Review: Whest 0.20 Preamplifier

Category: Preamps

My music tastes are varied, as should most peoples be who like music, mostly because as one expands ones appreciation, the need to find more challenging pieces arises. If I were to tie my colours to the mast it would essentially center around funk, soul, rare groove, Jazz, some rock, techno, ambient, house, indian classical music, and some pop. You may gasp that I am not a lover of western classical musical a la 'Brahms', but I'm not going to lie, if I said I liked it, it would expand to 'classic mood' type cd's, and hearing it in the background on the radio when I study.

I do not, however choose a particular record to test with, this approach I think is deeply flawed, because music should be appreciated as a whole, and not as a breakdown of components. It's a bit like saying apples are better than bread - nonsensical with few nexus'. I would add that this is an approach very much favoured by the boys at Audio Note, so I can't be too wrong then!

Musically I require a system with good dynamics, magic imaging capabilities, tonality and shape to the bass and an airy treble. Not much eh? But shouldn't we all take the view that we require everything as oppsed to individual aspects, because if that appears on a recording it should come out in the best light possible, concentrating on an aspect is folly, because we don't just listen to one piece of music, but in fact several.

For the reasons I set out above, the very worst thing a system could do is give a tiresome sound. What this is, in my view, is an imbalance by way of having a single aspect projected against that of all the others. Dynamics are great for instance, but if dynamic swings is your only tune it can be grating and would lead to me switching off. To this extent I suppose an ear bleeding treble is the biggest sin in my book.

Now that I've set my goundwork, let's tell you all about 'the groove' whilst going 'whest'. The story that brought me in the direction of the Whest was that I thought there was something wrong with my own Conrad EF1. I was getting a bit of left channel crackle - I realised it was a mechanical problem and sorted it out with the HiFi NEws test disc - highly recommended by the way! Anyway, before I nailed the problem I slightly stressed and decided to borrow a phono stage. I decided on th Whest having spoke to Mark Perfect of Activ Distribution at the Heathrow Show. I got to loan one first for a weekend.

This was a definitive case of supply creating demand. Whilst delighted to find that my EF1 wasn't broken, I was aqually upset as to how the Whest simply destroyed

Associated gear
Amazon Model One turntable with Morch DP6 arm, Transfiguration temper cartridge and/or Shelter 501 cartridge.
Lavardin IT amplifier
Lavardin Cables
Yamaha NS1000m Speakers
Townshend seismic stand

Similar products
Tom Evans 'the Groove'
Conrad Johnson EF1
EAR 834p
Musical Fidelity XLP