Audio Note UK R-Zero/II stand alone phono stage, my review of AN's least expensive phono stage..

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Jun 16, 2018.

  1. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
    My review is a few years old so the price may have increased since then. May have - not all things have gone up - and some have decreased in price.
     
  2. Richard Austen

    Richard Austen Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hong Kong
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  3. bhazen

    bhazen Fab Fourever

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
  4. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Ken Stevens, the designer and president of CAT, is a very special case. He does a lot of things in his designs that nobody else does, and surprises us because his results are always excellent. I decided that I better call him directly before answering Tullman about the compromise the CAT preamp makes by using a single impedance/ratio transformer, and about why Ken would say it is "suitable for all MC carts."

    In all CAT preamps, his active MM phono section has had extremely low noise, much lower than any other tube preamp that I have ever heard, maybe than ANY tube preamp ever made. So, in the Original SL1, Reference and Signature, which had no transformer step-up included, we actually used MC cartridges straight-in quite successfully, with no step-up at all. The only problem was that the load on the cart was always 47000 ohms, and so just about any MC cart sounded too bright. They needed their correct load, of usually 100 to 400 ohms, to sound balanced. So, for the Ultimate and Renaissance preamps Ken added a step-up transformer. Now he does claim HIS step-up IS suitable for ALL MC carts. But he also claims that a 2000 Ohm load on a cartridge is suitable for all modern MC cartridges, which nobody else that I have ever spoken with agrees with. Ken also back-tracks a little bit, by adding this load is best for a Van den Hul or Benz Micro cartridge, and may not be perfect for very low impedance cartridges, like most MCs being made in Japan.

    The CAT preamps now include a VERY unique a 1:7 transformer as his MC step-up, and he changes the MM phono section's impedance to 100,000 ohms when the MC option is chosen. So, doing the math, that indeed means that any cartridge will be loaded at 2000 ohms through the CAT. Nobody else does that! For example, just about everybody loads a Koetsu at 100 ohms. Some people go a little higher, maybe as high as 400 ohms. Only HP of The Absolute Sound, as far as I remember, stuck to his preference of living with the brightness of a 47000 ohm load on ANY MC cartridge, in favor of releasing the maximum dynamics possible from that ANY MC cartridge. Well, now I heard a second person who sticks to this preference: Ken Stevens, with his 2000 ohm load.

    So, Ken was very convincing, when I spoke with him. He advised I try my Koetsu into a 2000 Ohms load. And I will, before I go any further about whether his compromise, to use one single step-up impedance/ratio transformer, is universally valid (as he claims) or still a compromise (as anyone else who knows how to make a MC cart sound its best would claim).

    Back to Audio Note, now: 2000 Ohms definitely won't work with an Audio Note cartridge, or a Transfiguration Proteus, or a Benz Micro Ebony TR. These are VERY low impedance carts, that need a load in the range of 20 to 50 Ohms, to sound their best. THIS is why Audio Note specifies all its phono preamps as MM only, with the capability to use a MC cart only with a correctly chosen step-up tranformer for THAT cartridge.
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  5. Tullman

    Tullman I prefer analog

    Location:
    Boston MA
    Ken emailed me and said that you called. I appreciate that you went to the source and posted this. I have a Soundsmith Hyperion Low output cart that is rated at 470 Ohms. Peter Lederman, the designer, insisted that I load the cart at either 500 Ohm or 1000 Ohm. I called Ken and he sent me the recommended loads. I tried both, but as Ken said, my preamp sounded MUCH better with no load. It was like there was more air in the highs with no load applied.

