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Graham Slee - Accession - MM Phono Preamp With Volume Control
Price: AED 4,500
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Completely redesigned from scratch, our new integrated amplifier, the 8300A is miles ahead of what was already an industry-leader. Higher power, an additional phono stage and new audiolab styling means the amplifier is more stylish and more versatile than ever. Most importantly it’s new, ultra-efficient circuitry and streamlined components create a listening experience which brings new definition to your favourite music.
The impeccable sound of the Accession stereo phono stage preamp takes music from vinyl and sets it on a new higher pedestal – it's what all vinyl lovers will want to hear.
Previously overlooked technology has been perfected to extract much more of what's hidden in the music on vinyl records.
The resulting sound from the Accession hi-fi phono stage preamp is considerably closer to the music laid down at its recording.
Keeping Interference Out
The Accession goes further than ever in keeping interference out: it has a solid ground plane board; multiple layers of radio frequency filtering; high immunity design, and the V2 casework has stainless steel "gaskets" behind front and rear panels which seal against electromagnetic disturbances - they provide conductive shielding in contact with board grounds which anodised aluminium panels alone cannot do.
Record Equalisation Isn't What Most Think It Is
Its design recognises something virtually all other phono preamps don't - that record equalisation isn't what most think it is!
Record equalisation is quite a convoluted process complicated by historical and physical technical limitations - for records to work at all required some considerable compromises simply to cut and press the groove.
This is why record EQ exists and why the phono preamp has the job of correcting it.
But there's something else contributing to the EQ which the phono preamp has to correct — the actual cartridge being used to play records has a rising response.
Here we're not talking about something subtle — it is a real rising response few understand — the cartridge output is rising at a rate of 6dB per octave, a 45 degree slope, and it's completely different to the EQ applied to the record.
Even so, ever since the magnetic cartridge came on the scene — the cartridge type we all use today — phono preamp designers have looked at the combined EQs of record and cartridge as being one.
The Accession Hi-Fi Phono Stage Preamplifier Changes It All
Treating the two quite different EQs separately, the Accession first strips away the cartridge's contribution to the frequency response. It then deals with the record EQ.
Thinking about it, the record's own EQ was applied when the record was recorded, and even if you just bought the record you're playing today that event happened some time ago — whereas the phono cartridge is applying its rising response in real time now as the record is playing — these are two completely separate events in time.
The combined "EQ's" make up a complex curve of different slopes pictured below. The solid black curve is the signal the phono preamp receives at its input.
If we can EQ the contribution from the cartridge and amplify it, the curve will rotate 45 degrees to the right as shown by the faint broken red curve.
This is what the Accession hi-fi phono preamp stage does. It "EQ's" the cartridge first of all so all that is left to do is EQ the record's contribution, which it does in its second stage.
Rotating the curve only takes a single opposing filter slope to do the job.
It just so happens that a handful of solid-state amplifying devices have an open-loop frequency response which match the required slope perfectly, making the amount of negative feedback required constant at all frequencies on the slope.
This is really important because that constant negative feedback makes the input and output impedances constant too. The cartridge "sees" a constant load and that's quite different to the conventional way of doing things — it makes a big difference to how it sounds.
But it's not purely subjective. High frequency distortion just melts away... just 0.002% THD at 10kHz on the Accession's fixed outputs. That's objective!
The Accession is an absolutely first-rate phono stage and an absolutely first-rate music maker. It merits the highest of recommendations.
Paul Szabady, Stereo Times, Jan 2019
...the Accession had a pleasing demeanor straight out of the box.
The Accession is vibrant, engaging, and unfailingly brings a smile to my face...
The Accession phono stage does excel at making music, and it will not allow a listener [to] ignore it. In the same manner your effervescent friend drags you out of your house or apartment to that party you grudgingly agree to go to, this piece refuses to allow you to dismiss all the uplifting and exciting aspects of the music that make it worth listening to.
...the Accession certainly checks all the boxes. This phono stage spreads out a wonderful soundstage, tightly focuses performers and instruments, and has a low noise floor that allows for the subtle details of a recording to shine through.
John Hoffman, Positive Feedback, Issue 88, Dec 2016
The alternative EQ curves can be a real bonus for classical collectors who have records that may have been cut with other EQ curves than the standard RIAA most of us are used to. The ability to remove the EQ completely and add it later in the digital domain should put the Accession high on the shopping list of anyone who takes their archiving seriously....
... The most obvious way in which the Accession changed the acoustic recording experience was surface noise, or more properly the relative lack of it. I'd been accustomed to tremendously increased noise whenever switching out compensation for electronic curves, and I'd always assumed the increase resulted from removal of what in effect is a high filter, the RIAA (or other) treble cut calibrated to bring an equalized curve back to flat response. The Accession revealed that the increase came not from absence of a cut but from presence of a boost, that +6 dB per octave rising response of my magnetic cartridges. Compensate to bring the response to truly flat, and suddenly conventional shellac 78 surfaces, at least those not damaged by mistreatment, could be remarkably quiet. Not LP quiet, necessarily, but certainly unobtrusive in a way they never were before.
David Hoehl, TNT-Audio, May 2018
The Accession is a worthy flagship product, and while the Reflex M remains a superb product at it’s price point, Graham has managed to raise the bar yet again in the phono preamp sound quality stakes whilst adding useful features for the dedicated vinyl enthusiast such as different EQ settings, loading options and an additional and variable output. It deserves to sell faster than they can be made.
Forum member: morris_minor (Bob Wood), Surrey
Where I normally hear a strong and holographic soundstage with layered imaging, I now have the addition of what I can only describe as individual reverb and tiny ’echoes’ around vocals or instruments. I can sense the original recording space interacting with each microphone for the first time…
I guess you call this ‘ambience’ and it really draws you in to the music. Delicate, because there is an ethereal ‘floaty’ quality...
I had not realised my system was capable of an improvement by this magnitude, particularly the smooth and shimmering treble and the airy ambience. Whereas music through the Reflex M is fabulous, what I am now hearing is truly stunning.
Forum member: Drewan77 (Andrew Stockton), Cheshire