Graham Slee Projects Era Gold stereo phono preamplifier Preamplifiers

5/5 (2 Reviews)

Product Description

Audacious (but not foolhardy) design makes the Era Gold pull a fantastic amount of additional musical information out of vinyl, leading to greater space between performers, bigger dynamics, an expanded 3D soundstage, removal of confusion between instruments/voices, and, where it exists, delicacy and thunder!
Phono connectors Heavy Gold Plated
Input sensitivity 2mV
Input impedance 47k and 100pF
Output 250mV into 2kOhms
Headroom 20dB
Signal to noise 70dB
Distortion less than 0.02%
Frequency response 10Hz(-3dB) -110kHz
Reproduction curve RIAA
Size (approx.) 170 x 80 x 55 (mm)

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Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

User Reviews

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by audioneuroot a AudioPhile

Date Reviewed: May 15, 2005

Bottom Line:   
I already own a Linn intek for almost 14 years then which has a great phono amp. One day
I just visited a shop and talked with the owner about music reproduction. He was very enthusiastic about
his new brand Graham Slee. I never have put one foot in his shop but I could take one preamp with me
for testing. But I didn’t went for it so after reading some reviews i returned to the shop and bought one.
At that time I was playing with a Rega Exact, the sound made a huge step forward. The music rocks
but it lacks some refinement so I replaced the Exact for a Benz H2 which is a very good choice for
all kind of music. There is rhythm, powerfull bass and the vocals are very good and open.

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Used product for:   More than 1 year

Duration Product Used:   AudioPhile

Product model year:   2002

Price Paid:    $600.00

Purchased At:   opera

Overall Rating:5
Value Rating:5
Submitted by Norbert Wokusch a Audio Enthusiast

Date Reviewed: January 27, 2002

Bottom Line:   
The Era Gold phono stage is a world-class product to beat. When I found the website while I was searching for phono stages (I'm a music lover with a little preference for vinyl) and read the information Graham Slee - the man behind Audiocontrol, UK - provides about the concept of his new Era Gold phono stage, my interest awakened. I gave Graham a call, we had a really nice talk about what we like regarding music and about listening to some good old records in particular, and after 45 minutes I decided to order an Era Gold. He had no Era in stock at that time so he said he would build one for me and promised to deliver it within 3 weeks. If you think I was crazy to do this without listening to the Era, you are wrong because he also provides a 30-day money back guarantee, if you don't like what you get. This I would call customer care at its best.
The price for the Era Gold is GBP 325 including a separate power supply and air mail charges within Europe. Also included is an adapter which changes the original UK power plug to a schuco power plug for use in Germany, Austria, etc.

What do you get for your hard-earned money? First of all, you get a small nicely made box which is a solid state phono stage with a moving magnet cartridge input (input impedance 47kohm) plus an additional power supply. For normal MC's (output range 0.3 to 1 mv) you need either a headamp (pre pre), or a step up transformer. The circuit is built around a really fast op amp (which in my opinion makes it fast and liquid like a tube circuit). The specialty is that the phono stage not only provides the normal RIAA equalization, but also equalizes the cutting head (range of 50 Khz). This seems to lead to an improved phase integrity in comparison with other phono stages I know (like the tube phono section of my Audio Note pre amp kit, the EAR 834P [also tube], the OMTEC Antares and the Lukaschek phonopre, for example). The Era Gold outperformed all four above mentioned phono stages in my system. It also costs less than the other four, although to be fair, if you only have an MC cartridge at hand there are additional costs for a step up device (head amp or transformer).

I'm in a lucky position as I own two turntables (a Linn LP12/Ekos/Lingo combination and a granite-based suspensionless dream turntable with separate power supply - and a Helios Cyalene arm - a German entrepreneur and music lover built for me). I use low to medium priced MC cartridges only, an Audio Technica OC30 MC cartridge (output 0.4mv) with the Linn and a Denon DL103 (0.3mv) with my dream turntable. I use fitting step up transformers for both cartridges, which is one of the most important things to get musicality out of your MC cartridge if the phonostage provides only an MM input and you don't own a nice MM cartridge like a Goldring 1042.

Man, and how these combinations work with the Era Gold. The dynamic spectrum of classical music is the best example. Brasses sound like real, violins are fluent and totally natural and a piano, if well recorded has the scale and believability which is so hard to achieve. The music comes to life with the Era Gold. But the best quality of the Era is that it sucks you into the music. You totally forget about time and one record after the other finds its way to the platter of your turntable. Many listening sessions have ended far after midnight since I received my Era Gold in early December 2001.

The only slight disadvantage is that the op amp needs around 30 minutes every day to perform best, so you have to be a little bit more patient than normal, but it's worth waiting!

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Used product for:   1 to 3 months

Duration Product Used:   Audio Enthusiast

Product model year:   2001

Price Paid:    $470.00

Purchased At:   Graham Slee Projects, UK

Reviews 1 - 2 (2 Reviews Total)

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