EAT E-Glo Petit Phono Preamp

hfnoutstandingEuropean Audio Team's (EAT) third E-Glo phono preamplifier is half the price and size of the second – can the E-Glo Petit redefine the entry-level/high-end phono stage?

As the most affordable of EAT's three MM/MC phono stages, the new E-Glo Petit has its work cut out, as there are plenty of killer phono stages at this £1249 price point. Nevertheless you should still prepare to revel in a transistor/tube hybrid phono stage bursting with facilities, in a package – not counting the 18V wall-wart power supply – with a footprint of only 226mm wide by 250mm deep, plus sockets and wooden cheeks.

Although it's a mere 90mm tall including the knobs, toggles and valve tops, it needs a few inches above to allow the heat to circulate, while the industrial design precludes anything being placed on top. And, at the risk of stating the obvious, the Petit's natural siting will be next to a turntable, as access to its operational facilities is, as I've hinted, on top.

Tweaker's Paradise
What you see when looking down on it are two 12AX7 triodes, with metal discs supported by two 10mm posts to protect the glass tips that peek out from the top plate. Two Allen bolts hold these discs in place, and they are easily removed when it's time to change the valves. Between the valves and the front panel are two rotaries for setting the impedance, the left knob with eight settings from 10ohm to 1kohm, notionally for MCs, and the other with eight settings from 30k-75kohm, for MMs.

Five toggle switches provide, left to right, power on, selection of either of the two impedance rotaries, two sequential types to scroll through gain and capacitance values, and subsonic filter on/off. The capacitance and gain settings scroll with each press, the values indicated on the front of the unit via two rows of six miniature blue LEDs. Capacitance settings are 50/150/270/370/520/620pF and gain options are +40/45/50/55/65/70dB.


As PM gleefully pointed out in his commissioning notes, the new baby of the range actually has more gain settings than the costlier E-Glo S [HFN Mar '17], while the absence of an MM/MC selector means that you can match cartridge types according to the gain and impedance settings. I smiled upon realising that here was a rara avis, a phono stage that allows me to set my Deccas and Londons at near enough to the rumoured ideal of 68kohm impedance thanks to its 65kohm setting. I am not about to quibble over 3kohm, when I've had to make do with 47kohm for decades, save for a rare spell with (if I remember correctly) an early Gryphon.

Quite where the economies come in, vis-à-vis the E-Glo S, I'm not sure beyond the half-sized enclosure and one less toggle. Like the S but unlike the original E-Glo, the Petit accepts only one turntable, hardly a sacrifice for the vast majority of analogue lovers. This also means a minimum of clutter around the back. The Petit is fitted with two pairs of gilded RCA phonos for signals in-and-out, an earthing post and the socket for power from the wall-wart. Because of the simplicity and the near-intuitive nature of the controls, as well as the caveat that all phono stages should be set by ear rather than hard-and-fast rules according to pick-up manufacturer specs, you will have this up-and-running in two minutes. Or less.


A Reality Check
While I dream of owning something like EMT's legendary JPA66 for ultimate cartridge matching, its price is way beyond my means. That's why I welcomed the E-Glo and the later E-Glo S for getting me part of the way there. But I must confess that I long ago gave up anally-retentive levels of obsessiveness, so the need for infinite settings is less important to me than, say, ample supplies of Colchicine for my gout. The E-Glo Petit certainly proved to be up to the task of matching a Kiseki Blue NS [HFN Jul '18], Koetsu Urushi [HFN Nov '17], its sibling, the jade-green Jo No5 [HFN Dec '18], a slew of Deccas/Londons, and anything else I threw at it.

There were no deal-breaking, cautionary moments to relate to you, beyond a wee tingle if earthing wasn't addressed properly throughout the system and the need to ensure adequate ventilation, as with all tube equipment. Warm-up was a swift 10-15 minutes, the unit was deliciously quiet and hum-free, and it even looks and feels luxurious. But it was the sound that made my jaw drop, price notwithstanding.

sqnotePetit In Name Only
From the instant I lowered the stylus and it delivered the first notes of The Beatles' remastered, eponymous LP known as the White Album [Apple 02567 57201], I knew I was about to enjoy one of those rare moments when fidelity and finance were not commensurate. The Petit belied its price in every way, elevating it to the ranks of other fine phono stages in the £1000-£2000 sector, such as Moon's NEO 310LP, Trilogy's 906, a couple of gems from Graham Slee and EAR's sublime 834P.

European Audio Team
Prague, Czech Republic
Supplied by: Absolute Sounds Ltd
0208 971 3909