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Pure Audio Vinyl Phono Preamp


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I've got a Pure Audio Vinyl phono pre amplifier on audition at the moment and thought i would put up a post as there's not a lot of information out there about this New Zealand preamp.

 

I've been after a good phono stage for a 2nd system for a fair while now, calling it a second system doesn't do it justice as i listen to it as much as the main set up but is for the evenings and days when my wife wants the lounge. I've always scrimped on phono amps for this second set up which has been a mistake as there always seems to be something amiss and the rest of the gear in it is rather good. I owned a Plinius M14 for 10 years and sold it a year or so ago when i put a superb Phase Tech EA3-II in the main hifi so i was interested in how the Pure Audio sounded as it is made by the same bloke that did the Plinius.

 

Of course i've taken a few photos along the way :)

 

It's an interesting looking bit of kit, different from the norm and of a high build quality. Straight on is fairly plain, the white LED being a welcome change from blinding blue LEDs that seem de rigeur at the moment. The light goes out when it senses music which at first i thought a bit of a w.ank but got used to it and now don't take any notice after a day or two. One thing to note though is that Pure Audio's line pre amp uses a sensor to switch to the input being used rather than you setting it manually. If the sensor is the same as to turn off the LED then it would infuriate no end as it goes off a second or two into music but if you listen to anything with sound effects such as wind or rain or footsteps before the music kicks in it doesn't pick this up and stays lit so you would miss a lot with the line stage. (I imagine it's a different design though and the sensor in the phono pre only does the LED, sounds plays continuously)

 

 

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I'd seen photos of it but didn't realise how textured the finish is. I like the look and feel of it.

 

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Sensibly laid out rear end.

 

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Loading switches are easy to use with a toothpick or picnic sticks, 1 set for each channel as this is all dual mono. The standard options are 47, 100, 220, 470 and 1000 ohms. I assume that using no dip switches is 47K, this isn't mentioned in the specifications.

 

pureaudio4_zpsb5d1bf61.jpg

 

The top and sides are the interesting part of the design with a lightweight mesh covering the internals. The unit gets a touch warm after a day or so but nothing more.

 

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It's surprisingly long though as you can see by comparing it to the big Marantz amp. With meaty interconnects and stiff cables adding some inches onto the rear it might be a squeeze in a tight spot.

 

pureaudio5_zpsc2827a55.jpg

 

I asked my wife about the WAF (after i'd explained the concept) and she said that she wouldn't want to see it on display. She likes the Marantz amp and my Vienna Acoustic Beethoven speakers but this is "too mechanical" for her tastes. The front on display in the rack is fine.

 

The most important thing of course is the sonics. I am comparing it to my Phase Tech and my memory of the Plinius M14. The Phase Tech is warm and inviting with a seductive mid range and sweet top end that keeps you in your listening chair all day. The Plinius i remember at presenting a really hefty grip to the bass that was always tuneful and never had that horrible thump that bass can be. My memories of the mid and top end are less sure, i don't remember anything amiss but i did enjoy it and kept it for 10 years.

 

I was expecting a lot from the Pure Audio but when i first played an album it was without doubt a "pfft" Flat and dull and ordinary. I was being very unfair as it was stone cold. The Phase Tech when cold though still manages to seduce so i was disappointed with my initial listen. Deciding to be fair i put an lp on and did some work around the house while the music played in the background. After 3 or 4 lps i found myself pricking up my ears when i would hear the prolonged sustain of a guitar note or the breath of a singer before they sang. Once i'd finished the work around the house i sat down to take a close listen and the difference when just a bit warm was profound. There was nothing that leapt out as in being full bodied or having a shimmering treble or pronounced soundstage or anything of that sort but i could pick out bass runs if i chose to or follow individual notes in a guitar solo or feel the warble in a singer's vocal chords with ease. Or i could just listen to the music.

