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Phonomema II+ Nova II SuperNova II My DAC II Clearaudio Phono Cartridges

Phonomema II+ $750. in Black or Silver
Musical Surroundings Phonomema II - Phono Preamp Front Musical Surroundings Phonomema II - Phono Preamp Rear

Hi-Fi News Highly Commended Award, December 2013:

“…great sound, great value and a cut above its rivals.”

The Absolute Sound Editors Choice Awards, 2013:

“For balance and value the Phonomena II is a stunner.”

Stereo Times, January 2009:

“… the Musical Surroundings Phonomena II provides a level of performance and flexibility in its many adjustments that will be difficult to top in its price class. It will offer its many buyers a true taste of high-end sound at a fast-food price.”

TONEAudio:

“We found [the Phonomena II] to be at the ‘top of the heap in its class’ and that it will help newcomers to vinyl discover just how much musical information is hiding in those grooves.”

LP Gear:

“The sound of the Phonomena II is alive and electrifying with its release of dynamic energy. For balance and value, the Phenomena II phono preamp is a stunner.”

About

The Phonomena II+ is the successor in our affordable phono preamplifier series, celebrating 15-years in the market. The Phonomena II+ features an improved chassis design, based on our more expensive Nova II, and is available in both black and silver finish. Boasting a new circuit board layout, the Phonomena II+ delivers discrete dual-mono signal paths, affording the listener more vibrant and dynamic music reproduction with a “blacker” background. Expertly made, inside and out, the Phonomena II+’s small footprint optimizes signal path integrity, while its black or silver finish options are sure to match the rest of your components. The Phonomena II+ is proudly Made in the USA and provides phenomenal sound and flexibility at an affordable price.

Made in California, the Phonomena II+ was designed by Mike Yee, and features similar circuitry to their more expensive Nova II and SuperNova II phono stages. Rather than using “off-the-shelf” OP amps, its circuit board contains hundreds of discrete parts, allowing Yee to design a circuit from the ground up. Thoughtful circuit layout, combined with carefully selected components provide for breakthrough performance in music reproduction, especially tonal
and imaging integrity. Additionally, the Phonomena II+ includes user-friendly, and easily accessible rear-panel gain and loading switches, allowing for optimization of most phono cartridges, system characteristics, and listening needs.

Getting tonality and imaging right are perhaps the biggest improvement our technology offers, but the Phonomena II+ has the added sense of that
crucially important “life” and “space” —something so often missing from even very expensive equipment. What’s more, in a high-quality recording, there are myriad subtle timing clues that need to reach your ears intact. Our designs ensure that these small nuances are correctly reproduced and not obscured, further enhancing the natural quality of analog vinyl playback.

The Phonomena II+ is expertly made, inside and out. Its small footprint optimizes signal path integrity. The PII+ is proudly Made in the USA and provides phenomenal sound and flexibility at an affordable price.

Specs:

Gain Switches (dB): 40, 44, 46, 48, 50, 51.5, 52.7, 53.7, 56, 57.5, 58.4, 59.4, 60

Input Loading Switches (Ohms): 30, 40, 50, 59, 80, 100, 121, 150, 243, 280, 380, 475, 660, 1k, 2k, 50k, 100k

Dimensions:  8.5″ w x 6″d x 2″h

Weight: 3 lbs

Warranty: 3 years


Nova II  $1200. in Black or Silver
Musical Surroundings Nova II - Phono Preamp Front Musical Surroundings Nova II - Phono Preamp Rear Musical Surroundings Nova II - Phono Preamp Inside View
Reviews
 

Built in California, the new Nova II is a battery-powered phono stage with incredible flexibility and performance. The Nova II replaces the popular Nova Phonomena. Our Nova II battery-powered phono preamplifier, sharing improved chassis design of our MYDAC II, features dual-mono, discrete circuitry with extensive gain and loading flexibility, delivering the best sound in its price range. Like the Phonomena II and SuperNova II, the Nova II has rear panel accessible switches for easily accessible and highly flexible gain and loading adjustment. It features 2 rechargeable internal NiMH dual-mono battery packs with Smart Sensing auto recharge feature. All AC and charging circuits automatically disconnect when listening in battery mode. The Nova II features enhanced casework design and upgraded internal components.

