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Constellation Audio Orion

Like all Constellation Audio products, the Orion was conceived by our "dream team" of the world's best audio engineers and industrial designers. Its phono preamp section was created by John Curl, the world's most acclaimed phono preamp designer. Its line stage is based on the Line Stage Gain Module concept developed by veteran high-end designer Peter Madnick. Its chassis is the creation of Alex Rasmussen, perhaps the most prolific industrial designer in high-end audio. Each Orion is assembled by hand in our Newbury Park, California factory.
The core of the Orion is its dual-mono phono preamp section, which uses fully separate, isolated circuit boards for left and right channels. The entire component is laid out in a mirror-imaged design, with left-channel input and output jacks on one side of the rear panel and right-channel jacks on the other side. Each channel also has its own power supply.
Machined remote control The preamp circuits are similar in execution to the innovative Line Stage Gain Module used in the Altair II preamp. Each circuit is built from discrete field-effect transistors (FETs) hand-selected from our private stock. These are the lowest-noise FETs we have ever found. Like the FETs in the Line Stage Gain Module, they are no longer available – and in fact they are in even shorter supply. However, we have enough in stock to supply the anticipated demand for the Orion. Like the Line Stage Gain Module, the Orion's preamp uses an innovative servo circuit to track the balance for the XLR output, automatically correcting for slight positive-to-negative imbalances caused by imperfections in the vinyl playback hardware. Thus, the signal is as perfectly balanced as it can be.
The Orion is easily one of the most flexible and versatile phono preamps ever designed. It incorporates a unique record EQ circuit that performs flawless RIAA equalization, yet also allows user adjustability of the high- and low-frequency filters. This allows the Orion to deliver superb sound even with records that are not well-mastered, and also with old, pre-RIAA records.
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The Orion is likely the finest phono stage ever created: the first phono preamp manufactured with the incomparable quality and attention to detail found in Constellation Audio's Altair II and Hercules Reference Series components. Not only is the Orion the first component to bring Reference Series sound quality to vinyl records, it offers unique flexibility and adjustability that lets it deliver the best possible sound quality from any cartridge... and any record.


The machined aluminum remote control allows adjustment of the EQ from the comfort of your listening chair. You can make changes on the fly from the exact position where you want to hear them; there's no need to get up, make a change, then sit back down to evaluate it. The remote also allows adjustment of load impedance for moving-coil cartridges, ensuring optimal performance no matter what cartridge(s) you choose. Load capacitance and impedance for moving-magnet cartridges can be adjusted through controls on the Orion.
To accommodate multiple turntables or tonearms, the Orion includes three inputs: two MC, one MM, both with XLR and RCA jacks. Each input can be separately preset for loading (on MC inputs), gain, stereo/mono and EQ curve. XLR and RCA outputs are provided.
The Orion's audio circuits are mounted on a "raft," a platform made from metal sheets and vibration-absorbing polymer. The raft is mounted on an elastomeric suspension that isolates the circuits from vibration, much as a raft floating on a lake is undisturbed by events onshore. This unprecedented degree of physical isolation is especially beneficial for phono preamp circuits, which because of their very high gain tend to be microphonic.
All circuits are housed in an enclosure machined from solid aluminum billet. The walls have a minimum thickness of 8.2mm, thick enough to block 50/60 hertz electromagnetic interference.
Orion gets its power from a separate, triple-transformer supply that sits under the main chassis. There are separate transformers for the left and right channels, and a third transformer for the control circuits. The power supply is itself shielded by a machined aluminum chassis, to further isolate the sensitive preamp circuits from any electromagnetic emissions created by the power supply.
There is simply no other phono stage that compares to the Orion. None can match its circuit design, its flexibility, its convenience, its build quality or–most important–its sheer musicality.


Inputs: 3 XLR stereo, 3 RCA stereo

Outputs: 1 XLR stereo, 1 RCA stereo

Gain, B & UB (Balanced & Unbalanced): 65 dB max

Recording outputs: 1 XLR stereo, 1 RCA stereo

THD+N: <0.004%, 10 Hz - 20 kHz

Frequency response: +/-0.10db 10Hz - 20kHz

Output noise: -100 dB re 2V output, 20 Hz to 20 kHz

Load impedance, MC inputs:  0Ω to 500Ω

Load impedance, MM input: 10KΩ to 100KΩ

Load capacitance, MM input: 100 to 400 pF, selectable

Output impedance, B & UB: < 50Ω

EQ curve: RIAA plus user-adjustable HF and LF EQ

Weight: 38.2 kg

Dimensions, phono preamp: 44.5 x 14 x 37.6 cm (whd)

Dimensions, power supply: 44.5 x 7.2 x 36.8 cm (whd)