Whest Audio MC REF V MK4. My new toy.

Whest Audio MC REF V MK4 – My last present this year!

Well I’ve got it and have lived with this unit for just over a week now.
I’m going to write a smallish review of the unit which was conducted during a late night listening session with a couple of audiophilers. Call them Barry and Gary for now.

The MC REF V is now in its MK4 form and is really nice to look at. It is quite simple looking but on inspection of the internals, contains more ‘stuff’ than most phono stages out there. The exterior dimensions are approx 17” x 12” x 3” (430mm x 300 x 75mm) and you get 2 identical units. YES each unit is a fully self contained channel.
The main audio board takes up about 2/3rds of the whole chassis then you have 2 ‘goldish’ metal plates which go from back to front, then a sizeable power transformer.
The chassis is very well made. It is hand welded CNC aluminium in RED. It is not like my Lamm chassis or the Manley Steelhead chassis which are just cheap bent aluminium affairs. The MK4 chassis is stiff but light which James says needs to be for the internal suspension to work properly.

Load, gain and capacitance changing is underneath tucked away behind a small removable panel. I set my unit up like this: 65dB and 100ohms with 200pf of capacitance. The MC REF V has been designed from the ground up as an MC ONLY phono stage. It does not do MM but can do high output MC. According to James at Whest Audio, at this level you should NOT be using MM – too true!

Having changed some of my main big systems front end recently, I put the MC REF V ( MK4 from now on) into this system which comprises a TW Raven AC/ Graham Phantom/ A90/ Whest PS.30RDT Special Edition/ Lamm LL2 preamp/ ATC SCM150A. The LL2 is not the Deluxe version.

The Raven AC was recommended by many guys here and I finally got to hear one. Yes it’s extremely good. I heard it with the old and new power supply. To tell the truth I could not hear that much (if any) difference in the power supplies but opted for the newer one as it looks much better and I got a good deal.

Back to the MK4. Barry and Gary knocked on the door at about 7pm. Both are recent Whest converts. I say recent because both heard the 30RDT Special Edition a few weeks back and ditched their ‘known’ phono stages and got the 30 RDT Special Edition. Barry is an ex- Boulder 1008 user and says the Boulder really does struggle in a lot of ways compared to the Whest. But says the Whest is so much quieter and dynamic with better everything.

Anyway, back to the Mk4. I have been playing Yellow Jackets – Hornet LP as well as Kate Bush, Coltrane (John), Talk Talk - Laughing Stock, Oscar Peterson and other good stuff.

First on was one of my ‘new’ favourites – a Yellow Jackets track called Priscilla. A lovely track that changes and has much inside it. We all know this track well through the PS.30RDT SE. But now it was the turn of the MK4.
BLOODY WOW!!!! From the very beginning it hits you with a level of detail that sounds like live music. It is really REAL and able to get so much more out of the Raven. The Raven AC sounded like a HUGE ultra expensive turntable!
The lead guitar has so much more power and detail, soul and space and everything has ‘SLAM’ and purpose.
There should be a warning with this phono stage: ‘Should not be used for background listening’. This thing is so detailed that even at low volumes you hear EVERYTHING. The SLAM is there even at the lowest of volumes and the immediacy too.

The musical flow through the MK4 is staggering.
Just listening to Kate Bush – Lionheart, the music just does not stop. It’s really hard to explain but you know when you go to a small live gig, how it’s so musical from beginning to end, well the Mk4 is like that. Whatever you play, it’s bloody musical. I tried my daughters Justin Timberlake’s first LP – musical and REALLY REALLY impressive.
Abba – Move on – unbelievable musicianship, musical and REAL. Gary bought down a real Hifi LP which I actually hate, Jazz at the Pawnshop. Although I hate this LP it was still musical, impressive (yes) but I can’t bare the contrived playing.
Give me any of the 50’s Jazz masters any day!