    Ken also emailed me this:

    "The frequency response of ALL OTHER MC transformers is very dependent on the internal resistance of the cartridge. Even when supposedly "matched" their FR is still horrible. That's why so many Audiophiles are opposed to them! (Trouble is that SS headamps or input stages DESTROY the life and vibrancy of your tube phono stage and, although they are quieter than tubes no SS device can compete with a transformer in the area of noise!)
    Only the MCX1 maintains a wide super flat frequency response with all carts from an internal impedance of 0.1 ohms of the Audionote IO to the 50 ohms IR of a Clearaudio.
    That response for the MCX1 shown in Stereophile was done at MY INSISTENCE. Atkinson warned me that transformers measure very poorly with the 30 ohm output impedance of his test generator and I told him to go ahead and do it. He warned me "If I do it I will publish it no matter how bad it looks" and I told him to go ahead. You saw the results. 0.1 dB down with 30 ohms! The MCX1 works great with high impedance carts like Van den Hul, Benz, Clearaudio and the Dynavector 17D3 and the DV1T. All of these manufactures will tell you that their carts don't work well with transformers. Benz even has a special version of the Ruby called the "TR" for use with transformers.
    We've shown with AJ Van den Hul several times and he knows that the CAT transformer is the exception in this regard. No surprise - VdH carts have always been a big favorite for me so you know I'm going to design my transformer to work with them.
    SL1 Renaissance Black Path Edition | Stereophile.com Go to the "Measurement" page"
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2018
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  6. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denmark
    Doesn't the Audio Note Io prefer something like 1 Ohm? My old Japanese Io does, and that is AFAIK the standard (direct) setting on my AN-S7 SUT. In fact, I was once in the market for a new phono preamp, and I tried a product from a small Danish manufacturer. It was only after he made a special mod for it, giving it the possibility of loading my Io with 1 Ohm, that the sound opened up.
     
  7. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Yes, for all Io cartridges, the recommended load is 1 to 2 Ohms. But, it can be tried with up to as much as 4 Ohms, for more impressive dynamics at the expense of (or personal preference for) brighter highs. Anything above that (10 ohms, 2000 ohms, 47000 ohms) is just no load at all, and will sound too lean.
     
  8. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I am glad I did call Ken about this. His ideas about step-up transformers were so interesting, I learned a lot from him, and almost believed everything he told me. He is right that all MC transformer's FR are very dependent on the internal resistance of the cartridge. That is why I say they have to be matched carefully, on a one-by-one basis, with specs and math to confirm compatibility. I do this for my customers who buy a step-up from me, and Audio Note will help me, if need be. And I totally agree that most solid-state MC stages destroy the live and vibrancy, whereas most tube MC stages are just too noisy. Thus my preference (and Ken's) for transformer step-ups. But I complained to him that there is no way an Audio Note Io can sound its best through his 2000 ohm transformer, and he agreed to a certain extent with "a cartridge like that may have a very slight high frequency rise with my transformer." I do believe him that his transformer is designed to be much less susceptible to frequency response variation, when cartridges of different internal resistances are used with it.
     
