Phono Preamplifiers

Sort By: Post DateTitle Publish Date
Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Jun 09, 2020
hfnoutstandingPrimare's 'Prisma push' may have focused resources into network-enabling its amplifiers and CD players, but its new flagship phono pre proves its love of vinyl has not waned

Even the most ardent vinyl enthusiasts will admit that they can get bamboozled by the whole process of cartridge loading and gain matching. Some MMs and MCs can be quite particular about the load resistance and capacitance that they 'see', just as most phono stages will have a 'sweet spot' gain setting that varies from pick-up to pick-up. So there's a great deal to be said for a flexible phono stage that offers numerous adjustments. On the other hand I can appreciate the popularity of designs where the complexity extends to nothing more than an MM/MC switch!

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 12, 2020
hfnoutstandingWith input from the designer behind MoFi's cutting lathes, the UltraPhono (and StudioPhono) were conceived as high value partners for its affordable turntables

Are we in the midst of a Golden Age of Analogue? If you're returning to, or just discovering the vinyl LP, then yes, we are. Mobile Fidelity's UltraPhono is an example of what the industry can deliver when inspired, and clearly this is a response to the need for affordable phono stages to render suitable 30 years' worth of post-CD integrated amplifiers without phono stages. At £499, it's not for the impoverished analogue neophyte, but neither is it horrendously expensive by any measure.

Review: Jonathan Gorse, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Apr 23, 2020
hfnoutstandingForty-five years after the launch of its inaugural phono preamp, PS Audio launches another, this time in Stellar guise, and with the emphasis on flexibility with convenience

Large by phono preamp standards, PS Audio's Stellar Phono is built into the same full-width silver grey or black chassis as its partners in the new Stellar range [HFN Jan '20]. Nevertheless, it's also considerably heavier at a full 10kg because the casework here is steel, not alloy, perhaps in an effort to improve screening. Having asked PS Audio, it seems likely that all Stellars will move from alloy to steel enclosures in time.

Review: Ken Kessler, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 27, 2020
hfnoutstandingReplacing the longstanding, and long-popular 834P, EAR's new PhonoBox is still tube-powered and comes with MC and volume options in addition to a 'deluxe' chrome finish

Acat among the pigeons: at a time when we are being treated to a range of superb phono stages at modest prices, what for me is the true milestone of the genre has just appeared in what must be its fourth or fifth generation. The new EAR-Yoshino PhonoBox (also called the Phonobox or Phono Box) is the replacement for the venerable 834P [HFN Jun '94], which has seen a few tweaks and variants over the years, most notably restyles to smarten up the otherwise purely functional styling.

Review: Adam Smith, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Sep 19, 2019
hfncommendedThe inaugural product in Colorado-based Boulder's 500 series is this MM/MC phono preamp – fully balanced throughout, including the connection to your turntable

Modern phono stages seem to fall into one of two camps – those with multiple inputs, multiple gain options and a seemingly endless permutation of impedance and capacitance settings [see EAT E-Glo S, HFN Mar '17], and those, like the Boulder 508, that seek to minimise switching and variable gain in favour of one, potentially simpler, signal path.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  May 28, 2019
hfncommendedThe most affordable product from one of Japan's renowned phono stage specialists, its quirky retro looks won't be to every Western taste – but its musical potential will

In Japan, long-playing vinyl records have never really gone away – they just went underground, becoming cool artefacts that sat defiantly away from the mainstream music market. As the country churned out millions of shiny new Compact Disc players in the 1980s and '90s, the humble LP stood its ground, cherished by record collectors who thought CD to be the replacement for pre-recorded Compact Cassette, rather than vinyl.

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.

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.

Review: Nick Tate, Lab: Paul Miller  |  Feb 01, 2018
hfncommended.png‘Junior’ in name and certainly less substantial in build than its flagship stablemate, this latest take on the JC3 theme turns out to be an even more flexible MM/MC phono stage

Does the world really need another phono stage? Back in the late 1980s the Michell ISO was a rare standalone product, but since then there has been a steady stream of the things, multiplying in numbers like Tribbles on Star Trek’s USS Enterprise. We’re now at the point where it feels as though there are as many designs on sale as there are people to buy them – so any new entry has to have a compelling raison d’être.

Hi-Fi News Staff  |  Jan 13, 2015
Rothwell Audio has been going for a quarter of a century, mostly making guitar effects pedals. Its hi-fi range encompasses three moving-coil step-up transformers, two MM-only phono stages, a valve preamplifier, interconnects and attenuators. Rothwell’s first phono stage was launched at the 1990 London Hi-Fi Show. The Rialto MM/MC phono stage is tiny and perhaps no oil painting in aesthetic terms.
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
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.
Richard Holliss  |  Nov 03, 2014
The GT version of the Tron Seven phono preamplifier marks the ultimate evolution of the series design. The range starts with a MM base model, with the MC variant next. The Reference model adds high quality resistors and capacitors; the Ultimate adds silver-wired MC transformers and ‘four nines’ silver internal wiring. It also has twin switched inputs, with MM/MC, or MC/MC options.
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.
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.

Pages

X