The soundstage on the MK4 is incredible. It is bigger than the 30RDT SE but has much more ambience in it. You can nearly feel the temperature of the recording environment:) But yes, it is that real and even has a ‘life’ of its own.
Kick drums have the SLAM but you also hear much more mid-band from the kick drum. You hear the skin, hammer and felt thumping through your body.
The whole bass region is quite an eye opener as you realise just how much recorded bass instruments have ‘sounds’ or harmonics in the mid-band upwards.
The mid and higher frequencies are amazing with a clarity that is beyond hifi superlatives. It’s because of the overall clarity of the MK4 that all LPs sound so real.
I don’t have a hifi system anymore but a ‘music playback system’.

Back to Kate Bush. I love this LP as it reminds me of an ex-girlfriend. (just hope my wife doesn’t read this). She loved this LP and bought it on cassette while she was living in Italy. Kate’s voice using the MK4 has got to be the single most moving experience in the history of my audio system. I could have kissed here, she was right there, solid in this expanse of a soundstage. She did not move at all but we all notice when she did move off mic as you could hear what sounded like her clothing rustle.
Barry and Gary at this stage were just ‘gob-smacked’. They know my system and thought the 30RDT Special Edition was excellent. The best was yet to come.

So, flicking through the LPs on offer we played a track from the Oscar Peterson Affinity LP. It’s MONO but excellent. The PS.30RDT Special Edition with its superb channel balance and resolving power played this brilliantly UNTIL the MK4 went on. You want to hear Oscar play with Soul, check out the MK4! OMG Barry had tears in his eyes. Oscars piano playing was tremendous, soulful and with a pace that was so real. Did it sound like MONO – NO! It had dimension, space and reality with that power and SLAM. You could hear the delicacy in his arthritic fingers as he soulfully glided over the keyboard. The Raven never sounded so good.

What a pleasure owning the MK4. My best piece of kit EVER. Why? Because do the math. The Raven One is about 90% of the AC so TW says. So you get a Raven One and save the rest to get a MC REF V MK4. It’s going to be MUCH better than getting a Raven AC with ANY top flight phono stage.
There must come a point in a system that the phono stage is just holding things back. I think it is earlier than most people think. I don’t think that it’s necessary to go to a Raven AC or equivalent. I now think it would be better sonically to get a very good $5000 table and a far better phono stage.

Are Barry and Gary sold on the idea? Yes but the current funding options are limited for them at present. Barry will be the first to move to the MK4 I reckon. It is that staggering and with its ability to show you just what is on your LP collection, I would only recommend it to anyone that listens to music and not background ‘sounds’. The MK4 takes no prisoners. It’s highly detailed in a real musical sense, ULTRA dynamic with SLAM like nothing else I have auditioned near or above this level. It’s extremely quiet, quieter than the Boulder 1008 by a large margin enabling you to hear so much more into the music and being all discrete Class-A gets nice and warm.

Welcome to the MC V club. I know exactly what you are saying. I have had mine for a month now and got same findings. The best is yet to come.

It gets way better around 50 hr mark, and even better at 80 hrs. Becomes more organic sounding, more dynamic, quieter and even more resolving. I can hear piano strings vibrating when previously i heard a sustained piano note. I can hear Chet Atkins generate a note, and not just the note he played. Play some big band music and be surprised at the dynamics, definition and rawness of "being there with trumpets full blast"

The MC V is power cord sensitive and support sensitive too. Yesterday I found out when by accident I forgot to switch the units off after listening that it sounds fantastic after being powered on for 3 days. I was shocked at the difference after being left powered for 3 days at a stretch.

Enjoy the journey running it in. I have and am still discovering new things in my LP grooves and how to get more from this magnificent MC V animal.
i leave mine switched on all the time
I live in the tropics and it would be nice not to generate any more heat than necessary to reduce energy consumption from air-conditioning.

As it is now, it is impossible to listen without air-conditioning. Leaving the MC V switched on all the time heats my room up. But I suppose, there is a price to pay for ultimate performance. My Goldmund amp is never switched off. But the difference is that the Goldmund runs cool.
That's a great review Dcarol. I'm now really looking forward to my Ref V, which is arriving later this week... :)

I've worked my way up from a PS20 to a 30r, then the 30rdt and I now have the 30rdt SE, as you did.

