Tuesday, August 21, 2012

PureAudio Vinyl Preamplifier in the House!

A package arrived at the doorstep of CCI today from halfway around the world--New Zealand to be exact. We've just received the PureAudio Vinyl Preamplifier, a phono preamp, for evaluation. PureAudio is the new company from Gary Morrison and Ross Stevens who are best known for their years with Plinius. During Gary's tenure at Plinius he designed some of their most legendary products such as the 8150 and 8200 integrated amplifiers and the SB-300 amplifier. Gary was responsible for the "Plinius" sound from 1987 to 2004, and Ross worked closely with him from 2000 to 2004.

PureAudio takes a slightly different approach than Plinius--everything they make (a pair of monoblocks, a preamplifier and the Vinyl) runs on pure Class A and features impressive and innovative construction techniques. The strikingly beautiful chasses are non-magnetic, and made from aluminum and steel mesh. The Vinyl may look small in these pics, but it is a heavy, substantial beast.

Within a few minutes, I had the Vinyl hooked up and playing music. My only reservation is that the small light on the front panel only stays on for the 30 seconds it takes to warm up, then it turns off. It's a soft white light that glows hypnotically, and I wouldn't mind seeing it stay on. Fortunately, you can remove the Vinyl's cover and adjust a clip on the jumper marked "Light ON." I may just do that.

I'm not going to make any judgments after just a couple of hours of listening, but suffice it to say that the Vinyl extracts an amazing amount of information from the grooves of my LPs. The last time I heard this much detail, delivered with this much ease, was with a phono preamp with a price in the five-figure range. I'm very excited to play with a phono preamp that offers this high level of performance. Price in the US has not been set since there is currently no distribution here, but I'm estimating it at somewhere between $4000 and $6000. (The New Zealand price is NZ$4195.) At the higher price, it might be a class leader; at the lower price it will be a game-changer. I'm going to listen for a few weeks, and hopefully I'll have more info before I have to send it on to the next lucky audiophile.

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