Silhouette SXV2 Phono Preamplifier Reviewed

Introduction

Review by: Mr. Mikkel Gige of HIFI4ALL online magazine, Denmark www.hifi4all.dk
Original review: http://www.hifi4all.dk/content/templates/anmeldelser.asp?articleid=2394&zone
Translated by: Mr. Soren Vittrup, Audiocompagniet, Denmark

The Perreaux Silhouette SXV2 not much larger than the "Da Vinci Code" and yet it is surprisingly well equipped. I have become acquainted with the design when I reviewed the two-part CD player from the same series. The cabinet is made of profiled steel plate and the front consists of a one-piece curved aluminium extrusion with the Perreaux logo milled into it. Apart from the logo, you will only find a small blue LED on the front panel.

All screws are nicely concealed in the bottom of the small cabinet, so it appears very simple and stylish. Inside, you notice the nice little toroidal transformer and 10 small mains smoothing capacitors with a total capacity of 22,000μF. The circuits for RIAA correction and amplification are mirrored for each channel and for the same reason; the 2 x 12 gang rear mounted dip switches are also mirrored. The components are of very high quality; however the quality of the phono input sockets is disappointing. It’s on the rear of the unit where you find all the interesting stuff. SXV2 has a built in power supply, so you connect it directly to the 230V mains supply. It is also here you’ll find the power on/off switch. It is supposed to be on at all times! On the rear you’ll also find connectors for input signals together with two sets of dip switches, each with 12 contacts. With these you set up resistance, gain, capacitance and RIAA correction.

Resistance can be set to 10, 100, 1k, 10k, 24k and 47k ohms. Gain is selectable between 40, 50, 60 and 70 dB. And the capacitance can be set to 27, 74, 127, 297 or 417 pF. The last settings are somewhat odd because Perreaux does not factor in capacitance inherent in cartridges and cables. Capacitance will vary depending on your equipment and thus you are encouraged to calculate the total capacity yourself. Finally you can choose between two different RIAA settings: Normal and IEC. Normal is obvious while using the IEC profile it cuts the bass below 20 Hz. This option can be used as a subsonic filter. Perreaux is primarily a phono stage for MM or MC high output, but it can also be used for low output MC cartridges. The SXV2 is an extremely versatile phono stage, and it is easy to hear the difference every time you change the settings. It can be set "on the fly", without pop or hiss in the speakers. A big plus: It was very audible every time I changed the settings, and quietly approached the optimal settings for my London Jubilee. It was 47k, 127pF, 40 dB using the normal RIAA correction. With these settings the sound was close to neutral, and I sat back with the feeling that it was not possible to get more out of my vinyl grooves. The sound was in every way as good as from my own preamp. The bass is solid and precise, and the tone is easy with a very natural approach to voices and instruments. Treble is quite neutral, with no trace of cymbals "tst". There is plenty of drive, and the dynamics are second to none. You’ll get plenty of detail, and the perspective is large with a great sense of space. But the sound is not entirely neutral as the SXV2 delivers a soundstage with a little twist. It is not easy to point out something specific, but it's just a little "freshness" in the sound. A little liveliness... which doesn’t negatively affect the sound in any way. It is indeed an impressive good sound coming out of the little Perreaux, and a whole lot better than what I experienced with RIAA module of Perreaux's Eloquence 250i. There is actually nothing that speaks against SXV2, because it delivers everything in a very convincing and relaxed manner. You can get a little more precision, but then the price is quite different, as shown elsewhere in this review.

Perreaux Silhouette SXV2 is my personal favourite.

It plays really well, and manages to analyse the music. Not in the same technical level as the Plinius, but it's close! At the same time the SXV2 it is incredibly flexible, and most people are likely to have their cartridge to sing perfectly with the RIAA. A super unit from Perreaux! This test clearly shows that it is reasonably easy to get your analogue setup to sing really well, with an aftermarket RIAA. But it was also confirmed that you get what you pay for, even though small improvements are costly. With Thorhauge you get a nice result. Perreaux and Plinius they bring you the last little bit further and closer towards the goal.

Specifications

Frequency range: 20-20.000 Hz, +/- 0,5 dB..
Dimensions: 21,5 x 17 x 6 cm (W x D x H).
Weight: 1,5 kg.
Price: Kr. 7995

Importer

AUDIOcompagniet
Skovhaven 115
DF-5320 Agedrup
Denmark
Tel.: 0045 41 26 12 34
Mail: vittrup@audiocompagniet.dk
Web: http://www.audiocompagniet.dk & http://www.perreaux.dk

Reference equipment

CD player: Lyngdorf CD-1, Holfi Stabilizer,
Turntable: Michell GyroDec SE, Rega RB300/Incognito, London Decca Jubilee
Preamplifier: Audio Analogue Bellini
Power amplifiers: Vincent SP-995
Speakers: Xavian XN360
Cables: Vincent XLR, Silver Sonic AirMatrix RCA & Q10
Mains filter: Brinck Br 507

Listening Room

Listening room is rectangular, measuring just under 20 M2. Speakers positioned across the room with a half meter to the back wall and 1 meter to the side walls. Loudspeakers and listening position represents an isosceles triangle, with 500mm on each side. The wall behind the speakers and listening position is tempered using THX-approved panels.