Upgrading was a no-brainer for me - I thought the PS20 was a great phono stage but I went completely bananas (James will testify to that) when I heard the 30r as it was in a different league altogether from the 20 and was what I had been waiting for from a phono stage for a long time. It had the ability to make the music sound so "live", and so "alive".

All the upgrades since the 30r have been worthwhile, with the biggest leap being with the SE - it's a major step in every area from the rdt (which is absolutely superb in it's own right) but I wasn't expecting that much of an improvement.

I totally agree that saving up for something like the SE (although I'm not sure if anything exists that is something like the SE) or the V is money FAR better spent than going for, or upgrading to, a seriously high-end turntable, or speakers, amps or anything else (assuming of course that you have a good system to start with). I do doubt if the majority (big statement coming) of analogue-lovers have realised the true potential of their systems and know how good their systems already are until they have heard it with the SE sitting between their turntable and pre-amp (and I'm sure, Dcarol, I'll agree with your experience of the V when I hear it - so the same will, I'm sure, go for that).

From what you're saying it sounds like I could be knocked off my feet by the V, so I'll make sure I'm properly strapped-in when the "needle hits the record".

I'll be back...
Hello all ye Whest owners,
I have now upgraded from the PS30r to the special edition,
this version is supposed to be quite power cable sensitive,
have any of you made any discoveries ,at a reasonable cost?
Enjoy the music.
i have also taken the plunge and bought the new
whest MC REF V mk4.

hopefully will have in a few weeks.
i will post more after i have listened.
Hello Whest Audio owners .. Happy New Year to everyOne!

Tawa .. I have the PS30RDT Special Edition since this summer and I already did not less than 500 hours on it.
Well .. I tried some power cables like Kemp cable and Supra LoRad 2.5 but I always got orrible results .. compared to the Henriot loved cheapo computer PC cord
I suspect James is right when he says to try different power cords but his cheapo one is still the best.

My Cent!
I have written this elsewhere, to no avail. I would LOVE to know something about what is inside these boxes. The Whest website is pretty useless in that regard. All I know is that there are a series of chassis' of similar size and shape that have increasingly higher prices and performance levels, based on their naming system. But as a person with some DIY ability who likes to know why I am about to spend big money on a piece of audio gear, I would really need to know more about circuit design, parts differences, etc, before proceeding.

By the way, I do not necessarily agree that only MC cartridges are worthy of an expensive well designed phono stage. You would be surprised what some of the best vintage MM and MI cartridges can do when used with modern state of the art equipment. For this reason, the RDT SE is most interesting to me.
Hi Curio,
Thank you,i was thinking of trying that Supra cable.
I guess i will contact James to get that cable.
Isn't the cheapo computer powercord included in the box with the Whest? Mine had a pair supplied. I am using them while waiting arrival of a PC ordered from James as a special order. James says makes a big difference.

Don't ask me how it sounds as 2 mths have passed and still not here yet.
Lewm - What ever is inside is magic! I couldn't careless as the enjoyment I get from my MC REF V Mk4 is immense.
Having gone through the 30 range and now on a REF V MK4 and seen inside, it really doesn't matter. What matters is what is does - doesn't it? Wait until the new site comes online OR better still instead of trawling around the web, just ask James, he is a pretty straight and upfront guy, no BS, just straight talking and a real music lover.

I have not got on to the mains cable bit yet, so am still using the supplied mains cables. The problem with the Whest products is that they sound so good from the box that you forget about the cabling and what they 'might or might not do'.

The MC REF V MK4 is well warmed up now. Sounding quite staggeringly amazing and still catching me 'off guard' with some of the things it does.

