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PHONO 2 Ci MKII - symmetric highend MM/MC Phono Pre amplifier

 User's Manual


Optimum setup of Phono2Ci

lp magazin testbericht AQVOX Phono2Ci- Magazin 06/2005 #5: Testbericht - Link
- Magazin 12/2005 Nr.#54 - REVIEW - MKI

Vinylium Testbericht AQVOX Phono2Ci - 01/2006 - Vinylium Schweiz - Measurementreport
Image Magazin Testbericht AQVOX Phono Phonostufe - Magazin 02/2006 #68 - audition - MKI
Hifi World (UK) 2/2006 - review
- Magazin
03/2006 - test review - MKI
- 04/2006 - Review Part II - MKI Link
full review AQVOX Phono2Ci in 05/2006 AUDIOCinema em casa by Jorge Gonçalves, director da Audio, é presidente da EISA - 05/2006 - TESTE (portuguese) - MKI
full review and comparison AQVOX Phono 2 Ci in 06/2006 SOUNDSTAGE -reviewers CHOICE- Jason Thorpe, senior contributor - 06/2006 - reviewers choice - MKI Link
Sound Image Magazine - Griechenland - 06/2006 -#399 (
greek) Test - MKI
HiFi und Records - das Audiophile Test und Plattenmagazin - #3/2006 - listening and review report (german) - MKI
beste phonostufen test - Writer's Choice Award for 2006 - MKI Link

Haute Fidelite HighEnd HiFi Magazin Frankreich - 05/2007 -# (french) REVIEW - MKII AQVOX symmetrischer Phonoverstärker TEST als  pdf
- 09/07 - Phonostage review- MKII HighEnd HiFi Test

sixmoons highend hifi reviews - 12/07 - Phonostages roundup - MKII Phonostufentest
- 07/08 - TEST (polish) - MKII- Link
Stereophile USA audiophile resources - 07/08 - review (english) - M. Fremer MKII- Link
stereomojo aqvox phonostage - 09/08 - review (english) -J. Darby MKII- Link
10 Audio This site is by audiophiles for audiophiles- 05/09 - review (english) - J. S. MKII - Link
Online Journal for the  Serious Audiophile- 09/09 - review (english) - M. L. MKII - Link

REGA Tonearm modification (removing the internal ground):  REGA Tonearm modification

REGA 250 300 600 900 etc. Tonearm modification :
  REGA Tonearm rewiring - in the works, use above mod instead

Which Tonearms are prepared or available for balanced operation? Tonearm-list


The Phono 2 Cl is a state of the art audiophile fully balanced audiophile phono stage. Perhaps closed to the best phonopre amps in terms of flexibility and surely one of the very best phonostage of all audiophile phonostages for the audiophile music lover, who wants to intense is "experiences" when listening trough his vinyl. Enjoy full bandwith and high dynamic.
It is an excellent choice for high-end audio enthusiasts who like to get the best possible quality from their turntables and cartridges.


The PHONO 2 CI is an excellent Phonopreamplifier in fully balanced Single-Ended Class-A design. He incorporates beside the regular RCA input which is based on voltage amplification, additionally an XLR TRUE balanced current amplifier input for MC-cartridges.

Both inputs have flexible gain adjustment to match the cartridge with the input-amplifictaion.

MC (Moving Coil)-cartridges are balanced current generators and matching best with balanced current amplifiers
(Moving Magnet)-cartridges are voltage generators and matching best with voltage amplifiers

The Vinylfriend has here the unique possibility to choose between two completely different amplification technologies. The unbalanced voltage amplification or the balanced current amplification input. Both amplification methods are user adjustable or working automatically. Because of this flexibility there was no MM oder MC cartridge found, which did not sound excellent with the Phono2Ci.


RIAA Phono amp Phonostage balanced MM MC best Phono stage balanced, MM MC, RIAA, phonopreamp, current amplifier, best phono pre amp, automatic cartridge , High End HiFi,  review, review, MC cartridge, NFB Class-A,  single ended , amplifier , vinyl
Nightview Phono2i internal
inside each of the 4 analog amp-modules are 8 LED´s as
reference-voltagesources and for voltage-smoothing.

19-Zoll Rackwinkel - klick = Zoom

19" Rack Mounts (click)

Click on photo for magnified view.

