In action the phono cartridge and phono stage are locked in a symbiotic embrace where the goal is to allow in no daylight.
The phono cartridge is a transducer just like a speaker, except that a speaker transduces electrical energy to Mechanical energy while the Phono cartridge does exactly the opposite. As it rides along the surface of the record supported by the tonearm a tiny stylus attached to a cantilever emanating from its body traces the undulations on the Lp .The cantilever moves a coil assembly thru a magnetic field which generates an electrical signal sometimes as low as little as .1 millivolts which is then fed into the phono stage and is amplified over 10,000 times at the point at which it hits the speakers! Compatibility between the tonearm and the cartridge and the cartridge and the Phono Stage is crucial .
We are intimately familiar with these relationships and can help you to choose the most holistic pairing of Phono Cartridge and Phono Stage choosing from brands like Miyajima, Lyra, Mysoniclabs, Koetsu, Ortofon ,HANA, AMG, and others.
When a record is transferred from master to Lp form the extremes in recording from both a frequency and amplitude perspective are truncated in accordance with RIAA equalization protocol so the the peaks and valleys on the LP resemble the Rocky Mountains as opposed to the Himalayas. Without RIAA the grooves on a record would be untraceable even by the best tracking phono cartridge.
To Play that back A complementary electrical application exactly duplicating the reverse of that RIAA curve must be applied . That is the phono stage and its job is difficult especially because of how sensitive our ears are to unnatural deviations at this level which are amplified 1000 fold by the time they get to the speaker. The creation of a great phono stage , perhaps more than any other electrical component in the audio chain, is a confluence of art and science-the great ones are only created by designers who know music and have the ears to hear the difference. Tom Evans, Demetris Backlavas of Ypsilon,Yamada San of Zanden and Raphael Pasche at CH Precision all share this ability and Sound by Singer as their New York dealer.
Just when u thought it could not get any better Tom has unleashed what may be the finest solid state phono stage in the world 'THE MASTER GROOVE II.
We can quote an array of numbers that speaks volumes about Tom’s attention to making sure that every minutiae of signal is passed to you, the listener. But, none of this impressive array of numbers can convey the scope of step forward for vinyl reproduction that one listen can do.
When your Vinyl reproduction needs no excuses, only the very best phono equalisation that the World has to offer, then we believe - as do many others - that there are very few choices.
The new MasterGroove mkII is a performance reality that no other solid state manufacturer understands how to equal.
Creating a ne plus ultra phono stage for $20,000.00 while a spectacular achievement is perhaps less surprising than what Tom Evans does in the moderately priced arena. His MicroGroove XII and Microgroove+xII simply stand head and shoulder above all phono stages in the sub $2500.00 range. They are the only MC stages we recommend in this performance class.
The VPS-100 is one of the finest phono stages you can own, without being the most expensive.
The VPS-100 returns phono equalization to its roots, with some very modern twists. The phono stage itself is “low gain,” employing no C/R networks for equalization. Instead, Ypsilon makes LCR networks using its own in-house produced transforme made of a special amorphous C-core material with paper- winding insulation. A properly implemented LCR RIAA sounds much more natural, musical and open than CR networks with better-defined macro and micro dynamics.
"The Ypsilon produced an absolutely intoxicating blend of stupefyingly extended high frequencies, resolution, clarity, and transient precision, along with tight, deep, nimble, nonmechancial bass, and an ideally rich-ie, not too rich-midrange with just the right amounts of body and harmonic structure". - Stereophile Class A+ Component: Aug. 2009
"I heard the high-frequency clarity, air, and extension of the best solid-state phono preamps, as well as the harmonic expression and musical flow of the best tube phono preamps, with none of the negatives of either". - Michael Fremer
The only solid-state component which Zanden makes is it’s model 120 phono preamp . The 120 has two inputs either of which can be designated as high or low impedance. It continues the tradition of offering multiple phono equalization curves as in the 3002. While not as luxurious as it’s big brother the model 120, it is and exceptional performer in its own right.
