The Products Story
The Formal Version:
Jeffrey Jackson and Dave Slagle created EMIA to fulfill the need for affordable high end audio components using clever design and quality parts. The unassuming chassis design and low ratio of manufacturing to retail cost make these products an exceptional value in high end audio.
We are music junkies. We got into building HiFi to connect more with the music. We found that the better the HiFi was, the easier it was to find the music. It was never about the gear. In fact, we built completely exposed circuits on scrap plywood - no enclosure or cabinet at all. We built in this manner simply because it was the most efficient method to get the best sound. EMIA is our project to bring this philosophy to other music junkies. EMIA is minimalism in chassis presentation and maximization in music presentation.
Moving the bling from the outside to the inside was a conscious decision. We both consider ourselves craftsmen, but have foregone excess expense on the chassis so that we can bring you valuable circuit concepts like high transconductance vacuum tubes, choke input power supplies, tube rectification, and even permalloy chokes. In addition to the minimalist chassis design, we are able to stuff this phono stage with extremely high quality parts because of the simple and novel circuit. We are very proud of the circuit. There are only two amplification devices, and those are directly coupled to each other. There is very little in the signal path to alter that delicate signal coming off the record. Minimal. Go figure.
Emia Phono and Remote Attenuator
If you want shiny audio jewelry, boy have you come to the wrong place. We have taken a staunch "no bling" platform and if you feel the need for a big polished aluminum chassis to impress your friends, you really need to get some new friends. The goal of our minimalist design is to put emphasis on the most important thing and as JC says, "It's about the music, stupid!" In all honesty we are secretly into bling but we put it where it counts.... on the inside.
The sad reality is that oustide of Emia, we make very expensive things. The intact permalloy that goes into the Kahn Experience costs more than we beg for a deliverd Emia Phono. Luckily we are crafty bastards with great ears and have figured the right corners to cut to get 90% of the way there at 10% of the cost. The technical bits on the phono reside where the audio junkies hang out.
Come on people, resistive attenuators are so last century. Real systems use inductive volume controls. It started with Western Electric, Luxman did it in the 70's and the concept moved onto the Silver Rock. Flash forward a decade+ and the same concept is still making music for the masses. The Dick Olsher review shows how you can box these things up if you are DIY or you can pony up and get something that matches your Emia Phono. If you won't take our word that they sound awesome and need some rational thinking more info is here. If you are still not convinced, Arthur Salvatore (who invented the Bolero test) considers the Emia Manual atteunator the only passive worthy of a class A rating.
The Manual Attenuator
The switch on the top has 12 positions that are in 3.75dB increments. The switch on the bottom has 3 positions allowing +1.25dB, 0dB and -1.25dB modification of the overall level. By using this dual switch arrangement 1.25dB steps are possible. The total attenuation range goes from +1.25dB to -41.25 dB in 32 steps. The combination of 1.25dB steps and the dual mono design allows for transparent balance control. Units come with two inputs and parallel outputs.
The Remote Autoformer
If you are too lazy to get out of that comfy listening chair we have the perfect solution for you in the form of a remote autoformer attenuator. These units provide seamless control from +7dB to -53dB in 1 dB steps. As an added bonus, there is penalty free balance control in 1dB increments. If you really want to gild the lilly, both the remote and manual are available with .9999 pure silver wound autoformers. The remote units use the same autoformer design as the manual units and have two inputs and parallel outputs.
A short list of future emia products in development. Tune into the Blog for updates.
MC Step Up transformers
Permalloy 50 amp
Strain Gauge Phono
Field Coil MC cartridge