  9. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Warren, I have watched this thread with some interest. There does seem to be some confusion as to the CAT preamps...and tube phono stages in general. Firstly, lets correct the statement about the early CAT preamps...those that did not utilize an SUT. ( just a tube phono stage). CAT preamps have always had the ability to add loading plugs to modify what impedance the cartridge sees. Your statement that all MC's in the past had to default to the 47K load with the Signature and Reference models is simply incorrect.( as is your statement that this changed with the Ultimate model... i believe CAT added an SUT only at the Renaissance introduction) In my custom CAT Signature ( just like all prior CAT preamps of yesteryear), I have always been able to add custom Vishay resistors ( or the resistors that Ken has always included with the preamp as stock) spec'ed at 750 ohms when utilizing my Benz Ruby 2. ( Before that when i was using a Benz Ruby, I used a standard 500 ohm loading plug). While I certainly agree that the tube phono stage is generally more alive and vibrant, I think all tube phono stages will be too noisy....IF asked to amplify too low a signal from the cartridge! This is why i am no fan of the ultra low output MC. While the reasoning behind the ultra low output MC is that there are less windings of the coil and therefore less potential for loss ( due to less wire and therefore a shorter signal path/internal impedance), I believe that what one gains by this philosophy, one looses in the realization that the phono stage is now working much harder to amplify the signal. As such, the probability that distortion is now a factor in the phono stage is an overriding issue. ( Particularly IF you are utilizing a tube phono stage). Therefore, IME, the answer lies with matching the cartridge to the phono stage ability to amplify the signal cleanly. An ultra low output cartridge isn't going to work well with a tube phono stage..BUT a medium to low output cartridge is certainly a possibility. In my instance, the CAT is perfectly happy with a 0.3mv+ output, anything less than that...and it's going to mean a different cartridge. ( NOT a different phono stage..ie, SUT or ss).
    Ken added SUT's to his phono stage as a way of addressing the fact that there are more and more ultra low output cartridges on the market today. While I applaud this decision for ultra low output cartridges...and the consumers' ability to now utilize these models; I personally always have decided to forgo the trend and seek out a cartridge that will be synergistic with the tube phono stage...and not get sucked down the SUT hole. If the cartridge doesn't have enough output guts..its not a contender for me, pure and simple.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  10. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    DaveyF, great post with a lot of correct information, including correcting me. My CAT Reference and Signature do indeed have an easy position to install loading plugs, to lower the preamp's input impedance to less than 47000 Ohms. And I have used them to tame the MC high frequency peak, instead of 47000 Ohhms. Actually, we can do this with ANY phono input, just by adding Y-adapters, and then plugging a parallel resistor into each Y-adapter. But did you notice that when you do that, some of the cart's output gets absorbed by the parallel resistor, and therefore two bad things happen: (1) the volume must be turned up for the same listening level, so the noise goes up and S/N suffers, and (2) dynamics are reduced. Also, (3) do you realize that few people did that, because they didn't understand the math to calculate a resistor value to plug-in and get a desired net input load? And finally, (4) do you remember that for years of CAT reviews, there was not ONE SINGLE review of a CAT preamp where the reviewer added a parallel resistor, simply because they didn't understand the math either, and didn't follow Ken's suggestion to lower the 47000 if necessary. Well, HP of Absolute Sound didn't do it, because he didn't like the (1) worse S/N, and the (2) loss in dynamics. I don't think he (3) understood the math either, and certainly never (4) mentioned it. So HP just lived with the rising HF output, as I did at that time, and most CAT owners did. I am glad you did learn to use it correctly, because proper loading is important, we know now after HP is gone. (I love everything he ever wrote, but his preference to load MC carts at 47000 was a big mistake that led American audiophiles down a wrong path for many years.)

    All of the above are the REAL reasons Ken Stevens developed an input step-up transformer, and included it in later models. I thought it was in the Ultimate, but maybe you are right, was it the Renaissance? I haven't owned either one, so now I have forgotten.

    Ken did not add the transformer so that his preamp could play super low output carts. I say that because we discussed all the above yesterday. Plus, he still only recommends cartridges with high coil resistance, and output above 0.25 mV, even with his 1:7 transformer.

