Karan PH1 phono

ShawnZH

Member
Sep 21, 2020
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Has anyone had experiences with the Karan phono preamp? I listened to its PH Reference (2 pieces) in a recent HIFI exhibition and found it quite good. It is from Serbia and I looked at their website and found they have quite a few pre, amp, phonos. Luckily there’s a dealer who’s willing to send me a demo but not the 2-piece model but the PH1 in 1 box. I should have it at home later today.

I’ll report back on this. Here’re some pictures from internet.

4C959ADF-15A1-443C-9412-04D97761116C.jpeg

15FACA71-E2B8-4FF6-974B-DA754078AC44.jpeg

716128C3-4744-435D-BC2B-2673F8365CF6.jpeg
 

ShawnZH

Member
Sep 21, 2020
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Have it on my rack now...

64AF9C8D-FAF0-4CBE-90D2-A7CCD138F37D.jpeg


A0FB26CC-B496-47AB-B5DE-BEFDA1540E85.jpeg
 

Golum

Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2018
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Lausanne, CH
Seems to me it has a really really thought competition in that EMT ;-)
 

Down Under

Well-Known Member
Jun 26, 2014
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Looking forward to your review of the Karan phono stage.
I notice that you have the MSL Platinum.
A wonderful cartridge that surprises me every day.
 

ShawnZH

Member
Sep 21, 2020
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Listened to the Karan PH1 for a day and here’re some first impressions.

The design of this phono stage is a bit “dull” at the first look. But actually the building quality is very refined, the metal work and the materials. The input/output jacks at the back seem to be from WBT and the 3 standing feet are from Finite Elements. So when you look and touch it from a close distance, the phono stage is quite a piece of good work.

The PH1 is with only 1 pair of input jacks, therefore I have to open up the top plate to play with 5 sets of switches on each channel to adjust the load and gain. I found it quite cumbersome to do so at first. But finally I realize this kind of old-fashion design could largely simplify the circuit and could give a high versatility to set all sorts of gains and loads. This makes the PH1 quite flexible in using with low/high output carts and also with all sorts of cart impédances, and even MM carts. The SW1 is for setting the capacity values which is essential to drive good MM carts like London Reference. On the load setting, there’re 2 pins left open for users to use customized resistors to get the desired load impedance.

Compared to my other 2 phonos, EMT and Allnic, Karan design is more user friendly, in terms of matching carts. You never know what your next cart would be and it is always good to have more options.

To be continued...
 
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ShawnZH

Member
Sep 21, 2020
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To continue:

I had the similar impression as analogsa commented above when I opened up the top plate and saw the topology inside. I sent the photo to one of my friends and he immediately replied: by looking, I suggest that you don’t expect too much from this phono.

I don‘t want to be dramatic but when the PH1 is fired up, I was really impressed by the sound. It is a very unique sound: clean, full of details, a lot of transparency, pitch dark background...When I listened to JPA66 and Allnic H-8000, I was impressed by the “naturalness” and transparency. Now PH1 takes this to a higher stage, while it still carries a certain level of “warmth”. Among the 3, H-8000 now becomes the warmer and sweater phono, JPA66 is more objective and factual with a lot of transparency, and now PH1 is even purer, airy. If I really want to pick on PH1, I feel the bass/low freq part can be a bit more robust. Maybe the 2-box PH reference would lean towards that.
 
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justubes

Well-Known Member
Aug 10, 2015
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Do look out for the Master PHONOa, the new lineup which was announced to be released.

This should be leaps and bound ahead of what you hear with the very dated version.

I always find that the brand has an overall fabulous musicality to their products, which may not have the ninth degree in aspects where you pick out and compare.

They just let you sink into the music.
 

Down Under

Well-Known Member
Jun 26, 2014
139
9
223
To continue:

I had the similar impression as analogsa commented above when I opened up the top plate and saw the topology inside. I sent the photo to one of my friends and he immediately replied: by looking, I suggest that you don’t expect too much from this phono.

I don‘t want to be dramatic but when the PH1 is fired up, I was really impressed by the sound. It is a very unique sound: clean, full of details, a lot of transparency, pitch dark background...When I listened to JPA66 and Allnic H-8000, I was impressed by the “naturalness” and transparency. Now PH1 takes this to a higher stage, while it still carries a certain level of “warmth”. Among the 3, H-8000 now becomes the warmer and sweater phono, JPA66 is more objective and factual with a lot of transparency, and now PH1 is even purer, airy. If I really want to pick on PH1, I feel the bass/low freq part can be a bit more robust. Maybe the 2-box PH reference would lean towards that.
Having a separate power supply should definitely help the bass.
 

ShawnZH

Member
Sep 21, 2020
47
33
20
45
Do look out for the Master PHONOa, the new lineup which was announced to be released.

This should be leaps and bound ahead of what you hear with the very dated version.

I always find that the brand has an overall fabulous musicality to their products, which may not have the ninth degree in aspects where you pick out and compare.

They just let you sink into the music.
Thanks for the notes. Master PHONOa has been released yet but I guess it shall be soon. So far there’re 2 Master line preamp announced in a and b model. The Master PHONOa and b seems to be an upgrade series to the current PH1 and PHR, 2 box VS 1box, all featuring 3 inputs/1input, 5 EQ curves, etc. I assume the new design would perform better. The chassis of the Preamp looks more robust than the current line. Not sure when it’ll be available.
 

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