Phase Technology PC80 loudspeaker Robert Harley's Review System

Sidebar 1: 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.