First off ... <<DISCLAIMER >> I know and like Dan Wright.
I took a PH-150 phono stage home after the Rocky Mountain Audiofest, to evaluate and comment on it for him.
- Beautifully designed with first-class manufacturing techniques
- Excellent adjustability via front panel controls
- Great MM section
- As much gain as you'll ever need (even with a .1mV cart)
It has well thought out convenience features, like front-panel loading (resistance for MC's and capacitance for MM's) as well as gain matching (0dB, and -6dB and -12dB attenuation).
In my limited evaluation, I found that the 0dB gain setting allowed the phono stage to truly "open up", and I used this setting throughout my evaluation, even though the -6dB setting was "correct" for the gain structure of my system.
The turntable was a prototype of our rim drive, Galibier Design Eiger, fit with a Kuzma 4Point and Dynavector XV1s cartridge.
I compared the Modwright against my current reference (the Herron
VT-PH2), using the MM input for both phono stages in order to "create
Both of these phono stages have solid state power supplies and vacuum
tube MM gain stages. They differ in how they address MC gain. The
Herron has an active, s-s MC stage, and the Modwright employs Lundahl
I found the MM section of the two phono stages to be too close to call out a difference when judged in this context.
Both the Modwright and Heron phono stages MM inputs loved my Tamura step-up transformers (an Air Tight PH1) as well as some Cinemags built into a Hagerman box.
Comparing both units as intended by the designers was a bit more tricky, and I can easily see preferences being the opposite from what I observed.
Rather than expound on the MC input for the Herron (a solid state front end) and the Modwright (Lundahl step-up transformers), I'd call them roughly equivalent, with my preference for both units being to run them with my own external step-ups (as referenced above).
I can easily see someone differing from me, and preferring either the Herron or Modwright's MC input stages to the external step-ups I used. I wouldn't begin to guess at individual preferences or system configurations.
A lot of engineering went into the Modwright, and much of it into simplifying the user experience with an elegant ergonomic design combined with absolutely bulletproof construction.
If your gain structure is challenged, know that the Modwright will easily work with as low output a cartridge as you'll ever consider purchasing and noise will not be an issue. While it's a bit more pricey than the Herron, there's a lot of value built into it.
I would absolutely recommend auditioning it, but remember that I have an association with Dan, so take that into consideration as you read this.
Thom @ Galibier