    As for using a step-up transformer being "sucked down the SUT hole", that is just not a correct description. With the CAT Reference or Signature, adding an SUT appropriate to any specific MC cart is an excellent solution (and equally true for any other MM phono stage, such as Audio Note). There was an Absolute Sound article, finally, about adding an SUT in front of the CAT phono input; it was the Expressive Technologies SUT review combined with another CAT Signature review. That reviewer absolutely LOVED the combination, and claimed that an SUT with the CAT was, by far, the best way to hear any MC cart through that preamp. I agree. Ever since I started using an SUT with the CAT and my other tube phono sections, I find it to be an almost perfect solution to excellent S/N and excellent dynamics. Well, except for the extra cost and the math required to get it right.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  11. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Warren, I have never noticed any loss in dynamics or increase in S/N ( in fact exactly the opposite, once you get the loading correct, the S/N ratio and dynamics actually improve, IME). I also do not have to increase the gain in order to get the same listening level. Remember, I am using some of the best resistor's available...and not the stock models that Ken supplies. The Vishay's are connected to a pair of custom locking Vampire RCA's. I would suspect that if you're using an inexpensive Y-adapter and then plugging a run-of-the-mill parallel resistor into each Y-adapter, that what you state makes perfect sense.( BTW, the CAT has only one phono input and one load input ( at least the models up to the Renaissance ) -- so why would you utilize the phono input for a Y-adapter when there is a separate load plug input??
    I'm also sure that Ken does recommend cartridges with 0.25mv or above...because anything less than 0.20mv is going to be a bear for just about ANY phono amplification device to deal with...including his SUT. ( some of the latest ultra low output MC's are now dipping into the 0.15mv output range...and even less...CRAZY, IMHO)
    In the past, I have AB'ed several SUT's against my modded CAT tube phono stage ( utilizing the NOS GE 12Ax7 long plates from 1963) --if the cartridge has enough output for the tube stage ( as stated at about 0.3mv's or above) the tube stage always sounded far superior to the SUT's, to my ears and all other a'phile's who happened to hear this demo. YMMV.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  12. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Well, please listen again to parallel resistor vs. no parallel resistor. You loose and you gain, its a compromise. And Ken definitely would agree. Make of resistor does make a small difference in overall sound quality, but not in dynamics nor S/N. Remember, this resistor mostly absorbs signal, it does not pass much signal. Using a Y-adapter in any other preamp, vs. the parallel RCA plugs Ken supplied, makes no difference at all, they are exactly the same (I don't use a cheap anything, certainly not a cheap Y-adapter).

    We just disagree about 0.15 mV and lower carts and the use of an appropriate SUT for them (for example 1:30 to 1:50). In my Room 2, I only use these low output MCs: Audio Note Io, Transfiguration Proteus, Ortofon MC-2000, and Benz Micro Ebony TR. These carts are so lively and sound so natural, that they more than compensate for the compromises from the SUTs that I use. Well, the Lundahl and Audio Note SUTs I use there have considerably less audible compromises than most SUTs that I've heard.

    In my Room 1, I have three turntables set up, all with much higher output MC carts: Denon 103D, Benz Micro Ebony LP and Koetsu Onyx. I use a 1:10 Music First Audio SUT there, simply one of the very best SUTs I have ever heard (sadly, I don't represent them in the USA anymore).

    I can understand your opinions, and believe you are on a very rewarding musical path with them. I thought exactly your way for decades. But, after hearing the modern very low output MCs with the very best SUT's, I have relaxed those old opinions and have moved on to also enjoy modern cartridge and SUT advancements.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  13. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Warren, AFAIK the Ortofon MC2000 outputs a tiny 0.05mv!! In my books, that is a design that just makes no sense whatsoever. The limitation that kind of output places on the upstream gear is enormous...so why bother. Having heard the Audio Note Io and the Benz Ebony TR, I personally feel that there are several superior sounding cartridges on the market...all with much healthier output. Interestingly, the Proteus is spec'ed at a 0.2mv...BUT at 3.54cm/s/1Khz., vs. the more common reference at 5cm/s! This actually translates to an output of 0.3mv @5cm/s -if my math is correct. Have you actually tried one of the higher output MC's ( like a Lyra, Benz or an Air Tight) into a tube phono stage and AB'ed that cartridge into an SUT?

    BTW, IME the kind/quality of resistor makes a huge difference in SQ, not a small difference as you say, kind of like the way a Cap also makes a big difference in the SQ. Sorry, I guess we will have to agree to disagree.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
  14. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Well, we don't need to agree, right? We just need to enjoy our hobby, discuss specific issues, and occasionally learn something new.

    I have heard and owned A LOT of cartridges. So far, the lowest output cartridges have sounded the best to me, if I can properly boost their signal to a listenable level. I have not found any consistent rule about lower output causing limitations "on the upstream gear", except choosing an appropriate step-up transformer. What I have noticed is that greater output level DOES cause limitations in the cartridge itself. Upsteam gear cannot do anything to bring back what the cartridge is unable to provide.

