Accuphase C-3900

Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of Accuphase Laboratory Inc., the Japanese high-end hi-fi manufacturer has started to develop a new flagship model. The entire wealth of experience of the company was to be incorporated into this model. Now, according to Accuphase Laboratory Inc. after five years, the work is complete and the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier can be presented.


The Japanese company Accuphase Laboratory Inc. has always been known for applying a remarkable, unique depth of development as the basis for its outstanding solutions, in which no aspect is actually left unconsidered where not every component is selected for its influence on sound quality and the design is adapted accordingly. The effort and expense involved in producing the products is correspondingly high across the entire product spectrum. Solutions from Accuphase Laboratory Inc. have thus enjoyed an impeccable reputation for years.

When it comes to the development of a solution to be presented on the occasion of a special company anniversary, and which, as in the case of Accuphase Laboratory Inc., is to represent no less than the essence of 50 years of experience and expertise in the development of amplifier systems, it must be something truly exceptional. And this is exactly what the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier is supposed to be able to do, it is nothing less than what is the DNA of the Japanese high-end hi-fi forge. It is the new flagship, into which the company’s wealth of experience has been incorporated and which took no less than five years to develop.

The remarkable thing is that the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier is “only” a preamplifier, and in view of this, a glance at the lavishly equipped interior, the construction, which has been refined down to the last detail with the finest components, clearly shows that the promise of having really done everything to achieve optimum sound quality here is certainly not an empty one.

Rather, one is rightly talking about a solution that has been implemented without compromise, that offers the ultimate in performance and that is intended to herald a new era in the field of preamplifiers.

The new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier is based on a circuit design in the form of a discrete input stage with current feedback and a high gain factor.

Once again, the developers have opted for the so-called AAVA design for the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier. AAVA stands for Accuphase Analog Vari-gain Amplifier Technology and describes the concept of volume control, which according to Accuphase Laboratory Inc. is essential for the overall quality of an amplifier. This is where a preamplifier is lifted to a completely different level than other concepts.

AAVA was first used in the Accuphase C-2800 preamplifier and has been continuously improved ever since. Accuphase Laboratory Inc. believes that the Accuphase Analog Vari-gain Amplifier technology is a purely analog solution for volume control that does not rely on resistors, but converts the music signal into 16 differently weighted currents. These are then combined according to the position of the volume control, so that the desired listening level is achieved exactly. The signal path is thus free of conventional potentiometers that could cause noise, and the rotary encoder for controlling the volume is thus actually only a pulse generator.

The outstanding feature of the Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier is that it is based on a Dual Balanced AAVA design, which means that it goes a decisive step further. Two symmetrically designed AAVA circuits are used in parallel, so that the already remarkably low noise level of previous generations of preamplifiers has been reduced by a further 30 percent.

Here too, the concept around AAVA is combined with ANCC Technology, whereby this Accuphase Noise and Distortion Cancelling Cuircuit also reduces noise and distortion.

By the way, it should be mentioned that the developers also realised the control of the balance with the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier by means of Dual Balanced AAVA.

In order to prevent the rotary encoder itself from being a spoilsport, the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier features a particularly high-quality, sophisticated volume level sensor design that guarantees ultra-smooth and silent, precise operation.

The choice of active input is also not based on standard solutions, but rather on logic-controlled relays that have been selected to guarantee both the best sound and a long service life.

The new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier also offers both tone control and loudness functions in the proven manner.

The new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier has no shortage of inputs, with six pairs of unbalanced RCA sockets available. In addition, there are four balanced inputs in the form of XLR connectors. One Record Out or Record In, two Line Out in the form of pairs of RCA sockets, one Pre In as a pair of RCA sockets and one as XLR, plus two Main Out in the form of XLR sockets, all this can be found on the rear panel, which is virtually littered with interfaces.

By the way, the phase position can be individually adjusted for each input and the overall gain can be selected between 12 dB, 18 dB and 24 dB. The stereo signal can be switched to mono mode and there is an additional switch for a 20 dB level reduction.

The front panel also has an output for headphones, with a separate, discrete headphone amplifier behind it.

Apart from this, the front of the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier naturally features the input selector switch and the volume control, both of which flank the centrally located display. Directly below the display, a control panel folds out to provide all the other controls mentioned above.

Particularly noteworthy is also the effort that the developers put into the power supply of the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier. This has separate power supplies for the left and right channels, using toroidal transformers with a total of twelve 10,000 μF screen capacitors.

The complete construction of the preamplifier could be taken as a prime example of the design of such electronics, everything is finely tuned and the individual components are strictly separated. In addition, special printed circuit boards made of GFK with fluorocarbon resin are used, which should be characterised by a low dielectric constant and low dissipation factor.

The housing is constructed in a tried and tested manner from extremely solid metal, whereby particular value was placed on a solid base plate and cover plate, which guarantees optimum rigidity of the entire housing construction. The front panel is made of solid aluminium with a brushed surface in the typical Accuphase gold tone. The sides are flanked by fine wooden frames. The Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier sits on insulator feet made of cast iron, using an alloy with a particularly high carbon content to achieve optimum decoupling.

Getting to the point

The remarkable thing is that the new Accuphase C-3900 Precision Stereo Preamplifier is “only” a preamplifier, in view of which a glance at the lavishly equipped interior, the construction, which has been refined down to the last detail with the finest components, clearly shows that the promise of having really done everything to achieve optimum sound quality here is certainly not an empty one. Rather, one is rightly talking about a solution that has been implemented without compromise, that offers the ultimate in performance and that is intended to herald a new era in the field of preamplifiers.

Manufacturer:Accuphase Laboratory Inc.
Distribution:R.M.S. State of the Art Audiovisual Products
Price:€ 32.200,-

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