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Just Listen To it! - Vacuum State's JLTi Phono Stage won the hearts of reviewers and customers when comparing to phono stages at up to three times the price, and this is in real live comparisons with top contenders. The JLTi handily beat 8 other phono stages in a shootout, including three at over US$3,500.
Vacuum State JLTi MK3 Phono Preamp (US$1795) shown with optional (US$995) external power supply in a matching case. Made in Switzerland.
"Among the best values currently available in MM-MC phono preamps". - Michael Fremer, Stereophile.
"While many phono stages have arrived on the market since, and we have had and do have on demo many of the best, nothing has ever performed as well as the JLTi at anywhere near the price, nothing. Some have more features, some do one thing better, and for specific taste some might be better but overall and for the majority of people the JLTi continues to be the top dog! Add External Power Supply (in matching case) and already stunning performance of this phono preamp gains ever better resolution, clarity, and bloom! " - Jay Kaufman, Analog Specialist Dealer and North American distributor.
Audio Revelation, an analog specialist with 12 upscale turntables, 14 tonearms, 16 cartridges and a dozen or so phono stages on demo hosted a phono stage 'shoot-out' with five dedicated hi-end analog buffs including a respected reviewer who brought the then unheard of JLTi: "Wow! By far and away the JLTi was the hit of the day. No, it didn't sound as good as the $7000 ASR Basis Exclusive but it beat or tied everything else under $4000. I followed up on this amazing phono stage to bring JLTI into the USA (made in Switzerland) and have been successfully selling it directly without any distributor/middleman markup. Pricing is a tremendous sonic value (outboard PS was not even available, let alone used, for the shootout)."
Stereophile Recommended Component - October 2011
"The Vacuum State JLTi PhonoPre is among the best values currently available in MM-MC phono preamps, particularly at $1650... it came remarkably close to revealing the long, long reverb trails on those great records we all know and love, and its retrieval of low-level detail and micro-dynamics were particularly impressive... Adding the outboard power supply took the JLTi's performance up a few notches, particularly in terms of the all-important rhythmic grip and the preamp's ability to deliver musical meaning."
- Michael Fremer, Stereophile
“This tiny Swiss phono stage ... should be considered mandatory to get truly impressive sound and value. We felt that the JLTi was the most neutral phono stage we have heard at this price point and were constantly amazed that such a big, authoritative sound could come from such a small package. Comparing the sound to my reference ASR Basis Exclusive ($7000) it held its own very well and did an incredible job with getting the spatial cues right ... What really impressed me right from the beginning was the sense of weight this tiny little preamp was able to throw ... noise was never an issue no matter what cartridge I matched it with ... thanks to the spot on tonality... one of the highest compliments I can pay the JLTi was that no matter I was just concentrating on the music, not nitpicking the sound. I was very pleased no matter what kind of music I was enjoying. The JLTi is well built, easy to use and offers up a very neutral, yet powerful presentation of LP playback. It gave a fantastic performance with every cartridge that I matched it with. If you are shopping in this price range, snap it up now before the dollar gets weaker!"
- Jeff Dorgay, Editor Tone Audio
"After a few days of listening to the JLTi, a reality check was in order. Was the modestly priced JLTi really that good? Did it really offer that much bang for the buck?... very quiet, very smooth. It sounds more like a tube phono stage than a solid state phono stage. My continued listening has been most pleasurable... lots of bass slam ... Heavy metal is loads of fun. It is a very good unit for the price. I lent the phono stage to a colleague. He preferred the JLTi to the Sutherland.'I thought your unit sounds less like solid state and had a more expansive midrange than the Sutherland.' Roger continues: The JLTi is a very good phono stage that is comparable to phono stages costing twice as much or more ... performs far above its price point. I highly recommend a listen if you are in the market."
- Roger Gordon, Positive Feedback (http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue28/jlti_phono.htm)
"...The JLTi was mastering them effortlessly, connecting a stunning resolution over the whole frequency band with an extraordinary control of the sound picture, without limiting the musical flow the tiniest amount. The specific qualities of those cartridges could fully be heard, which clearly shows that the JLTi is not just having one attractive side, but delivers an excellent, sensitive performance in all regards. The Vacuum State JLTi Phono Preamp (even just with the wall wart) is clearly one of the top phono preamplifiers. In all disciplines that a phono preamp has to master, it provides far more than one would expect from its favorable price."
- Helmut Rohrwild, HiFi & Records, Germany
"I find the JLTi resolves an amazing amount of detail. It also captures an extended bass response and a large hall ambiance. My favorite test for these last two characteristics is found on side two of "The Mission", a soundtrack recording. A concert bass drum is played on a couple of the tracks. With the JLTi, one hears not only the deep note of this very large drum, but the attack and decay as the mallet strikes the drum skin, then the sense of space from the recording studio as each note fades away is fully revealed...most tracks are interesting and fun to listen to."
- Tim Price, California
Look for highly enthusiastic posts on Steve Hoffman's (Steve is a master LP Masterer) website and other discussion forums that extol the JLTi's virtues and honest-to-God giant killer status.
An entirely unique and totally original design. Do not hesitate to compare with anything! Yes, it does have the usual desirable attributes, such as no negative feedback, all passive RIAA EQ, very low noise, etc. Yet the electronic wizardry is very unusual, unlike anything available now. It is also an extremely elegant solution to a myriad of problems faced by any designer. Indeed, the best solution that no one else thought about. All RCA jacks and critical wiring are cryogenically treated.
This Phono Stage is 'slew rate' induced distortion free. In fact, this is one reason why tubes sound so good, they too are slew rate insensitive. Gone is the harshness or in many cases the flat grayness that robs the music of its natural tonal colors. This new Phono Stage has extraordinary life and dynamics combined with great finesse and transparency, without any exaggerations - truthful and beautiful.
It may well be the fastest Phono Stage ever made with huge bandwidth. The after EQ response is flat from 1 Hertz to 300 KHertz plus. Not only able to accelerate but its ability to de-accelerate is without parallel. Overload is also very high as it is capable of swinging 10V RMS - more than 20 dB headroom on a standard rated output of a Moving coil cartridge. Not only sounds great but its technical attributes are top notch. It competes favorably against other Phono Stages of the highest Class A quality. Not cheap, but the bargain price for such a superb level of sonic performance. While it is optimized for Moving Coil cartridges (testing done with extremely low 0.22mV MC Cartridge), it will also perform its magic on Moving Magnets.
When we started developing this prototype, it was decided, only IF it lived up to the performance of the JLTi Mk2, only then would the external JLTi Phono Stage become available. Happy to say, not only met but also exceeded all our expectations. This is what the JLTi brand is all about, it must compete well above the asking price.
• Solid State Design
• Flat frequency response, 1 Hz to over 300 kHz
• Zero negative feedback design
• All passive RIAA equalization
• 10 Volts RMS maximum output (> 20 dB headroom with typical MC cartridge)
• MM or MC switchable and don't worry about gain. While it's stated at 45/55, it is dead quiet and perfect for any MC down to .22mv (see reviews as it was used with cartridges at .25)
• Easily adjustable loading via jumpers; 47k for MM and 470ohm for MC.
NOTE: This unit is currently set for 47K MC which is what Allen Wright personally recommended even for moving coil cartridges. I used this with a Shelter 901 with superb results.
Ships with original packaging, double boxed.