The Phono II is my reference phono preamplifier. It's ability to give me the sound of my turntables without any sonic additions is critical to my designing process. It doesn't hurt that its dynamic expression is explosive. And then when you add the fact that you can switch between three different tonearm/cartridge combos in a split second guess what? This product is a no-brainer.
Harry Weisfeld, co-founder, VPI Industries
This is the first solid state phono stage I've heard that gets the harmonic envelope right. It's a given that a good solid state design will get the noise floor right, but getting the tone color correct and not falling apart on crescendos and massed strings has been a weakness of every solid state phono stage I've heard to date.
Thom Mackris, Galibier Design
This is an excellent phono stage. I think the most compelling strengths of the DSA are the bass, midbass, and lack of glare and harshness – almost a “sweetness” in the upper midrange and highs. Midbass is critical in classical music because so much of the rhythm is driven by lower stringed instruments such as cellos and bass. Midbass was powerfully set forth by the DSA, and I enjoyed this very much. The bass was also massively powerful and enjoyable.
Ken McCarty, audiophile
The priorities that I have in listening are tone, texture, and emotional connection to the music rather than ultimate detail and sonics. I really did not expect a solid state device to give me the priorities that I prefer. I must say I was totally wrong in my thinking. The Phono-ONE is highly musical with no hint of the sterile and analytical sound I was expecting from a solid state unit. The Phono-ONE provides much more detail than I have gotten from previous tube phono stages and it does so with a dead quiet background. The amazing thing is that it provides all this detail in such a natural way that it just sounds like music. I highly recommend anyone with an opportunity to audition this unit to do so. Be warned though you will not want it to leave your system once you have heard it.
Larry Keats, audiophile
Live music is my standard. When I attend a concert, I am impressed not by "depth," "boom," and "highs," but by clarity, openness and a sense of ease. That's what I get with the solid state (!) Phono-ONE, and with both moving-iron and moving-coil cartridges. The Phono-ONE does not call attention to itself in any way, but simply allows direct connection to the source--in my case, a large collection of RCA and Mercury records from the golden age of recording. I am now hearing things in these sources I never heard before; yes, with greater detail, but also without the artificial brightness that usually attends it.
I listened to the Phono-ONE for five minutes in my system and had to have one. Admittedly, in my past audiophile life, some of my initial enthusiasms have turned sour after extended listening. Not this time. The Phono-ONE just keeps getting better and better.
Chuck Cabell, audiophile
I truly enjoyed my time the Phono II. It makes me painfully aware that I do not get to listen to music as much as I should...
Whenever I spent time with the Phono II, I found myself transported to the music - not so much the gear, or the recording, but the Music.
I cannot think of a better accolade than this. Organic is a term we (I) like to toss out when something is very pleasing. With the Phono II, "Organic" would actually be a disservice of its overall ability to get out of the way. Truthful would be a more appropriate description. BTW, I really appreciate the thoughtful/useful loading control.
Chad Stelly, audiophile
In the time I have owned it, numerous phono stages have made appearances in my system in attempts to oust the Phono-ONE from its throne. The Phono-ONE has outshone them all with its balance of superb performance in all the critical areas: transparency, frequency response, imaging, and tonal purity.
Christopher Sims, audiophile