Clearaudio claims to have radically reviewed the fundamentals of phono stage design, with the launch of two new phono stages, one of which incorporates the input to the phono stage within the tonearm's headshell.

The new Clearaudio Absolute Phono and Absolute Phono Inside aim to improve the process by which the small audio signal from your cartridge makes its journey to your amplifier.

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A cutaway image of the Absolute Phono headshell

With the Absolute Phono, Clearaudio has intended to reduce the distance the signal has to travel. It's claimed to be the first active headshell moving coil phono stage, with the input mounted inside a "specially modified" tonearm headshell.

A small amplifier in the headshell is designed to improve the output signal from the cartridge at its source, meaning the signal has to go just 1-2cm – rather than along 1-2m of internal and external arm wiring before it is then amplified.

The signal moves onto a bespoke main RIAA phonostage, before being equalised and sent via a path without the "usual" relays and coupling capacitors onto unbalanced RCA and balanced XLR outputs – each of which have a separate driver. 

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More after the break

Clearaudio says the Absolute Phono is compatible with its full range of tonearms, with customers able to send their existing tonearms to the company to be customised. But what if you don't own a Clearaudio tonearm? 

That's where Clearaudio hopes its new Absolute Phono Inside comes in, making use of the same circuit design from the Phono – albeit within the main body of the phono stage.

The Absolute Phono Inside also uses current amplification, as opposed to voltage amplification, in an effort to simplify the complexity of the rest of the signal path.

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Both products feature an "anti-resonance sandwich" design built from aluminium and panzerholz wood, with the power supply housed in a separate matching chassis. You'll also find a bright blue multi-function switch for On, Off, Mute and Standby.

The Clearaudio Absolute Phono and Absolute Phono Inside are now available to buy in either a black or a silver finish, with the price tag clocking in at £8995 for each unit.

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