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Audio Consulting MIPA 30

02.05.2013 // Jürgen Saile

The guts of the amplifier look very little like conventional equipment.
The guts of the amplifier look very little like conventional equipment.
The transformers are wound so that they greatly minimize thermal distortion. More on that later. Some listeners are probably concerned when they hear that there are  transformers in the signal path. You should remember, however, that professionals in the recording world use transformers everywhere and therefore not one "transformer-free" recording exists. The transformers employed have a core material of 035 grain oriented silicon iron. Schmidlin is quite secretive about his winding technology, much in the tradition of Japanese manufacturers like Tango, etc. That is very understandable when you consider the “knock-off” fury of many countries.

Meticulous attention is paid to the signal path by connecting all components with in-house silver wire. In addition, most components are not bolted, but clamped between the top and bottom of the unit with wooden columns and felt pads, thus damping them from vibrations. The amplifier delivers 30 watts into 8 ohms with 4 and 8 ohm taps.

But that is still not enough, there is much more to the design. The basis for this was written in several articles in the French magazine “L'Audiophile” in the late 70’s. Here, a French rocket scientist with the pseudonym Héphaïstos, examined the phenomenon of thermal distortion in transistors. This phenomenon does not seem to be very well known today or just may be ignored. In this extremely interesting essay, not only basic, but very complex circuits are described in which a multitude of semiconductors mutually try to compensate for this thermal distortion. The Swiss take a different path and try, on one hand to produce less distortion by using very simple circuits, and on the other hand to compensate for the rest by using specially wound transformers. It is certainly striking that the equipment remains cold even after many hours of operation.

One of the output transformers, wired using in-house silver cable with cotton insulation.
One of the output transformers, wired using in-house silver cable with cotton insulation.
To switch the unit on, “Pinocchio” has another special feature: besides "on" and "off" there is also a middle setting, which is always engaged briefly when turning on the machine. In order to limit the power up current, it is first sent through resistors to the capacitors - only when in the "On" position receiving full voltage. This protects the contacts of the ELMA switch from increased wear and tear. By the way, after a while you become so used to the long power button that a normal button somehow seems boring. It will be interesting how the MIPA contends in the "hostile" world of tube amplifiers. Due to the higher output impedance of my Shindo preamp, Schmidlin has created an input that takes this into account. This also shows that individual solutions for Audio Consulting represent no problem.


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