Phono Amp

My existing Arcam A75 integrated amplifier included a phono input  stage. While this has a reasonable performance, I felt it could be improved upon.

Looking around, I came across a user forum where Graham Slee, a well regarded audio equipment designer/manufacturer, was documenting the design steps for a phono-pre-amp. The whole thing ran to about 50 pages in all and made fascinating reading.

Needless to say, I bought the kit that went with the article. The kit arrived with all the components bagged up within a plastic box together with a reprint of the design notes.

Construction was pretty straightforward. By basically following the standard assembly process of fitting components with lowest profiles first, together with double-checking capacitor / resistance values and polarities, I had no problems putting it all together and mounting it into its metal case. Once it was all assembled, I found I had one small self-tapping screw left over – a quick post on the web site’s forum identified this as a fixing screw from the back panel into the centre of the plastic moulding of the 2 x 2 phono plug stack.

The unit was certainly an improvement on the built-in phono stage of my integrated amp and quoting from my feedback to the user forum

Great little phono stage and after a few days of use sounds even better – Once all was burnt in, while playing the U2 Joshua Tree album, my wife commented “I haven’t heard that before” to which my response was “We’ve had this for ages (the album)”. “No! I’m hearing things in the music I hadn’t heard before”.

I later upgraded the wall-wart PSU that came with it to a linear PSU from the same site and this improved it further.