Nagra HD PHONO Preamplifier Unveiled
The Nagra HD PHONO results from more than four years of R&D and the logical step following the release of Nagra's Reference turntable and MC-4 moving-coil cartridge.
Nagra's HD PHONO joins the HD PREAMP, HD DAC X and HD AMP monoblocks in the HD family and is set to overtake 2020's Nagra Classic PHONO as the company's reference phono stage.
The HD PHONO traces its lineage back to the Swiss firm's first phono stage, derived from the Nagra IV-S reel-to-reel microphone preamplifier stage and its evolution into the phono section of the legendary Nagra PL-P preamplifier.
The Nagra HD PHONO follows the introduction of the Reference turntable and Nagra MC-4 moving-coil cartridge and, according to Nagra, proved to be significant assets in the finalisation and fine-tuning of the HD PHONO.
The HD PHONO is a two-chassis design in which the delicate phono stage circuitry is isolated in a separate CNC-machined aluminium chassis. Here, we have dual-mono, pure Class A with 100% tube stages (4x EF806S, 2x E88CC) alongside a new generation of input transformers. The HD PHONO offers two MC inputs and one MM input on RCA.
The HD PHONO's transformers are a fourth-generation design featuring 26 dB of gain. Nagra tells us that the new transformer's core is made from Cobalt and is cryogenically treated over several weeks to improve performance. The transformer itself is hand-wound in a delicate process requiring “watchmakers' skills”, says the manufacturer.
A second chassis serves to house a massive supercapacitor external power supply. We are informed that supercapacitor-based power supplies provide all of the advantages of battery-based power supplies, with the added advantage of accepting and delivering charges much faster and with higher current load and cycle stability than battery-based power supplies. This power supply is based on those of the HD PREAMP and HD DAC X but has the benefit of further “innovations”, making it even quieter with improved performance.
Both chassis are suspended in a system incorporating a damped, constrained layer platform coupled to four isolator-damped towers providing superior vibration resistance.
In addition, the HD PHONO incorporates remote control cartridge load adjustability from 5 to 390 Ohms, with steps as fine as 5 Ohms for smaller values. According to the spec sheet, the overall gain of up to 68.5 dB is adjustable by +/- 6dB, so 62.5 and 56.5 dB, and you can dial in RIAA, TELDEC, NAB 100µS, VICTOR EUR, and VICTOR USA filters. This allows perfect matching between your recordings, cartridge and HD PHONO stage.
The Nagra HD PHONO is available very soon with a suggested price of $87,500 USD.
StereoNET’s resident rock star, bass player, and gadget junkie. His passion for gadgets and Hi-Fi is second only to being a touring musician.
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