Icon Audio Phono PS3 Signature with Jensen capacitos paper in oil and David Shaw special selected tubes .
Following on from our acclaimed PS1 phono stage which won “5 Globes” in Hi Fi World (03/2008) for its excellent sound quality, we have pushed the boundaries of valve technology even further with our new PS3 model. To do this we have used all our expertise and experience to create a “no expense spared” phono stage which addresses all the weaknesses of more conventional designs but still retaining our “All Valve” philosophy. And amazing value!
So what’s special about the PS3?
Special amplification needs a special power supply. We start with a large, oversized power transformer and a full wave valve EZ80 rectifier followed by two large chokes for ultra-smooth power. This is then regulated by a low resistance 5687 valve controlled by an ECC83 for the very accurate voltage necessary for exceptional purity and performance. The pre-amp unit uses the “cascode effect” of using two valves together in a special way to obtain high gain with low noise this gives exceptional definition and sound staging whilst keeping the vivid colour and warmth that our PS1 phono stage is famous for. With two inputs and a moving coil option using our own “hand wound” moving coil transformers. The output is handled by the venerable 6SN7. Introduced in 1941, probably the most luxurious sounding hi fi valve ever, with so many old and new version.
Better definition using “Double Cascode” circuit which has the delicious, liquid sound of triode valves, whilst solving many of the technical problems of high gain
Uses four of the excellent ECC88 valves
Uses the amazing 6SN7 as output valve, (probably the best sounding hi fi valve, ever!)
Specially developed “All valve” power supply
Smooth Valve rectified using EZ80
1x EZ80 1x ECC83 1x EL84 1 x 0A2 (power supply)
Two high value chokes for ultra smooth DC power.
These are expensive and heavy, but we think the relaxed smooth sound is well worth the effort.
Two box construction for minimum noise
Our “passive” design uses no “feedback”
Our simple design uses “audiophile” components
We use “hard wired” “point to point” wiring with no printed circuit board
Only full sized components are used
Easily upgraded, e.g. Jensen capacitorsons to try if you so desire!
You are immediately aware of the lack of “grittiness” and top end harshness that some designs exhibit. The sound is much more fluid and musical. The available detail is extraordinary! On good discs the background is “inky black” silent. Discs with some wear sound far better than you would expect. When playing old mono discs the mono switch will eliminate much noise (why listen to stereo noise on a mono recording?) Now you can hear the true magic of vinyl!
Moving Magnet or Moving Coil?
Moving magnet types are generally cheaper, and have the advantages of a high utput of about 5 millivolts and a replaceable stylus. Moving coil pickups have around 0.5 millivolts output and non-replaceable stylus. These are generally more expensive. Despite these disadvantages MC pickups generally sound better. Record masters are cut with an MC cutter. Using a MC pickup on playback has better sonic characteristics and a more linear in response. MM pickups have a small design problem with high frequency resonance with can emphasise surface noise/wear etc and have a more “gritty” sound.
However high output MC pickups in our opinion offer little advantage with the drawbacks of both types! MC pickups need around 10x extra gain compared with MM. This can be achieved with a transistor circuit but in our opinion never realises the full potential that moving coil can offer, due to the reasons listed above. A good quality transformer is the best solution. Icon use high quality British custom wound torroidal type with mu metal screening. They are quiet, have a very flat frequency response, and offer a very smooth detailed sound. These may be fitted at the time of order or retro fitted as budgets allow. Either way they are £200.00. The front panel switching then allows you to choose either option, from TWO turntables!
Specifications and Features
Built in volume control, to directly control power amps
Max output 40 volts before clipping = massive headroom
Two turntable inputs 1xMM 1xMC/MM
Signal to noise ratio 88db MM
Mono switch for better results from mono records
Valve rectified power supply
Valve regulated power supply
Twin Chokes for excellent smoothing
Separate Power supply for lower noise
All hand wired point to point
No printed circuit board to colour the sound
Easy to service and upgrade
Japanese Blue ALPS volume pot.
All Triode valves
4x ECC88 1x 6SN7 (pre-amp)
1x EZ80 1x ECC83 1x EL84 1 x 0A2 (power supply)
Sensitivity: 3mv for 1.26v output (0.3mv MC)
Gain MM 53db MC 72db
Load: imp: 47k MM, 100 ohms MC
Output source impedance 50 ohms
RIAA Freq response 20hz-20khz +0 – 0.5db
NO feedback used for RIAA
Solen/SCR audio capacitors Jensen upgrade option
Silver PTFE audio cable
Gold plated Input/output terminals
Detailed manual supplied with tube change info
220/240volts (also 117v)
Pre-amp 15.5cmW, 33D, 17H*, 3.6kg
Power Supply 15.5cmW, 30D 17H 6.4kg
Packed: 40cmx40cmx28cm (0.044CM) 11.5KG
C E, ROHS FCC
(Specifications subject to change) Shown with optional David Shaw CV181 Summary:
No compromise phono stage for MM and MC. Ultra refined power supply and sophisticated pure valve circuit stays true to the original design aims of the RIAA LP standard.