I can't think of another line preamp under $8k that I'd rather live with - it's that good!" - Dick Olsher, The Absolute Sound.
The ca21’s full-size chassis provides a much larger playground for Mystère’s European engineers. It gives them space, a tremendous advantage for less restrictive designs, for more and improved power supplies, and for the most advantageous wiring positions.
It takes a lot of trial and error to find the best route for wires; the more space, the more options—but ultimately, the better the result. With these separates, the results are phenomenal.
Like the ca11, the ca21 uses an SRPP (Series Regulated Push-Pull) circuit for high gain, low distortion and very low output impedance by using a variation of the White Cathode Follower. The circuit uses no negative feedback for more natural tonality.
It uses a single 5AR4 for rectification followed by a massive pi network consisting of a big inductor, separate left and right channel capacitors, regulator circuits and DC filament supplies.
Further improvements are realized by using a larger power transformer and increased power supply filtration. Add this together with high quality, heavy duty, 24-step volume attenuator and fast, wide-band polypropylene caps, point-to-point wiring with rigid copper wire, loosely insulated with silk tubing and you have a linestage preamp second to none.
Freq. Response: 8Hz - 200kHz @ 47k Ohms
Noise: 104dB A-weighted
Distortion: 0.05% @ 100mV, 0.12% @ 1V
Input Impedance: 150k Ohms
Output Impedance: 592 Ohms
Inputs: 4 pair RCA
Outputs: 1 pair RCA
Tube Compliment: 4 - 6SN7 & 1 - 5AR4
Weight: 45 lb (20 kg)
Dimensions: 16.9" x 7.9" x 16.4" (wxhxd)
Posted by Robin David. SMPTE & SBE on 1st Feb 2013
I am driving 8 Magneplanars with Bryston power amps and have enjoyed preamplifiers from Mark Levinson, Audio Research and Bryston.
About a year ago after talking with Kevin I purchased a Mystere CA21 preamplifier and switched it in to my system.
Wow, what a pleasant surprise, It is transparent, detailed enough that resolution isn't a worry, and fast and incisive enough to do full justice
to my varied music collection. A naturalness soon becomes quite a addictive. It's also lively in its dynamics and lifelike in its vividness and vitality.
Posted by Gary on 20th Mar 2012
I bought this preamp to replace a 35 year old Luxman solid state, which is still working perfectly well, but I was intrigued about what a tube preamp could do for my tri-amped horn system with active crossover. Compared to the Luxman, the Mystere provides a deeper, wider, and taller soundstage, and very realistic uncolored sound. Music flows very naturally, tonality, timbre, harmonic structure, as well as bass, midrange, and treble, have improved. If you are looking for a beautifully designed and built preamp, this should be on your short list. Dick Olsher nailed it in his review in The Absolute Sound.
Posted by Mark Condon on 7th Mar 2012
In my system, the Mystere ca21 replaced an Aesthetix Calypso, which I had outfitted with the best NOS tubes I could find. Compared to the Aesthetix with NOS tubes, the Mystere ca21 with the stock tubes has better dynamics, deeper, more powerful bass, and a much wider soundstage. The Mystere is not fatiguing or bright sounding in the least. It is extremely musical and just makes the Aesthetix seem a bit boring and deficient in comparison. Don't get me wrong...the Calypso is a very good preamp that I enjoyed a lot. But in my system, the Mystere simply sounds significantly better. And, by the way, the Mystere costs less than half as much as a Calypso, making it a no-brainer for anyone on a budget.