New Gold Note PH 10

I had posted a question a while ago about hearing from anyone with experience comparing the Gold Note PH 10 vs. the Bryston BP2 or Clear Audio Smart V2 phono preamps.  I never heard anything back about this subject, so I decided to just simply purchase a new PH 10 and compare it against my Clear Audio preamp.  

First impressions:  As much as I love my Clear Audio Smart V2 and in particular its sound stage and imaging qualities, I have to say that the PH 10 was considerably better at detail and picking out the instruments, especially the low and mid range ones.   The Clear Audio seemed to be a little better at the upper end imaging and the sound stage.  But keep in mind this was with the PH 10 new right out of the box.

I was told the PH 10 needs at least 50 hours of run in time to open up, so I used it for two nights and left it on for several days.  After allowing it to settle in and enjoying a lot of music, I still thought the Clear Audio had a leg up on it in the sound stage/imaging department.   So I decided to listen to a well known record to me with excellent recording and a lot of dynamic range on the PH 10, then switch the wires over to the Clear Audio (which I had not heard in several days by this time), and replay the record.   YIKES!!!  it was like a blanket was draped over my speakers.  I had become so gradually accustomed to the new PH 10 that I had not noticed the slight changes going on with the break in.  When the Clear Audio was swapped back into the system (it took me about a minute to do this), it was night and day the differences.

The PH 10 was by far a much more detailed, pronounced signature with a superior sound stage and the imaging was hands down better.  I am using it with the Audio Technica AT20ss vintage MM cartridge which has an extraordinary frequency range of 5-50K hz, so I was able to take advantage of the Enhanced RIAA curve the PH 10 has.  It is pretty outstanding.   Make sure you break things in!   I love this phono preamp.
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Does anyone have experience pairing the PH-10 with a Rega Apheta 3 cart? If so, what settings did you find to be the best? Or is it a situation where you want / need to adjust setting based on each recording?
No matter what cartridge you're using with Gold Note phono stage, i don't think people change loading for each record, this is crazy! 

What you can change is RIAA for certain pressings, this is Gold Note exclusive. 

Why do you want someone else to tell you "what is the best" settings, it's a personal thing, system dependent. Most cartridges (MC) are great with 47k Ohm loading (unloading), you can try this. 

Knock Knock!
I am considering the PH-10/PSU-10. This thread has been very insightful. I have also sent an email to Gold Note about Class A tube output stage for PH-10. They got one for their reference PH-1000.

I have now been living with my second Whest, the PS 30 RDT SE 2019 with many of the PS 40 RDT upgrades modified into it for over a year.  I would strongly suggest that you look at the Whest line, whether it is an  upper level unit like mine or a more mid range preamp such as the Whest Three or Two.  In my opinion, there is no contest against the PH10.  That is my input and I hope it helps.  My Whest Three I had prior the PS30 was a wonderful piece and that would be a great choice if spending a lot more is not an option.


Thanks for your feedback. I will check them out shortly.