Next on our assembled equipment is a MM-MC compatible RIAA equalised Phono Stage turntable preamplifier.
Adapting from the classic Dual circuit design, we have made upgrades to the capacitors, internal wirings and opamps to push the performance higher. On the aesthetic front, minimalist is the key as we opt for just a cooly-lit power button on the middle of the front panel positioned off-centre below. With the use of LME49702HA opamps, vastly different from the regular LME49720s, these opamps sound so huge in enveloping to bring analogue sound of vinyl more realism and enjoyment.
At the back of the machine we have solid CMC RCA jacks for the highest quality and best connections in this price point. We have even put in significant thought on the ground binding post. It was made from pure copper and not just any metallic binding post one will commonly see in most phono stage. Furthermore, it accepts banana jack plugged into it other than the conventional way of hooking onto it. This connection makes the grounding more secure and efficient, especially for those audiophiles who have higher end of grounding cables that utilise banana plugs.
On the power front is a US-made Corcom EMI filter-attached IEC jack as outlet. AC current fed into the preamplifier will first go through this filter to have a steadier and quieter current for the transformer. Keeping the noise level is always the order of the day for phono stages and this help in achieving that. Powered with a transformer-based PSU ensures the noise from the AC is kept to the minimal, resulting in a quieter background in the output.
Finally on the internals, significant capacitors upgrade were from Nichicon Gold Tune, BP Muse and WIMA. All these caps provide a high level of accuracy and resolution, further aided with silver-plated copper wires as internal wirings. The presence of the switch on the PCB allows user to switch the gain output according to the cartridge used as this phono stage is compatible with either a MM or MC cartridge. MM cart user can still use a MC setting to push the gain output level even higher just so if one would like to keep the power amp level minimal. Both settings are worth a try for MM cart users!
With a minimum burn-in period of 30-50 hours, the sound will settle down into a open and lush presence. Vocals retain the clarity yet with the warmth analogue sound. A darker background also allows higher level of details retrieval. It does not really add too much colouration into the sound as accuracy is more of the key factor of its performance.
Input impedance: 47 kOhm / 100 pF
Gain: 40 dB (MM), 60dB (MC)
Output voltage: 200 mV/1 kHz at 3 mV /1 kHz
Dimension: 155*60*241 mm (W*H*D)