Blue Horizon announced Profono, a MM/MC phono preamplifier for vinyl lovers, delivering high-end sound quality and precise cartridge matching at an affordable price point. In development for the past two years, Profono is the result of painstaking design and engineering to deliver a high-quality yet affordable solution for anyone wanting to make the most of their record collection.
Profono is a discrete high quality analogue turntable cartridge amplifier which is installed before your pre-amp or integrated if you do not have a built in phono stage, or if the phono stage is of low quality. For improved sound, dynamics and a greater detailed performance connect your tone arm cable directly to Profono, and then connect to the auxiliary of your pre-amp or integrated amp using RCA inter connecting cables.
Carefully selected premium-grade components and materials are used throughout — for example, the cheap 'dip switches' found in lesser phono stages are replaced by a unique system of plug-in shunt resistors to set input impedance accurately. This is a better quality solution than capacitance loading switches, which tend to be cheap and affect the purity of the signal, in addition to being an entrance point for RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).
The interchangeable shunt resistors plug into a pair of RCA sockets on the Profono's rear panel. Three sets are included as standard, rated at 100 ohms, 470 ohms and 1,000 ohms respectively (default cartridge loading with no shunt resistors inserted is 47k ohms). Furthermore, if the user requires an alternative input impedance to suit a specific cartridge, Blue Horizon will custom-build a pair of shunt resistors upon request to match this loading precisely — simply register the product, specify the impedance and a bespoke pair of shunt resistors will be delivered to the registered address. This service is unique to Blue Horizon and helps to ensure the best possible sound quality with any given phono cartridge.
Also to the Profono's rear is a toggle switch giving three settings for cartridge gain: moving coil low (50dB), moving coil high (61dB) and moving magnet (41dB). Offering two moving coil gain settings is unusual for a sub-£1,000 phono preamp and, together with the plug-in shunt resistors, ensures optimal performance with an extensive range of cartridges.
Compact in size and sturdily built, Profono sports a cleverly designed all-aluminium case, with individual corner extrusions holding the aluminium panels together, ensuring a tight, rigid and reliable construction that is quick and efficient to manufacture. Casework of such quality is rare at this price point and serves to protect the internal components, reject sonically deleterious RFI and keep the unit firmly in position when heavy cables are connected.
To minimize noise and distortion, the Profono's power supply unit (PSU) is housed separately and connected via a detachable cable. PSU upgrade options will be available at a later date, for those who wish to attain an even higher level of performance.
The net result is a high-performance yet affordable phono preamplifier that delivers wide compatibility, precise cartridge matching and class-leading sound quality in a simple, convenient package. Its performance exudes clarity, detail and tremendous dynamic range, allowing the true quality of a turntable, arm and cartridge combination to shine through. All the detail dug from a record's grooves is laid bare in exhilarating fashion, with excellent rhythm and timing, and a superbly balanced performance from deep bass to sweet, sonorous treble. For vinyl lovers, this little box is truly a boon.
- Fully adjustable/customised cartridge loading system
- Moving coil low, high settings and moving magnet
- Multi functional earth connection point
- Solid RFI resistant case, 170 x 80 x 50mm (L x W x H)
- Optional high quality power supply for upgrading later
Profono is the latest in a growing range of cleverly designed and perfectly formed high-performance audio accessories from Blue Horizon. Other products made by the company include the uniquely constructed Blue Horizon Record Mat and Blue Horizon Spike Shoes, an ingenious turntable levelling device called Prolevel, a highly effective contact enhancing solution known as Clean-IT, a record cleaning brush called Probrush and the remarkable Proburn cable burn-in machine.
Price and Availability
The Blue Horizon Profono phono preamplifier is available from April 2012 in black or natural aluminum for £695 (inc. VAT).