The Musical Surroundings Nova II is a complete phonograph preamplifier with RIAA equalization that amplifies the output signal of a phono cartridge, either moving coil or moving magnet, up to a nominal “line level”. The Nova II may be used with a receiver or an integrated amplifier. If you use separate components, a line level control unit (preamp) is required before the power amp, since there is no independent volume control for the Nova II. The Nova II’s power supply is internal and connects to the wall with the supplied wall mount transformer.

  • New casework with silver or black anodized finish
  • Improved resonance isolation for main board and battery power supply
  • 5dB better signal-to-noise ratio
  • Super matched transistor pair input for improved linearity and sonic performance
  • Discrete, dual-mono circuitry
SPECS:

Gain Switches (dB):   40, 44, 46, 48, 50, 51.5, 52.7, 53.7, 56, 57.5, 58.4, 59.4, 60

Input Load Switches (Ohms): 200pF/300pF, 30, 40, 50, 59, 80, 100, 121, 150, 243, 280, 380, 475, 660, 1k, 2k, 47k, 100k

Dimensions: 9 7/8″w x 9 7/8″d x 2.5″h

Weight:  5 lbs

Warranty: 3 years

Reviews:

The Absolute Sound 2014 Editors’ Choice Awards: Reviews

“Grace, poise, low noise, and neutrality characterize this excellent unit… the Nova [II] is hard to beat for low coloration.”

Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound 2013 Product of the Year Award:

“… a super value has now become a super-duper one.”

Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound, October 2013:

“To sum up, the Nova II retains all its forebears’ virtues of neutrality and low coloration, with considerably improved dynamic range, robustness, and perceived life and vitality… Yee’s designs are always very quiet and extremely transparent, this latest one is exceptionally so, ranking up there with some of the most expensive phono stages I’ve every heard… I cannot recommend it enthusiastically enough.”


Michael Yee, designer of the Nova II, “… is known for designing phono preamps which provide the best sound in their price range… [the Nova II is] a very high quality phono preamp at a reasonable price…”

Michael Yee, designer of the Nova II, “… is known for designing phono preamps which provide the best sound in their price range… [the Nova II is] a very high quality phono preamp at a reasonable price…” John Sunier, Audiophile Audition, February 2014: 

For the past 15 years, Michael Yee’s Phonomena phono stage designs have defined Q.P.R., or Quality/Price Ratio, for phono stages, and the Nova II is no exception.


SuperNova II $3200.
Musical Surroundings SuperNova - Phono Preamp

“An indispensable reviewing tool and my longstanding reference.” – Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound Editors Choice Awards, 2013

“… the SuperNova 2 is one product I seriously urge you to check out.” – Paul Seydor, The Absolute Sound, March 2010

The SuperNova II is a three-input phono preamplifier intended for use with more than one turntable or a turntable with more than one tonearm. There is user-adjustable loading and gain for each of the inputs. The loading and gain is set via switches and is accessible from the rear of the chassis.

The switching between the inputs does not actually switch the inputs and loading. Instead, it has three independent front ends — the current source is switched to the one that will be active. The outputs are summed into the backend circuitry. In this way, no switching occurs in the signal path when the switched attenuator is not being used.

The SuperNova II is fully dual-mono and is powered from a remote dual-mono power supply. The remote power supply supports NiMH rechargeable batteries, but is designed to work perfectly without the batteries.

The batteries will allow the SuperNova II to run completely isolated from the wall power for a period of three hours. There are four independent charging circuits for the four battery packs.

The SuperNova II has an 11-position variable output switched attenuator that allows direct connection to a power amplifier.