    The Ortofon MC2000 does things in terms of dynamics, liveliness, and resolution of subtle details, that no other cart I've heard can do. That's why. The Audio Note Io Gold is amazing, so natural and yet so detailed, that's why. And, the Benz Ebony TR exposes details and textures that the Benz Ebony LP doesn't quite give me, that's why. I am not married to any theory about what rules to apply to my favorite cartridges. I have just listened, and chosen my favorites by their sound.

    Ok, I think we have fully played-out this topic about low output MC carts vs. extremely low output carts. Let's go back to Audio Note phono preamps, the actual topic of this thread, please.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  15. DaveyF

    DaveyF Forum Resident

    Location:
    La Jolla, Calif
    Warren, like I said, YMMV.

    BTW, I still have this question for you?---Have you actually tried one of the higher output MC's ( like a Lyra, Benz or an Air Tight) into a tube phono stage and AB'ed that cartridge into an SUT?

    And yes, you are right, upstream gear cannot do anything to bring back what the cartridge is unable to provide. OTOH, upstream gear can also interfere with what is provided. Thereby bathing the signal in a wash of distortion, since the upstream gear is highly likely to be incompatible with the minute signal that it is being asked to amplify. IME, the smaller the signal, the higher the demand on the amplifying device. Having owned numerous cartridges myself, I am no longer interested in the ultra low output device. Too many other options available ( and most of those sound better anyway--IF you consider the cartridge and the phono stage as a system, which I do.)
     
  16. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I don't know what YMMV means, and I'm tired of Google searching for abbreviations. Is it "Your Mother Makes Vichyssoise"?

    Of course I have compared, isn't that obvious from what I have written, having owned (and still do) two CAT preamps, formally following HP's suggestion to use no transformer step-up, and now favoring the use of step-ups? I have heard this comparison into Audio Note phono preamps also. The medium output MC cartridges that I have used for this comparison were Denon 103D, Benz-Micro Ebony LP, and a few Koetsu cartridges. With a correctly chosen SUT, I hear greater transparency and greater dynamics , compared to straight in. This includes (1) adjusting the input impedance to be identical (appropriate to the cartridge coil resistance) and (2) adjusting impedance for best sound, which may be different for an SUT vs. for straight-in.

    Now, I can agree with you that many SUTs compress dynamics and obviously change frequency response. But I toss-out any SUT that I hear change the sound like that. I use only SUTs that improve the sound. I can hear, quite well people tell me: I wouldn't use anything that degrades sound. So my question to you is, what SUTs have you used, that you and your friends felt degraded the sound?

    From my experience, SUTs from Audio Note, Music First Audio, and Upsilon absolutely do not degrade sound in any way, into the most revealing audio systems and evaluated by the most discerning listeners. They 100% improve the interface between a low or medium output MC cartridge and a 47000 ohm phono preamp, particularly one using tubes. Dynamics improve, preamp noise is lowered, hum is eliminated, details are revealed with greater clarity, etc. There is no downside to incorporating a good SUT, except for the extra $ to buy it.

    The super low output Audio Note Io cartridges are truly stunning to hear. It is unfortunate that you would never consider hearing one, merely because you think Step-Up Transformers suck.

    Please contact me by private message, if you have more to discuss about this topic of SUTs. I love MC cartridges and SUTs. They are probably my two favorite audio components to own, hear, compare, and discuss. So please, PM me ho!
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2018
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  17. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    FYI - This officially stands for" "Your Mileage May Vary". In an internet-context this Acronym actually means: "Your Results/Experience may differ from my own".
     
  18. Bigbudukks

    Bigbudukks Older, but no wiser.

    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    I never noticed that. Even though I know they make SUT's You'd think I might have noticed the specifications on the phono preamps. Good thing I have my SUT from Bob's Devices. I'll have to take a good look at that R-Zero/II. I'm up for an upgrade right now. I wonder how happy it would be with Koetsu cartridge.
     
