Never Say Never, Hegel Releases V10 Phono Preamplifer
Hegel previously said they'd never make a phono preamp, until they did. The V10 promises to get you deep into the groove as the Norweigian-based audio specialist turn its attention to analogue sources.
The past few years have seen the company implement new and innovative technologies to improve digital media's sound quality. Now, the revival of vinyl has given chief designer, Bent Holter, the chance he has been waiting for. Apparently, the plan was to start small; however, Bent said: “If you are not going to make it the right way, then why bother making it at all?”
Hegel states that it has eschewed textbook solutions and “off the shelf” circuitry. Instead, the company used its know-how in state-of-the-art amplification design and built the V10 from the ground up from modern, discrete amplification. We're told that the result is a phono stage with the sound signature you know from the brand's amplifiers and DACs.
The Hegel V10's 6cm x 21cm x 28cm (HxWxD) chassis is divided into two compartments, physically separating the power supplies from the sensitive amplification circuitry. There are also gold-plated terminals - RCA input and both RCA and balanced XLR outputs, and a custom grounding screw.
The input stage features ultra-low-noise discrete JFET transistors for both the Moving Magnet (MM) and Moving Coil (MC) input. Eliminating external noise is especially important when using sensitive low output MC cartridges, so the MC input is fitted with four transistors connected in parallel. Hegel says that this makes the input totally silent and stops bias current feedback to the cartridge coil.
The input signal feeds into equally silent amplifier circuits. Both the MM and the MC gain stages use ultra-low-noise power supplies built with discrete bipolar transistors to keep the signal noise at a minimum. This ensures an extremely accurate amplification of the input signal coming from the turntable, and results in +/- 0,2dB / 20Hz - 20kHz RIAA Accuracy, says Hegel. Additionally, the V10 gets a linear, low noise, analogue AC-power supply that features a large, custom design, E-core transformer, placed in its own housing.
The Hegel V10 was designed to be as plug-and-play as possible. When using a MM cartridge, you can freely increase the Capacitance between 100 and 467 pF, and when using an MC cartridge, the impedance can be set between 33 and 550 ohms or fixed at 47 kohm.
The gain for both MM and MC can be increased by 5, 10 or 12 dB, matching your other sources' output, the V10 also has a Subsonic Filter to remove unwanted low-frequency noise. Hegel says that THD is measured at Distortion (THD) < 0.005% for MM and < 0.009% for MC. Channel Crosstalk is quoted as -84dB @1kHz 0dBV, and the V10 phono stage boasts a 2Hz-20kHz frequency response.
Finally, should you forget to turn off the V10, the adjustable auto standby function takes care of it for you.
The Hegel V10 phono stage starts shipping in February and will sell in Australia for $2,295 RRP.