The difference between the MK4 and the PS.30RDT Special Edition is MUCH greater than I first thought and wrote. Now the MK4 has 'settled' it has become clear that the MK4 is way beyond any other stage I have had in my system and that is about 14 of them! Forget the likes of ASR, Asthetics, Boulder, Manley and AR, the MK4 is a true 'lab type device' that also sings.

Easternize - you are going to love it. That is all I am saying! he he he.
I hate to be a nattering nabob of negativism (thank you, Spiro Agnew), but if something is "staggeringly amazing", how could one expect it to get significantly better with a different power cord? And if it does, what descriptor is above "staggeringly amazing"? Anyway, I am just pulling your chain. It is obvious that you are experiencing pure delight, which is rare in audiophilia. I hope the feeling lasts a long time, and Happy New Year.

If someone knows how the Mk4 circuit differs from that of the PS.30RDT SE, apart from the apparent difference of dual mono construction, I would be interested. Thx.
I'm also in search of a new phono stage and the Whest MC REF V is surely on my list now. The other is the ARC REF 2 phono. Haven't compared both phono stages yet, but has anyone?
>> According to James at Whest Audio, at this level you should NOT be using MM – too true!<<

That's total bs and illustrates how little he knows about mm/mi cartridges.

I have a fairly large collection of them and a handful will go toe to toe with most moving coils and smoke many of them.
Lewm - James at Whest explained to me that when he designed the 30 range he wanted to make a more affordable phono stage directly from the V's design and he spent a great deal of time deciding on what he could take out of the V to end up with the 30r, then the RDT and finally the SE.

Having owned all of them and now the V and seen the insides I can confirm that 30 range is a stripped-down version of the V, although the SE is much closer to the V than the others.

The main difference is that the V has some 20 or so (per channel - 40 or so total) regulators, each with hand-picked and matched components. The boards are much larger, and all components are hand-picked and matched too. James says that Whest have to test about 100 or so components just to get one matched pair that they deem suitable for the V. That's one of the reasons it's so expensive - labour time is huge.

I'll post some pics up of the interior when I get a chance.

I'll also post up my experience of the V soon, but as a starter, everything DCarol has said is dead right. It is utterly magnificent!

Oh, by the way, in the time I've known him I've found James is a genuine music lover. He's not driven by the need to make just money - as many manufacturers are - his aim is to make the best phono stages in the world.

I think he's done it with the V.
How does the 30RDT SE stack up, for MM/MI cartridges? Has anyone tried that combo?
hear hear.

As for the MM/MC debate - I think it is one of those audiophile debates that will last the end of time. I personally think he is right. I have yet to hear an MM sound as convincing, fast, open and dynamic as an MC. I have heard expensive MMs in my system (unfortunately) and although they are not fast or 'real' they have a nice sound about them - hey but that is just my opinion.
Saying someones opinion is BS is a bit much do you think?

The MC REF V board is massive compared to the 30 series board. There is much more going on in the MC REF V. Lewn
you have to take a listen to one of these things. Whether it's a 30RDT Special Edition or Mk4, do yourself a favour.
And stop the asking about what it looks like inside...listen with your ears not your eyes


Yes,,, the AR REF2. I tried one much earlier this year while on the quest... To start with the gain matching is a right pain. either too high or nothin' - far too low.
So I was forced to go with the too high! The AR was good - no,, very good BUT really no match for the PS.30RDT Special Edition which I ended up with. The 30RDT SE is just more precise, musical and open, with less blanket (duvet) over the performance.
Not sure what the price is of the AR in the states but in the UK it is quite a bit more than the 30RDT SE, and I mean much more.

The dealer said that he sells more 30RDT SE because the AR and others are really too over priced for their 'sound quality'. I was really surprised he said that as normally he would be pulling at my credit card!

hifi dealers hey...you hate them but you need them, like lawyers!

>>12-31-10: Dcarol
Saying someones opinion is BS is a bit much do you think?<<

I think that somebody who builds a "reference" level phono preamp and doesn't include mm/mi cartridge capability, doesn't understand phono pickups as well as some of us who have been doing this for a while.

