Gram Amp 2 Special Edition scoops Hi-Fi Choice recommendation to add to its long list of recommendations.
"Dedicated MM phono stage that's the most musical by far at its price point"
[Andrew Simpson, Hi-Fi Choice, Feb 2014] - view product
Designed to the same rigorous standards as broadcast and studio audio equipment - these phono stages perform at their best 24/7 powered-on constantly.
A Phono Stage allows you to play vinyl records using a turntable equipped with a magnetic cartridge into a spare line or auxiliary input on your amplifier (or preamp).
They amplify the tiny signal, and also apply a thing called equalisation which gives you a flat frequency response.
Phono Stages are also called phono preamps, phono equalisers, RIAA stages and turntable preamps just to add to the confusion, but we're here to help you - click contact in the main navigation bar and ask us.
Once captivated by a Graham Slee phono stage there's no turning back.
Even reviewers keep using their Graham Slee phono stages - reviewers like Stereophile's Michael Fremer - read which phono stage he used to test phono cartridges on Analog Planet, nine years after first taking delivery of it!
It was likewise with our earliest phono stage in Geoff Husband's TNT Audio turntable tests where two Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 phono stages were chosen for the task after he'd reviewed them.
Could it be Graham Slee's obsessive devotion to extracting the absolute best from vinyl - and in fact all audio electronics? He's been doing just that since the 1970's!
One year after our first commercially available phono stage was introduced in a Gramophone Magazine review, What Hi-Fi tested it alongside offerings from NAD, Pro-ject and Lektropacks and concluded...
"...the Gram Amp 1 offers even better sound quality, and is where our money would go".
The Gram Amp 2 took over where the Gram Amp 1 left off and is now our least expensive phono stage preamp. It's the best value for money compared with many other highly regarded phono preamps previously considered to be 'the best' over the last 15 years or so – here's how one user put it...
"After now 2 weeks of running in, the phono stage is getting better and better. It does control my speakers with a real strong hand, that my previous valve Chinese was truly unable to do. I am so happy with it, really delighted. Best Value for Money!" Read the full user review here.
So then we made a better one - the Gram Amp 2 Special Edition, as Doug Stirling, broadcast supplier and licensed manufacturer of BBC designed loudspeakers found...
"Up to now I've not heard anything good enough to replace our Capital Radio/Raindirk designed & built gram amps that we've been using for the past 16 years. The Gram Amp 2 Special Edition is better in all areas - amazing considering the compact size and price!"
And then we improved on that - the Era Gold V phono stage - here's what Michael Fremer of Stereophile magazine wrote about our Era Gold V phono preamp...
"Given its price and its miraculous - and this agnostic means miraculous - performance. I recommend the GSP Audio Era Gold Mk.V as enthusiastically, if not more so, as I've recommended any product I've reviewed and recommended in all the years I've been doing this."
And to show you it's no fluke and it's all down to great design work, this is what the same reviewer wrote about our next level - the Reflex M - our flagship phono stage...
"I had on hand an older Graham Slee phono preamp, the Era Gold Mk.V - when I'd first listened to it, in January 2004, its highly accomplished sound took me be surprise. After re-familiarizing myself with the Era Gold's sound, I listened to the Reflex M and was surprised all over again...It was fast, clean, three-dimensionally solid, way more transparent...and made for mighty inviting listening - even through the Prince of Price No Limit's megabuck system"
No other phono preamp manufacturer can match our record of consistently producing such great sound, so why look elsewhere?
But with so many other brands making so many great claims there is one way you'll know for sure that our phono stage preamps are right for you, and that's when you listen to one in the comfort of your own home on an extended free trial. You can judge for yourself and take advantage of our free home trial if you live in the USA, Australia, Europe or the UK by signing up to our online owners club - do it now.
These phono stages are suitable for use with moving magnet, moving iron and high output moving coil cartridges - see the specifications of each product for input sensitivities. They have RIAA equalization which means they will reproduce all modern LPs and singles correctly.
Getting the musical reflexes going - the flagship Reflex M takes moving magnet to the limit giving moving coil a run for its money! Add the Elevator EXP pre phono step-up stage and the Reflex M is transformed into quite possibly the best MC phono stage on the planet!
"Miraculous" was the accolade from Stereophile's Michael Fremer - it took the vinyl world by surprise and still does.
The improved and higher gain Gram Amp 2 — the Gram Amp 2 Special Edition has stood the test of time - a hit from the beginning and still as popular as ever over a decade later.
Not only a great entry-level hi-fi phono preamp, it's lower gain makes it the perfect choice for the vinyl DJ using high output MM cartridges - the crowd will be spellbound!
These phono stages are suitable for use with conventional output moving coil cartridges - see the specifications of each product for input sensitivities. They have RIAA equalization which means they will reproduce all modern LPs and singles correctly.
The Reflex C moving coil phono preamp — a one box plug and play musical solution for moving coil.
'Mid-market' priced but with all the hallmarks of a high-end MC phono stage.
Entry level moving coil phono preamp — the Gram Amp 3 Fanfare is the perfect match for budget moving coil cartridges.
The ultimate in moving coil playback when coupled with the Reflex M - with a selection of front panel cartridge loading settings letting you set your personal preferences for the perfect listening experience.
The Elevator EXP amplifies the moving coil signal up to moving magnet level where it can be connected to the input of a moving magnet phono stage, enabling users of valve phono stages and MM only phono stages to use moving coil.
Phono preamps which equalize today's RIAA records as well as older records which require different equalization curves (see this article)
Perfect equalisation for around 100 years of records - the Reflex based Revelation breaths life into recordings of a bygone age. The Revelation M is for moving magnet, moving iron and high output moving coil phono cartridges. The Revelation C is included for those using low output moving coil cartridges.
RIAA is just one of the several EQ settings on the Jazz Club — based on the Era Gold V, the Jazz Club will equalise 78's, older LP's and extended play singles. It's for moving magnet, moving iron and high output moving coil phono cartridges.
These phono stages (and also our headphone amps) are supplied ready for use with one of the following power supplies. See the price tab in each phono stage's page to see which one's included.
There's an energy and money saving "green" switched mode power supply provided as an introductory power supply with our lower cost stages, and our own make PSU1 power supply, which costs £185.00 (inc. 20% UK VAT) and isn't as energy efficient, and that's provided with our more expensive stages.
The PSU1 is offered as an improvement over the "green".
Here's what TNT Audio reviewer Geoff Husband said about the PSU1:
"My Audion Silver Knight pre has a superb valve phono stage, but only one, I needed two. Enter a 'White Knight' in the form of Graham Slee. He happily supplied two of his GramAmp2 phono stages. These are wonderful devices for beer money and my experience with them made me consider them capable of showing up front-end differences even at the high-end. I was right... Graham even included the optional bigger power supplies [the PSU1], which managed to lift the performance, particularly the sense of scale and openness, to a point where at times they were a match for the Audion stage..."
That's exactly what the PSU1 does - it lifts the performance, the sense of scale and openness.
All the phono stages we offer are capable of matching or beating the high-end, even the little budget Gram Amp 2 Communicator - the old plastic boxed variety being used in Geoff Husband's high-end turntable tests. That is, provided you use the PSU1 power supply.
RIAA Equalization / All About The Phono Preamp - a long article from which you can learn much more about phono stages.
Record Equalisation Curves From 78's to RIAA - best read after the above article - this one shows the pre-standardization playback curves necessary for records older than RIAA types.