EAT E-Glo Petit Phono Preamp Page 2

Resolving the sound of a passenger jet flying across one's soundstage, however, isn't anyone's idea of a definitive test unless one happens to be a pilot, so I moved swiftly to the 'Esher Tapes' and the gorgeous, acoustic version of 'Dear Prudence'. Just guitars and voice, with a glorious sense of space, it oozed 'analogue-ness' if such a notion can be defined. It was velvety, open, free of any nasties. Nothing about it sounded cheap, let alone economical. This was serious, high-end-worthy playback, so close in impact and coherence to its two-box big sister that it renewed my faith in the concept of trickle-down technology.

Admittedly, the unplugged, lean nature of The Beatles' working sessions – while vivid and untainted by processing – do not tax a system in the manner of the more complex tracks on the album. Resolving the manic, proto-thrash of 'Helter Skelter' was as far off the chart in the other direction away from the acoustic stuff as could exist in the same box set, and the way the Petit managed the layers of bass and fuzz guitar revealed its command of a completely different set of requirements.


Chaos Unravelled
This is one berserker of a track, with massed vocals at the back, descending guitars of various flavours, vicious stabbing sounds and machine-gun drumming. I'm not about to declare an understanding of how it led Charles Manson to order a massacre, but the Petit peeled away any vestiges of confusion which might be caused by the chaotic barrage around a minute from the end, before it fades back in... I could, perhaps, imagine how a drug-addled brain might read more into it than The Beatles intended, for this phono stage delights in conveying power and meaning.

Breathless, I returned to something more genteel, The Band's Music From Big Pink [Capitol 06025674805325] on two 45rpm LPs. What stood out with this album was the massive, airy, echo-y sound of the organ that opens the majestic 'Chest Fever' – an exercise in scale and depth that can rattle a room. In comes piano, crisp percussion, rich bass, everything spread across the stage: the Petit filled the room with ease, belying any dynamic or spatial constraints one might wish to attribute to a wall-wart PSU.

No, it did not possess all of the mass that was available via the E-Glo two-box flagship or the 'S, but the x2 or x4 price increase needed to acquire the extra makes one stop and think. Skip to 'We Can Talk About It Now', listen to the interplay between organ and piano, the back-and-forth vocals, the snap of the drumming, and try to resist its funkiness – this sucker swings.

Dream Partner
Even mono couldn't baffle it. Little Willie John's classic set, Fever [Sundazed MH-8055], exhibited texture, richness and power, the title track oozing with sinister, menacing intent – despite it being a song of seduction. Juggling those emotions was John's skill; reproducing them is the Petit's. This unit embraces the nuances of vocals with the kind of finesse worthy of the best MCs. Yes, it's a dream partner for the Jo No5, but the Kiseki and Koetsu MCs proved it could handle even more.

With 'Need Your Love So Bad', the Petit again handled the emotional component of a song with aplomb, complementing the raw bluesiness of the composition and the late-night vibe of the backing. One can hear how the sax/piano/guitar interplay must have captivated a young Peter Green, who commandeered this masterpiece and put a new spin on it with Fleetwood Mac.


By treating everything with the equanimity, consistency and proficiency of units at twice the price, the Petit is going to cause a bit of bother for the 'S, while not exactly obviating its existence. That unit is richer, livelier, in many ways bigger-sounding, but the Petit behaves like a precocious kid sister. The conflict, 'S versus Petit, reminded me in reverse of a Lovin' Spoonful lyric that the #MeToo police have certainly outlawed: 'Did You Ever Have To Make Up Your Mind?'.

As dilemmas go, there are tougher choices to have to make, so I'll not take the cowardly way out and revert to the price issue, arguing that one should choose what one can afford. Instead, I will at some point have to face distributor and manufacturer, both possibly furious that I'm raving about the less-expensive of two models in the same family. Then again, decades ago, a legendary reviewer postulated that many mid-power amps were better than the kilowatt beasts at the top of the range.

Hi-Fi News Verdict
EAT might have done too good a job: this baby all but obviates the need for the E-Glo S, which I reckon now deserves a Mk II update, because it does offer greater slam. That said, the Petit strikes me as more accurate, it's a joy to use, it affords exceptional cartridge matching and its price begs the use of the 'B' word. Yes, this is a bargain and a natural mate for that other Outstanding buy, the EAT Jo No5 MC cartridge.

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