Sonically, the PH1 is the most transparent. neutral phono amplification stage ever developed by Audio Research. Although solid-state in its architecture, the final design was chosen for its sonic attributes alone: the way it musically involves the listener. Very likely, it is the last phono amplification device you will ever need to buy.
Some music lovers will ask «Why a separate phono stage?» Because a simple, well-designed and executed outboard phono stage offers better isolation of sensitive low-level circuitry, which in turn results in lower noise, higher resolution and more vivid music reproduction (particularly in the area of dynamic contrasts and shadings). This outboard approach also allows the PH1 to have its own dedicated power supply-an electronically regulated design using an advanced low-noise toroidal power transformer. This too results in better performance, yielding more lifelike dynamics whether the program is large-scale orchestral or small jazz ensemble.
Like other Audio Research products, the PH1 bears the hallmarks of an impressive lineage. Resembling the phono stage used first in the SP9 preamplifier and refined in the acclaimed SP14, the PH1 takes this evolution to a much higher plateau. Using the highest-quality all-discrete components. the PH1 is an active-RIAA, fully Class-A. high-voltage (almost 50 volts peak-to-peak) circuit. Unlike its predecessors, the gain stages of the PH1 rely only on specially selected Field Effect Transistors, not vacuum tubes. It will retain its remarkable level of performance year after year, without the need for any maintenance, ever.
Although designed for ultimate performance, in operational features the PH1 is a model of simplicity. On the front panel are found the barest necessities-a power switch. manual muting switch and an attendant two-step LED to indicate mode of operation. On the rear chassis panel are two pairs of gold-plated RCA connectors (inputs and outputs) specifically selected for their sonic purity.
Impedance matching for phono cartridges is accomplished by the best method available: hard wiring. Set at the factory for a cartridge loading impedance of 47 K (the most common for today’s breed of high-performance moving-coil designs), the PH1 is supplied with a resistor kit. special solder and detailed instructions on how to achieve a variety of alternate impedance settings.
Despite its modest price, the PH1 achieves a level of resolution and startling neutrality untouched by competing products. Yet the PH1 is also delicate, harmonically complete and eminently revealing of the nuances that make recorded vinyl come alive. With the PH1 in your system, you’ll find yourself listening to record after record, not wanting to stop.
To fully appreciate how good it really is, the PH1 should be used with ancillary equipment of the highest caliber: the Audio Research LS1 and LS2 line-stage preamplifiers make perfect control companions. Audio Research LitzLink 2 interconnects are also recommended to preserve the high level of signal integrity of the PH1.
Visit your nearest Audio Research retailer for a personal audition of the extraordinary PH1.