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Icon Audio PS3 MkII (MM + MC) Valve Phono Stage


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Found it cheaper? Click here. SKU: 7242
Ex VAT: 2082.5
A no compromise phono stage for Moving Magnet (MM) and Moving Coil (MC) cartridges. Ultra refined power supply and sophisticated pure valve circuit delivers reference standard audio.

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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 PS3 MkII phono stage follows on from the acclaimed PS1 phono stage (now replaced by the PS1 MkII) and pushes the boundary of valve technology in vinyl replay and will open you to a new level of listening of your record collection.

Icon Audio have used all our expertise and experience to improve the original PS3 and create a “no expense spared” phono stage which addresses all the weaknesses of more conventional designs but still retaining their “all valve” philosophy, and for how it sounds, it's amazing value!

So what’s special about the PS3 MkII?

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

Why is the PS3 MkII so good?

- 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
- Two high value chokes for ultra smooth DC power. These are expensive and heavy, but we think the relaxed smooth sound is well the effort.
- 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
- Valve regulated using ECC83 and 5687
- 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!

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 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 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.

Press Reviews

  • ' Exceptional valve phono stage of fantastic quality...wide tonal palette...great dynamics...MM and MC...the PS3 is toweringly capable in a way few other phono stages can manage.' (Hi-Fi World Magazine November 2008)

  • ', almost dark tonality, with solid and firm bass...It was sumptuous...It has full yet firm bass and probably the best resolution of instrument and vocal timbre going.' (Hi-Fi World Magazine November 2008)

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