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BUYING GUIDE - PHONO STAGES - UNDER £500
PRICES SHOWN ARE THOSE AT THE TIME OF REVIEW
Phono Stages
£
Year
Verdict
Creek OBH-8SE/OBH-2 £160 Nov 97 One of the best MC phono stages on the market at the price (also reviewed Oct 01)
Creek OBH-9/OBH-1 £110 Nov 97 Smooth and truly musical, exceedingly worthy entry-level phono stage. (also reviewed Oct 01)
Densen DP Drive/DP-02 £350 Sep 97 A beautifully made, fine sounding device that looks great too
Lehmann Black Cube £395 Oct 98 Capable of involvement, neutrality and insight usually the preserve of stages three or four times the price.
LFD Mistral £299 Sep 97 The most lucid and musical budget phono stage around - a true audiophile bargain.
Musical Fidelity X-LP £130 May 99 First-class inexpensive phono. MM and MC inputs catered for. Low on distortion, high on clarity.
Musical Fidelity X-LP2 £499 Feb 00 MM and variable-impedance MC monobloc phono amps with absolute clarity and limitless drive. In a class of their own for quality and value.
NAD PP1 £40 Sep 98 At this price the NAD is an accomplished all-rounder. Slowish bass will suit leaner systems though. (also reviewed Oct 01)
Pro-ject Phono Box £40 Dec 99 Very competent little MM & MC stage at an astonishing price. First-rate starter package (also reviewed Oct 01)
QED Discsaver £35 Jan 97 A bargain. Beguilingly musical presentation, with more than enough detail and power for a mere £35. (also reviewed Oct 01, now priced at £25)
Rotel RQ-970BX £130 Nov 94 Combine with a good cheap line level integrated and it will show you how good vinyl can be.
Sonneteer Sedley MC/MM £399 May 98 The Sedley combines transparency and fine dynamics with excellent rhythmic ability.
Trichord Dino £299 Jul 01 Punchy yet polished sound make this the best starter phono stage around right now. (also reviewed Oct 01)
PHONO STAGES - £500+
Anthem Pre 1P £899 Aug 98 Despite a sizeable price tag the Anthem offers a smooth, lucid sound and superb build quality.
Audio Innovations P2 £749 Feb 96 Fantastic bass and super insight make this one of the best phono stages around.
Audiolab 8000PPA £800 Oct 94 Instruments can have a somewhat flat perspective, but excellent clarity
Clearaudio Symphono £740 Sep 00 Well specified MC phono stage with automatic load compensation. Sounds fresh and clean. Expensive.
DPA DSP 200SD £495 Oct 94 Could be too forceful for some, but with excellent detail and extremely powerful bass.
Graaf GM70 £2500 Aug 02 Not cheap, but sonically as sweet as a nut. Open, warm and highly detailed.
Kinshaw Perception £525 Oct 94 Extremely impressive results, especially with MM cartridges.
Linn Linto £850 Oct 97 Marries beautifully into the Linn family, but not too hot with other components.
Michell Iso £528 Oct 94 Gives a thoroughly cohesive picture of a recording with a very tight and rhythmical bass
Michell Iso HR £850 May 93 Perhaps too good for some record collections. Extremely revealing.
Michell Delphini £1895 Mar 00 The best phono stage at or anywhere near the price, bar none.
Plinius Jarrah £600 Feb 02 Musical, even handed and well built, this has much to offer. Only the highish price and stiff competition detract from this package.
Roksan Artaxerxes/DS5 £945 Oct 97 Doesnít worry about genre, it just gets on with the job of making music in an enjoyable way.
Sonic Frontiers Phono 1 £2000 Apr 98 Expensive, yes, overpriced, no. The Phono 1 is a superb all-round phono stage.
Unison Simply Phono £495 Mar 96 Liquid sound with great dynamics, but a little hissy and muddled too. Beguiling, but not perfect.
 

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