Pre-Owned and Ex-Demo
About the SPA One SE
This is a gorgeous sounding valve phonostage with external power supply. This NVO design is simple on the outside but packed full of valve goodness on the inside. On the front of the phono stage is a simple power switch and one selection for MM or MC. On the rear is two sets of inputs with a selector toggle, and each set of inputs has a second adjacent set of sockets for input loading plugs. Finally on the back panel is the power input connector. The seperate power supply box has the usual mains IEC inlet and a captive lead with plug to connect to the phono stage.
The design inside is a valve lovers delight, with no less than thirteen valves in total. So that means of course, that not only are all the gain stages valve based, but so is all the critical voltage regulation. The power supply module contains one large toroidal transformer plus two DC regulated supplies for the tube heaters and a separate supply for the plates' B+ supplies.
Gain: 60dB of gain in its moving coil (MC) stage, and 50dB of gain in its moving magnet stage (MM).
Frequency response: 10Hz to 200kHz.
THD: less than 0.05% for MC, less than 0.005% for MM.
SNR: rated at -62dB for a 0.2mV MC input, -80dB for 2mV MM input.
Pre-configured for an input load of 1kΩ for MC cartridges and 47K for MM. With additional termination plugs, MC load can be adjusted.
The Winters Audio Experience
What's not to love at this price...
There's been a serious vinyl underworld buzz about this phono stage. It's had great reviews that you can easily find online. As a great value upgrade proposition there are some key features here. First it's a state-of-the-art all-valve design that offers serious performance. That capability is significantly enhanced by this being a two-box solution, so troublesome transformer magnetic fields and vibration are kept well away from all the signal processing.
So lets say, you're at a point where your turntable and arm are a great combo, and you're using a good entry level MC cartridge and a relatively modest single box phono-stage. You now want to make the next move up in performance and are considering a much more serious MC cartridge but it's niggling you that your current phono stage is probably not up to it. This is why this used two-box SPA One is such a killer at the price – you can spread your budget for a far better cart/phono stage combination this way, that's going to deliver a bigger performance jump at the outset, and leave ample headroom in your system for some real MC greatness down the line.