The Graham Slee Elevator EXP is not an RIAA phono preamplifier, but a pre-preamplifier. It amplifies the signal of a low output MC phono cartridge before it travels to an excellent MM phono preamplifier or the phono input of a high-end amplifier.
As well as amplifying signal (+ 22dB), the Graham Slee Elevator EXP phono pre-preamplifier can also load the MC cartridge via the set of loading options on the front panel. And you have a wide range of options: 23, 30, 100, 840, 1000, 5100 and 47000 Ohms. It is delivered as standad with the Graham Slee PSU 1 power supply unit.
Graham Slee recommends that you use this phono pre-preamp because it is not sensitive to interference and magnetic fields, unlike the ‘Step Up’, which uses transformers.
We tested the Elevator EXP with a DIY MM tube phono stage and an MM phono preamp: the Graham Slee Reflex M. We were also able to compare it with a Step-Up transformer.
This phono pre-preamp impressed us with its overall dynamic range and impact in the bass register. But the sound reproduction is very articulated and detailed across all registers. It is doesn’t appear to give the sound any colouration, and we can confirm that it is significantly more neutral and realistic than the transformer. The timbre is excellent – very precise. The sound stage is impressive! It seems to spread out in all three dimensions with incredible ease and authenticity.
I’ve never been a huge fan of MC transformers because I find that they tend to restrict dynamic range and add colouration to phono cartridges. But the Elevator EXP phono pre-preamp is a whole other story! In fact, it seems to do the exact opposite, optimising the gain and load while simultaneously letting the cartridge sing out and retain all of its excellent qualities!
When paired with an excellent MM preamp, the Graham Slee Elevator EXP has to be the best way of getting a high quality sound out of your MC cartridge.
An absolute must! Franck
Principle: MC pre-preamplifier
Input sensitivity: 0.15 mV to 0.8 mV
Gain: 22 dB from 10 Hz to 917 kHz
Load impedance: 23, 30, 100, 840, 1000, 5100 and 47000 Ohms
Output impedance: 300 Ohms
Output signal-to-noise ratio: 99 dB
Channel separation: 64 dB
Channel balance: 0.2 dB
Frequency response: 10 Hz-917 kHz
Dimensions: 107 x 50 x 180 mm