind of headphone with perfect control and high current. Also two sets of gain can be chosen.

FLS1 is full balance preamplifier with an high-end volume control in dual mono configuration (each channel is assembled on separate print board), XLR and RCA outputs, REC RCA (fix level) output, three RCA inputs, two XLR inputs. 

The FLS1 is powered by three toroidal transformers close into a metal shield, with very low noise power supplies.

All inputs can be activated or deactivated, the gain can be adjusted (+/- 6dB), all name inputs can be renamed.

The FLS1 is the perfect device to “bring” musical signal with the best precision, energy and speed (with a bandwidth more than 500KHz) from sources to your amplifier.

Full brushed aluminium chassis, engraved “Audia Flight” logo on top cover, one aluminium remote control brushed and anodised, OLED blue display are Hi-END details.

There is the option to install two optional plug and play module cards, that are easy to install as follows:

Optional plug & play cards:

-MM/MC phono board with unbalanced inputs
-MM/MC phono board with balanced inputs
-RCA board (2 RCA additional inputs)
-DAC board. 1x asynchronous USB input (with Galvanic isolation) 32 bit 768KHz and DSD 5.6.
                       5x digital inputs (
1x optical, 1x AES/EBU, 2x SPDIF, 1x for Audia Flight SACD transport). 
                       32bit, 192KHz (with Galvanic isolation). Up-sampling 32bit 768KHz.

Specifications

Reviews

Specifications

Inputs: 
     3 unbalanced (RCA),
     2 balanced (XLR)
Outputs: 
     1 unbalanced (RCA),
     1 balanced (XLR),
     1 REC unbalanced (RCA)
     
Headphone output - power per channel: =12W Wrms on 8 ohm, 10Vrms
Gain range: -90dB / +10dB
Gain resolution: 0,5dB
Frequency response (-3dB): 0,3 Hz ÷ 500 KHz
THD: < 0,05 %
S/N Ratio: 110 dB
Input impedance: 47 Kohm
Output impedance: < than 1 ohm
Main voltage AC (50-60Hz): 100, 110-115, 220-230, 240 V
Stand-by power consumption: less than 1 W
Power consumption: 50 W
Dimensions and weight: 450x120x380mm (wxhxd) - 11Kg
Shipping dimensions and weight: 600x270x560mm (wxhxd) - 15 K

Reviews

Audia Flight preamplifier FLS1 and power amplifier FLS4 sound great together. Excellent workmanship and great versatility complete the extremely positive impression.
ROLAND DIETL (German translation)

SUMMARY: the "Intermezzo from Goyescas" by Enrique Granados with the New Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Rafael Frübeck of Burgos (Decca Legacy Volume One - FIM UHD), the FLS1 immediately shows its best side. Strong in tone, rhythmically and dynamically powerful, but always with the certain amount of fine spirit that makes the piece so impressive. Just as I wish, the sound dissolves in an impressive way from the speakers. The orchestra remains clearly staggered at all times, yet unbelievably closed, with the smallest details becoming audible. The string inserts have a radiance and intensity that is simply poignant. There is also a musical flow in the playback, which impresses me correctly. That's the way it has to be!

EXTENDED REVIEW: The final certainty came then when loading the devices in my car and the subsequent transport in my listening room. Actually, I should have known better, since my colleagues at Hifistatement have recently dealt several times with the devices of the Italian Nobelschmiede Audia Flight and reported on the usual, exceptionally high use of materials. Audia Flight currently offers three product lines. At the lower end ranks the small series Flight 3, which currently only consists of the integrated amplifier FL3S with a modest 16.5 kilograms live weight. Under the name Strumento the big models of Audia Flight operate. Big in the truest sense of the word, already brings the high-level precursor Strumento No. 1 whopping 28 kilograms on the scales, the associated stereo power amplifier weighs a subtle 90 kilograms and the mono power amplifier comes with a hefty 95 kilograms, of course, per device! Just below the Strumento line is now the new FLS series placed, which currently consists of the preamplifier FLS1, the stereo power amplifier FLS4 and the power amplifier FLS10 and the previous Classic series with the exception of the phono preamplifier replaced.

