AUDIOMAT Phono 1.7
Magnet and voice coil
Sensitivity MM: 5 mV
Impedance MM: 47 kOhm
MM gain : 44 dB
Sensitivity TM: 0.25 mV
MC Impedance: 1 to 200 Ohms
MC gain : 68 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio : unspecified
Distortion : unspecified
Bandwidth : unspecified
It is always with great pleasure that I welcome for "evaluation" AUDIOMAT products. This time, it is the Preamplifier Phono 1.7 which is the subject of this test.
With experience, I have seen over the years and decades that AUDIOMAT was one of the few electronics designers to offer phono preamplifiers long recognized for their true value in listening to vinyl records.
Version 1.7 takes over from the 1.6 phono that I had the privilege of testing five years ago in association with the fabulous platinum Bergmann Magne System which you can read or re-read the test bench in this section HERE .
The Phono 1.7 largely takes the "recipes" that made the success of the 1.6 version. In an identical presentation, the current version has been improved.
Like its predecessor, the Phono 1.7 comes in the form of two compact-size enclosures: the preamplifier itself and its completely separate power supply to overcome the problem of radiation and vibrations. The power supply uses a low induction toroidal transformer with a value of 100 VA developed especially for it.
Inside the preamplifier whose case is entirely made of aluminum, we find a single compact card which gathers all the electronic components of the "discrete components" type. AUDIOMAT did not hesitate to implement the best references handpicked. We find 60 microfarad SRC "military grade" polypropylene and mica capacitors as well as 130,000 microfarad chemical capacitors.
The back side of the unit brings together the essentials: a plug for the umbilical cord from the power supply, a pair of RCA plugs for moving coil cells, a pair of RCA plugs for moving magnet cells, a pair of RCA plugs for line output. The traditional "land terminal" completes the picture.
These high-quality, gold-plated RCA plugs are directly bolted to the two-millimeter thick aluminum frame / back.These cards are isolated from it.
In its operating mode, the input MC is not, as usual, to be adjusted by means of load resistors. AUDIOMAT has implemented a process of self-adjustment by a controlled current is input. It is designed for MC cells with an internal resistance of between 5 and 200 ohms that adapts automatically and is suitable for the vast majority of market references.
Listening and impressions :
The listening tests were carried out at home with the following equipment: REGA RP 8 turntable, MM REGA Elys 2 cell, AUDIOMAT Solfège reference 20 integrated amplifier, YBA Classic 3 Delta preamplifier, YBA Classic 3 Delta DT power unit, speakers PEL Kantor acoustic, VAN DEN HUL modulation cables The Orchid, ESPRIT Beta, and YBA Glass, HP YBA Diamond and ESPRIT Aura cables.
For mains supply: FURUTECH F-TP 615 bar, G-314Ag-18E power cable and FT-SWS-G wall socket of the same brand. ESPRIT Alpha, Celesta, Eterna power cables.
Vinyls used : Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis - "Belgium from the sky" / It's snowing on Cork by Jacques Brel - Crucifixus by Jean-Christian Michel - Breakfast at Tiffany's by Henry Mancini - Royal fanfares ~ Direction: Paul Kuentz All - Time Favorite Melodies of Japan - Quiet Nights by Diana Krall - "So Spoke Zarathustra by Richard Strauss" ~ Directed by Zubin Mehta - Bach Spectacular by The Kingsway Symphony Orchestra ~ Directed Camarata - The Complete by Mike Oldfield - The Stone Vessel by Tri Yann - Molière ~ soundtrack of the movie - Barry Lindon ~ soundtrack of the movie - "Jealousy" by Yehudi Menuhin and Stéphane Grappelli - Brandenburg Concertos N ° 1,2,3 by Johann Sebastian Bach, by The English Chamber Orchestra ~ Direction Benjamen Britten, etc. ..
I thank the designers of AUDIOMAT who have kindly put this preamplifier at my disposal for three months in order to perform this listening test and present the result of my analysis.
