phono preamplifiers

Conrad Johnson Premier 15 Series 2 Phono Preamplifier

Think of the cardboard drink carrier that you get at the counter of a fast food restaurant when you order several drinks. The carrier doesn’t interact with the drinks in any way. The carrier doesn’t make the drinks colder or warmer or sweeter. It is simply a means to conveniently transport the drinks from one location to another.

Conrad Johnson Premier 15 with Jensen MC Transformers

These are the first images of Jensen JT-347-AXT MC transformers installed in a Conrad Johnson Premier 15 Series 2 phono preamplifier. These are wired in 1:12 gain, for 21 dB. With the transformers installed, the total gain of the Premier 15 is 75 dB. The CJ was quiet without the Jensens, but now noise is inaudible.

DIY "Jensen 44" MC Step-up Transformer

Several years ago, I borrowed an Air Tight ATH-1 moving coil step up transformer and it changed my life. Well, maybe it was not a life-altering experience, but in audio terms, the audition was significant. The Air Tight sounded exceptional, adding a noticeable amount of richness and depth of tone. It also seemed to provide a better load for the moving coil cartridge.

EAR 88PB Phonograph Preamplifier

I was becoming complacent auditioning phono preamplifiers. It was as if I was standing in a long line for my turn on one of the good rides at Disneyland. If I was tolerant and patient, I would eventually be rewarded with a phono stage that would make all the waiting worthwhile.

Mark Levinson No. 326S Preamplifier with Phono

The Mark Levinson No326S (326S) solid state stereo preamplifier arrived. After removing 37 staples from the outer box, and opening inner box number one, I found the preamplifier inside a third box. While many audio components are packed to survive a short drop from the back of a delivery truck, it is conceivable that this preamp could be delivered by the U.S. Army into a combat zone without damage.

Prism Orpheus Digital Interface

A long and winding road leads to this review. The road is by no means smooth and straight, bumping along with disappointing gear and side trips to failed technologies. The road is an analogy for this writer’s audiophile journey, which currently finds us in a very nice place thanks to the Prism Orpheus Digital Interface.

PS Audio GCPH Phono Preamplifier

I do not recall ever listening to a component where the concept of diminishing returns was such a recurring theme. Diminishing returns is an economic principle that says where a basic function can be served at relatively low cost, small incremental improvements are gained at disproportional cost increases. In other words, it can cost a lot more for just a little improvement.

PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter

The PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter is a very useful and, more importantly, very good sounding component for the digital age.

RCM Sensor 2 Phono Preamplifier

The new RCM Sensor 2 phono preamplifier follows the successful RCM Sensor Prelude IC that was reviewed here on 10 Audio in December, 2012. I did not have the older version on hand for direct comparison, but I will tell you this without qualification or reservation: The RCM Sensor 2 sounds wonderful.

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