Overview: Nagra Vps Phonostage

By | October 16, 2021

While you is probably overloaded with phonostage alternatives at the entry level, locating one at the pinnacle of the heap remains a reasonably narrow path.  Even as you method the pinnacle, you continue to must select accurately and as usually, outline just what you’re looking for, retaining system synergy at the leading edge.

One of the largest questions is continually to go along with tubes or solid state? I regularly worry over this, and the closing tonality that the VPS possesses sways me again on the valve facet of the fence.  The purpose is usually to get that more little bit of bloom tubes seem to provide, but with out the inconvenience that frequently comes with tubes.

For those of you not familiar with the sound (or lack of it) of Nagra tools, it’s far some of the most impartial device I’ve skilled.  The PSA power amplifier leans slightly towards the analytical facet of stable country/impartial, whilst the PL-L linestage we auditioned has simply the slightest bit of “tubeyness” that gives it a tonal richness that won’t be flawed for stable state, but is not overly romantic or colored.  It is an excellent fit for Nagra’s PSA and PMA amplifiers. From the minute the VPS turned into powered up, it was obvious that it had an exceedingly similar tonal individual to that of the PL-L.

The VPS has a small enclosure just like the PL-L linestage (and equal in footprint), without the large meter at the the front.  It merely has a popular Nagra rotary transfer with three positions; A, B and mute.  Yes, the VPS has two inputs folks, and that what catapults it directly to the pinnacle of my list.  I even have too many turntables to stay with a single input phono preamplifier.

You can purchase the bottom VPS configuration for $5995 with one MC input.  An extra MC card is $1495, while a MM card is handiest $395.  The overview sample came with MC and MM cards set up,  a really perfect aggregate for my reference Raven Two table with its Dynavector XV-1s and the Clearaudio Virtuoso Wood, both set up on SME tonearms.

The VPS is straightforward to integrate into your machine.  The rear panel has a pair of RCA inputs and one pair of RCA outputs, along with a grounding publish.  There is likewise a couple of XLR’s, however this is not a totally balanced tool, so there may be no essential advantage to using the balanced outputs.  An umbilical twine goes from the VPS to the same ACPS II power supply that powers the Nagra PL-L linestage or their CDP CD player.

Each of the inputs on the VPS may be configured for MM or MC cartridges, utilising different playing cards to acquire the right amount of gain. The VPS can clearly be a hybrid phono degree, with a further solid kingdom advantage level that you may transfer in through the returned panel.  Those with line stages in the 12-20 db variety ought to be capable of use the tube segment without additional gain.  It offers 34 dB of advantage and a most output of approximately 0.3V.  The CJ Act 2/series 2 has 21.5db of benefit, permitting the VPS to shine in tube mode.

The MC board makes use of a pair of very excessive great transformers provide eleven dB of gain to bump the advantage of the VPS to forty five dB with tube outputs and 60dB the usage of tube and strong-kingdom buffer. Using MC cartridges from .23mv output as much as .7mv, proved no problem.  Cartridge loading is adjusted by using setting specific jumpers on the MC card.  There is any other set of jumpers that come from the factory to house the same old RIAA phono EQ curve.  The VPS also can be set to the 1976 IEC curve, which rolls off slightly below 50hz.  Most of you with high overall performance turntables will no longer want this, but chalk it as much as Swiss interest to element that they include it.  Even in case you never want or use this selection, it’s first-class to recognise they’re there.  Another part of the Nagra enjoy that I experience.

Those converting cartridge loading regularly, will may grump at having to take the quilt off the VPS and use the provided pliers to set the tiny jumpers which are much like the ones on a difficult pressure.  Fortunately, my 3 reference MC cartridges all paintings properly at a hundred ohms, so I was capable of set the VPS and forget about about it. I ought to admit the remote controlled loading of the ARC PH7 is pretty engaging, however for me, the two inputs a ways outweigh the far flung. With analog, I’ll usually forgo a bit little bit of convenience for performance whilst compelled to make a choice.

