L1 Dual Monaural Line-Stage

On the face of it, all a line-stage has to do is allow you to select between sources and set the system level. Sounds simple? Yet, not only is the quality and performance of the line-stage an absolutely key factor in determining overall system performance, there are fewer contenders for stateof-the-art line-stage honors than in any other product category. Maybe designing the best possible line-stage isn’t quite so simple after all.

“The L1 goes calmly about its business, the anchor to which the system’s absolute spatial and temporal stability are tied, the root of its remarkably low noise floor and sudden dynamic response. In many ways it’s the understated star turn that sums up the whole system.”


Product Description

Any great line-stage must possess transparency, ultra-low noise performance and absolute stability. It must anchor the incoming signals and deliver them onwards, propelled from a firm footing that ensures dynamic and musical authority. It must pass the source signals in your system, without limitation or disturbance, leaving no trace of itself on their passage. Any great line-stage needs to be the next best thing to sonically and musically invisible, the hi-fi equivalent of effortlessly enacting its own audio super power.

Like all CH Precision products, the L1 uses fully discrete, balanced and complementary design, ultra-short signal paths and exactingly selected components. It is fed from heavily regulated and filtered power supplies, is wide-bandwidth, high slew-rate and DC coupled. But in this critical application, that’s not enough. It’s one thing to eliminate unnecessary components from the signal path and eliminate DC offset at the inputs, but the L1 takes things much, much further than that. Completely separate left and right channel circuit boards prevent crosstalk, while a super sophisticated, software driven R-2R network for each channel employs precision metal-film resistors and allows precise level control in 0.5dB steps with the minimum possible number of components. DC offset is monitored and eliminating not just at the inputs but throughout the volume control ladder and at multiple points throughout the entire circuit. That makes the L1 not just one of the quietest line-stages ever built, it makes it one of the quietest in operation too.

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  • Dual Monaural (Left & Right channels in a single enclosure), 8 inputs
  • True Monaural (one channel per enclosure), 8 or 16 inputs

Inputs and Outputs

  • 8x line-level inputs (4x balanced XLR, 2x single-ended RCA, 2x single-ended BNC)
  • 4x pre-amplifier outputs (2prs balanced XLR, 1pr single-ended RCA, 1pr single-ended BNC)

Volume Control

  • 20bits R-2R ladder network
  • 118dB range in 0.5dB steps, from -100dB to +18dB
  • Tight tolerance high-grade metal film resistors

Analog Signal Path

  • Balanced XLR, single-ended RCA & BNC inputs and outputs
  • Powerful discrete output buffer to drive long interconnects and/or multiple amplifiers
  • Ultra-low-noise, high-bandwidth, high-slew-rate design
  • Pure class A, fully-symmetrical topology
  • Fully discrete, transistor based circuitry
  • Switchable absolute phase and mono settings

Power Supply

  • Dedicated discrete regulated linear power supplies
  • Ultra low noise, high accuracy regulation
  • Shunt regulators for all audio stages
  • Can be powered from the X1 External Power Supply

Optional Hardware

  • L1 Enclosure – the addition of a second L1 enclosure transforms the L1 into a True Monaural line pre-amplification system, with separate enclosures for each channel
  • Monaural Analog Preamplifier Board – in a True Monaural system (with two enclosures), each enclosure is able to receive an extra preamplifier board. This turns the L1 into a True Monaural Extended system, providing the preamplifier with 16 as opposed to 8 inputs, if required

Technical Specifications

Max analog input and output levels
16V RMS balanced
8V RMS single-ended

Input impedance
94kΩ or 600Ω balanced
47kΩ or 300Ω single-ended

Output impedance
BNC connectors: 50Ω
RCA connectors: 75Ω
XLR connectors: 2 x 30Ω

Frequency response
DC – 1MHz

Total Harmonic Distortion + Noise
Output 3V RMS, 22kHz BW
< 0.001%, 1kHz, unity gain

Signal to Noise Ratio
Maximum output
> 136dB, unity gain

440 x 440 x 133mm (W x D x H), 20kg

L1 Specific Downloads

CH-Control App

Meet the CH-Control App – a control application that allows users direct access to every aspect of their CH system’s set up and use via any Android portable device. The software control systems used to set and monitor the operational parameters of each and every CH component offer the perfect opportunity for remote operation via a portable App.

To use the CH-Control App, all you will need is an Android device and to connect your CH components to an Ethernet network. That can be done either through the Ethernet control board fitted as standard to all CH units, or through the network streaming board that can be installed in C1.2, C1.2 Mono or I1 units. We would always recommend using a dedicated tablet and network for your music streaming and system control requirements.

Once your CH system is all hooked up, the App gives you touch screen access to every setting on every CH component, from your listening seat, a huge benefit when it comes to whole system set up or optimization for individual recordings. Either way, the CH-Control App allows you to make easier and more accurate judgements: Total control, quite literally at your fingertips.

The features of every CH product are accessible through the CH-Control App:

  • Built-in UPnP controller to stream dematerialized music, create playlists, etc.
  • Set volume level, select sources, reverse phase, mute, etc.
  • Access to all the advanced set-up parameters in every CH product.
  • Works on a standard Ethernet network.
  • The CH-Control App is freely available on Google Play.