A substantial but attractive design, this unit is suitable for both moving magnet and moving coil cartridges, the additional gain for the MC stage is supplied by British-made input transformers. A separately housed low noise, choke-filtered, valve-regulated power supply featuring twin valve rectifiers and choke smoothing provides S/N figures of ≥ 90dB for MM and ≥ 78dB for MC. 12AT7 and 12AX7 double triode valves are used. The front panel provides a selector switch for MM and MC cartridges and output level control. The power is switched from the separate, cable-coupled power supply unit. Price is £1599.
My current ‘stage of choice is a Trichord Dino with a Never Connected PSU (£750 together – the NCPSU is a huge upgrade from the standard power supplies, it turns a mid-fi component into a genuine audophile item, in my opinion). Previously I have owned a Loricraft Missing Link (£400), WhestTWO (£600), Melos PS-1 valve phonostage (£ummm, not sure – probably about £1000), Angle Audio “Audiophile” battery powered ‘stage (£150) … among others.
I’ve not used a phonostage as expensive as the Ming Da in my system before, so I can’t really judge its relative merit against its price peers, but I can say that the usual laws of diminishing return do not appear to apply in this case when compared to my excellent Dino/NCPSU at around half the price.
In brief, the MC-Phono2006 was superb; jaw-droppingly good. If I had £1600 to spend on a phonostage at the moment, Jack would have made a sale there & then!
The soundstage is just huge – but not bloomy or vague, it’s beautifully focussed and oh so natural, it’s like being there with the performers. As soon as the music started a feeling of wonderful rightness engulfed me – blimey, I didn’t realise my Pioneer PL-71 turntable could sound anywhere near this good!
You can tick off all the “audio virtues” you can think of for yourself. Bass, treble, dynamics blah-de-blah – it’s got them all. It’s just so much better than any other phonostage I have heard. Can it get better than this? Well, yes, of course it can, I guess …. but I can well imagine this being the ultimate destination for many LP lovers.
Yup, a rave review. I’d love to own one!
Although bear in mind it’s twice the price of other phonostages I have in-depth experience of, so comparative listening is recommended … unless you are as awestruck by its performance as I was, in which case just buy it!
Author – Jerry