I copied this over from a reply I made in another thread. I just got my iPhono 2 last week. I grabbed it because it was the quietest phono pre I have ever heard and I liked it's tonal balance and flexibility and gain. I was playing with it today and noticed something weird when comparing it to my Fisher 500c phonostage. Crackles, ticks, and pops seem more plentiful and louder through the iFi. Anyone else experience this difference between phono sections? So far I've played three different album sides to specifically compare an iFi iPhono 2 to a Fisher 500c phono section. What I have noticed is that either the iFi seems to amplify the ticks and pops and assorted surface noises associated with vinyl or the Fisher's phonostage supreses them some how. I first noticed this when playing a really nice and really quiet Australian pressing of the Stones "Big Hits High Tide and Green Grass" through the iFi. The LP has a few ticks and pops and a little lead in noise on a couple of songs. Nothing that really would be described as distracting and 90+ percent of the LP is dead quiet. I maintain my albums pretty well and they've all been cleaned on a Record Doctor RCM but when playing it through the iFi I really noticed the surface noise but mostly thought the actual ticks and pops were louder than normal. So I ran it through the the cleaner, spun another album then played the Stones album again and their was no change in the surface noise. So I went on to another album. The 2003 Black DSD pressing of Beggar's Banquet. It is by far the quietest album in my collection, Dead quiet all the way through and I had used it to listen to a Leben CS600 and RS30 ( brilliant combo) and I don't recall it being at all noisy. It sounded great, just like I recalled it sounding through the Fisher only with better bass and detail and just more realistic. But toward the end of Factory Girl I heard some surface noise that I had never heard before. So I hooked the Fisher up and played the sides of the albums that I noticed the noise on the most. The ticks and pops were noticeably quieter through the Fisher. By noticable I mean it sounded like I actually turned the Fisher from say 11 o'clock to say 10:30 or maybe a bit more. I played my RL copy of Back in Black and it sounded nice. A few ticks and pops on the lead-ins to the more popular songs but totally listenable. Put the iFi back in and played Back in Black and it was like the iFi was adding a little extra amplification to the ticks and pops and maybe even stretching them out a bit. Other than that he iFi sounds great, better bass, highs and detail and other than surface noise issue it is quieter than the Fisher. The iFi seems to make all surface noise a little more noticeable but the ticks and pops are definitely coming through louder than they do through the Fisher and there seems to be more of them. Has anyone ever experienced anything like this before when comparing phono sections? I never really thought that a phono pre would have much influence on surface noise. Does anyone have any ideas on how this is possible? I did put a little bit into my methodology with the last album I tested. I used an American Recorder SPL meter to level match to make up for any gain differences and the iFi was hooked through the aux input on the Fisher.