Recommended Components 2012: Part 2

In this 2nd part, we will be focusing on all the source components (both analogue and digital playback) that were rated in Stereophile magazine’s 2012 Recommended Components listing:

Phono Stage: Class A

Abbingdon Music Research PH-77 Reference – The PH-77 is a true dual-mono design with unprecedented, microprocessor-controlled features and seemingly limitless flexibility, including 22 phono-equalization curves in addition to RIAA, eight gain settings, and 32 loading options each for MM and MC cartridges . . . the PH-77 was “a sweet, tonally well-balanced, quiet performer that produced a large, authoritative sonic picture packed with honest detail,” said MF.








Class B

Leben RS-30EQ – Combined with the CS300, the CS-30EQ delivered a rich, punchy, nuanced sound, said AD, who feels it a high value. “A pleasure to look at, a pleasure to use, and delightful to hear,” he concluded.








Lehmannaudio Black Cube Decade – It improved on the Vacuum State JLTi PhonoPre’s excellent detail retrieval while retaining the Bel Canto e.One Phono3’s dynamic thrust. In addition, it matched the Bel Canto’s bass dynamics, but added greater subtlety and textural resolution. The Lehmann’s overall sound was slightly warm, with overly smooth vocal sibilants, but micro-dynamics and low-level detail retrieval was superb, said MF.







Digital processors: Class A

Abbingdon Music Research DP-777 – The tubed DP-777 is a versatile digital-to-analogue processor that incorporates separate chips for handling high-resolution files and “Red Book” CDs. It offers the user choices of: five digital filters (two “Red Book,” three hi-rez), six sampling rates, two jitter-reduction settings, sampling rates up to 192kHz, and word lengths up to 32 bits. AD: “The DP-777’s characteristic sound was one of openness, a generous sense of scale, detail without artifice, and barely perceptible but undeniably consistent timbral warmth.”


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