Every turntable needs a phono stage to amplify the low-level output from a
phono cartridge to ‘line level’ and apply RIAA equalisation. Some integrated
amps and preamps have phono stages built in, but these vary in quality and are
rarely as good as a well-designed offboard phono stage placed in the signal
chain between the turntable and a line-level input on the amp.
Designing a truly high-performance phono stage is not an easy thing to do. For
one thing, it is difficult to amplify the delicate output from a phono cartridge
without also amplifying noise. In addition, the wide variation in output from
different cartridges means that many phono stages only work optimally with
certain cartridge types. These issues are exacerbated at the entry-level end of
the phono stage market, where basic circuit design using common off-the-shelf
components often leads to a performance that is adequate at best – okay for
entry level, but easily outclassed by spending more.
The ZEN Phono has been designed to push the boundaries of what can be
achieved in an entry-level phono stage. Its circuit design is like nothing else at
the price, with a range of precisely engineered settings that ensure genuine
versatility. Whatever the turntable, whatever the cartridge, the ZEN Phono always
delivers a class-leading performance.
The ZEN Phono’s discrete, balanced, dual-mono
circuit design is unique at the price
team, headed by Thorsten Loesch, to produce a circuit design of exceptional
quality for such an affordable phono stage. A fully balanced, ultra-low-noise
design of this kind is unprecedented at such a low price point.