Reviewer: Helmut Rohrwild
After having been convinced long ago of the full-strength Perreaux Audiant 80i's considerable skills, I was very excited about the phono amplifier of the same series called the Audiant VP3. Perreaux stressed that the piece has been subjected to a extensive field tests. Externally, the VP3 and the 80i are confusingly similar, because both are housed in the typical Audiant housing with the two-tone front. The black acrylic base hidden on the left side has the already-familiar touch screen bar, and the phono with the functions Standby, MM, MC, and Mono. The massive upper shell made of aluminum with the huge company logo serves as a large-area heat sink for the electronics which are mounted inside. On the other side sit a power switch and a socket, and there are two trigger ports for connecting to other Audiant devices, also an RS232 port for software updates. The remaining two thirds of the rear wall is filled with the inputs and outputs with their associated settings.
They are arranged in mirror image to the ground socket. At the start comes the switching bank that offers seven final versions for MM/MC systems: 47, 1, and 10 Kilo-ohm, and 22, 47, 100, 220, and 470 pF (Pico farad). This is followed at the RCA socket for MM/MC, followed by the MC systems. The next switch bank provides 47 kilo ohms, 10, 30, 100, 250, 500 Ohm, 1 kilo ohm, and 47 pF for MC values.
Here are also XLR and RCA jacks for the output, which may be occupied simultaneously. Located centrally above the earthing socket, you'll find the separate gain switch for MM (36, 40, 44, 48 decibels) and MC (56, 60, 64, 68 decibels). For both banks, the fourth button turns the IEC/RIAA equalization on, which can be useful in special circumstances.
I can think of not one cartridge that can not be optimally adjusted with this comprehensive range. For that alone Perreaux deserves high praise, as also for that excellent manual and the measurement curves (with serial number) for both inputs, that settles the New Zealander's product confidently.
At the MM input I first heard the Shure 500 Ultra Reference to Schroeder. This combination charmed downright velvety and richly detailed sound images that were tidy and sharp. My 'Deccas', which have found their new regular place in Thales' Easy, offered an incredibly good impression with a surreal, perfectly defined sound. The dynamic bandwidth ranged from very severe to very fine and the preset from the disk space has been well presented. The head of this clan, the London Reference Cartridge which acted with the Silent Head of Audio Exclusive at Kuzma Stogi Ref 313, which was not after, but it offered an overall significantly more elegant, clean play. At the MC input, the EMT JSD 6 in the Sony PUA 286 came into use. It convinced with rich dynamics, classy representation and great attack which amounted in turn to a very credible sound. The Audio Exclusive MC-2 finally proved similarly good sound results, that in the right cartridge combination can lead to a lot of affordable listening pleasure.
Even the Audiant amplifier convinces with an independent non-obtrusive design and excellent production quality. Super flexible, sonically at a very high level and playing without any problem in daily usage - it is predestined for a long friendship. The price that it's offered at can only be described as low. An unconditional recommendation for this brilliant phono amplifier!
Price 2,100 Euro