The sound quality improvements are subtle but significant. The MKII already was better than the original due to the more optimal choice of components. The L takes this further with non-trivial PCB layout improvements. Moving the linear power supply to the main PCB allowed a significant track and ground plane layout optimisation. The new design ensures signal tracks are of equal length, impedances lowered, and track widths adjusted to direct current flow.
The PHONO-1 already included an unusual grounding selection switch with three positions giving a choice of Hard Ground, Ground Lift, or Soft Ground. This, in certain installations, may achieve even lower background noise from the record player.
The PHONO-1 is user-configurable for most Moving Magnet and Moving Coil Cartridges available. The DIP switches on the bottom of the unit facilitate the choice of 15 input impedances and 9 options of capacitance together with 10 choices of gain. For example, it allows a somewhat peaky (with a rising HF response) Moving Coil cartridge to be tamed by adding capacitance rather than by reducing input impedance. Lowering the input impedance tends to ‘slug’ the sound, reducing musical performance and drama along with lowering the brightness. Adding capacitance while keeping the input impedance higher allows the full performance to shine.
PHONO-1 MKII L gets the best from any high-quality record player, with maximum dynamic range and supreme detail resolution.
New ‘L’ shaped high-quality gold-plated PCBs for the main phono circuit and the mains power transformer ensure optimised grounding and power distribution. In addition, stainless steel shield ensures that any unwanted interference is kept well away from the audio signal.
The shields, combined with the use of high-quality components and special solder, guarantee consistent optimum performance for the long term.
Stainless Steel Shields A 3-way switch provided at the back of PHONO-1 gives the options of ‘Hard Ground’, ‘Ground Lift’ or ‘Soft Ground’ connection of the preamp and the chassis to minimise any hum introduced between the PHONO-1 and the amplifier.
The PHONO-1 is available in a range of high-end finishes, including a new DG-1 design featuring a front panel to match the new Vertere record player. Other finishes available: Silver aluminium, Signature Vertere Orange and Semi-matt Black. L The power LED is now orange to easily identify the MKII L version.
- Main Phono Circuit on Separate Gold-Plated PCB
- Linear, Internally Switchable Transformer
- 40.2dB to 62.8dB – in 10 Steps
- High Gain version – Add 6.4dB to all settings
Input Impedance Settings Resistance
- 47k for MM
- 78R to 47k for MC – in 15 Steps
- 100pF & 470pF for MM
- 100pF to 1.02uF for MC – in 9 Steps
- Front Panel Options
- Vertere Orange, Silver, Black, DG-1 Gloss Black
- 210 x 235 x 55mm
- W x D x H (Incl. Switches & Feet)
Touraj explains the source of some of his background knowledge
“Our collaboration with music industry engineers has given us invaluable insights into the art of cutting. This knowledge has enabled us to advance our record player design in many ways to extract the maximum from vinyl records.
For example, with his recent remixes of the Beatles albums, Giles Martin – son of the late Sir George – used a Vertere MG-1 record player, including SG-1 tonearm and PHONO-1 preamplifier throughout, to check and approve the acetates and the test pressings.
And we’ve worked closely with the multi-award-winning mastering engineer Miles Showell: since February 2017. Miles has been using his own extensively customised Neumann VMS 80 lathe, incorporating Vertere cables, to cut normal and half-speed masters for the likes of ABBA, Cream, The Police and The Rolling Stones, and also the 50th-anniversary release of The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The Beatles (otherwise known as ‘The White Album’).
Working closely with Miles has led to the first releases on our record label Vertere Records. Releases: a three-track EP and first album by Scottish band Caezar, and the first album by Dutch singer/songwriter Elles Springs, which was specially tape-transferred and then half-speed mastered and cut by Miles for our label.
It’s only by involving ourselves at every stage of the record-making process that we can ensure our players bring you as close as possible to what the artists and engineers wanted you to hear.”
Reducing engineering to its fundamentals, to get you even closer to the original recording.
When aiming to reproduce the complexities of music, it’s all too easy to introduce even more significant complication in the engineering of audio equipment, putting in place one element to solve the problems until the whole design escalates into something fiendishly intricate – and expensive.
That’s not the Vertere way: coming at the whole problem with decades of audio and mechanical engineering experience, plus close collaboration with the recording and mastering industry, we step back, take a long hard look at the fundamentals, and look for simple, elegant solutions.
That may sound like a simple ‘less is more’ philosophy, but we prefer to look at it this way: the best audio equipment shouldn’t add anything to or remove anything from the original recording. Instead, it should affect it as little as possible; bringing the listener ever closer to what the artist, producer and mastering engineer wanted you to hear.