Top 8 Phono Stage 2021
There is a pleasant variety on the phono stage market these days, today every manufacturer considers it its duty to keep several models in the assortment at once for any wallet. Tube, transistor, with many settings and simple. In general, the choice is huge. We have selected the most interesting models of the 2021 season.
- Hegel V10
- Hagerman Trumpet MC
- Musical Fidelity M3x Vinyl
- TK One Phono
- Lampizator МС2
- VinylSavor VarEQ
- Silbatone SQ-107 mk II
- Phasemation EA-2000
The Norwegian company has released a new model of a compact universal phono stage designed to work with MM and MC heads. The body of the device is internally divided into two parts, which allows physically separating the power supply circuits from the low-current circuits. The power supply is built on an E-shaped transformer and is placed in a separate building.
The input stage is made on low-noise JFET transistors, at the input for the MC heads they are connected in parallel, which, according to the developer, allows you to completely get rid of noise. The correction circuits are powered by separate bipolar transistor units. On the rear panel of the device, there are channel-by-channel switches that allow you to select the required input capacitance for MM heads, the input resistance for MC cartridges, and also select the required gain.
Price – €1,500
Hagerman Trumpet MC
A new version of the popular MC-corrector of the Hawaiian company. The input differential stage is made on complementary pairs of JFETs, which made it possible to realize the precise adjustment of the gain and load necessary for working with MC-cartridges. At the same time, the phono stage can be adjusted for servicing the moving magnet heads.
The RIAA correction chain is here made on passive elements. The phono stage output stages are tube-based in a fully balanced concept. The circuit uses the highest grade metal film resistors and polypropylene capacitors. On the front panel there are knobs for stepped gain and load controls.
Price – $999
Musical Fidelity M3x Vinyl
New universal phono stage for MM and MC heads. Its front panel is machined from a solid billet of aluminum and contains all the mode switches, including selection of plug-in capacitance for MM heads, resistances for MC cartridges, switching between RIAA and RIAA / IEC correction curves, and a 6 dB gain increase. The rear panel features a pair of stereo inputs and outputs on RCA connectors.
An important design feature is that the amplification and correction circuits are spaced apart on different parts of the board, and the power supply is reliably shielded from low-current circuits, while all stages are made on discrete elements. The model weighs 6.6kg.
Price – €1,300
TK One Phono
The new product from the Italian company is designed to work with moving magnet cartridges and is based on two ECC83 triodes, which provide 40 dB gain. The input has a 47 kOhm impedance standard for MM-type heads, and the switching arsenal is minimal – there is only input and output on high-quality gold-plated connectors.
The phono stage uses NOS (New Old Stock) lamps, but only their type is indicated – the specific manufacturer and year of manufacture are not named. Another distinctive feature is the absence of printed circuit boards in the design of the phono stage – the entire circuit is assembled by surface mounting. The completely metal case, excluding any electromagnetic interference from the outside, is refined with natural wood sidewalls.
Price – €1,200
The new flagship phono stage of the Polish manufacturer allows the connection of up to three cartridges with both a moving magnet and a moving coil. The circuit of the novelty is completely made on lamps and works with zero feedback.
One of the three inputs of the model is balanced and organized on XLR connectors, it is intended only for MC cartridges. Output switching also offers two options – balanced on XLR and unbalanced on RCA. Adjustment of resistance load for MC-heads is provided.
Price – €9 900
A rare thing is a tube corrector with switchable correction curves from Thomas Meyer. This model is intended for vinyl records released before the RIAA standard was adopted. For their correct reproduction, the phono stage must be able to adjust the correcting characteristic. The model is equipped with two six-stage level controls: for low frequencies, as well as high frequencies around 10 kHz.
According to the manufacturer, these adjustments will make it possible to listen to records recorded with a variety of curves – from shellac discs at 78 rpm to mono vinyl records at 33 rpm. The device is built in a two-block concept with a lamp power supply placed in a separate case. The correction scheme employs D3a pentodes mounted on special anti-vibration mountings. The phono stage is equipped with both balanced and unbalanced inputs and outputs.
Price – €10,500
Silbatone SQ-107 mk II
The new generation of the universal phono stage from the South Korean company is based on NOS lamps and silver-wound MC transformers. Each type of cartridge has two unbalanced inputs on high quality gold-plated connectors. There are two outputs – balanced on XLR connectors and unbalanced on RCA. The active amplifying part is hybrid, it combines NOS lamps and semiconductors.
The power supply is built on a powerful toroidal transformer enclosed in a solid screen. The phono stage is made in a steel case, decorated with thick aluminum plates. The front panel contains active input selection keys, a backlit power button and a mute button.
Price – expected
Japanese company Phasemation has unveiled an incredible universal tube phono preamp with coil equalization circuits, which includes as many as six separate blocks – three for each channel. They include a step-up transformer for the EA-2000T MC heads, a new Phasemation EA-2000EQ non-feedback tube correction unit based on in-house passive components, and an EA-2000PS tube power supply based on the EA-1000 model. The total weight of all units included in the Phasemation EA-2000 is 18.6 kilograms.
Price – 3,000,000 yen (about $27 456)