  19. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I listened to the R-Zero/II with a Koetsu Onyx. It was a good match, preserved the natural beauty of the Koetsu sound, particularly the realistic timbre and dynamics of voices and acoustic instruments. Of course, its really the job of the SUT to make a perfect match.
     
  20. Bigbudukks

    Bigbudukks Older, but no wiser.

    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    Well, my cartridge clearly likes my Sky 20. Enough that I'm rediscovering some albums with a number of instances where I hear instruments I never knew were there. Of course, the Koetsu was a big step up from the Linn Adikt Cartridge too.
     
  21. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    I am just bumping this part of Steve's into to this thread, because I would like to know if anyone is interested in the M6-RIAA.
     
  22. Warren Jarrett

    Warren Jarrett Audio Note (UK) dealer in SoCal/LA-OC

    Location:
    Fullerton, CA
    Now you've got me thinking about a concept that I've experienced, but have never verbalized. It seems to me that how one phono stage sounds compared to another is an extremely different situation than how one step-up sounds compared to another.

    Every phono stage have a sonic character, that I think doesn't really depend much on what cartridge is used with it. Every cartridge has its own sonic character too. In other words phono stages and carts have a sound of their own. Whether you play a Koetsu or a Linn Adikt (for example) through a particular phono stage, you will hear that character of the phono stage. And a cartridge that is "better" will merely sound better.

    But a step-up has to integrate the properties of a cartridge into a synergistic match with a phono stage. Any given step-up could sound terrible with one cartridge, but awesome with a different cartridge. The technical specs of the cartridge have a lot to do with a good match, but there is also the subjective match that varies, from one cartridge/step-up pairing vs. another.

    So my conclusion is that we can buy a phono stage for its sound (and price) and expect its sonic character to be consistent for future cartridge purchases. But buying a step-up that sounds best with one cartridge may really turn into a flop, when we later buy another cartridge.
     
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  23. marka

    marka Forum Resident

    From my recent experience with the Grado Black2 cartridge, it seemed me that matching the cartridge with the phono stage seemed important, too. Though there is a the superior phono stage in my AN (UK) Oto Sig, I found that with that cartridge, the combination was too warm, and “blanketed”. When I paired it with my Musical Surroundings Phonomena II, the problem went away. Of course, other elements of the sound weren’t as good, but it seemed to me to point to a conclusion that pairing of both a phono stage nd cartridge were essential.
     
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  24. Bigbudukks

    Bigbudukks Older, but no wiser.

    Location:
    Gaithersburg, MD
    I can't refute anything you wrote. The trick would be, in this case, not having too much warmth in the sound. Koetsu's are in general a bit too warm for some people, but to me the Urushi Tsugaru has a lovely sound that goes very well with the Sky 20. It's a very happy marriage, and the sound with my amps is clearly complimentary. So far, so good. I'll have to take a closer look at the general sound of this preamp. Anyway, I want to upgrade. My phono preamp is on the very bottom of the good stuff. Dont' get me wrong, it's a decent phono pre as far as that goes, but I can get much better to match the quality and fidelity of the rest of my system. It's just a matter of money at the moment. However, it's something to keep in mind when I do have the money again. Most assuredly. :D
     
  25. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
    Just picked up my brand-spanking new R Zero II from @Warren Jarrett at the Audio Home. Plugged it in and it was DEAD SILENT! Then realized I forgot to plug the Output RCA's into my amp. Oops. So plugged those in and was a bit worried because I do not have the ideal set up for getting my phono stage away from transformers, modems, etc., but voila, it's very quiet (even when properly hooked up). Instruction manual says it needs 30-45 minutes to warm up and at least 200 hundred hours of "bedding in" time. Trying not to listen critically, but I keep reaching for record after record - always a good sign. I'll report back after a bit more bedding in, but this appears to be a great way to dip a toe into the Audio Note family.

    Still haven't quite told my wife yet about my new purchase given its :sweating:close proximity to my recent Rega RP8 purchase, so it's stealthily tucked away at the moment... :evil:
     

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