 

Now after 3 days it's as if there is no phono pre amp, just music. I'm reminded of when i bought my first Ortofon Jubilee cartridge 12 years or so ago, compared to other cartridges i'd owned it just disappeared and all there was was music. That's what i hear now. The problem i see for Pure Audio though is that on a quick comparison there is nothing to leap out and grab the listener's attention at first so it might be overlooked. A decent audition at home is a must. I've got it connected up to an SME Model 10 turntable with Ortofon Cadenza Black cartridge loaded at 470 ohms and the music coming out of my speakers is sublime regardless of genre or quality of production. It might seem odd being impressed with a $3000 + bit of kit that disappears from the scene but the music is what matters and i am impressed. The LED extinguishing makes perfect sense, a James Bond type of invisibility cloak would not be out of place as that's what the Pure Audio invokes.

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Great write up Hergest and some nice pix as well.  Thanks for sharing and sounds like you are really enjoying the new addition. 

 

Have you tried it in your other setup yet? 

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Great write up Hergest and some nice pix as well.  Thanks for sharing and sounds like you are really enjoying the new addition. 

 

Have you tried it in your other setup yet? 

 

Thanks.

I only put it in the other system briefly and will probably try again now it's nice and warmed up. The other lot runs a Phase Tech cartridge though which is a wonderful match with the Phase Tech pre so i reckon i will leave that as it is. Also i don't want to get a dilemma where i can't decide what room to put what in. Hard choices eh?  :)

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I think you said, Hergest, the 'R' loading choices included 1K ... then 47K?  So what about carts like my Benz LP which likes 2K2?

 

Pathetic, IMO, having such a limited choice.  Don't use a dipswitch and do use a parallel pair of RCAs, so you can plug in whatever 'loaded' plug you like.

 

Regards,

 

Andy

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Andy

 

Please tell me of any phono stage that has loading between 1k and 47k?   Not yours  :P

 

Not much difference between 1k and 47k sound wise IMO.

 

Benz has internal impedance of 38 ohms, so loading should be around 400-500 ohm using the 10x rule.  2k??  Why not just load it at 47k?

 

The Benz lp-s I was using the past 2 months sounded best at 500 ohms in my system.

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I think you said, Hergest, the 'R' loading choices included 1K ... then 47K?  So what about carts like my Benz LP which likes 2K2?

 

Pathetic, IMO, having such a limited choice.  Don't use a dipswitch and do use a parallel pair of RCAs, so you can plug in whatever 'loaded' plug you like.

 

Regards,

 

Andy

Andy, the music coming through the Pure Audio sounds sublime , that's perfect for me. You might think it's pathetic but that's up to you.The Pure Audio clearly isn't for you as your time seems to be taken up fretting about what motor controller to use on your butchered Linn so i reckon you should concentrate on that.  Don't sweat it mate.

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Andy

 

Please tell me of any phono stage that has loading between 1k and 47k?   Not yours  :P

 

Not much difference between 1k and 47k sound wise IMO.

 

Benz has internal impedance of 38 ohms, so loading should be around 400-500 ohm using the 10x rule.  2k??  Why not just load it at 47k?

 

The Benz lp-s I was using the past 2 months sounded best at 500 ohms in my system.

 

The JLTi has a loading between 10 and 47K ohms.  It does this by having a parallel pair of input RCAs - so you can plug in whatever load you like. ;)  So does the Bugle2 and Cornet2 that I modified for djb ... and all 3 of my own phono stages. :D

 

The 10x rule is just a 'rule of thumb' - the same rule of thumb which suggests that the Zin of a preamp, say, should be at least 10x the Zout of the preceeding phono stage (which rules out using some tube phono stages with some preamps).

 

"In your system" is the important thing; the optimum loading is often different with different phono stages.  I've tried 470ohms with my Benz LP (not 'S') and I've tried 47K (which Mr Lucaschek recommends).  Bass is too floppy at 47K, with my phono stage - I prefer the sound at 2K2.

 

 

Regards,

 

Andy

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Andy, the music coming through the Pure Audio sounds sublime , that's perfect for me. You might think it's pathetic but that's up to you.The Pure Audio clearly isn't for you as your time seems to be taken up fretting about what motor controller to use on your butchered Linn so i reckon you should concentrate on that.

