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Icon Audio PS1 MkII (MM + MC) Valve Phono Stage


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Found it cheaper? Click here. SKU: 7240
Ex VAT: 1082.5
A stunning valve phono stage for both Moving Magnet (MM) and Moving Coil (MC) cartridges. Simple design and superb build, focusing purely on delivering superbly rich and detailed sound.

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Condition:Brand new in original retail packaging

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Warranty length 1 Year
Colour Black
Brand Icon Audio
Product Award HiFi World 5 Globes

Tech Specs

Built in volume control, will drive most power amps
Stereo/mono switch for better S/N and distortion from mono and worn stereo records
Choke regulated power supply
Separate Power supply for lower noise
Comprehensive manual supplied
All hand wired point to point
No printed circuit board to ‘colour’ sound
Japanese Blue ALPS volume pot.
All Triode valves
2x ECC83 1x ECC81
Sensitivity: 3mv for 1.26v output (0.3mv MC)
Gain MM 53db MC 72db
Load: imp: 47k MM, 100 ohms MC
Source impedance 50 ohms
Signal to noise level -75db (MM unweighted)
RIAA Freq response 20hz-20khz +0 – 1db
NO feedback used, Passive RIAA
High quality 2w metal film, & wire-wound resistors
Blue LED mains indicator
Polypropylene audio capacitors
Silver PTFE audio cable
DC supply for valve heaters
Heater circuit floated to minimise heater-cathode noise
Polished stainless steel chassis
6mm solid alloy front & rear plates
Gold plated Input terminals
230/240volts (also 120v), 50watts 1.0A anti-surge fuse
C E certified. Conforms to ROHS and WEEE
88mmW, 310mmD (350), 134mmH , 3kg Pre-amp
(figures in brackets allow for rear connections)
165mmD, 82mmW 80mmH 4kg power supply unit
Shipping size/weight 42cm x 38cm x 30cm 9.6kg

Product Description

The Icon Audio PS1 MkII phono stage (for MM and MC phono cartridges) is a high end, all valve pre amplifier for your turntable. Icon Audio's amplifiers have an enviable reputation for making stunning valve amplifiers and the origin al PS1 was no exception. Introduced in 2005 it has proved to be one of their best sellers, having sold out very quickly, and this latest version is even better.

Why is the PS1 MkII so good?

- Massive overload of valves prevent distortion and minimise noise.
- The “warm” sound of valves is particularly suited to the analogue sound from vinyl.
- The huge 40db RIAA difference between 20hz and 20khz is easier for valves than transistors.
- 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.

But beware! There are several “so called” “valve phono pre-amps” that are only part valve or only use valves as an output stage. It is essential that that these tiny precious few milivolts of signal go straight in to the valve without any resistor or coupling capacitor in the way to add sonic impurities.


This MkII version of the PS1 has a tweaked power supply and ten small improvements to the circuit and wiring. Most phono stages use an RIAA equalisation using feedback. Icon consider this approach is nowhere near as good as a “passive” network which sounds “sweeter” and easier to listen to, and again is less prone to emphasising noise. As such, they made the conscious decision not to give a choice of matching impedances and gain.

Experience of other units with the “dip” switches etc is that they add unnecessary paths for this most delicate of tiny signals, which can cause problems later as the contacts corrode or get dirty, spoiling sonic purity. The PS1 has plenty of gain, which may be balanced by the volume control. Impedance matching is not critical in most cases (we can build to your specification if necessary).

The result? 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 are still very listenable, When playing old mono discs the mono switch will eliminate much noise (why listen to stereo noise on a mono recording?) Almost immediately you will hear the true magic of vinyl!“

Moving Magnet or Moving Coil?

Moving magnet types are generally cheaper, and have the advantages of a high output 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. That is why the majority of high end pickups are MC.

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.

The front panel switch allows you to select between MM and MC cartridge.

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