Phono Preamplifiers

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Ed Selley  |  Nov 16, 2011
A no-compromise design for those seeking the ultimate in vinyl replay. The Io Eclipse is for audiophiles seeking the ultimate in vinyl replay. Its two chassis are the size of most manufacturers’ power amplifiers, one the phono stage itself, the other the power supply. The Io Eclipse costs £14,000, or £16,700 with independent L/R volume controls – as reviewed here. (With this option you get a ‘bonus’ line level input.
Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Oct 02, 2011
Active/passive - not behavioural therapy, but two of Air Tight's options for cartridge amplification: the ATH-2A step-up transformer and ATE-2005 phono equaliser . With at least three turntables active in my system at any time, I’ve learned to appreciate options. All of my preferred phono amplifiers accept at least two decks and can cope with both MM and MC cartridges of varying output levels.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 12, 2012
Some clever ideas but a little too laid back sonically. Established in 2003, Astin Trew is a British hi-fi company with a product portfolio that includes amps, CD players, cables and its first phono stage: the AT8000. Astin Trew’s philosophy is simple: ‘create very high quality mid-priced home audio products that convey the emotion and passion of real music as naturally as possible.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Aug 06, 2009
It’s been almost two years since Hi-Fi News had the pleasure of auditioning a CD player and integrated amplifier from the Italian Audia company [see HFN September 2007]. With just a select range of amplifiers and a couple of CD players in its product portfolio, Audia may barely register as a blip on the radar of British audiophiles. On the European specialist audio scene, on the other hand, Audia has carved out a name for itself as a manufacturer to be taken most seriously in the high-end arena, its products regularly garnering accolades in French and German magazines as well as on its home turf in Italy, naturally. Talking of carving out a name, you just know that Audia’s products aren’t going to come without a fairly substantial price ticket attached to them when you see the build quality.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
Despite using a tube that has been around since Methuselah was in short trousers, there’s nothing old hat about Audio Research’s new LP1 phono stage. It is a hybrid designed to mix the low noise of solid-state with the musicality that comes from glowing bottles. JFETs were chosen for their combination of low noise and excellent sonic performance, the company says. They provide a decent (claimed) 47dB of gain, enough for all MM and some higher output MC phono cartridges – and then comes the 6H30 tube buffer.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
After 28 years at Texas Instruments Shinobu Karaki is now designing phono stages. His new Vinyl Disk Amplifier (VIDA) joins a thriving market for analogue-related products in his homeland. Its late ’60s styling isn’t out of place next to, say, a similarly ‘period’ looking Leben tube amp. Yet peer inside its case and you’ll see circuitry that’s as modern as the latest Mitsubishi motor car.
Steve Harris & Paul Miller  |  Aug 16, 2010
When someone as determined and perfectionist as Conrad Mas of Avid decides to enter a new product area, the result is likely to be something special. With the Pulsare Phono, the aim was to produce a phono stage that could do the same things for music that an Avid turntable did. It had to have ‘that certain something that makes the music sound and feel real. ’ Even a first glance tells you that this an overkill design in specification, construction and features.
Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 01, 2018
hfncommended.pngCompact yet comprehensively-equipped, beautifully-made, with balanced outputs, MM/MC capability and a sane price, what’s not to like in Bel Canto’s e.One Phono?

Awash as we are with terrific phono stages, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. From sub-£50 units to £30,000-plus fantasy hardware, there are probably as many standalone phono stages on offer today as during the Original Vinyl Era. What Bel Canto offers with its e.One Phono, in its more cost-effective range, is a way to enjoy the adjustability demanded by perfectionists, at a sane price.

Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
You can’t help but be impressed by Canor’s house styling, distinctive yet unfussy with its black acrylic panel set into the fascia, within which various indicator lights and displays appear. And you can choose between the pleasingly sober charcoal finish seen here or go for the contrasting effect of a black band on brushed aluminium. Naturally, the TP306 VR+ has the simplest fascia, as the only front-panel control is the on/standby button in the centre. When connected to mains power, LEDs show standby mode, muting while warming up, then unmuting.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 12, 2012
This dimunitive design produces a very pleasing sonic performance. A quick glance at Clearaudio’s product range shows that the company prides itself on using quality materials to house its audio electronics, and the Nano Phono certainly continues in this vein. Its case is formed from a solid CNC-machined aluminium block which makes the Nano feel surprisingly heavy, despite its diminutive size.
Ed Selley  |  Jan 12, 2012
An ultra- sophisticated interface is paired with strong sonics to good effect. With over 15 years’ experience in stand-alone phono stage design, Creek Audio needs little introduction: its £185 OBH-18 model is a stalwart at entry level. The Wyndsor, a completely different beast, contains a level of user sophistication rarely seen in a phono stage.
Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 16, 2019
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.

John Bamford  |  Jul 17, 2009
Kevin Edwards, founder and managing director of Talk Electronics in Surrey, is introducing a new range of ‘budget’ products under the brand name Edwards Audio. Unusually for such an enterprise the intention is to manufacture everything locally in the UK rather than design it here and have it made overseas. The manufacturer says this ensures better control of manufacturing quality. But as discussed before in the pages of HFN, the cost benefit of manufacturing in places such as China is fast reducing anyway due to increasing labour costs and the diminished value of the pound.
Ken Kessler and Paul Miller  |  Dec 16, 2011
Though celebrated for digital products, Esoteric cares more about analogue than you’d expect – the company’s E-03 phono stage joins the ranks of the greats. We’ve come so far down the digital path that we’re at a stage where there’s been a near-complete volte face in expectations: where once we awaited digital products from companies with their roots in analogue, we now entertain analogue products from companies with their roots in digital.
John Bamford & Paul Miller  |  Apr 06, 2009
Hailing from Budapest, Hungary, Heed Audio first made a name for itself with its Orbit range of turntable power supplies, designed as add-on upgrades to turntables such as Rega and Linn. Subsequently Heed has brought to market a range of components designed to offer high performance at not-too-high prices, keeping costs down by utilising utilitarian metal boxes rather than fancily styled casework. This is a philosophy that has proved popular with audio enthusiasts for decades; some HFN readers may remember UK brands of yore such as Nytech and Ion Systems. There’s a family tie-up here, in that Heed Audio’s UK importer and distributor is Tsource Ltd of Cheltenham, run by one Robert Hay, and Robert’s father is Richard Hay who was the designer of Nytech and Ion Systems products way back when.

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