 

Haha ... you can run but you can't hide, on the Internet! :lol:

 

I'm sure the Pure Audio does sound great - it's just a shame IMO that it doesn't offer more flexibility.

 

 

Regards,

 

Andy

 

PS:  A pity you are in NSW ... otherwise you could've come round and listened to my "butchered Linn".  You would remove that curl from your top lip, after hearing it. ;)

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Haha ... you can run but you can't hide, on the Internet! :lol:

 

I'm sure the Pure Audio does sound great - it's just a shame IMO that it doesn't offer more flexibility.

 

 

Regards,

 

Andy

 

PS:  A pity you are in NSW ... otherwise you could've come round and listened to my "butchered Linn".  You would remove that curl from your top lip, after hearing it. ;)

 

Ha. You should post with different monikers so i wouldn't be able to track you down.  :)

 

A good mate of mine had a Joe Rassmussen FVP for years which is a wonderful pre amp, that used loading plugs for the phono stage. He replaced that with a stunning Vacuum State pre last year and of course that does the same. Over many years the 2 of us have played around with different loading plugs and apart from the wild differences between say 10 ohms and 47k there has rarely been any difference and the farting about at the back of the pre amp plugging and unplugging loading plugs has actually made me shy away from owning something that needed to be done that way. Also, although my mate is handy with a soldering iron i've seen some shockers over the years of bodgy resistors with lumps os piss poor solder holding them in. I'm no good at soldering so it would mean having to buy something that i neither want or would even use once i've decided on the loading. Using the dipswitch and having a sensible amount of choices is to me a perfect way of doing things. I had a play around once it was nice and warm and as always the 470 ohms suits the Ortofon in my system. I shall never touch it again. I'm sure there are people who can hear 470 ohms and 520 but i'm not one of them. Set and forget suits me fine.

 

That curl on my lip will never go. I have an aversion to things engineered by professionals that are "improved" by a bloke with a hammer and screwdriver. Whether it's someone messing about with a turntable or someone buying a new car and stiffening the springs and enlarging the wheels and chipping the engine to "improve" things i instinctively am not impressed. 

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Ha. You should post with different monikers so i wouldn't be able to track you down.  :)

 

A good mate of mine had a Joe Rassmussen FVP for years which is a wonderful pre amp, that used loading plugs for the phono stage. He replaced that with a stunning Vacuum State pre last year and of course that does the same. Over many years the 2 of us have played around with different loading plugs and apart from the wild differences between say 10 ohms and 47k there has rarely been any difference and the farting about at the back of the pre amp plugging and unplugging loading plugs has actually made me shy away from owning something that needed to be done that way. Also, although my mate is handy with a soldering iron i've seen some shockers over the years of bodgy resistors with lumps os piss poor solder holding them in. I'm no good at soldering so it would mean having to buy something that i neither want or would even use once i've decided on the loading. Using the dipswitch and having a sensible amount of choices is to me a perfect way of doing things. I had a play around once it was nice and warm and as always the 470 ohms suits the Ortofon in my system. I shall never touch it again. I'm sure there are people who can hear 470 ohms and 520 but i'm not one of them. Set and forget suits me fine.

 

That curl on my lip will never go. I have an aversion to things engineered by professionals that are "improved" by a bloke with a hammer and screwdriver. Whether it's someone messing about with a turntable or someone buying a new car and stiffening the springs and enlarging the wheels and chipping the engine to "improve" things i instinctively am not impressed. 

 

And why I am averse to things like dipswitches in the very low-level signal path at the input of an MC phono stage is that the guy who produced the 'Phantom Audio' phono stage I bought 10 or 12 years ago told me that in all cases of phono stages he had tried which had switches to deliver different loadings, in every case, when had decided on the value he wanted and removed the dipswitches etc. and just soldered that value resistor in place ... it sounded better!  IE. dipswitches etc. degrade the signal - so much better to use Allen's idea of parallel RCAs for loaded plugs ... even if you want to "set & forget"! ;)

 

 

Regards,

 

Andy

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Surely it depends on the quality of the dip switches employed?   RCA  sockets and plugs can degrade the sound too but you need them or switchable loading if you want flexible loading options.

