New from British company Timestep is the T-01MC moving coil phono stage, a customisable minimalist design selling for £995.
The Devon company is slightly unusual in that, aside from making hi-fi components, it also manufactures weather satellite receiver systems, with designer Dave Cawley having worked on satellite systems and audio products in parallel for more than 30 years.
And it says that the two technologies aren't so far apart: just as satellite equipment needs to be designed with no electrical noise if it's to function correctly, so 'a moving coil phono stage, which has to deal with the tiny musical signal from a moving coil cartridge, should be completely free of hum and preserve every tiniest detail of the musical signal.
'Low noise is not enough, it is not acceptable in satellite technology, nor should it be in true hi-fidelity equipment.'
The design avoids the use of integrated circuits, instead using individually tested and selected FETs in a fully discrete dual-mono zero negative feedback design.
Gain and loading are fixed, and said to be 'perfect for the vast majority of moving coil cartridges on the market', being based on extensive testing with cartridges from the Denon DL-103 to the very high-end Clearaudio Goldfinger Statement.
Custom settings can be preconfigured for the buyer's own cartridge if required, with the company able to reconfigure at a later date should a change of cartridge be needed, the company saying this approach saves considerable cost over user-switchable settings, not to mention shortening signal paths.
The Timestep T-01MC comes with a six-year guarantee.