TEAD Groove Plus SRX, Herron Audio VPTH-2, Graham Slee Revelation Phonostages

Graham Slee Revelation Phonostage and Elevator EXP Moving-Coil Head Amplifier,
Herron Audio VTPH-2 Vacuum Tube Phono Preamplifier,
TEAD Groove Plus SRX
TEAD Groove Plus SRX, Herron Audio VPTH-2, Graham Slee Revelation Phonostages

Not so long ago the phonostage was an integral (albeit central) element in every single serious pre-amp. But with the advent of CD the audio landscape shifted, and as vinyl fell from favour, designers were only too happy to dispense with the tricky and expensive necessity of providing onboard phono equalization and amplification. Pretty soon the phonostage became first an optional extra and then a standalone purchase, turning turntables into linelevel sources like everything else – a step which naturally also added the cost of a dedicated power supply and casework to their price as well as adding another box and set of interconnects to your system.

But it wasn’t all bad news. Truth be told, a separate box is probably pretty much a pre-requisite for serious performance, as is an independent power supply. So, although phonostages became (in some cases, much) more expensive, they also started to deliver results that previously we’d only ever dreamed of. And as they, of necessity, became a more specialist item, they also became more specialized, with committed vinyl listeners prepared to countenance ever higher prices in pursuit of ever greater improvements in performance. But, as is so often the case, this specialization took two routes, routes with apparently conflicting goals. On the one hand, manufacturers sought to offer increasing flexibility and user configurable parameters. On the other, the ever increasing transparency and resolution of the latest phono-stages was ruthless in revealing the subtlest of changes in circuitry or componentry, driving a move towards ever simpler and more straight-line designs, an approach which had become pretty much de rigeur by the end of the 20th Century.

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