Unleash your records with The Vinyl
“Both the QHW The Vinyl and the Gold Note PH-10 are a big step up from entry level products and neither disappoint. Both remained in the reference system while judging cartridges and loudspeakers, without reservation. […] The QHW The Vinyl is a highly competent and well executed design at under 1k€.” Mark Wheeler – TNT Audio.
There are many elements that take part to get all that information that only vinyl can give to us. Vinyl lover is aware of how difficult is to found the right combination of turntable, tonearm, cartridge, cables, turntable mat, record clamp, and get everything finely set up: tracking force, antiskating force, perfect cartridge alignment, etc.
The big work and investment involved in getting the most from recordings, sadly, is lost in many chances due to an incompetent phono preamplifier. it’s very difficult, not to say impossible, a phono preamplifier that comes with an amplifier or even with high quality preamplifiers is able enough of not being the weakest link in the chain from record grooves to speakers. Obviously, having a separated phono preamplifier doesn’t guarantee it’s enough, since most elemental ones are only useful as a last way if you have an amplifier without a phono input, but never to have a very competent installation.
The Vinyl is a high quality phono preamplifier, which can be used with moving coil (MC) and moving magnet (MM) cartridges, as well as low output level moving magnet ones, based on a discrete components design and with such ability of advanced adjustments.
The Vinyl comes to make your phono preamplifier be the strongest link.
Discrete components design
The Vinyls is based on QHWAudio’s AE2270 amplifier we featured in The Box. Is a whole discrete small signal amplifier with high output current capacity and very low distortion.
The Vinyl features two units of AE2270 per channel: one for RIAA curve amplification and one for an additional gain stage at the output that brings same benefits that an unit of The Box would do. Therefore, RIAA amplification is totally discrete and, as we can’t conceive in other way, although there are another thoughts regarding to this, using an active network.
MC input stage, for moving coil cartridges, uses a discreet frontend, with BJT (Bipolar Junction Transistor), since they are the ones that offer the lowest noise with low impedance sources, combined with integrated electronics, also bipolar, in a way that we can get a low noise and low distortion MC stage without compromising cost and offering an affordable product.
Adjustable MC cartridge impedance and gain
Impedance “seen” by MC cartridge at the phono preamplifier input, also known as load, is very important for an adequate frequency response. Theorically, ideal input impedance should be equal to cartridge coil impedance but, actually, things depends of personal taste. The Vinyl allows to choose between six impedance values that will provide an adjust for most (if not all) cartridges in market. Even it has a high impedance position specifically thought for low level MM cartridges, whose need the MC preamplifier gain amount and a high load and they have trouble with many MC preamplifiers.
The Vinyl also features two gain levels (64 dB and 71 dB) to make it compatible even with cartridges with extremely low output level.
Adjustable MM cartridge capacitance
Same way that happens with MC cartridges and impedance, MM cartridges capacitance, also known as load in this case, is very important for frequency response. The Vinyl allows you to combine five basic values of capacitance, whose go adding, to find that what fits better your needs and personal taste.
Nominal gain at 1 KHz:
MM: 44 dB
MC low: 64 dB
MC high: 71 dB
Maximum output level: 10 V RMS or more.
MM input impedance: 47 KOhm
MC input impedance: adjustable from 47 Ohms or less to 32 KOhms.
MM input capacitance: adjustable from 47 pF to 617 pF.
MC input capacitance: 150 pF.
Total harmonic distortion at 1 KHz, 2 V RMS output, 10 KOhms load (20 HZ – 20 KHz band):
MM: 0,004 % or less.
MC low: 0,007 % or less with 47 ohms of input impedance.
RIAA deviation 20 Hz – 20 KHz: less than ± 0,1 dB.
Signal to noise ratio:
MM: 96 dB or better (input shorted, referred to maximum output).
MC low: 89 dB or better (input shorted, referred to maximum output).
Crosstalk: < -96 dB (at 1 KHz referred to 2 V RMS output in other channel).
Power consumption: < 10 W
Power supply input voltage: 100 V – 240 V 50 – 60 Hz.
Maximum dimensions: 243 mm (L) x 218 mm (W) x 89 mm (H) (including connectors and feet).
Weight: 2 kg
What technology does it use?
For design and build of The Vinyl SMT (Surface Mount Technology) was uses where is possible and convenient with the goal of getting shorter signal paths, which is one of the main advantages of this technology applied to analogue audio.
An external direct current power supply is used to keep power alternative current away from audio circuit inside a relatively small chasis. Power supply is oversized, is able to supply three times the apparatus power consumption, making us to be sure it will never limit dynamics. To get even lower noise and impedance supply, there is a lineal regulation and filtering stage inside The Vinyl itself and a virtual ground system that provides a steady voltage reference between two symmetrical supply lines whose allow a high output voltage (more than 10 V RMS), giving an excellent dynamic range, exceeding needs of any record and cartridge.
Always using first brands like Nichicon, Kemet, Texas Instruments, Panasonic, Vishay, JRC, Grayhill, etc. Components choosing is always careful and rational. Thin film resistors, 0,1 % tolerance, are used in RIAA network, as well as NP0/C0G capacitors in the audio path, except when the value make the use of polyester, as in stage coupling, or electrolytic specifically designed for audio like excellent Nichicon MUSE.
Enclosure is made of four pieces with a high weight and strength bottom piece to avoid, in a high gain appliance, microphonic effects. Of course, is connected in a single point to ground to provide an excellent protection against stray magnetic radiation. In this regard, PCB is also designed with big ground planes.
The Vinyl is hand-made in Spain by QHW Audio.
The Vinyl Owner’s manual in PDF
The Vinyl Adjustment quick reference card in PDF
Revista On Off – Spain – No. 317 Nombember 2019. Josep Armengol.
“The Vinyl achieves very good calification for its sound. It brings rythm and dynamic to records and an excellent spreading and neatness to high frequencies. Listening to it is addictive and we enjoyed revising both great violinists recordings and some records that marked some bands history […]”.
TNT – Audio UK. December 2018. Mark Wheeler.
“Both the QHW The Vinyl and the Gold Note PH-10 are a big step up from entry level products and neither disappoint. Both remained in the reference system while judging cartridges and loudspeakers, without reservation. […] The QHW The Vinyl is a highly competent and well executed design at under 1k€.” Read full review at TNT – Audio site.
TNT – Audio NZ. October 2018. Richard Varey.
“[The Vinyl] will meet the need of many music lovers, even for extended listening sessions without undue fatigue, with ease of use, flexibility, and quiet quality service. I’ve enjoyed my time with this product, even though it has sat quietly and unassuming, just doing it’s job really well. Of course, great records sound great, yet even some I played reluctantly were far from disappointing. A strong contender for a serious short-list.” Read full review at TNT – Audio site.
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