New York Audio Labs "SuperIt" phono preamplifier Anthony H. Cordesman Followup

Anthony H. Cordesman wrote about the SuperIt in December 1986 (Vol.9 No.8):

After reading GMG's comprehensive review of the SuperIt in Vol.9 No.6, I couldn't resist a second look at this significantly low-priced product.

Ever want to add a second phono input to your preamplifier, have a second hi-fi system for phono only, want to add a phono input to a tape recorder, or simply have a cheap stereo system built around nothing but a phono input? Well, now from the same laboratory that first brought you Shostakovich with digital cannons comes the SuperIt!

If you are wondering if this is for real, it is. The SuperIt is a relatively inexpensive phono preamplifier which uses hybrid tube and transistor technology pioneered by New York Audio Laboratories. For $269, you get a small black box with one pair of phono inputs and one pair of outputs. There is no selector switch, but you do get volume and balance controls. The only other features are a phono ground, and DIP switches in the rear of the unit which allow you quickly to adjust impedance to match virtually any moving-magnet or moving-coil cartridge. The power transformer is separate, and plugs directly into the AC socket.

As for sound quality, the SuperIt is no rival to today's best preamps, but does a decent to very good job with any moving-magnet cartridge and most moving-coils. There is a bit too much noise at full gain for low-output moving-coils with low-impedance loads. You need a moving-coil cartridge with at least 0.4mV output, and a 0.6mV minimum is better. The SuperIt is relatively noise-free on any cartridge with more output.

Overall transparency is good. There is just a touch too much bass energy with a touch too little control, and the SuperIt has a slightly etched and overdramatic midrange. Bass extension is good, the highs are gently and musically present, and the soundstage is reasonably large. Depth and imaging are both good, though not outstanding. Some low-level detail is missing, but the coloration is limited; when it occurs, the sound is euphonic and romantic rather than fatiguing.

Granted, the overall result is not the sonic equivalent of a $2000 phono front end, but it is quite good; there are many head amps that sound worse. If it cost $600, I'd say it would be only marginally competitive. At $269, the SuperIt is a damn good buy for the money.

How many ways can you use it? Well, if you are a legitimate analogophonodiscophiliac, buying the SuperIt could allow you to put extra bucks into another component while you waited for the perfect preamp—and the perfect income to buy it with. The SuperIt can also substitute for the second phono input you lost when you went from your Audio Research SP-10 to your SP-11. The SuperIt works quite nicely as the core of a high-quality college dorm system, is suitable for high-quality disco and sound reinforcement purposes, and is a cheap and very high quality way to provide a direct phono input to a tape recorder.

Use your imagination! After all, Harvey Rosenberg has offered Stereophile $1 for every unit sold over the first million for a series of favorable reviews, and if we tell you that no stereo system should be without one. So, let me be the first to tell you—no stereo system should be without one! (Let's see now, if this recommendation sells only 500,000 more SuperIts to Americans, we'll be in for a cool million. If it sells a SuperIt to every Shostakovich fan in the Chinese People's Republic, we'll...)—Anthony H. Cordesman

Herb Reichert's picture

my SuperIt :)

Ortofan's picture

... did you use your Super IT?

Herb Reichert's picture

DH-200 and DH-101 (the one with the fakakta plastic buttons)

Ortofan's picture

... similarly afflicted.

It was soon replaced by an NAD 1020 preamp, which had better buttons, a subsonic/infrasonic filter (giving it an advantage for LP playback) and even cost less than the Hafler preamp in kit form. It was a great match with the Hafler DH-200 power amp.
But, it wouldn't have had that "euphonic and romantic" tube sound quality.

Bogolu Haranath's picture

Superstring theory :-) ............

Graham Luke's picture

I love the post-industrial look of the device. I've just become the proud owner of a Gilmore Lite Mk 2 and it is very similar. Any colour as long as it's black...wasn't that Henry Ford's famous quote?