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 sound was extremely clear, colorful, warm and rounded, yet leaning more toward neutrality than overly romanticized euphonic sweetness. "Beautiful color saturation," I wrote in my notes. As in yummy.

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