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Hercules II Power Supply
Taking the Ethos of the Valhalla and improving upon it, Stamford Audio are able offer the Hercules II power supply for the LP12 which very handily, sits over the mountings already present on the Chassis. The Hercules II replaces the Valhalla board completely and can be fitted in a very short time, merely requiring the mains lead and motor wires to be disconnected and refitted to the new board once in place.
Also supplied is the new on/off switch that replaces the LP12's original item and this has two LEDs fitted rather than the one to show the selected speed as the Hercules II offers 33 and 45 rpm.
Even handier is the fact that both speeds are selected through this single button, from standby mode you simply press to switch on at 33 and light the red light, or press for 5 seconds to switch to 45 rpm and light the blue LED.
Manufactured in Hong Kong for Stamford Audio, the heart of the Hercules II is a pair of low noise, high precision crystal oscillator circuits that have their frequencies divided to generate a clean AC sine wave which drives the motor at either 50HZ (for 33rpm) or 67.5 Hz (for 45rpm).
Sound quality
The improvements made to the LP12 are evident even before the stylus hits the groove, as the motor seemed to be spinning much more smoothly once the Hercules II was warmed up and running.
Previously a hand on the top plate near the motor would pick up a very gentle vibration, but through the Hercules II there was none.
Sonically the changes were just as noticeable. Suddenly the hole that I had noticed in the middle of the soundstage was filled in putting vocalists and instruments in their proper place. Paul Desmond was now rock-solid centre-stage playing the saxophone on the Dave Brubeck Quartet's Take Five with the surrounding drums and double bass much more focused in terms of image stability.
The Hercules II also improved the bass end. Although not digging a great deal lower, the upper end of the low frequency spectrum was much tidier, improving the sense of pace, removing the rather flaccid nuture noted previously and generally tightening things up very well indeed.
All in all, the Hercules II kept the innate nature of the LP12 but made it sound much more confident. It also made an improvement over another earlier noted weakness, that of rather softer tracks. Where the Valhalla seemed to lose interest in this type of material, the Hercules II kept the atmosphere up and was able to tease small subleties out of the back ground.
For your money you get improved soundstaging, increased 'confidence' to performance, better pace and switched 45rpm. Even if you are happy with your old valhalla'd LP12 and hadn't even thought of upgrading it, you mighted be surprised at the improvements a mere £220 investment will bring you.
The Hercules II is universal so will work with 230/240 or 110 just by changing the fuse on the board.
The Hercules II will also work with other Premotec motored Turntables like  Rega.

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