Nagra PL-P preamplifier Update
Sidebar 3: Update (from April 1999, Vol.22 No.4)
Some time after my review of the Nagra PL-P was published in the January 1998 Stereophile, Nagra importer Steve Lee called.
"So, are you using the tape outs yet?"
"Uhhhhh, no." Just call me Butt-head.
It's true, the PL-P is the perfect candidate for hot-rodding. You bypass two tubes, some circuitry, and a few switches this way, and volume control is handled by the two input potentiometers! The Modulometer becomes largely superfluous using the tape outs, and there's a bit more background hiss, but the sound is fantastic. In my review I noted a certain mild tendency of the PL-P to sound a touch too squeaky-clean in its mad dash toward neutrality: "rather cool and analytic," as the entry reads in "Recommended Components." Going hot-rod doesn't really change the PL-P's character, but transparency gets a real leg up. That additional touch of clarity and coherence allows even more information through, including dynamics, bloom, tonal color, and harmonic development. It bumps the presentation up to the next level of awesomeness from whence it came. I strongly urge you to give it a try if you're lucky enough to have a PL-P in your listening room.
The VPAs' slightly more voluptuous and less insistent presentation make a wonderfully synergistic match with the Nagra PL-P. Running them together was an aural and visceral delight.—Jonathan Scull