1 ° Overall Musicality and First Impressions
To fully exploit the content of your precious LPs, the Phono 1.7 requires careful implementation. The designer delivers his product with brass cups that are widely recommended to place under the three decoupling tips (unlike amplifiers of the same brand).
Then, it is absolutely necessary to respect the mains phase on the power supply. Fortunately, AUDIOMAT was kind enough to spot it via a red dot. To get the most out of this preamplifier, do not hesitate to use a high quality power cable and a race modulation cable.
If these few precautions of use are respected, this preamplifier will give you sensations of musical well-being that I do not hesitate to place above the usual references. T technically mature, this phono preamplifier is also emotionally "inspiring". It allows to taste fully the joys of vinyl.
2 ° Color of the stamps
From subwoofer to extreme treble, the Phono 1.7 offers you an extremely wide range of tonal colors. This palette is not limited to being extended: the designers have scrupulously taken care to design a circuit and implement electronic components methodically selected to obtain the stamps that are the fairest possible - the idea is to provide musical sensations simply realistic.
Medium and treble registers
• All-Time Favorite Melodies of Japan
This series of Japanese melodies mainly performed in Koto (a plucked string instrument played in the style of a harp ) shows how much this phono preamplifier is used to dissect each note and make the instrument sing in a sour tone. The clipping of these notes and the quiet operation of the electronics help to highlight the very special sound of the instrument, letting the highest frequencies spin with all the finesse required. To this end, there is a host of harmonics that enrich the particular hue of the instrument.
Other instruments including the string section (violins and cellos) and the bells and chimes, show us that this preamplifier juggles clothing with a range of frequencies that translate an expression always melodious and nuanced. With this preamplifier, you can enjoy the color of each instrument, their beauty, their color and their respective nuances. What musical richness; I can not say better.
• "Thus spoke Zarathustra by Richard Strauss" - Zubin Mehta Direction
The bass register perfectly reflects AUDIOMAT's conceptual philosophy: to reproduce the low frequencies with the expected depth without denaturing or adding colorings, artificial frequencies or other caricatural blisters.
In this spirit, through the opening and the finale of Richard Strauss's Thus Spake Zarathustra , we can easily realize how the Phono 1.7 applies to "transcribe" the lowest frequencies of the organ with a rather singular ease . It runs with a facility coupled with an absolutely disconcerting delicacy that has absolutely nothing to envy to the best digital "engravings", any more than to the best CD players, converters, or other network drives. The percussions that punctuate the score are of the same size: they have "body" and "material" that will make you savor this introduction with enthusiasm overflowing. The different "desks" have the expected consistency, and the music is very organic. Without encroaching on the next chapter, we can already realize that this preamplifier is very open: it suggests a " consistent " dynamic on which we will return a little further.
3 ° The vocals
• Quiet Nights by Diana Krall
In this case, the vocals really deserve to be "treated" apart because this preamplifier gives them the forefront of accuracy. If AUDIOMAT gets along to blackmail its products in general and its preamp phono in particular, the designer seems to take the vocals as a reference to develop its achievements.
As such, the clarity of the voice of Diana Krall appeared to me of a realism that goes hand in hand with the incredible presence of the artist in the listening room. What human warmth, sweetness, emanate from the sweet voice of this artist who "illustrates" through the twelve themes of the album Quiet Nights . Of course, combined with the AUDIOMAT Solfège Reference 20 integrated amplifier, the Phono 1.7 will make you enjoy without restriction this captivating voice to the "carnal" diction, the clear phrasing, the breathtaking moments to cut yours.
The orchestration that invites itself in the background harmoniously satisfies each theme. We will appreciate the beauty of percussion, the beautiful punctuations of finely chopped cymbals, the few notes of flutes, guitar frets that also highlight the work of sound. The piano playing sometimes light notes, sometimes more marked also shows that this device knows how to be discerning in his faculties to analyze to perfection the engraving of a good vinyl record.
