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From-the-Ground-Up Phono Preamp from the Alchemy Design Wizards
The Alchemy PPA-2 is a brand new, from-the-ground up MM/MC phono preamplifier from the wizards on ELAC’s design team – led by the legendary designer Peter Madnick of Audio Alchemy and Constellation Audio fame. So you just know it has to be an outstanding product with performance way above its price point.
The PPA-2 a full-featured phono preamp that uses all-analog, discrete FET gain and EQ stages to transform microscopic grooves in vinyl into stunningly lifelike music. Fully configurable, the PPA-2 can be tailored to specific cartridge requirements, with switchable gain for each input, MC cartridge loading, and stereo or mono operation. A selection of RCA or XLR inputs and outputs adds even more flexibility to the most versatile phono preamp in its class. It even has a Liquid Crystal Display to let you keep track of cartridge parameters, and other information. The microcontroller completely shuts down during normal operation to eliminate any clocking noises.
Fully Discrete Balanced Topology
For the uncompromising sound quality you would expect from Alchemy gear, the PPA-2 boasts fully discrete, balanced FET topology from input to output, with a DC servo-controlled output stage. It achieves highly precise RIAA equalization using 0.1% metal film resistors and selected metalized polypropylene capacitors. All signal routing is conducted through hermetically sealed gold-on-gold relays.
You won’t find a quieter phono preamp in the PPA-2’s class and well above. It uses ultra-low-noise DC voltage regulators plus an internally shielded toroidal transformer and linear 50/60Hz multi-rail analog power supply for very low radiated hum field. Internal chassis shielding reduces induced hum, creating a shielded enclosure from sensitive circuits, plus the chassis is isolated and has an analog ground.
And here’s a really nice bonus. The PPA-2 also provides an improved power source for the Miracord 70 and 90 turntable motor that’s far superior to the ‘stock’ power supply that comes with those models..
The PPA-2 has the configurability to excel with just about every phono cartridge on the planet. Controls include switchable MM or MC gain for each channel and MC loading that’s continuously adjustable from 5 Ohms to 999 Ohms. The precise MC cartridge loading settings for each input can be displayed on the LCD information screen to remind you which settings you’re using.
Other features include selectable stereo or mono operation, a switchable rumble filter, and a 12-volt trigger input.
The Art of Alchemy, Reinvented
Designed ground-up by the ELAC team, the new Alchemy Series gives birth to a marriage of technologies, bringing further advances to a name known for delivering performance and build quality far exceeding its price. Every component incorporates relevant, well-thought-out features and topology that are important to critical listeners, like discrete implementation of power supply, preamplifier, and signal processing to bring you best-in-class sound. With years of experience in award-winning analog and digital products, the Alchemy Series establishes a new standard for value in the world of high-end audio separates.
From its early days right up to the present, the name Alchemy has always been associated with high performance and high value. Audio Alchemy, founded in early 90’s, built its reputation on outstanding technical performance not seen at similar price points. It researched and executed improvements of digital audio playback and was instrumental in discovering the effect of Jitter on the recording and playback of digital audio. The company also pioneered a resolution enhancement algorithm, a technology that combined a jitter reduction circuit with a Digital Signal Processor and is still used to this day.
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"The $1249.98 ELAC/Alchemy PPA-2 combines low noise and 'see into the stage' transparency with supple attack, generous sustain and decay to produce a well-detailed musical picture that plays well beyond its price point. Its overall sonic personality is on the warm, velvety and supple side, yet it also delivers impressive detail, and clean, well delineated high frequency transients. Plus it has all of the desirable phono preamp features you’d want (mono switch, high-pass filter, infinitely variable MC loading). I once sat with Peter Madnick evaluating cartridges on a very high end system and we came to very similar conclusions about what we heard. Based on what I’m hearing from the PPA-2, he did a great deal of listening before signing off on the design. The $1000-$1,500 price point is crowded with MM/MC phono preamps and I’ve not heard them all nor have I heard many in quite some time, but I’m confident that if you’re looking in this price region, you won’t be disappointed here."
- Michael Fremer, Analog Planet, March 29, 2020
|ELAC Alchemy™ Series PPA 2 Phono Preamplifier Product Reviews|