Especially for their Strumento series, the developers of Audia Flight have received consistently excellent reviews. What is more obvious than trying to achieve the musical qualities of the top devices at a more affordable price - ideally making the "Strumentos" small "Strumentinos". Sounds easier in theory than it actually is and requires different measures at the pre- and final stages.

Of course, as a tester you are tempted to look for the places where supposedly or actually saved. But that's not so easy with the two FLS. Already at first glance it can be seen how closely - at least visually - the relationship between the precursors FLS1 and Strumento no. 1 and the stereo power amplifiers FLS4 and Strumento no. 4 is. As with the Strumento amplifiers, the FLS chassis are made of high-quality aluminum parts, which are even laboriously polished manually after processing. The massive front contains the Audia-typical, curved opening, in which the large display sits and on which all operating conditions are clearly legible in blue letters. A difference to the top devices can not be identified at this point. So the search continues.

A first, non-sound-relevant difference can be seen in the inputs and outputs of the preliminary stages. The FLS1 has three unbalanced RCA and two balanced XLR inputs, while the large pre-amp offers five balanced XLR inputs, two of which can be switched to RCA unbalanced. For both devices, each input can be individually named and adjusted by +/- 6 decibels in level. This is really handy when different loud sources are used. Unused inputs can even be switched off completely with the FLS1. On the output side, the FLS1 has one RCA and one XLR pre-amp output, both of which can be used simultaneously. On the further XLR output of the large preliminary stage was waived. Furthermore, an RCA tape-out is available. A large part of the space on the back wall is occupied by two cover plates, behind which there are slots for expansion cards. A phono board for MM and MC pickups and a D / A converter board are according to sales in progress. If you want, you can upgrade your precursor later.

Like the big Strumento No. 1 also sets the FLS1 on several separate power supplies in the form of generously dimensioned toroidal transformers, which are encapsulated by the other circuit parts. All circuits are completely discrete and symmetrical in the double-mono design. The most striking difference to the large Strumento is the absence of a volume control with relay-connected individual resistors. Instead, the FLS1 uses an IC-based solution with an integrated module from the Muses series by chip specialist New Japan Radio. In Strumento No. 1 is also an additional electronic volume control, but is used only for rapid volume changes and then switched back out of the signal path. An austerity measure, however, I can not really see in the use of Muses chips, as this module is extremely high quality and is also used in other top preamplifiers in the world for level control. The resulting volume control has a spread of 100 dB, which works with a resolution of 0.5 decibels and at the same time assumes the balance setting. The associated ease of use is captivating. After pressing the switch-off button, the adjusted volume position is stored and then the volume control is gradually reduced, so that no sounds of the switch-off process are passed on to connected power amplifiers and loudspeakers. When switching on, the volume then increases again successively to those settings, which were saved when switching off. With the enclosed, naturally solid aluminium remote control, all functions of the device can be conveniently controlled from the listening position.

A feature donated by the developers of the FLS1, the large Strumento No. 1 does not have: a headphone output. This output can not only be switched between high gain and low gain, but it delivers, if need be, a whopping twelve watts into eight ohms! This should also be the most power hungry headphones can be driven to maximum performance.

Cost drivers for a power amplifier are primarily the available output power, the operating mode of the output stage used - Class A, AB, B or D - and derived from this the size of the heat sink and the power supply. The output power of the FLS4 is with 200 watts into eight ohms and 380 watts to four ohms of the larger sister hardly after. However, the pure Class A operation should not go quite as far as with the Strumento no. 4 with at least 25 watts. As a result, the FLS4 is a bit smaller, but the concept is the same: consistent dual mono setup, with each power amp being fully balanced.

