The result of more than four years of R&D efforts, Nagra's new ambitious phono stage is finally in production and the first units are shipping worldwide. Audio Technology Switzerland is already delivering the first units of this new Nagra design, the ideal companion to the Reference turntable and Reference MC cartridge. When all three systems are combined they form the ultimate analog source - a reference playback solution for LP lovers.
In the world of ultra-luxury audio, it doesn't get any better than what Nagra is delivering these days. Evolving from its analog tape reproduction recorders, Nagra is increasing the ultimate reference for every single part of the audio chain. Each new product is a jewel in design and technical perfection, in the best Swiss tradition.
After years of intense research and development, the HD PHONO is finally available for discerning listeners of vinyl. It is the ideal complement to the HD range and the world-acclaimed HD PREAMP, HD DAC X and HD AMP monoblocks.
Nagra’s first phono stage was derived from the Nagra IV-S reel to reel microphone preamplifier stage. It later evolved into the phono section of the legendary Nagra PL-P preamplifier. Ever since, Nagra has worked and improved that original design with the creation of the Nagra VPS. In 2020, after years of extensive research and countless listening sessions, the Swiss company introduced the Nagra Classic PHONO. It became a new reference in phono playback and achieved acclaim around the world by both press and critical listeners. It remains a benchmark in its class bettered only now by the HD PHONO.
The Nagra HD PHONO follows the introduction of the Reference turntable and Nagra MC-4 moving-coil cartridge. Both the Reference turntable and MC-4 cartridge are state of the art contenders in their own rights and proved to be major assets in the finalization and fine-tuning of the HD PHONO. The HD PHONO is a two chassis design in which the delicate phono stage circuitry is isolated in its own CNC machined aluminum chassis.
The best of analog is incorporated in the dual-mono, pure Class A design with 100% tube stages (4x EF806S, 2x E88CC). In addition, it incorporates remote control cartridge load adjustability from 5 to 390 Ohms, with steps as fine as 5 Ohms for smaller values. This allows perfect matching between the cartridge and the HD PHONO stage - all confirmed by ear from the comfort of the listening chair.
Record collectors will rejoice at the possibilities to switch between RIAA, TELDEC, NAB 100µS, Victor EUR, and Victor USA equalization modes, and select sources between two MC inputs, and a separate MM input. There's also an optional input for future custom transformers.
The HD PHONO also features a new generation of input transformers. Following the original VPS transformer and based on the Nagra IV-S microphone input transformers, the HD PHONO’s transformers are a fourth-generation design featuring 26dB of gain. The new transformer's core is made with Cobalt and is cryogenically treated over the course of several weeks to improve performance. The transformer itself is hand wound in a very delicate process requiring watchmakers’ type of skills.
A second chassis serves to house a massive supercapacitor external power supply. Supercapacitor based power supplies provide all of the advantages of battery-based power supplies with the added advantage of accepting and delivering charges much faster and with higher current load and cycle stability than battery-based power supplies. This power supply is based on those of the HD PREAMP and HD DAC X but features a number of innovations which make it even more silent with improved performance. Both chassis are suspended in a system incorporating a damped, constrained layer platform coupled to four isolator damped towers providing superior vibration resistance.
The new Nagra HD PHONO is now shipping worldwide and available through most of the brand's retailers for a suggested price of US$ 87,500.
Founded in 1951 by Stefan Kudelski, Nagra has been designing some of the most influencing equipment in the audio industry. From the Oscar Award winning Nagra professional tape recorders to the rewarded Nagra HD electronics, the company has continuously perpetuated the utmost excellence in electronics design and manufacturing. In 2012, Audio Technology Switzerland S.A. formerly Nagra Audio division was created. Still largely owned by the Kudelski family, Audio Technology Switzerland designs, manufactures and market Nagra professional, high-end audio and security products.