Interior view (click)                                         Rear view (click)                                           
    interior view                              rear view                             


Features of this fine phonoamp

Why actually ballanced / symmetrical phono preamplification?
There are two clean- symmetrical (mass-free) signal sources. On the one hand microphones, which explains also the historical origination of the symmetrical signal transmission within the professional audio range, on the other hand the MovingCoil pick-ups. There it is actually amazing that symmetrical / balanced circuits are so rarely used in phonostages. Because here one has to do as also with microphones, with very small voltages/currents with those the advantages of symmetrical signal processing would fully take effekt: During the symmetrical processing two contrary-phased signals are transferred. The amplifier forms the difference between both signals. Thus with symmetrical processing not the difference of an electrical signal is used to the mass, but the difference of two electrical signals. Disturbances, which usually arise on both signal-lines, are so effectively erased. In addition the XLR input has 6db higher amplification, this is more effective and results in better signal/noise ratio.
During asymmetrical connection a half wave of the MC signal is connected with the often contaminated common-ground!

TRUE balanced with just two conductors?

Normally balanced connections have 3 conductors: positive, negative and ground.
But in the case of eg. cartriges or microphones, which are balanced sources with just 2 conductors - positive and negative. The technical term is floating balanced or balanced without ground. Yes this is TRUE balanced! The positive signal is connected to one dedicated amplifier stage and the negative signal is inverted and also connected to one dedicated amplifier stage = differential amplifier!

New in the MKII Version:
LowNoise power supply, with 10dB quiter power output. (in 01/07 also available as upgrade for Phono2Ci MKI)
Our designers created a completely new LowNoise powersupply. Now the power output delivers with 10dB lower noise, cleaner energy and has a higher efficiency. Some better filters where added to bann the dirt also in lower frequencys. At the powersupplys output resides a linear regulator. The result is audible. And the sound of the MKII is now better even under bad power conditions.

New in the MKII Version:
better protection against magnetic and electric disturbances and interspersions.

New in the MKII Version:
finetuning of the soundquality - the result is pure musicality

A cable recommendation for the different amplification methods of the Phono2Ci:
for the unbalanced RCA-Voltageamplification input, a cable with low capacitive value is important.
For the balanced XLR-Currentamplification input, we urge for the usage of a cable with low inductive values.
Either two unscreened braided wires per channel, or balanced screened braided cable (two wires in one screen per channel).
unscreened cable sounds more open
far less noise and disturbances

Automatic adjustment with MC-cartridges connected to the balanced-current-amplifier XLR input:
The automatic adjustment of balanced connected MC-cartridges is not "automatic" adjustment! Rather it is an under match, i.e. the source is of higher impedance as the input, i.e. the current of the energy generated by the MC-coils in the cartridge are measured for signal generation, not the voltage. The Phono2Ci input is of low impedance, so that each connected capacity or each extra resistance does not play a role, better is unneccessary.

MC cartridges supply generally little voltage, but a completely useful current (otherwise the signal would not be possible to transform with an MC-transformer. The product of voltage times current remains on same value). The AQVOX PHONO2CI evaluates the current, which flows from the cartridge by the input, not the comparatively small voltage. All MC cartridges deliver similar currents, whether Low output or High output MC. While the differences of potential are considerable, the current differences are only small. Thus a High output MC has only little more level than a Low output MC does for the phonopreamp.
The cartridge is connected "floating balanced" - means with no ground connection.

Another effect of the under match is that the cartridges are also electrically dampened. That leads to the fact that some cartridges with high-resonance at this input sound much more neutral. On the other hand there is not the dynamic restriction, which a low impedance voltage input can bring with itself. One can point out again and again that the current input (XLR) comes a Moving Coil cartridge much more against, as it a tension input (RCA) can. Beyond that the symmetrical input stage of the AQVOX PHONO2CI works very many more cleanly in the current mode - Current amplification, since the voltage characteristic of the transistors will not go through here.

Genuine fully balanced (symmetrical) circuit design in the entire signal path
The PHONO 2 Cl is a highly precise Phonostage for MM and MC pick-up´s. It is a excellent choice for all music lovers, who would like to play their vinyl records on highest level. By the balanced XLR outputs the equipment is very well applicable in professional audio/media studios.

XLR- or Cinch
The PHONO 2 CI has an asymmetrical Cinch input for the connection of MM or MC pick-ups. The RCA/Cinch input is only for not fish not flesh MC-cartridges the better choice. The best performance from a MC pick-up is achievable on the XLR input. Because behind the XLR input acts the current-amplifier, which fits best to a current-generator like a MC-cartridge´s generator. The XLR input suits almost all Moving Coil pick-up´s and is sonically better due to the Current amplification circuit. The Current Amplification principle does not require any impedance matching.
All MC´s are balanced and all tonearms too (some REGA´s not, but this is easy to modify), try AQVOX special balanced-phonocables. they are available with XLR-to-RCA, or XLR-to-SME 5pin, or with custom plugs terminated. Simply contact AQVOX in case of questions.

No integrated OPamp in the signal path
Discrete circuit design realized with most modern layout and best parts.
All capacitors in the signal path are low-loss, non-inductive polypropylene condensers.
One percent metall-film resistors within the entire audio range.

