Aero Capitole as a preamp?

Im thinking of rearranging my system and wonder if the Aero will be a good preap for my analog system, and is it better, worse or the same as my current preamp. Currently I have a Aesthetix Calypso and the analog front end it TNT 5 with the Whest phono stage. The Capitole would replace the Calypso, Sony 9000es VSD level 5 and one interconnect and one power cord. Does it make sence?


I've been this path already, and all I can tell you is that you will most likely be disappointed with the preamp performance, especially compared to your Calypso. I too wanted it to replace seperates and cables, but no go.

I had the Audio Aero Prima DAC (same DAC as in the Capitole) with the built-in preamp like the Capitole, and it was average at best, nothing noteworthy. At that time, my Modwright 999ES was also better than the Prima DAC, so the DAC was sold rather quickly. I now have a Modwright 9000es, which is quite a bit better than the 999ES.

To answer your question, IMO, no, it doesn't make sense to me and I think you will be disappointed.
I too have the (fantastic) Calypso pre. Last summer, I auditionned a Capitole MKII SE CDP in my system. It was wonderful sounding.

However, when I bypassed the Calypso and went straight from the Capitole CDP to my power amps, the music sounded VERY thin.

I was stunned at how the detail & richness had shut down without my Calypso in the audio chain. The AA dealer told me that the "buffering" from a good pre-amp does wonders.

Don't sell the will likely regret it.
I use my audio Aero as a pre and I love it. I have to admit that I have not auditioned the Calypso. I run my Satellite via toslink, my DVD using coax and the latest version of the Capitole allows for an analog passthru for use with a tuner. I bi-amp from the Audio Aero using the RCA to my McIntosh 2102 amp and I use the balanced output to my matching Audio Aero Capitole amp which sits in my office. The only thing it won't do is allow for a vinyl input.

If you do a search of Audio Aero hereabouts in the discussion forums you will find almost universal support for this unit.
Having owned the Capitole and having run it in both direct and via separate preamp, my answer depends on the quality of your preamp.

The Calypso is a pretty darn good preamp, so your results are not likely to improve, the question would be would they suffer? Possibly some.

I ran my Capitole directly to a Mark Levison amp with Wilson Duette speakers in a small room, set up as a second system and I loved the Capitoles performance. In this same system, I found that the use of either a Cary SLP 2002 or a BAT VK 5i did not show much noticeable improvement over running directly. In my other system in a much larger room (comparitively speaking), it sounded better through either of these preamps running with Watt/Puppy speakers.

If you require selling the Calypso et al to buy the Capitole, I would second guess this move. It may leave you without a preamp you probably really like and a sound that does not improve. Additionally, I have a bit of concern with the reliability of the AA units - they are made in France.
I have run my prestige everyday for a year with NO problems.
In my system I disconnected the pre amp section and experience
a nice sonic improvement(more drive and extension). I believe
the AA with the preamp disconnected, running direct sounds
best in my system. That said I would not sell your pre amp,you would end
up buying another down the road.
Audio Aero just came out with a new Capitole that does not have the preamp section. Maybe they've seen the light as well.
Hi Saxman2,

I have the Capitole MKII and was wondering if you knew how to disconnect the in-built pre-amp. I'm currently using the Supratek Cabernet Dual and find it superior to the one built into the Capitole. Thus, if I could by-pass the built-in pre-amp in the Capitole, that would be fantastic (one less circuit path)
There's a signature upgrade coming for the Calypso that you may want to investigate.
hi Clipsal, I disconnected the input section not the
volume control. I have tried running through another pre amp and still prefer it direct. I wish I could bypass the the whole volume control section but really haven't investigated it. It has a beefier sound now.
Anybody know more on the Calypso signature upgrade?