Being surrounded by all kinds of HiFi growing up its no surprise that I became a HiFi fan before I was even out of my teens. Vinyl was always a big part of that and I lived through the peak of Vinyl as the main high quality music source. I even had ‘dbx’ encoded discs and playback decoder which I sincerely think should have been the next progression as it really did solve a lot of problems.

Sadly I chucked my vinyl collection out (I know, I know) when CD’s quite firmly replaced vinyl and the collection was simply taking up space. Amongst them were several ‘dbx’ discs which I now regret – they are so very expensive to buy even 2nd hand.

And of course now in 2021 vinyl is back and gaining ground fast, and I find myself curating a new modest vinyl collection made up of new & old charity shop finds, along with a few turntables.

What is apparent though is that the same old problems are still there to be solved by endless imaginative means and one of those is suitable phono stages that can carefully apply 55-70db of gain to bring the tiny signal from an MC cart up to line level.

One way of doing this is of course a step-up transformer, but my experience with them, even ones with exotic materials has been quite unsatisfactory. I have an audio analyser and Ive been able to see the ugly’s in all their detail, from poor HF response, LF distortion, to audible induced mains hum. Yuk!

Since I have the skills and audio is my first love I’ve been engaging in a spare time project to produce a MC pre-amp that is entirely electronic.