The heart of every power amp is undoubtedly the power adapter. For the FLS4, this is a moulded and double shielded two kilowatt toroidal transformer with separate voltage taps for the left and right channels. The output stage is then screened for a total capacity of 288,000 microfarads, consisting of 16 low impedance capacitors with a capacity of 18,000 microfarads each. The output stage consists of a total of 32 power transistors. The circuit design of the small signal stage for the voltage amplification is based on the transimpedance concept with local current feedback and works completely in Class A mode. The entire circuit is built into a small metal housing and completely encapsulated with epoxy resin. This should be thermally stabilized this sensitive circuit part and shielded from external influences. For this circuit part, there are further sieve capacities of 18,000 microfarads available. Subsequently, the supplies for the input and driver stage are additionally electronically stabilised separately.

The entire power amplifier is controlled and monitored by a microprocessor. There is no fuse in the signal path itself. The processor controls the inrush current delay and allows the device to start up smoothly. The power amplifier reaches its typical operating temperature after about twenty minutes and is then full of sound. It speaks for the consequence of the developers that even these circuit parts are supplied by a separate power supply with a small auxiliary transformer with 15 watts to exclude any disturbance of the audio circuits. In total, there are twelve power supplies in the FLS4. In order for the individual circuit parts are completely decoupled and mutual interference can be avoided. The effort driven in the power supply speaks for itself.

The FLS4 can be controlled by both RCA and XLR cables. If you like, you can easily use the power amps for bi-amping in balanced operation, because in addition XLR outputs are available and the pre-amp signal can be easily looped through to another power amp. A double set of speaker terminals allows easy bi-wiring. Each output stage is completely symmetrical, which means that the minus terminals must never be earthed. Even more than the pre-stage FLS1, the power amp is for me a nearly identical little sister of the big Strumento No. 4th

In my popular test piece, the "Intermezzo from Goyescas" by Enrique Granados with the New Philharmonia Orchestra under the baton of Rafael Frübeck of Burgos (Decca Legacy Volume One - FIM UHD), the FLS1 immediately shows its best side. Strong in tone, rhythmically and dynamically powerful, but always with the certain amount of fine spirit that makes the piece so impressive. Just as I wish, the sound dissolves in an impressive way from the speakers. The orchestra remains clearly staggered at all times, yet unbelievably closed, with the smallest details becoming audible. The string inserts have a radiance and intensity that is simply poignant. There is also a musical flow in the playback, which impresses me correctly. That's the way it has to be!

Let 's listen next to Soltis Venice, which has recently become available as an excellent reissue from Analogue Productions as SACD (Solti & Orchestra Of The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden: VENICE - CAPC 23130 SA). The original recording has among collectors whether their tonal qualities and not least because of the rattling underground in the fourth piece legend status. The sound of the strings in the "prelude to the first act of La Traviata" is simply entrancing with the two audio flights: wonderfully round and full without any hardness, with a power and intensity that you do not often hear in this form.

The rendition of the piece "Dance of the Hours" by Ponchielli, a ballet insert from the third act of the opera La Gioconda, is equally thrilling, In a finely tuned play of colors of melodic and instrumental ideas, Ponchielli characterises and illustrates here the hours of the day and the unstoppable passage of time. The piece begins in pianissimo with the dawn, swells vigorously at lunchtime, succumbs to dusk until finally the hours of the night are driven out of the daytime in a brilliant finale. Again, the sound dissolves at any time, no matter whether in the loud or quiet places, in a captivating way of the speakers. What impresses me most is the inner strength and intensity of the two Audia flights in the furious finale. Here FLS1 and FLS4 together can fully exploit their exquisite dynamic abilities. This gives me the subjective impression

STATEMENT
Although in the internal family hierarchy of Audia Flight the "little ones", preamplifier FLS1 and power amplifier FLS4 sound great together. Excellent workmanship and great versatility complete the extremely positive impression.

……. ROLAND DIETL