Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
Decade Lehmannaudio is has built a reputation and unrivalled customer satisfaction on the sound and build quality of phono stages. The ambitious Decade effectively fills the gap between the Black Cube SE II and the Lehmannaudio reference phono stage, the Silver Cube. In the Decade, like in all Lehmannaudio devices, top notch technology is used that normally can be found only in price ranges far above. The input stages of the Decade can also be found in top notch mixing consoles and high class microphone preamps of professional studio electronics. The highly accurate, passive RIAA equalisation network is placed between two linear gain stages and uses precision MKP capacitors. This results in a very stable soundstage reproduction and pin point localisation of instruments. The maximum gain of 66 dB is well enough for even very exotic low output MC cartridges. Impedance load adaption is practically infinite as with all Lehmannaudio phono stages: there is a free slot for a custom impedance so that every existing MC cartridge on the market can be loaded properly. Input capacitances are adjustable as well. Soft bass roll-off filter and PWX II power supply. The Decade is the first phono stage by Lehmannaudio that offers a "Soft-Bass- Rolloff-Filter" and gain selections accessible via toggle switches at the face plate. Both, gain and filter functions, are executed by studio grade relais inside the unit. The Decade is powered by the PWX II, a power supply especially developed for the unit which is downward compatible with the PWX. This means that Black Cube audio sections can also be connected. The second power outlet at the PWX II is made especially for that purpose. The PWX II power supply with chokes at critical places powers the Decade with very clean DC power and - like the Silver Cube - is connected to the audio section via a shielded cable with Neutrik XLR plugs. LP Magazine Review of the Lehmann Audio Decade "A good phono preamp is the endeavour to reconcile a wealth of requirements; in the Black Cube Decade the combination of practical features, professional design and a technically correct, yet extremely exciting sound quality has worked out perfectly."
Ratings & Reviews
Superb in every way.
This phono stage took the place of a Graham Slee Era Gold V that I had used for almost 15 years and liked a lot. But the Decade clearly excels at presenting details of instrumental timbre, attack, decay, tremolo, recording-venue ambience, and other micro dynamics. Separation and resolution of instrumental lines is superb, and instruments are firmly positioned in the soundstage, which has layers of depth as well as a width that extends a bit beyond the left and right speakers. The sound has "weight." All that makes it seem that instruments and voices are physically present in the room, sometimes startlingly so. A tip: set the loading according to your cartridge's specs, and then experiment with the Decade's capacitance settings. In my system, most of those settings make the unit sound harsh, chaotic, or just weird, while one setting makes the Decade sing. Seek out that setting for your system.