The Brinkman Balance
While it is the oldest of Brinkman‘s turntables, it remains, the top of its line because it is that good. The Brinkmnn balance is a turntable I am extremely familiar with as I own one with of course a Ront tube power supply. The right power supply makes all the difference in the world as without it the Brickman sounds like a very very good belt drive turntable.
But, with at the Brinkmann balance flows like the Afton River:"Flow gently Sweet Afton among thy Green Braes “ -Old English folk song
When we think of Brinkmann we think of the marvelous turn tables they have made for many years. So, unfortunately, people often neglect the SUPERB electronics which they make. In particular the Brinkmann Edison is a world-class bargain in hybrid phono stages offering three inputS each of which is fully adjustable for impedance. I think the sound as described by Jacob Heilbrunn in the following several paragraphs February 2020 review gets it just right:
I listened to the Edison both through the Brinkmann and Ypsilon Silver PST-100 preamps. I found it most useful to isolate its sound by using the familiar Ypsilon. This afforded me the opportunity to hear exactly what it was—and was not—doing as it amplified the tiny signal from my Continuum Caliburn turntable and Swedish Analog Technologies reference CF1 tonearm via the Lyra Atlas SL and Miyajima Infinity mono cartridges.
The phonostage is quite flexible, allowing you to switch the transformers in and out of the circuit to boost the signal from moving-coil cartridges before the amplification stage. On stereo records I found the transformer to be indispensable. On mono records not so much. Many of the mono records from my jazz collection simply sounded incredible on the Brinkmann. Take the album Li’l Ol’ Groovemaker….Basie! The drums were set back far in the rear of the soundstage while the brass choirs came screaming out with what seemed like unprecedented ferocity in my system on cuts like “Nasty Magnus.” Basie apparently told Quincy Jones after the first run-through, “You ought to have written four of these, Quincy! That’s wailin’!” Indeed. Sonny Payne’s drums had visceral impact as the orchestra blasted out a series of crescendos.
Edison provided a rock-solid rendition of this trio, the best….
The sheer artistry that the Edison conveyed on the Philips recording The Delectable Elly Ameling was a combination of the sublime and the beautiful. On Mozart’s wonderful motet Exsultate, Jubilate, which he composed in 1773, the Edison tracked every syllable, every quaver, every trill that Ameling enunciated during her ravishing performance. It nailed the antiphonal effects between Ameling and the oboe as she sang “Hallelujah.” Once more, there wasn’t a trace of sibilance or harshness. Instead, the Brinkmann delivered a posh, upholstered sound that was quite delectable. Actually, I should say breathtaking. On the Bach “Floesst, mein Heiland, floesst dein Namen,” the interchanges between Ameling, two oboes, and chorus reach an exalted level. Listening to such works made me think of the eighteenth century German writer Friedrich Schiller’s famous distinction between naïve and sentimental poetry—the former being the natural state that we aspire to but can no longer achieve. In sonic terms, Brinkmann, you could say, tries to bridge the gap.
When contrasted with much more expensive equipment from CH Precision, Boulder, and Ypsilon, the Brinkmann gear doesn’t quite have their magnanimity of sound, grip, and airiness. CH Precision produces a cavernous black space that seems unrivaled. Boulder has a degree of control that is unique to it. And Ypsilon lights up the soundstage. But Brinkmann comes remarkably close and has its own set of virtues. It has a dynamism and smooth continuity that are immensely beguiling. It represents formidable German engineering allied to a profound sense of musicality that will be difficult for most listeners to resist.”
Edison Mk II Phonostage
Melto2 is a true full tube and remotely controlled phono-stage with a high-quality OLED display, where all important functions are clearly visible and easily selectable in real time. You don’t even need to get up from your listening chair.
Years of experimenting and creating high-end audio devices has allowed us to create what we believe to be the most potent and emotionally engaging phono preamplifier, where no subtle detail is being hidden behind the noise.
This full blooded, meticulously crafted, highly adjustable phono-stage offers fine settings for impedance, capacitance, gain and even three EQ curves… and there’s more.
Melto2 represents a vinyl enthusiasts’ dream come true with an exceptional sound quality and Lab12’s legendary down to earth pricing.
As with all Lab12 products, Melto2 comes with two color choices of glass blasting anodizing finish.