That's what I'm saying.
Dear DCarol, From now on I promise to listen ONLY with my ears. Listening with my eyes has been a frustrating experience. I understand what you mean to say, but I cannot apologize for my curiosity regarding circuit design and implementation, especially as regards equipment of very high cost. But like I said before, I am happy for you that you are so delighted with your new purchase. Carry on.

And I do also agree with 'feil; MM and MI cartridges have a lot to offer. Keep an open mind on that subject. If you ever get the chance, have a listen to some good vintage MM/MI cartridges, like the Technics EPC 100C or 205, the Empire 4000DIII or 1000ZE/X, the Acutex LPM320STR, any of the formerly top Stanton and Pickering cartridges, like the Stanton 981 or 881, or the Pickering XVS series, or any of the best AKGs or B&Os. You might be shocked into acquiring an MM-dedicated phono stage to go with your REF V.
I agree MM can be fantastic.
HI Dcarol

Interested with your comparison with the ARC ref2.

I have heard the Ref2 at home at it is extremely transparent and detailed, it certainly did not have a duvet blanket over the performance.
Any more detailed and open, it may have ended up lean and bright. Did you hear the ref2 at home or at the shop?

I am guessing the Whest's detail and openess does not suffer with leading edge fatigue and lack of tonal weight like a lot of SS phono units - Would you say it is ruthlessly revealing phono or has an ability to let the music shine no matter what you play.

BTW, what UK retailer sells both Whest and ARC products?


I have a BAT phono stage (valve) - I compared it to the whest 30RDT, not se, and preferred the BAT for substance and depth. The whest was only slightly more detailed.
I have looked at the ARC ref2 would you say the whest 30RDTse has the body that valves give? There is not any way I can get to hear the two compared.
anyone heard the nagra VPS?
Audiofeil and Lewn:

REALLY....vintage? Do I have to? I really enjoy the system I have now. What is the point of adding another phonostage to an already GREAT system, just to play around with vintage MM? Technics EPC 100C - I have a very open mind BUT cannot imagine for a millisecond that it comes anywhere near what I am using. My dad has 2 spare NOS B&O MMC 4 or MMC 1 (the best one), I'll drag it out one day.


I borrowed the ARC from Absolute Sound and the Whest from Whest but bought the Whest from Ian Gamble Audio. I tried to get both from KJ in Central London but they were only interested in pushing the ARC on me.

The PS.30RDT Special Edition is more valve like and does have a tad more detail than the BAT but the BAT is warmer.
I wouldn't say that more detail means 'clinical', you need to hear the MC REF V. The PS.30RDT Special Edition is not as 'lovely' sounding as the BAT but I'm not a fan of 'lushing-up' the sound unnecessarily.

I think if you are a valve lover then you are a valve lover.
Very much like the MM/MI and Technics 1210 crew.
Nothing wrong with it but it's not my bag.
Let me quote a line from Steppenwolf's "Tighten Up Your Wig" found on Steppenwolf The Second:

"Your mind is too narrow and it's no surprise
If you fell on a pin, you'd be blind in both eyes"

Thanks to John Kay.
DCarol, No one here has to do anything. When Raul started the thread on MM/MI cartridges, I was as skeptical as you. However, for a few hundred bucks and some DIY work, I was able to give a listen to some of the better cartridges mentioned above, and I am smitten to the point where I listen much less to my three MC cartridges than to my MMs. (Actually, so far I find myself preferring MI types.) This is not to say that I will give up on MC cartridges any time soon, but.....
well, i've had my Whest MC-REF V mark 4 for around 5-6 weeks now and love it.
i upgraded from the PS .30R.

the soundstage is huge compared to the PS.30R.
i am hearing a huge amount of detail, things in the background that i have not heard before. And i said the
same thing about the PS .30R which was great, this makes it just much more so.
i hear the most in the highs. Everything is just spot on,
right in the mix, you can hear so much more of just what is being played in the song.
also, Ambience and the effects used in the song really shine through and let me hear so much more.
incredible phono preamp!!