Current Amplification and single Ended Class-A without global overall feedback
The combination of Current Amplification for the input stage and single Ended Class-A technology for the output stage results in a precise warm and airy sound quality with high dynamics.

MC (Moving Coil)-cartridges are balanced current generators and matching best with balanced current amplifiers
(Moving Magnet)-cartridges are voltage generators and matching best with voltage amplifiers

No over all/global feedback
All amplifiers runing without global overall feedback, only little local feedback is used. In this way dynamic distortions are already drastically reduced. Very short signal path by the use of only one amplifier stage per output stage.

No differential input offset (zero offset) at the XLR Current amplification input-
that means safety for the MC-pick-up. The cartridge sees only the difference of the
input potentials, which should be naturally 0 V. The few current amp phonostages,
which are on the market have all a problem with the offset
regulation, since even few mVs offset exceeding the original output
of the pick-up. In addition, often when powering on a regular current-amp phonostage
the offset does not stand stable and the pick-up suffers from the offset.
The AQVOX XLR CI is a symmetrical current input, which is designed that it does not
have any offset problems because of different principle. There is also
no automatic control loop (feedback) and even when powering on the Phono2Ci,
it produces no offset.

AC or DC free (zero offset) input-stage.

For our demanding audiophile customers:
Later MKI and all MKII versions have internal DIP-switches to bridge the output-capacitors.
Overall better sound, like more roominformation, transparency and so on...


The use of the switches is on own risk and without any guarantee for connected devices!
If the connected Preamp/Amplifier has no Input-coupling-capacitors, heavy damages of devices, speakers and ear damages could happen!

If you want to bridge the Phono2Ci´s output-caps, please let the manufacturer of your Amplifier what is connected to the Phono2Ci confirm you, that this Amp has capacitors (coupling-capacitors) at the input.
Do this before you bridge the Phono2Ci´s output-caps.

DC free or AC coupled analog Outputstages.

The internal DIP-Switches
have following function:
OFF = bridging is DISABLED (Capacitors are ON)
ON = bridging is ENABLED (Capacitors are OFF)

Flexible possibilities:
Amplification factor:
For records with unequal channels or cartridges with channel imbalances the GAIN controllers on the front do offer a correction possibility. A channel-separate adjustment of the input amplification. These potentiometers adjusting the input amplification factor and are NO volumeknobs. With a Mini DIP switch on the back the amplification factor for the RCA/Cinch input can be increased additionally by +6db for High output MC cartridges and/or Low output MM pick-ups or by +20db for MC pick-ups. (the DIP-switches do not affect the XLR input)

High amplification
Noise free amplification even for Ultra-Ultra Low-Output cartridges like eg. 0,10mV, but also for HighOutput cartridges of over 2,5mV the amplification (gainfactor) of the Phono2Ci is always easy adjustable for the optimum sound!
RCA input = 49db - 68db
XLR input = 55db - 75db

Load capacities
The frequency response of the high tone range for MM pick-ups can be adapted in fine steps by combining different input capacities. The capacity-values (+47PF; +100PF; +220PF; +470PF) add themselves to each other in each combination and to the internal 47pF.

Feed impedance
The 47kOhm feed impedance of the RCA/Cinch input can be lowered to 1kOhm (a recommendable value for the High output MCs) or 100 ohms (a usual value for most MC pick-ups).
!! when the XLR-input is used: Automatic adjustment with MC-cartridges connected to the balanced-current-amplifier XLR input, no termination possible/required. Except the input switch is set on RCA, then the DIP-switches allow the activation/deactivation of the the capacities/impedances.

Subsonic filter
To suppress rumble and other subsonic disturbances of the record player, record etc. a Subsonic filter can be activated.
Filter characteristic: -9dB/10 hz, -18 dB/5 hz, -48 dB/2 hz

RIAA equalisationfilter with Neumann time constant (50kHz roll-off) for a particularly expanded and phase-correct transparent and natural high tone range.

Original RIAA curve enhanced with the cuttinprocess timeconstant Neumann (50kHz)
Important: up from 10kHz more correct phase shift and the level, more natural and transparent extended highs, closer to the original.

Additional Timeconstant of 3.18us resp. 50kHz to the standard RIAA, the 50kHz Neumann Time-Constant - what is the benefit ? Here the technical info as pdf file.


Ground lift switch
The phonoamps internal ground-circuit to the housing can be interrupted, in order to obtain a hum-poorer result.

Balanced XLR or asymmetrical Cinch/RCA outputs (both outputs are always active, disregarding the choosen input)
At the RCA output, the internal true balanced signal will be converted into unbalanced signal for use with unbalanced inputs of e.g. unbalanced amplifiers.

Ultraclean switching power supply
Special pre- and postfilters of the mains voltage makes it insensitive to line disturbances.
This Class-A phonostage takes only 5 Watts in power consumption.

