I've an intergrated amplifier Audio Analoque "Maestro" in combination with Magnepan 3.5 loudspeakers, Nottingham Analoque "Hyperspace" with Benz Glider 0.9 mV element. For playing CD's a Wadia 23. The Maestro has a built-in MC/MD phone stage, but compared to the Acoustech you will notice directly that there is far more on Lp's then you will hear on the Maestro. This is because of the competition in the price range and the priorities when building an intergrated amplifier. I'm still in the test phase of purchasing this very well build phonostage. Other options are a tube phonestage of Union Research which I also want to test. On the secondhand market there is not to much going on at the moment. It's a demoversion, so it's no need for burning-in. Cabling is also important between the Acoustech and Maestro. Siltech was a good option, but not cheap. I had no problems with distance between the different components which could cause hum etc. like the other reviewer. But of cause, a MC phonostage is very senstive for external distractions. I would recommend this component for American/Canadian consumers, but for European consumers there are maybe other options. Or you must buy the demo like I can do. In holland there is no company which imports it. But servicing is no problem if there are any problems. Keep you informed about the final deal.
I recently upgraded my speakers from a ten-year-old pair of stand-mounting Signets to a pair of Meadowlark Shearwater Hotrods. Look out! There are many Meadowlark reviews on this sight, and though I was pleased with the speakers from the beginning, I wasn't able to coax much bass from them. I moved them closer to the rear wall, better but not significant. I listen to mostly jazz and 99% of the time: records. I use a Rega 25 with a Dynavector 10x4 cartridge. I'm not a bass hound, but I was convinced that the Shearwaters could deliver a lot more than I was getting, and I was determined to find it. Besides, upright bass seemed lost, an afterthought, or as if it were coming from another room - weak and lacking presence.It wasn't that I didn't have this problem with the Sigs, it's just that I wouldn't accept it from the $3,000 Shearwaters. Unable and unwilling to spend more on a cartridge, I looked elsewhere. Amps? Not the B&K 200 watt monoblocks. They're forever willing workhorses. I'm not big on cd, but the texture and extension on bass was there coming from a midline Rotel, so I started to think about the internal phonostage of my 12-year-old Audible Illusions preamp. It is fuller, meatier, and more dynamic than the comparatively cooler and leaner sounding B&K Pro10MC I had, but I never deluded myself into thinking the old Illusions was extraordinary. So I began to wonder what a dedicated, external phonostage would provide. I narrowed my choices down to two: the Linn Linto and the AcousTech PH1. Yes, both are reviewed together in a '98 issue Stereophile. I borrowed the issue from a friend. They were neck and neck according to Wes Philips. I didn't like the fact that the Linto uses a digital filter in the power supply and that it was an "empty box." So you're paying for technology, not parts, and it's $300 more than the AcousTech. Ok, but I prefer components that are solidly built - and I'm not talking about faceplates. I'm sure the Linto is an excellent product, but I thought I'd place my bet with the AcousTech. AcousTech is a collaboration between hi-end designer Ron Sutherland and Chad Kassam from Acoustic Sounds - a distributor and retailer of audiophile records and cds - check 'em out.The AcousTech is the ONLY component they make. I got lucky and bought a demo on the condition that if I wasn't satisfied I could send it back. Chad was unwilling or uninterested in speculating about whether it would make a significant difference over my Audible Illusions. "Try it, see if you like it," he said in his Louisiana drawl. A week later, the unit arrived - all twenty pounds of it. After I gently removed its armor-like cover, and made the adjustments to set it up for a moving magnet cartridge (piece of cake) - I warmed it up for a listen. Oh My God! Unbelievable! The difference was, seriously, more profound than the Signets to the Shearwaters. And much more substantial than the upgrade from my Rotel turntable to the Rega Planar 25. The AcousTech is THE PIECE that nudged, that shoved my system into the hi-end. Bonnie Rait's voice in "That Song About the Midway" just