Interesting thread, very enthusiastic.

So much so it had me taking a closer look at the product in discussion so I went on line looking at a couple of web sites, manufacturer, dealer and end user in relation to this specific product and read that the phono actually offers MM & MC so some of the info. above is confusing and or misleading.

So from what I have read this phono does offer MM as an option correct?

I can't seem to find any pics showing the back of the units, not seeing any switches and or knobs of any sort is this only for one arm connection?

Via connection to ones pre-amp to this phono are both RCA and XLR connections available?

If it isn't for one arm how the heck can you have both MM/MC? with no switches of some sort.

In relation to SETTING the load, I don't see options on the fly to change this, no switch or dial of some sort making it easy and convenient (user friendly) but instead have read with this unit you basically have to remove, obviously disconecting everything and underneith the unit you remove a plate and change the load & gain which seems odd to me at the asking price of close to $20K. I owned the Audia Flight and theirs was similar but on the back and it was not easy or convenient either.

The manufactures web site doesn't clearly provide all of this info. or possibly I'm missing something, if so kindly assist.

Not being able to see the back of the two units and from what I'm reading being two separate units so I gather you have to do the gain and load in both and the actual units have their own power sources so that means two power cords, is this correct?

Would be interesting to read some other comparisons to other phono's including tube.

A few of my thought's in relation to some comments made by the OP, you wrote;

"The Raven One is about 90% of the AC so TW says. So you get a Raven One and save the rest to get a MC REF V MK4. It’s going to be MUCH better than getting a Raven AC with ANY top flight phono stage.
There must come a point in a system that the phono stage is just holding things back. I think it is earlier than most people think. I don’t think that it’s necessary to go to a Raven AC or equivalent. I now think it would be better sonically to get a very good $5000 table and a far better phono stage."

Firstly I can't say from first hand experience because I never owned and AC but did own the AC3 and no way did the Raven One offer 90% of the AC3's sonics, in my set-up the two sounded more different than I would say similar and the only item being swapped out was the Raven One and AC3.

I bought the Raven One for similar reason because of what I had read but upon several visits to a freinds place who owns a AC I always heard something dramatically more pleasing and different so I decided to take the plunge and got a AC3 to compare.

So that being said if this Whest phono is all that I don't understand why the OP would want or suggest to others reading to settle on less, hold back any of it's full potential by not pairing it up with a superior table. I'm not trying to being negative, just don't understand and don't agree with these statements made in relation to such.

Next if I believed everything I read I would have just settled for living with my AC3 which I actually could have because it's an amazing table if I had not heard ...., similar statements being made in relation to the Black Knight vs AC3 but again I can say from my first hand experience the Black Knight is all that and more and well worth the asking price, I'm very happy I made the plunge.

I know this is not a TW thread and I only brought this up because of what I read of the OP's opening thread who actually owns a TW AC and if one truely wants to hear the full potential of his new phono I would sugest to move up and add two additional motors or there are other options available for improvement which trickle down from the BN.

Personally just like the OP is trying different phono's and is so enthusiastic I'm also doing the same with actual tables but just so happens to be within the TW product line, trying to EXTRACT the most out of their offerings.

I have tried the Boulder mentioned above, Audia Flight and a few others and found they all offer differences but in the end in comparison to my present VAC's phono non have had me wanting to keep them, the above phono's are quieter and do offer differences but there is still allot more going on then just that, currently the VAC just sounds like real music having one taping their toes, finding them self at times singing along and so on.