Automatic AC voltage detection from 100V to 240V AC.

Use of pollution free lead free CuAgSn silver solder.
Gold plated printed circuit board surfaces.
Blue transparent low light LED-Buttons.
Solid full aluminum rotary buttons.
Button position even from larger distance recognizable.
CNC milled full aluminum fronts and aluminum continuous casting of side parts.
Durable aluminum angles for the assembly in 19"racks available.
Energy-saving design, low temperature emission
Dimensions (B/H/T): approx.. 435 x 59 x 290 mm
Weight approx.. 2,8 kg


Gain potentiometers at the frontpanel adjusting channel unbalances and for optimum matching the input for the pickup. This is for both inputs XLR and RCA. For easy finetuning. The GAIN-pots are NO volumepots !

Gain switch
(only for RCA input) adds 6 dB gain for use with High Output Moving Coil or Low Output Moving Magnet cartridges. Switch + 20dB adds 18 dB gain for use with Moving Coil cartridges.
Input Capacity -Use the capacity switches to adjust high frequency range of Moving Magnet cartridges. The capacity sum up to each other and to the internal 47pF and cable capacity. Capacities: 47 pF, 100 pF, 220 pF, 470 pF
Input Impedance -Input Impedance can be set to 1 kOhm, a recommended value for most High Output Moving Coils, or to 100 Ohm, a common value for most Moving Coils.
Subsonic Filter -Switch to reduce subsonic noise and large speaker excursions -9dB / 10 Hz, -18 dB / 5 Hz, -48 dB / 2 Hz
Absolutely not affecting the bass-response, just filters out infrasonic.

High Gain
Noisefree amplification even for Ultra-Ultra Low-Output MC-pickups like 0,10mV. But also for HighOutput cartridges with over 3mV the amplification factor is adjustable with the GAIN at the frontpanel. This way the Phono2Ci is always fast and easy adjustable for optimum sound.

Cinch (RCA) Eingang = 49db - 68db
XLR Eingang= 55db - 75db

No OP-Amps in signal path
Fully discrete (single transistors) Single Ended Class A amplification technology and the latest state of the art components to sound most dynamic, highly detailed yet neutral and untiring. We believe the Phono 2 CI to be a unit with outstanding sound quality and an excellent value.

Passive Filters
the RIAA filters are passive

No global overall feedback
The unique combination of Balanced Current Amplification and Single Ended Class-A technology, the use of just one amplifier per balanced analog output stage provides you with today's best possible sound quality. The amplifier section runs without global overall feedback, only with lokal feedback. Thus the amplifier generates drastically less dynamic distortions.

True balanced circuitry for entire analog signal path
Due to Phono 2 CI's balanced XLR current amplification input and also balanced XLR output, Phono 2 Cl is best choice for professional users as well.

RIAA (standard Neumann time constant) +- 0.25dB

Technical specifications

RCA- Input-Sensitivity:
49db - 68db / 0,4-12mVrms 1kHz, 1Vrms out XLR
47-kOhm, switchable to 1-kOhm and 100-Ohm
47pF internal, switchable +47pF, +100pF, +220pF, +470pF
55db - 75db (suits for cartridges from 0,10mV to over 3,5mV)
The sensivity of the XLR Current-Amplification-Input is depending on Voltage and Impedance of the Moving Coil Cartridge. The CI-Input fits to a wide range of Mc´s,
including High-Output MC´s as well as Ultra-Ultra Low-Output MC´s.
RIAA with Neumann time constant +/- 0,25 dB (50kHz roll-off)
-9dB / 10 Hz, -18 dB / 5 Hz, -48 dB / 2 Hz
THD + Noise:
1V out-XLR 0.009% at min. 0.04% at max. MM-RCA-In
1V out-XLR 0.019% at min. 0.09% at max. MC-RCA-In
Signal-Noise Ratio (S/N) IHF-A:
1V-Out-XLR-MM-RCA-In 76dB Flat, 84dBA at min./ 63dB Flat, 71dBA at max.*
1V-Out-XLR-MC-RCA-In 69dB Flat, 78dBA at min./ 57dB Flat, 65dBA at max*
Power consumption 5 W
External dimensions (w / h / d): ca. 435 x 59 x 290 mm Weight ca. 2.8 kg
Accessory: Alu-rackmounts for 19"-Standard-Racks, available in silver color.

FUSE 250V 2A-T (lame)

*min. and max. Stating the minimum/maximun position of the front Gain-knobs.

Product features, design, specifications, system requirements, and availability are subject to change without notice.

High Resulotion Photos

Small:    1000 x 618 px /  72 dpi - 120 kB    :: open window
Large:    5041 x 3086 px / 800 dpi - 918 kB  :: download ZIP-file

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