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This phono preamp will blow your mind. It will rival and beat other units costing thousands of dollars.
The Acoustech PH-1P is a large (18 1/4" wide x 2 1/2" high x 12 3/4" deep ) and heavy (20lbs) solid state phono stage designed by Ron Sutherland. It is currently rated as a class "A" phono preamp by Stereophile. Its a simple device with only four RCA jacks, one grounding screw and a power cord outlet on the back panel. The front panel is adorned by one small red LED to let you know the thing is on and white lettering indicating the manufacturer and the fact that its a Stereophonic Phono Preamplifier. There's no power switch and the user manual states that the unit was intentionally designed without one because they recommended it be powered on at all times. It sounds better that way. The internal circuitry:
Is well spaced with two jumper blocks where the user may select MM or MC settings. There is also a pair of screws where the user may add different loading resistors/capacitors for options not covered by the jumpers. The default settings for MM are 42db gain, 47k resistive load and 220pF capacitance. The default MC settings are 61.5 db gain, 100 ohm resistive load and 10,000 pF capacitance. The gain may be set at 42, 52 or 61.5db, but the default resistive values of 47k/100ohms and capacitance of 220pf/10,000pF are the only jumper selectable values. Other values may be obtained via the previously mentioned screw posts. Power consumption is 10 watts and the recommended load impedence is 10k ohms or greater. The unit comes factory set for either 120/240 volt operation, but those changes can be readily made internally.
The PH-1P's case is made of thick steel and the top is held in place by six large screws (three per side). The case is approximately rack mount size, but no rack mount hardware is provided.
The rear mounted RCA connections are arranged is a way that reflects the internal dual mono layout. Flanking either side of the grounding screw are the left/right channel inputs and on either side of the input jacks are the output jacks. This arrangement ends up making the spacing between the output jacks a bit larger than usually found and shouldn't cause any problems, but if your ICs are a bit stretched you should keep this in main. There is a possible one long/one shorter situation due to the aformentioned spacing issue.
The PH-1P sound very good cold out of the box, but requires a couple hours warm up to reach its potential. Once it has warmed up the fun begins.
The PH-1P is a solid state op-amp based unit but does not exibit and SS type harshness. It has very deep, well controlled bass, smooth/liquid midrange and smooth extended crisp high frequencies. It generates a large/deep soundstage with pinpoint instrument placing. It is a very revealing unit.
There is no coloration that I have been able to detect and the old story of discovering new LPs and rediscovering information on familiar LPs holds very true for the PH-1P. This is not a unit for those wanting to compensate or add warmth to a system. It is brutally revealing and makes great LPs shine. It can also makes poor LPs sound worse...or maybe just show how bad they really are.
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