Phase Technology PC80 loudspeaker Robert Harley's Review System
The Phase Technology PC80s replaced the Hales System Two Signatures in my reference system, and were auditioned on the excellent Celestion 24" spiked and lead-shot–filled stands. Each pair was driven by the VTL 225W Deluxe monoblocks, Krell KSA-250, and Threshold S/550e (the last two reviewed elsewhere in this issue) via 10" runs of AudioQuest Green Hyperlitz. The analog front end consisted of a Well-Tempered turntable, just refitted with a Lary Pederson–modified Well-Tempered Arm (footnote 1), and a Sumiko Boron cartridge. The moving-coil's low output was stepped up with the Expressive Technologies SU-1 transformer, which drove the phono inputs of an Audio Research SP11 Mk.II preamplifier. The SP11's tape outputs fed an Electronic Visionary Systems Stepped Attenuator, a passive control unit.
All interconnects in the phono chain were Expressive Technologies IC-1. The Stepped Attenuator's second stereo input was driven by the digital source, a VTL Digital to Analogue Converter, fed from an Esoteric P-2 transport (both reviewed last month). The digital interconnect between transport and converter, which I have found to be critical, was the Aural Symphonics Digital Standard. Interconnect between the Stepped Attenuator and power amplifier(s) was IC-1.
The listening room has optimum dimensional ratios for room mode distribution. AC power to the entire system—except the power amplifiers—was conditioned by a Tice PowerBlock and Titan. A pair of Phantom Acoustics Shadows, an active low-frequency control system, were turned off during the auditioning.—Robert Harley
Footnote 1: The arm modification is available from Research and Development Lab, 208 Pepperwood Street, Hercules, CA 94547. Tel: (415) 799-3858.