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Musical Surroundings Phonomena II
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December 09, 2011, 11:10:06 PM
  • BSD2000
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Last year, before I purchased my Audio Research PH5, I bought a Musical Surroundings Phonomena II phono preamp. It's a $600 solid state preamp with fully adjustable input loading and gain. At the time, I was looking for a solid state preamp and judging by the decent reviews, I thought I'd give it a try. It turned out to be very sterile, bland, flat, and two dimensional. Exactly what I was NOT looking for. I preferred my Musical Fidelity X-LP over it.

It's hard to describe the sound since it was so bland and flat sounding. I tried every setting combination and I still could not get it to sound 'right'. Everything sounded like a CD, flat, boring and spatially compressed. I ended up selling it on Audiogon a few weeks later. One thing I can be thankful for is that it reignited my interest in tubes which later drove me to purchase my PH5. :)

Here's a few pictures I took:




The PCB:

As you can see, there's not much to it. Everything is surface mount. Overall, it's very well built; heavy gauge steel, quality RCA connectors and a beefy power supply. But after hearing the unit, then cracking it open and seeing all of those cheap, tiny, surface mount components, I felt I understood why I hated the way it sounded.

Maybe I didn't give it enough time to break in, but I just couldn't stand listening to it. I mean, if you want your LP's to sound like a CD (in a bad way), then maybe this is for you. Every time I listened to it I was left feeling empty inside. There was no warmth, no depth, no realism. It sounded cold and digital. Maybe with different equipment it would be a better match, but it just wasn't for me.
« Last Edit: September 14, 2014, 09:50:55 AM by Admin »
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December 10, 2011, 07:21:28 AM
  • lshin80
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600 $ for that? :(
I suspect that even the built-in phono stage in my solid state preamp sounds better...
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