Look forward to learning more about the above mentioned phono

Dcarol....I hate you. :) Having recently adjusted to my PS0.3R, I'm now utterly disgusted after reading your report....I want one (or maybe a Ref2 :)

As an aside on the MM/MI debate, I don't think James Henriot is trying to be controversial. It's clear that he is merely responding to "market prioritisation" i.e. the popular view for many years that "coils rule". However I can concur with the sophisticated ears of Lew and 'Feil that MIs do indeed have something to offer. It's just a shame that the industry has allowed research into this area to fall into neglect in favour of pushing the more expensive MC offerings. It would be nice to see a "cost is no object", with tight engineering tolerances, MI cart evolve sometime! (Would anyone be brave enough?) You are always left with a feeling that MI/MMs are built down to a price rather than up. The fact they can sound amazing despite this is credit to them.
Dear DCarol, Many thanks for your experience with the MCREFV model. Please find mine also.
All the best,
JIM in Europe...

So I upgraded my Whest Audio PS.30RDT Special Edition to the superb wonderful MC REF V MK4 model.

The MC REFV model received last friday - 20 hours of LP"s... Better and better... The best upgrade ever made. In a new dimension... Only music...
What you get IS everything within the full spectrum and WOW : The bass control... My Komris are dancing now... and the velocity and resolution and the soundstage size : 6 m minimum, no back and front walls... ONLY MUSIC COME TO YOU...

In terms of improvement by comparison with the PS.30RDT Special Edition previously owned, even if the last one is a super product for his price, a factor of 10 for the resolution improvements is close to what I feel and read in some forums... A wonderfull product, not enough well known and for the price... well positioned...by comparison with Gryphon, Moon, Boulder and Audio Research (one session listen : not stable because of lamp...)...

With this device, if you get a good LP player (tone-arm, cartridge, chassis...), this is the only upgrade to make and believe me : I did a lot of upgrade before coming to my Linn KOMRIS Aktiv system (8 Solos, Kontrol...)... Various amp, loudspeakers, preamp, cable...
Don't waste your money, whatever your system, first Whest Audio is a very good investments and the
MC REF V is the UPGRADE to do in a life...
Of course the better is the system, the better would be the results but don't forget :
Put always the money nearer to the SOURCE and don't neglect the foundations : Power cable and Power distribution... I hope I could share my little experiences.
Enjoy the music.
All the best,
Which begs the question why spend your money on
a super duper expensive pre amp when if you
spend this kind of money for a phono amp?
There are quite a few affordable passive pre
amps that add no sound to the source. Take the
Nelson Pass designed Adcom 750 Gold which when
reviewed in Stereophile was compared to a 6500
dollar Mark Levinson Pre Amp. When used in
passive mode it adds nothing to the sound.I
mean you can make the case spend your money on
the best phono amp you can afford and let it do
the heavy lifting.
I will be hooking up a Titan Pro into my system this week. Going to run it through my Adcom Gold in Passive mode. Since no one has had an opinion on this model from West I will give my thoughts in the near future.
@qdrone hope you have received your Titan Pro. What are your thoughts about this phono stage ?
I've had the Titan Pro for about a year now. Original audition was with the 30RDT ( not SE ) vs the Aurorasound Vida- the Whest won by a smidge due to better micro dynamics and rhythm/ musical flow . Very neutral phono stages that just get on with letting the music through. An opportunity to try the Titan Pro came up and I tried it- outstanding :).
Fabulous, one box phono pre that leaves very little on the table. I'm sure the Ref is better still but at significant expense and need for 2 boxes. Very happy with the Pro. System context- maxed out LP12/Aro/ DV Xvs-1.

Sorry for the delay. The Titan Pro is the best phono pre I have ever owned. I had been holding on to a Klyne 6a modified by Stan because with my associated equipment it was the best I had heard in my system but after owning The Titan Pro I sold it.
I do not use the inter connect it came with though, I prefer The Darwin The Truth inter connect instead since my phono cable is also The Truth.
How it compares to The Titan I cannot say since I have not heard it or Whest's flagship MC REF V either but The Titan Pro puts space between the instruments and with my second generation modified Oracle Mark Vl / Graham Phantom Mark 2 Supreme I'm a happy camper. The soundstage is deep and three dimensional and makes good recording come alive. Expensive yes, but it is the last phono stage I will ever own. Hope this adds to the discussion and man this phono amp makes mono recordings sound uber.