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Elevator EXP MC Electronic

Elevator EXP Pre Preamplifier

The Elevator EXP Pre Preamplifier (shown here with a Reflex M phono stage) preamplifies the signal from a conventional output moving coil phono cartridge to moving magnet cartridge sensitivity. The signal is then fed to a moving magnet phono stage.

It's better than a step up transformer because noise cannot be induced into it, and it's far more linear making for a better bass response.

It's the electronic equivalent of a moving coil step up transformer, or as moving coil enthusiasts abbreviate it: SUT. However, a step up transformer easily picks up hum and electrical disturbances — it also consumes some of the delicate signal current to magnetize its core. What's so bad about that? Read on.

There would be nothing wrong at all if moving coil cartridges put out a flat frequency response, but being magnetic, they have a rising output - they output 100 times more 20kHz treble than they do 20Hz bass. That makes transformer design difficult — it's never going to perform at its best.

Enter the electronic solution - the Elevator EXP. It uses a technique from our Ultra-Linear "toolbox" - this time as extended open-loop frequency response, and that's something usually only available with tube amplification, but tubes can't do such low level signals.

Therefore it's hardly surprising that it does the tube sound, but without all the problems you get with tubes — it's an excellent addition for a tube phono preamp to be able to use moving coil.

But use the Elevator EXP with one of our great moving magnet phono stages (as illustrated above) and you're in for a treat! We recommend you use it with our Reflex M, Revelation M or Era Gold V phono preamps — and so do a number of reviewers!

The Elevator EXP also features 7 different preset cartridge load impedances easily selected on the front panel.

[click an image to see all the slides]


  • Seven different preset cartridge load impedances at your fingertips - no fiddly adjustments!
  • Tube like extended open-loop frequency response from our Ultra-Linear "toolbox"
  • Inherent reduced vinyl click and pop characteristic
  • Rock steady sound stage and truly 3D performance
  • Solid-state reliability


  • Input range: 0.15mV to 0.8mV
  • Output (for input range): 2mV to 10mV, suitable for a moving magnet phono stage input.
  • Maximum input: 378mV rms (an incredibly large overload margin!)
  • Maximum output: 4.914V rms
  • Gain: 22dB (13) <10Hz to 917kHz (-3dB points)
  • Input impedance: 23, 30, 100, 840, 1000, 5100 and 47000 Ohms
  • Output (driving/source) impedance: 300 Ohm
  • Recommended load impedance: 47k Ohms phono stage preamp input
  • Noise at output: -99dB CCIR Q-pk
  • Distortion: 0.02%
  • Frequency response: <10Hz to 917kHz (-3dB points)
  • Channel balance: 0.2dB
  • Channel separation: 64dB
  • Size: (approx.) W: 107 x H: 50 x D: 180 (mm) inc. jacks

Specifications subject to alteration without notice in keeping with our continuous improvement policy.

User Reviews

Excerpts taken from the Owners Club Forum:

"...The combination of Elevator and Reflex M "rocked my socks off"...


"...At that time I was using a relatively inexpensive step-up transformer into the Reflex, when I received my Exp I briefly revisited the DL-103 and was amazed to discover that things I had put down to limitations in the cartridge, were, in fact, limitations of the step-up transformer, in short, I had not heard all that that cartridge was capable of.


"...I would like to try and give my impressions on Graham Slee's Elevator EXP that I borrowed via Graham Slee's Loaner Program... in combination with my own Era Gold V phono amp. Prior to trying the Elevator EXP I had mainly used MM carts in my system, which included a Stanton 681 EEE with both standard and shibata stylus, Denon DL 160 and my main cartridge, an Amber (Grado) Europa. I would like to point out in my opinion the Amber cartridge is quite capable of producing some very good quality sound reproduction... I started to consider trying a MC cart, and after reading many threads on SNA (Stereonet Australia) I decided to order a Denon DL103R... Once the Elevator EXP and MC Denon DL103R were connected, I immediately noticed a significant increase in the soundstage, both in width and height and the imaging become more detailed and precise with instrument positioning being very well defined, I also noticed a greater depth and clarity to the music, there was a definite improvement all round to the SQ I was now hearing. My SGR CX3B speakers are extremely resolving and I can say that with the addition of both the Slee Elevator EXP and the Denon DL 103R cartridge, the detail and imaging I'm hearing now is just brilliant... I had to return the Elevator EXP unfortunately, and have had to refit the Amber (Grado) Europa cartridge to my system and I immediately noticed the music shrink and become duller, with less life and richness. There was a definite improvment with the Slee Elevator EXP / Denon DL103R combination, that I am now missing. The Elevator EXP is a first class product, that I can happily recommend without hesitation to any one looking to upgrade from MM to MC cartridges, and I'm now saving and I hope to have my own unit very soon.


Media Reviews

"OK I'm going to nail my colours to the mast... Lucio has banned us from saying "best I've ever heard" "never heard anything as good" etc as it begs the question "compared to what?" and is often meaningless hype. But here I've listed the runners and riders, added the caveat "in my system and room" and finally "to my ears", so here goes. The Era Gold + Elevator EXP is the best phono combination for MC's I've ever heard - period... "

[Geoff Husband, TNT Audio, July 2002]

" was among the most well-balanced phono preamps I've heard of any technology at any price. It got out of the way and let the music do the talking with great clarity and definition"

(using the Elevator EXP as a front end system in conjunction with a MM phono stage)

[Michael Fremer, Analog Corner, Stereophile, September 2007]

"...the Slee provides better and more natural dynamics. The leading edges of notes are sharper, crisper and more 'real'... the Slee provides better focus along with a deeper and wider soundstage. Though some may say the sound is more 'clinical' than a step up, I'd term it as more transparent. On the best recordings, you really do get the sense of 'being there'. Once you experience this sense, it is unmistakable and something that follows you around to every system you will ever experience."

(using the Elevator EXP as a front end system in conjunction with a MM phono stage)

[Scott Faller, "Vinylly Yours Virtually",, February 2010]

"...the real steal is undoubtedly the Graham Slee combination.

[Roy Gregory, Graham Slee Revelation, Hi-Fi+, May 2008]

" obviously will need a step up transformer or head amp of some sort. I've got an old Signet MK12T (Audio Technica) that I use on occasion. It sounds fairly decent and is supposed to have some cool iron in it. In this case after flipping back and forth between it and my Graham Slee Elevator, the choice was more than obvious. The Slee it was."

[Scott Faller - Yamamoto Sound Craft YC-03s Moving Coil Cartridge - 2009]

Hi-Fi News 2005 Award for best phono stage: Elevator EXP plus Era Gold VThe Elevator EXP along with our Era Gold V was Hi-Fi News 2005 award winner


Elevator EXP Electronic SUT supplied with "PSU1" uni-polar power supply:

£640.00 (including 20% UK VAT)

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Recommended accessory - Cusat50 0.6m interconnect to connect between Elevator EXP output and phono stage input: £132.86 (including 20% UK VAT)



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