hovered over the speakers, forceful and centered. And all the smoothness, and easy sensuousness of her vocal qualities were present like I had never heard them before. Listening to Bob Marley's "Coming in from the Cold," the soundstage was immense, the driving percussion detailed, and precise. And Jazz, well the bass is in. Listening to Charles Mingus, Live at Antibes, "Saturday Morning Prayer" the bass was alive, dynamic and moving. I'm at work, without access to these records, and I just want to go home and listen! Everything is better. There was no point in going back to just the Audible Illusions (the AcousTech is plugged into its auxilary input). The AcousTech is detailed, open, dynamic and even "warmer" than the tubed Audible Illusions. Yet there's nothing "tubey" about it. It just puts it all there and gets it right. I HIGHLY recommend the AcousTech PH1 phono preamp to anyone without a phono stage already or someone who wanted to improve anything but a state-of-the-art megabuck phonosection. There is no way I would spend more on a phonostage. I think a thousand is a lot of money already. And as far as I'm concerned, you're crazy if YOU do without first checking out the AcousTech. For me, a dollar I spend on my stereo is definately a dollar I can not spend on records- I'm not rich. I seriously contemplated leaving my credit card alone and just buying a few records each week, as I usually do. But I wondered if I wouldn't be happier to have the records I already own sound better. Better? The improvement is EXTRAORDINARY! I have never gone back, and even though I can't afford too many more records at the moment, I can not appreciate enough how much closer the AcousTech has brought to the music I so love.
This is an addidum to my earlier review of the AcoustTech PH-l. This unit must be very well grounded. Also, keep this unit well away from amp. or pre-amp. "FI" mag. recommends 1 ft., I would suggest if you use a 1 m. cable, use the full meter for distance. If this advise is not met, you will get hum, otherwise it can be a very quiet phono-amp. I am now using the new REGA 25 with the RB-600 arm and Clearaudio Aurum beta S mm. cart. with this pre-amp with very satisfied results.
a an Audio Enthusiast
Date Reviewed: September 23, 1998
to P above - ARC has a fixed gain of 53-54 db on the PH3, which is halfway between mm and mc settings, and its meant for a medium output mc. The PH-1 is adjustable by using jumpers (fairly easy) at 40 and 60 d. Youc an also change the resistors. Ditto for the ARC as well. The PH-1 is a good unit and has tremendous bottom end extension, slightly recessed mids and clean highs. But please do not compare it with the ARC. The bloom, rhythm and the presence are a league apart. The Acoustech is a good unit but to me lacks seamlessness and coherrence, the ARc on the other hand is cut from a single cloth. You cease to look at low's, mid's and highs but the music as a whole.
Used with a Sumiko BPS; Benz M09, SME 4, Gyrodek/QC.
This is a phono preamp designed by Ron Sutherland and sold through Acoustic Sounds for $1200.00. First of all I auditioned an Audio Reasearch PH-3 before I bought this thing, so I will be comparing the AcoustTech to the AR. I have a Rega Exact mm. cart., I have not tried ether phono stage with mc. cart. If you read "Stereophile's" report on the Exact cart. -it complained about the Highs being to hot and the bass being to heavy, -which was exactly what I got with the AR PH-3. Since they liked the PH-3 so much, they must have reviewed the Exact cart. with it. Also the volumn level was much to loud, -at the 7: o'clock position. I am going to assume that ether the dealer did not adjust the PH-3 correctly, for a mm. or the PH-3 is not compatible with an Exact mm.car. I ordered the AcoustTech for trial. The PH-1 was setup for the Exact cart. I was cautioned by the salesman that it would take considerable time for this phono preamp. to burn in to it's maximum performance. This proved to be true. Out of the box, it was extreamly enneamic. However, now that I have had it for about 3 months, I am continusly amazed at how prgressivly more dynamic and alive it is sounding. The Exact cart. is very natural, no more extreame highs or bloated bass. The correct setting was apparently made at AcoustTech, which the exact counter to the "Stereophile" review of the Exact cart. If anyone else has heard the AcoustTech PH-1, I would like to hear from them.