Following on from our acclaimed PS1 phono stage which won “5 Globes” in Hi Fi World (03/2008) for its excellent sound quality, we have pushed the boundaries of valve technology even further with our new PS3 model. To do this we have used all our expertise and experience to create a “no expense spared” phono stage which addresses all the weaknesses of more conventional designs but still retaining our “All Valve” philosophy. And amazing value!
So what’s special about the PS3?
Special amplification needs a special power supply. We start with a large, oversized power transformer and a full wave valve EZ80 rectifier followed by two large chokes for ultra-smooth power. This is then regulated by a low resistance 5687 valve controlled by an ECC83 for the very accurate voltage necessary for exceptional purity and performance. The pre-amp unit uses the “cascode effect” of using two valves together in a special way to obtain high gain with low noise this gives exceptional definition and sound staging whilst keeping the vivid colour and warmth that our PS1 phono stage is famous for. With two inputs and a moving coil option using our own “hand wound” moving coil transformers. The output is handled by the venerable 6SN7. Introduced in 1941, probably the most luxurious sounding hi fi valve ever, with so many old and new version
• Better definition using “Double Cascode” circuit which has the delicious, liquid sound of triode valves, whilst solving many of the technical problems of high gain
• Uses four of the excellent ECC88 valves
• Uses the amazing 6SN7 as output valve, (probably the best sounding hi fi valve, ever!)
• Specially developed “All valve” power supply
• Smooth Valve rectified using EZ80
• 1x EZ80 1x ECC83 1x EL84 1 x 0A2 (power supply)
• Two high value chokes for ultra smooth DC power.
These are expensive and heavy, but we think the relaxed smooth sound is well worth the effort.
• Two box construction for minimum noise
• Our “passive” design uses no “feedback”
• Our simple design uses “audiophile” components
• We use “hard wired” “point to point” wiring with no
printed circuit board
• Only full sized components are used
• Easily upgraded, e.g. Jensen capacitorsons to try if you so desire!
You are immediately aware of the lack of “grittiness” and top end harshness that some designs exhibit. The sound is much more fluid and musical. The available detail is extraordinary! On good discs the background is “inky black” silent. Discs with some
wear sound far better than you would expect. When playing old mono discs the mono switch will eliminate much noise (why listen to stereo noise on a mono recording?) Now you can hear the true magic of vinyl!
Moving Magnet or Moving Coil?
Moving magnet types are generally cheaper, and have the advantages of a high utput of about 5 millivolts and a replaceable stylus. Moving coil pickups have around 0.5 millivolts output and non-replaceable stylus. These are generally more expensive.
Despite these disadvantages MC pickups generally sound better. Record masters are cut with an MC cutter. Using a MC pickup on playback has better sonic characteristics and a more linear in response. MM pickups have a small design problem with high
frequency resonance with can emphasise surface noise/wear etc and have a more “gritty” sound. However high output MC pickups in our opinion offer little advantage with the drawbacks of both types! MC pickups need around 10x extra gain compared
with MM. This can be achieved with a transistor circuit but in our opinion never realises the full potential that moving coil can offer, due to the reasons listed above. A good quality transformer is the best solution. Icon use high quality British custom wound torroidal type with mu metal screening. They are quiet, have a very flat frequency response, and offer a very smooth detailed sound. These may be fitted at the time of order or retro fitted as budgets allow. Either way they are £200.00.
The front panel switching then allows you to choose either option, from TWO turntables!
Specifications and Features
(Specifications subject to change) Shown with optional David Shaw CV181 Summary:
No compromise phono stage for MM and MC. Ultra refined power supply and sophisticated pure valve circuit stays true to the original design aims of the RIAA LP standard.