Mola Mola Lupe Phono Preamplifier Lab Report

Lab Report

Tested via its balanced in/outs, the Lupe, via its app, allows for two MM gain settings of +45dB and +50dB plus a full eight options for MC. The latter +52dB, +57dB, +62dB, +67dB, +72dB, +77dB, +82dB and +87dB are accurate to within ±0.1dB and will accommodate MCs rated between 2.5mV re. 1kHz/5cm/sec (+52dB gain) and a vanishingly low 0.044mV (or 44µV at +87dB gain) to deliver 0dBV from the Lupe. In practice the middle +57dB to +72dB settings will be used for the vast majority of MC pick-ups assisted by the pre-programmed 60ohm-1kohm input loading options. Throughout this band the Lupe offers a state-of-the-art 85dB A-wtd S/N ratio (500µV in/0dBV out) but the fine-tuning for your MC will come in balancing sensitivity with available headroom. The Lupe's maximum 8.9V output is more than sufficient but with the high gain on offer it will clip with relatively low inputs – 23mV at +52dB gain, 4.0mV at +67dB gain and just 395µV at +87dB gain. To retain +20dB of headroom – a safe limit for the fiercest of grooves – the +62dB and +67dB settings will be your best choice with '0.5mV' MCs, leaving the high gain settings for lower o/p MCs, and vice-versa.

The Lupe's 'global' performance is equally on-point. The RIAA eq. is accurate to within ±0.1dB from 20Hz-20kHz, and a super-flat ±0.25dB from 5Hz-100kHz [see Graph 1, below], while the subsonic filter [dashed trace] has a –3dB/20Hz turnover and very steep roll-off thereafter (–20dB/9Hz). Mola Mola also claims that distortion is 'not measurable' although this is true only so far as any distortion harmonics are buried beneath the (white) noise. Mola Mola's discrete op-amp modules are exceptionally linear so the very low 0.0004-0.0015% recorded here [see Graph 2] is, strictly speaking, a reflection of distortion+noise. PM


RIAA-corrected frequency response from 5Hz-100kHz (subsonic filter, dashed trace; balanced i/o)


Distortion versus frequency re. 0dBV from 5Hz-40kHz (MM +45dB gain setting, balanced o/p)

Input loading (MM/MC) 18-120kohm/0-380pF / 60ohm-1kohm
Input sensitivity (re. 0dBV) 5.42mV-2.98mV / 2.51mV-44.1µV
Input overload (re. 1% THD) 48mV/28mV / 24mV-0.3mV
Max. output (re. 1% THD) / Imp. 8.9V / 22ohm (balanced)
A-wtd S/N ratio (re. 0dBV) 86.1dB / 84.1-85.1dB (MM/MC)
Freq. resp. (20Hz-20kHz/100kHz) +0.15dB to +0.01dB / –0.2dB
Distortion (20Hz-20kHz, re. 0dBV) 0.0004-0.0015%
Power consumption 20W
Dimensions (WHD) / Weight 200x110x320mm / 5.1kg
Price £7299

Mola Mola
The Netherlands
Supplied by: Sound Design Distribution Ltd, Cardiff
0800 0096213