Trust Your Ears: Phono Preamp Shootout

All were tested via recording with the Creative X-Fi and by listening thru AKG 701s, AKG K550, Beyerdynamic 990 Pro, and finally with Fostex Full Ranges in DIY cabinets.  So how did they rank?

Phono Preamp Shootout

Using a VPI Traveler V1 with Sumiko EvoIII Cartridge playing a Blood Sweat & Tears album from the local thrift store cleaned with Spin Clean.

A simple recording using Audacity at 24/96 and then all files normalized with replay gain.  The following phono stages were compared:
Waamamps Tube MM Phono stage with vintage Mullards, Ribbed Telefunkens and Sylvanias.  I preferred the Teles over the Sylvanias by a narrow margin but both were significantly better than the Mullards.

Cambridge Audio 540p with aftermarket 1a wall wart.
Rega Mini Fono USB
Rega Fono (Full Size)
Soundsmith MMP3
Creative X-Fi HD

All were tested via recording with the Creative X-Fi and by listening thru AKG 701s, AKG K550, Beyerdynamic 990 Pro, and finally with Fostex Full Ranges in DIY cabinets.  So how did they rank?

1) Rega Fono
2) Soundsmith
3) Rega Mini Fono
4) Waamamps w/Tele
5) Cambridge Audio
6) Creative

Posted by Kujo at 5:06 PM
Labels: Vinyl

Product(s) Reviewed:

They Said What?

"The Soundsmith Carmen's ultra-low-mass MI assembly plays with more agility, is more naturally detailed, and sounds less stressed than any MC I'm aware of. Its treble is not dull or rolled off—it's just the most authentic treble I've experienced from a phonographic transducer." 

- Herb Recihert, Stereophile

About These Products:

Contact Info

Soundsmith HQ
8 John Walsh Blvd
Suite 417
Peekskill, NY 10566
USA

Click here to use our website contact form

Phone: (914) 739-2885

  Visit Our FACEBOOK page

General Inquiries:
Craig Dick, Product Specialist & Logistics Manager
Craig@Sound-smith.com

International Sales:  Distributor and Dealer Inquiries ONLY:
Chris Sommovigo,
Director of International Sales & Marketing
Chris@Sound-smith.com