As I stated in advance, the VPS is a really perfect fit for an all Nagra system, however it incorporated into six different device combos (tube and solid state, balanced and unbalanced), so I do now not predict any synergy issues.  I additionally begrudgingly allow a couple of other workforce participants try the VPS, but most effective for a completely quick time!

While the Nagra engineers have achieved an brilliant job to make the transition from all tube to hybrid phono level undetectable, there may be nonetheless a mild difference between the two, which I sincerely loved.  Leaving the stable degree gain level out of the circuit supplied slightly more warmth, which worked fantastically nicely with the MoFi three.5C cartridge, the Lyra Argo i and the Sumiko Blackbird.

Switching the transistors in gives a touch extra slam and punch within the lower sign in, which suits the Dynavector XV-1s, Lyra Olympos and Grado Statement cartridges.  In either placing, the VPS changed into extraordinarily quiet and I’m positive the attention to circuit layout and handiesttubes inside the field allows noticeably.

For those of you in the audience that love to roll tubes, don’t trouble.  Trying some one-of-a-kind NOS tubes in each positions famous no improvement over the hand picked EH tubes Nagra materials with the VPS.  Megabuck NOS Telefunkens prove hotter, however on the cost of resolution.  A few other selections yield the same results – a distinction in a single area comes on the expense of something some other place.  The inventory tubes value peanuts to update and could ultimate 5-10 thousand hours. This additionally saves you the hunt for another magical set of NOS tubes in a few years.

An improve that you do want to invest in

The one upgrade that is profitable is the Nagra VFS (vibration loose support) platform this is constructed to go under the VPS (or any Nagra preamp or CD participant). Considering what a number of the ones Telefunkens promote for nowadays, think of this $1,495 platform (and protected spike package that is available seperately for $349) because the fee of about four unobtanium 12AX7’s that you in no way should replace.

The VFS makes a huge upgrade in all dimensions and isn’t an development you’ll want to stress to pay attention. The already taut and tuneful bass will become tighter, dynamics enhance and the sound stage seems wider, as if I had moved my speakers approximately another foot orapart. The VFS also makes it simpler to pay attention the difference between the SS and hybrid modes.

The VPS engages without being overly lush or exaggerated and need to serve you thoroughly regardless of what sort of song you revel in.  I observed the VPS’ low noise ground immediately, on each MM and MC inputs, in either tube or hybrid mod, with little growth in noise going strictly valve.  The VPS has that inky black feeling with the aid of which music simply rises up from the heritage with out the intrusion of noise artifacts.

Many high overall performance components excel in a single place or every other, whilst falling flat in others, but we accept them for their brilliance. The VPS excels in low degree detail retrieval, tonal accuracy and transparency similarly properly with out weak point.  It also gives plenty of weight in the decrease registers with a 3 dimensional photograph that huge, yet practical, with out being overblown. The VPS isn’t always a phono level favoring best pristine recordings. I can offer a listing of award triumphing pressings that sound incredible through the VPS, perhaps one of the most astounding changed into the Classic Records release of Sibelius’ Concerto in D minor, Op. 47 for Violin and Orchestra. This short test of tonality and dynamics will positioned the pretenders inside the dust.  You can’t fake that form of realism, and any appropriate violin recording is a tremendous tonality torture test for any system, one the VPS without difficulty passes.  Yet the proper beauty of the VPS is its potential to listen similarly into average pressings which you are infinitely familiar with.  BTO’s Not Fragile by no means sounded so accurate.

The VPS allowed me to hear loads further into some average pressings that I’ve heard hundreds of instances over the years and some new favorites which are only so-so.  This is the genuine beauty of this preamp for the hard-middle listener, because I’m betting that a lot of you don’t have all stellar pressings on your collection.

Works properly with MM and MC

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