General features:

Three phono inputs.
User-adjustable gain from 40-60 dB.
User-adjustable loading from 30-100k ohms.
Independent gain and loading settings for each of the three phono inputs.
There are no “signal path” switches except for switched attenuator if used.
Normal “Line Out” and “Variable” outputs.
The variable output “Switched Attenuator” can drive a power amplifier directly.
Uses Large Area Monolithic Super Matched Pairs for lowest noise performance.
The Remote Power Supply features:

Rechargeable batteries.
The charging circuits completely disconnect from the batteries when it is in battery mode.
If the batteries are discharged, optically coupled voltage monitors will activate the processor to engage the battery charge.
Positive and negative battery packs are charged separately in case there are different current usage between the power supplies. This prevents overcharging one battery pack while undercharging the other.
The batteries will be “topped off” by putting the unit into charge mode if there is no activity for a week.
Four separate charging circuits.
Fully dual-mono, even when the unit is not in battery mode.
How the Limited Attenuator Works:

Gain in a typical system:

Moving Coil Phono Stage 60dB
Line Amp 18dB
Power Amp 30dB
Total Gain 108dB
Required Attenuation -30dB
Gain with the SuperNova Limited Attenuator:

Moving Coil Phono Stage 40dB
Power Amp 30dB
Total Gain 70dB
Required Attenuation -5dB
Most audio systems have far too much gain. The excess gain needs to reduced by setting an attenuator by a typical –30dB. By fine tuning the SuperNova gain switches and using the Limited Attenuator, typical listening can be done with little or no excess gain. By reducing unneeded gain, the system does not need to work as hard, thereby achieving a more natural sound. The extra 25dB gain equates to about 20 times more work, imagine working 20 times harder than you need to.

The Limited Attenuator has a major advantage over a standard passive attenuator. A passive attenuator typically has significant output impedance creating sensitivity to the particular type of output cable. The SuperNova Attenuator has much lower output impedance.


MY DAC II  $1200 in Black or Silver
Musical Surroundings My DAC II - SPDIF/TosLink DAC Front Musical Surroundings My DAC II - SPDIF/TosLink DAC Rear

“If you’re an analog-only audiophile who has listened to a lot of DACs but never heard one that sounds right to your ears, you may want to give the MYDAC II a try. It could be the DAC that makes it possible for you to enjoy digital for the first time.” – Steven Stone, The Absolute Sound

“The MYDAC II has stunning performance. It captures low level information better than any DAC in its price range and surpasses the performance of many DAC’s far more expensive than the… price Musical Surroundings is offering it at.” – Audio Direction

About

The MYDAC II is the first digital-to-analog converter using MODR (Musically Optimized Digital Reconstruction). Designer Michael Yee’s digital reconstruction technology is software driven, executed with an FPGA (field programmable gate array), which effectively minimizes jitter and intercepts the digital signal as it comes into the DAC. Furthermore, the FPGA provides a proprietary pre-emphasis conditioning of the signal before the DAC chip (the DAC chipset is the Texas Instruments PCM1798, delta sigma) to remove the DAC’s effect on quantization error. After the DAC chip, an analog stage provides de-emphasis prior to output. MODR was developed to significantly improve the low-level resolution. Basically, it is a reconstruction technique that alters only the sub-quantization changes in the signal. MODR is highly optimized for musical signals. The MYDAC II features three inputs:

The S/PDIF coax input allows all sample rates between 32 kHz-192 kHz and resolution from 16-24 bits.
The TosLink optical input allows up to 96 kHz and is ideal for use with Airport Express and Airplay.
The MYDAC II supports up to 48 kHz/16-bit sample rate for USB input from a computer-based music server.


The ability to recover low-level musical, textural and spatial information buried in digital music files allows the MYDAC II to reveal new levels of musical information and enjoyment. The design allows future upgradability, but the strength of this new technology is the unmatched “analog-like” sound it creates with existing Redbook CD, compressed digital music files such as MP3, and internet music sources. The results are stunning. Listeners expecting to hear the equal musicality of LP experience fidelity only reserved for analog master tape. This digital reconstruction technology is a game changer. Even compressed audio can sound natural.

Three Digital Inputs:

 
S/PDIF for up to 24bit/192KHz files

Toslink for up to 24bit/96KHz files

USB for up to 16bit/48KHz files

Frequency Response:  20Hz – 20KHz


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