4 ° Definition - transparency - fluidity
Ted Heath Salutes Benny Goodmann
It was while listening to this album - among others - that I realized that one could evoke without complex the notion "high definition". With the Phono 1.7, everything suggests that this notion does not belong exclusively to "digital" as this device is used to meticulously search the content of the groove.
By listening to the first "measurements", we quickly realize that this preamplifier will seek - and he finds - all the subtleties that make the richness of a good engraving.The clarinet game is in every way tasty, and meets my expectations. The overall sound is sparkling: the cymbals that beat the measure are both fine and frank. The bass is displayed with a lot of material and we recognize the application of preamplifier to cut out each note. I also want to focus on the particularly "organic" consistency of the instrument without it being invasive - the bass is well in its element. In general, the Phono 1.7 applies to analyze the sound message with a "benevolence" consistent with the productions that AUDIOMAT has been using for several decades. In fact, transparency is naturally part of many criteria that singularize this highly musical device.
Through this album Ted Heath Salutes Benny Goodmann , we will be able to realize how the music flows with a truly appreciable fluidity , smoothly, without detours, in order to provide great moments of musical happiness.
5 ° Soundscape - staging of the plans
• Bach Spectacular by The Kingsway Symphony Orchestra - Direction Camarata
Although a rare piece, this version of the Toccata and Fugue by Johann Sebastian Bach taken over by Salvador "Tutti" Camarata is a real "pearl". It respects to the letter the original transcription of Leopold Stokowski "created" in 1940. Paradoxically, the last recording performed by the "master" ignores the great organs in the introduction.
Under the dictation of Camarata, this recording made at Decca includes the introduction to the great organ and that is what makes the originality and charm of this version. This charm, you will benefit fully with this phono preamp that is at the height of this "musical staging" dazzling especially in terms of spatialization . The Phono 1.7 offers a particularly successful three-dimensional reproduction. The large differences in dynamics show how the Phono 1.7 is able to react "healthily" and spontaneously to all the escapades imposed by such a "monument" that is this work of Johann Sebastian Bach. The "surges" of the brass and strings are managed with indisputable rigor.Drums are "handled" with great tact and are positioned within the sound stage with method. The stereophonic effects are "materialized" by a separation of the channels and a scale that allows the music to breathe: there is a lot of air between the different shots.
6 ° Dynamics - reactivity
• The Complete by Mike Oldfield
What a pleasure to find the vivacity of the best extracts of Mike Oldfield .Instrumental vocals played by Maggie Reilly , the account is there! : This preamplifier "shows its fangs" by its responsiveness and the frankness of the electric guitar, the bass, and the saccades of drums reproduced with no burrs and in a tonic way.
Mike Oldfield had a gift for making his guitars sound so special colors that we find happiness from the first to the last extract of this double album. There is no lingering effect, which shows how responsive Phono 1.7 is and how to "accelerate" with remarkable ease.
The dynamics already noted on other extracts is also part of the strengths of this small electronics by size but large by its generosity. The "strong" personality of this preamplifier is also a characteristic that should be put to his credit.
• The Stone Vessel by Tri Yann
This tri-Yann folk-rock opera is worth the variety of musical styles that make it up.This disc is a concentrate of fusion-music where Celtic traditional songs are alternating solo or choruses with a furious rhythm, a sacred dose of rock and brass as shiny as "percussive". This "offbeat" opera is dazzling in this vinyl version. The dynamics of the drums, the bass, and the electric guitar. I was literally enthralled by the depth of the fretless bass and its seamless readability . A particular point of attention was noted on the follow-up of the notes of violin and electric guitar which materialize by a reactivity and a rigor which show that this preamplifier has an unusual respondent and that it is at the height of the best elements to which it is or will be associated.
