Clearaudio Nano review

This Clearaudio Nano phono stage is the one to buy if you need a headphone output as well Tested at £235.00

What Hi-Fi? Verdict

The Nano is an impressive niche product. If you need a headphone output on your phono stage, buy one


  • +

    Clean, clear and open sound

  • +

    fine stereo imaging

  • +

    impressive build and finish


  • -

    A touch too much dynamic restraint for our tastes

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What we have here is a moving coil/moving magnet phono stage with a built-in headphone output.

Like all the Clearaudio phono stages we've reviewed, the Nano is beautifully made. It's chunky, solid and nicely finished.

Switching between MM and MC gain setting is done by means of a jumper bar, as is the operation of the subsonic filter: this prevents low-frequency noise caused by the turntable from breaking through.

There's even the option of changing the cartridge loading, done by swapping (supplied) resistors positioned on the underside of the Nano.

A wide, precise soundstage
In use, the Nano delivers a wide soundstage with much precision when it comes to positioning sounds.

Tonally, it's convincing and delivers plenty of detail.

Our only issue is that it sounds a little restrained dynamically, and this takes the edge off listening enjoyment a touch.

On the headphone side of things it does well, managing to drive Grado's iGrado and AKG K701s without issue.

The sonic signature retains the precision and tautness of the line-level output.

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What Hi-Fi?

What Hi-Fi?, founded in 1976, is the world's leading independent guide to buying and owning hi-fi and home entertainment products. Our comprehensive tests help you buy the very best for your money, with our advice sections giving you step-by-step information on how to get even more from your music and movies. Everything is tested by our dedicated team of in-house reviewers in our custom-built test rooms in London, Reading and Bath. Our coveted five-star rating and Awards are recognised all over the world as the ultimate seal of approval, so you can buy with absolute confidence.

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