Musical Surroundings Phonomena II+ Phono Preamp
Musical Surroundings Phonomena II+ Phono PreampThe Phonomena II+ is the successor in our affordable phono preamplifier series, celebrating 15-years in the market. The Phonomena II+ features an improved chassis design, based on our more expensive Nova II, and is available in both black and silver finish. Boasting a new circuit board layout, the Phonomena II+ delivers discrete dual-mono signal paths, affording the listener more vibrant and dynamic music reproduction with a “blacker” background. Expertly made, inside and out, the Phonomena II+’s small footprint optimizes signal path integrity, while its black or silver finish options are sure to match the rest of your components. The Phonomena II+ is proudly Made in the USA and provides phenomenal sound and flexibility at an affordable price.
Ratings & Reviews
I forget that my Phonomena II is even there. Isn’t that the goal of a preamp: to accurately amplify without imparting any coloration of its own. Reviewers often comment about the “soundstage” or “bass response” of a preamp—this puzzles me. Shouldn’t those be an attributes of your music (or perhaps even your speakers) not your preamp. What you need from a preamp is goo clean amplification without adding or subtracting anything from the source material. The Phonomena does this well. I digitally record all my albums in audiophile-quality, 24-bit, 48 kHz resolution. By examining these digital files I cannot detect the noise floor of the Phonomena—it must be below the noise floor of my other components. It is very quiet. I have used the Phonomena with the following cartridges: an Ortofon Super OM 30 (MM), a Sumiko Blue Point No. 2 (MC) and my favorite, an Ortofon Cadenza Blue (MC). I am using a Pro-Ject Audio 2Xperience SB turntable and Ortofon 6NX interconnects. The Phonomena also allows me plenty of flexibility in choosing gain and impedance loading. With the Cadenza Blue I am using a gain of 56 dB and an impedance of 59 ohms (I like the tight, defined bottom end). I am listening with either Cambridge Audio SX-60 speakers w/ a Klipsch R-12SW subwoofer, M-Audio BX8a Deluxe powered monitors w/ the BX subwoofer or my Ortofon e-Q5 in-ear headphones powered by an 85-watt Yamaha A-S501 Integrated Amplifier. All my albums sound clear and uncolored by the Phonomena with any of these listening options. I debated on which phono preamp to upgrade to for quite a while and did a lot of research and reading. I chose the Phonomena II based in part on the recommendation of Brad at the Needle Doctor. I have used the Phonomena for a while now and I could not be more satisfied with my decision. I highly recommend it.
This is one great amp! I purchased a Creek stage I review here a few years ago...that was a great stage for the money...well this is better for a little more money. The music is so natural and the settings on back are a breeze! I don't think for under $1k you can do better than Phonomena II . And pair it with a great pair of phono cables going in and a great pair of interconnects coming out and you will be totally satisfied.
Dave from Melbourne FL.
by Dave from Melbourne FL.
I only have a few hours of break-in so far. I'm using my 1980's era Harmon Kardon T55C turntable. With a few upgrades. Music Hall mat and a new Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge and ISO Platform. Each hour gives me better and better results. Trying to find time to sit back and enjoy albums I haven't heard in many years. The sound is quick, detailed and very smooth. A nice three dimensional sound stage even though my speaker placement is not optimal. Very quiet background. Easy recommendation.
by Bob H
Had mine for about a year now. It got the most out of my Debut Carbon and 2M Blue MM cartridge, adding a level of detail that I hadn't heard on my NAD phono stage... It turns out to also be an excellent match with my new Project X-tension 9 and Ortofon Quintet Black. Plenty of detail and separation and enough bass energy to keep things rocking... Sounded good out of the box but even better after a few hours of break-in... As usual, Brian was a big help in helping me find something that fit where I was at a year ago and that would fit within my upgrade path. Very happy with this purchase and with the support form Needle Doctor.
This is a fantastic phono stage. I previously owned a Jolida JD9, an Avid Pellar and some lessor phono stages and this is my clear favorite. It's very detailed and the music sounds sweet, accurate, natural and very very detailed so you connect emotionally with the music. The unit does require some break-in as it sounded very thin out of the box. I used my Granite Audio phono stage "break-in" cd and let it play for about 4 hours and then went back for a listen. I was very pleased and relieved at how much better it sounded. I only have about 8 hours on it now but I love this thing. Very Highly Recommended!!!
Richard from Montreal
by Richard from Montreal
I have one of these units for over a year and it is excellent . ..It is connected to my Marantz (Clearaudio) turntable which has a Clearaudio Wood cartridge . ..At the price point, the Phonomena II is certainly a good choice . . . A happy listen . .
by Robert A.
As I am limited to 1000 characters or less per the Needle Doctor policy on reviews, I would find it difficult to give all the reasons why one should buy a Musical Surrounding Phonomena II+ in the detail this unit deserves but here goes!
Soundstage width, depth and height is great for a unit of this cost.
Vocals are exemplary as are piano pieces.
Bass - tight, tuneful, powerful
Midrange - inviting, toe-tapping, involving
Highs - never hard or strident
Needs at least 100 hours of break in and good interconnects
Makes you want to play all of your vinyl over and over
Done...Go get one!