STEP-UP PHONO STAGE COMPONENTS
Step-up phono stage transformers are designed to be used with low and medium output Moving Coil (MC) phono cartridges. Output of most MC cartridges is measured between 0.2 to 0.6 mV. To amplify such a low level signal without adding audible noise at the first step of amplification is very difficult. To a degree, this can be done with transistor-based pre-amplifiers by using low-noise design techniques and parts, but it is virtually impossible to do with tube amplification.
Sonically, tubes are one of the most desirable way of signal amplification, but in this application they are not up to task because of inherent noise factors. The only way to get an acceptable signal to noise ratio from a tube phono stage is to increase the output signal of the MC cartridges at least 10 times (20dB) before it enters the pre-amplifier.
The best way of doing this is by using a good quality step-up transformer. Only best quality step-up transformers can perform this task completely noiseless with exceptional speed and sonic neutrality.
In our ANALOG EVOLUTION line of products we use step-up transformers, custom-made to our specifications by Sowter Transformers in the U.K.
Our transformers feature Mumetal 76% Nickel-laminated core for minimal harmonic distortion and exceptional bandwidth, using 4 separate electrostatic screens for rejection of hum and noise and a Mumetal enclosure is used for magnetic shielding. Multiple interleaved windings ensure exceptionally good bandwidth. This high bandwidth coupled with a very low phase shift ensures excellent transient response. All our transformers use the OCC* copper wire.
To “break-in” our ANALOG EVOLUTION step-up transformers, we designed a special attachment to the “Cable Cooker”. Together, they perform the “break-in” process of the step-up transformers with stunning results.
Never before have stereo systems using step-up transformers delivered such levels of neutrality, transparency, dimensionality, depth and width of sound stage, depth and tightness of bass. All this brings the listener much closer to the musical truth.
Using any existing step–up transformer requires two sets of phono stage interconnect cables. In this case a very small cartridge output signal travels much longer distances and will cross four connectors before transmitting the signal to the next component. This degrades the integrity of signal transmission regardless of the quality of phono cables and connectors being used.
Our philosophy is to minimize traveling distance of the cartridge output signals and the connectors from the cartridge output to the step-up transformer inputs, and from the transformers outputs to the inputs of the pre-amplifier.
Our new revolutionary product – STEP-UP CABLE– is the fusion of our FIGARO INTERCONNECT CABLE and our STEP-UP TRANSFORMER. We have put the two best into one package that is a direct extension of our philosophy. STEP-UP CABLES perform the transmission of cartridge output signals and the process of passive amplification in the most efficient way, without additional cables or connectors along the shortest traveling distance between the cartridge and the phono pre-amplifier. Truly a revolution in audio signal transmission!
Active interconnect cables.
The next logical continuation of our philosophy is to create an audio component to perform active amplification of cartridge output signals using the same conditions as in the step-up cables – minimized traveling distance without additional interconnect cables and connectors.
To achieve this goal, we designed a very small and lightweight true Hi-End solid state monophonic phono pre-amplifier and fused it with our FIGARO INTERCONNECT CABLE creating an active phono stage cable.
Active phono stage cables are placed between cartridge outputs and line stage amplifiers. A stereo system, using active phono stage cables, does not need any additional phono stage pre-amplifier or interconnect cables. The cartridge output signal will need only to travel five inches to reach the pre-amplifier! The amplified signal will then travel the minimal distance determined by the positioning of the line stage amplifier.
Active phono stage cables are a breakthrough audio component capable of active amplification and transmitting cartridge output signals in the most efficient way along the shortest possible distance between the cartridge and the line stage amplifier.