7 ° Power of expression and communication with the auditor
• Molière - soundtrack of the film
You want to know how far this preamplifier can go in terms of power of expression. I can say it goes very far, and ... until the end of the end! By this album signed René Clemencic, you will relive the highlights of this historic film. Each baroque instrument is methodically "isolated" to be reproduced with a fidelity doubled by a natural color to make the hair stand on the head. In the training, each of them can be apprehended. The natural texture reaches here a degree of perfection highlighted by the absolutely remarkable silence of operation which isolates each of these instruments to bring them individually to light. The tonal colors are well respected and the sequence of notes takes place giving you the feeling of participating in this "musical staging" colorful.
But the pinnacle is reached with Henri Purcell's "final" extract from King Arthur (Direction: Alfred Deller) which literally left me dumb with admiration and provided chills that I can not describe exactly. The voice of the baritone doubled choirs in full effervescence sticks to perfection at the last scene in the slow motion of the film (death of Molière); this voice "takes you to the guts" and "transposes" you into the heart of the decor of another time with such ease and magic that we owe the Phono 1.7 and few phono preamplifiers in this category are in capacity to realise.
• "Belgium from the sky" / It's snowing on Liège by Jacques Brel
This limited edition album contains a rare pearl interpreted by Jacques Brel: It snows on Liège . As usual, Jacques Brel invites you to follow him in his wake filled with poetry, and to make you discover one of the many facets of his native Belgium.With this preamplifier, it seemed to me that the singer was going further: his involvement is pushed to the extreme. The diction, we perceive it with each word, through each phrasing, so as to make you live a few minutes of this song "taking";because we are well within the framework of a poetry in the pure state. Arpeggios guitar with a few notes of accordion alternating with those of an oboe, the feeling of escape is guaranteed. The string of piano notes, cleverly interpreted, perfectly illustrates an "image" where the snowflakes carried by a light breeze fall gently on the city of Liège. This picture is described as I feel it and it seems to me to listen to this excerpt - it's magical, beautiful, deep and devilishly emotional to the point of giving goosebumps. The Phono 1.7 plays here perfectly its role of vector: the interpretation is totally bluffing!
• Sketches of Spain by Miles Davis
Ready for this test, this "must have" Miles Davis vinyl record is a real treat to listen with this phono preamplifier. You will participate in the "communion" between the trumpet player and the Spanish "musical art".
You will enjoy a sound recording and a re-mix very well done translating by a reproduction of exceptional purity.The "message" is very alive, natural, pure and this preamplifier shows all its "know-how" to deliver a moving message and a high color performance. You will surely recognize and appreciate the talent of Miles Davis and all the work done, in every detail, around the sound recording. Decidedly, this preamplifier is there to pay tribute to the great performers.
• Crucifixus by Jean-Christian Michel
It really was for me a joy to find the sacred music of Jean-Christian Michel. Exciting, if any, this quartet with organ fizzles all in the heart of St. Peter's Cathedral in Geneva, place of sound.
On Litanies Creoles , we easily feel that this preamplifier has predispositions to give a soul to the music. His personality corresponds, moreover, very precisely to the philosophy of this musical excerpt.
The contrast between the clarinet, the great organs, the percussion, and the bass are amazing. Each instrument finds its place with purity and aeration that is noticed and appreciated in a listening room of small to medium size.With your eyes closed, the Phono 1.7 has the magic power of transforming your listening room into a cathedral.The great organs take on a dimension that allows the listener to immerse himself in the heart of this "sacred music". The composer / performer makes his clarinet sound with all the presence that "his" music requires.
On the most rhythmic extracts, I guarantee you that the music sparkles, it breathes and penetrates you to give thrills of emotion. Something very unusual, perhaps magical, happens between the melody and the listener: a kind of communion, or a simple sharing of musical pleasure
This new version of the AUDIOMAT phono preamplifier is a great success. Even with a mobile magnet cell, the Phono 1.7 will offer you an exceptional musicality.Its fabulous "benefits" will surely leave you with memorable memories with your best vinyl records. This preamplifier really has all the qualities required to make you access to another world ... .musical.
|Synthesis:||Musicality: a highly recommendable grand cru
Personal appreciation: a revelation
Musicality report - price: unbeatable