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Surely it depends on the quality of the dip switches employed?   RCA  sockets and plugs can degrade the sound too but you need them or switchable loading if you want flexible loading options.

 

Sure, Tasso, but if Mike (Kontor) avoids them and Allen (Wright) used parallel RCAs ... IMO there must be something in it. ;)  Because flexible loading is essential.

 

Andy

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Aah ..... Andy.... You do know who Gary.M is?

I suspect the designer of Plinius and now Pure Audio probably has an idea or two.

Kevin

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Sure, Tasso, but if Mike (Kontor) avoids them and Allen (Wright) used parallel RCAs ... IMO there must be something in it. ;)  Because flexible loading is essential.

 

Andy

 

 

Andy

 

there are MANY more successful phono designers that use dip switches than do not.        What makes your two special?

 

 

btw, I am not a fan if dip switches - both my phono's have dials with on the fly loading from the front panel :cool:

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Andy

 

there are MANY more successful phono designers that use dip switches than do not.        What makes your two special?

 

btw, I am not a fan if dip switches - both my phonos have dials with on the fly loading from the front panel :cool:

 

My point is, friend, that anything apart from a soldered-in load resistor is a compromise; IMO a parallel pair of RCAs to take "loaded" resistors ... buggers up the sound the least:D   That includes whatever arrangement your 2 phonos have used to provide "dials with on-the-fly loading from the front panel".

 

And why do so many people use dip switches ... it is simply marketing. :P

 

 

Regards,

 

Andy

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Sure, Tasso, but if Mike (Kontor) avoids them and Allen (Wright) used parallel RCAs ... IMO there must be something in it. ;)  Because flexible loading is essential.

 

Andy

 

Not if you  have a current mode phono amplifier like  that from  Bakoon japan. Their premier unit ( not the cheaper Korean ones)  is quite special. Being current mode amplification , impedance matching is a thing of the past for any MC or MM cartridge.  And of course MC cartridges have high current low voltage which suits current mode amplification.

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Hmm Interesting comments abound here--re the Dipswitches--Stan Klyne uses them in his Phono--doesn't sound too shabby to me--possibly the implementation that is flawed in some usages.

 

Willco

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Bakoon are far from unique in using current amplification, others include Dynavector, 47 labs, ESE and Aurorasound.

There are also the issues of active v passive v LCR RIAA eq, discussion of all or any of which has nothing to do with this thread.

I would like to thank Hergest for sharing his impressions of his new acquisition with which he seems rather pleased.

My personal opinion on particular aspects of its implementation would not seem to be of relevance in this thread.

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Concur here Kudos to Herg with his plaudits-- I know Gary Morrison well the designer and he is Talented, Personable and very approachable -while I agree marketing is indeed a very important factor in the minefield that is

 

Hi End Phono I'm certain his implementations are sonics first and marketing second

 

Good Listening

 

Willco

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I'm tempted to say "Nothing to see here" This is just Andyr crapping on something that implements things in a way different to how he does with his crapping littered with smilies. It's par for the course with him and really is best ignored. I regret being sucked in by the troll.

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Herg, I assume if you use a MM cartridge, the unit can handle it OK?

BTW, I have a phono stage with user defined loading via RCA plugs, but would prefer it to have a dip switch arrangement. Saves a lot of time and effort and I have no more faith in RCA plugs and connectors than I do in dip switches.

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Herg, I assume if you use a MM cartridge, the unit can handle it OK?

BTW, I have a phono stage with user defined loading via RCA plugs, but would prefer it to have a dip switch arrangement. Saves a lot of time and effort and I have no more faith in RCA plugs and connectors than I do in dip switches.

From what i've read on the Pure Audio site this is a low and medium output MC only unit . I don't know at what point you would overload it. Both cartridges i've used with it have been around 0.3 mv.

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Some minor housekeeping has been performed on this thread to ensure it stays relevant and in context.

This is a review, a review of the Pure Audio Vinyl Phono Pre and the topic should remain about said product. :)

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