Phono stages Group Test - Anatek MCR

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This is a solid-state unit, using an inductor on the enhanced RIAA circuit (Neumann Constant). There is no feedback in the gain stage and output is through a single-ended J-FET stage, chosen as being the “most musical”. Input impedance is selected by the very effective method of inserting load plugs into a pair of RCA sockets. The 440x300x70mm casework sports a set of impressive cooling fins along each side. The fascia has a logo in the centre, below which are coloured LEDs - the red one indicating standby and the green denoting operation.


After the smooth, full bodied flow from the last two contenders, the Anatek was a major change. It has a very clean and precise sound, with a soundstage that is seemingly lit by arc-lamps. Everything is laid out for inspection, from the polish on the instruments themselves, to the pin-point precision of the placement of each and every performer. Even when presented with a full size orchestra I felt that each individual musician had their own floodlight marking their position. The low stringed instruments were accurately reproduced with no overhang on their notes, whilst violins were detailed to a point where I could count them. ‘Play Bach No.2’ in some ways benefited from this forensic analysis of the sounds. It was very involving, but also quite demanding on the listener since there was always something grabbing your attention. By contrast, the Holfi laid sounds out for inspection, but left the choice of the closeness of that inspection to the listener...


This analysis also included the condition of the groove wall. I was all too aware that a less than new record was playing, although the snap, crackle and pop was sufficiently muted so as not to be intrusive. With mono recordings the Anatek gave a very precise but confined sound, the image occupying an area of about one third of the space between the speakers, being quite sharply cut off.


The MCR’s sense of timing I would describe as majestic. There was the metronomic regularity reminiscent of the Diablo, but with a greater sensation of authority behind it. Although the sound was firm and distinctly shaped, it still carried a fair bit of weight and solidity. The sound may be very bright and detailed, but do not mistake that for thinness. There was nothing insubstantial about the notes coming out of the speakers but they did not have the same 'hewn from solid' sensation that characterised the previous two.

An extremely accomplished product, prospective purchasers should nevertheless note that it's from the 'seat-of-the-pants' school of music making, rather than being a subtle charmer like the A.N.T. or Icon. Many will love it, but it's not for everyone, all things considered.


verdict four globes

Striking sounding phono stage with a vivid, seat-of-the-pants presentation.


Anatek Research

+44(0)1273 261229


- very strong imaging

- forensic detailing

- explicit dynamics


- too explicit for some!


The MCR has a high gain of x1875 (65dB) so the 0.2mV or so from a typical MC cartridge will be delivered to an amplifier as 375mV or thereabouts - just enough for a modern solid-state amplifier with a low 400mV input sensitivity. Having a high output swing of 13.5V, the Anatek accepts quite a high maximum input of 7mV before overload, more than it is likely to ever see providing a very high output MC meant for MM stages is not used.


Equalisation was correct across the audio band, although a slight slowing of attenuation from the 75uS characteristic results in, effectively, a small treble lift at high frequencies, and considerably more above 20kHz, but since LP goes little higher than 30kHz the MCR’s +1dB lift at this frequency is not especially consequential I feel.


At the low frequency end there is no warp filter to reduce subsonic gain and full gain is maintained right down to 0.5Hz so warps will be amplified. Bass quality should be fulsome though.


Equivalent input noise (IEC A weighted) measured a low 0.08uV so the Anatek is quiet enough to accept the lowest output MCs, like Linns.


The MCR measures well all round. It is very accurate and possesses little noise so will suit all moving coil cartridges. NK

Frequency response 0.5Hz-33kHz

Separation 68dB

Noise (e.i.n.) -76dBV (0.08uV)

Distortion 0.003%

Gain x1875 (65dB)

Overload 7mV in / 13V out






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