The Jazz Club phono preamplifier by British manufacturer Graham Slee is that rare breed that fulfils the substantial demand from collectors and audiophiles for equipment that can handle 78 rpm records.
In essence, 78 rpm records and certain other LPs released before 1960 were cut with a different equalization standard to the present-day RIAA standard.
This means that modern phono preamplifiers are not equipped to deliver the original tonal balance of these records. In fact, each label used to cut records according its own equalization standard (Decca/London, MGM, EMI, HMV, RCA VICTOR, ENGLISH COLUMBIA, etc.)
It consists of a small, aluminium box around 10cm long. The front panel is very basic, bearing just the elegant company logo and an LED light to indicate when it is switched on. The rear panel features two gold-plated RCA sockets (input and output) and a female socket for connecting the preamp to an outboard power supply. It also has a switch that lets you select between mono and stereo. The Graham Slee Jazz Club comes as standard with the highly streamlined Graham Slee PSU1 power supply.
The circuit has fixed default settings which have been meticulously chosen to meet all the needs of owners of MM and high output MC cartridges. Practically speaking, this translates to a load of 47,000 Ohms and a 100 pF capacitance, which is enough to meet the requirements of the majority of stereo MM phono cartridges, as well as mono and 78 rpm cartridges.
The Graham Slee Jazz Club phono stage is the only preamp we know of that offers RIAA equalization, a Mono/Stereo switch, and the option to select different equalization curves for mono and 78 rmp records!
It is fully compatible with ‘modern’ 33⅓ and 45 rpm records, i.e. LPs cut after 1960!
But you should also check the label of any old recordings you listen to (you'll find the name written in the middle of the record) and check the settings in the equalization tables provided with the device. And, of course, make sure to flick the switch to ‘Mono’.
All of this also depends on having the right phono cartridge (mono or 78 rpm).
The sound quality of the Jazz Club phono preamp is already exceptional with standard RIAA equalization and records. It delivers performances that almost match those of the Graham Slee Reflex M phono stage, albeit probably with a little less detail and dynamic range. But it has all the trademark transparency and neutrality we have come to expect from Graham Slee phono preamps.
The real selling point of this product, however, is the rare opportunity to listen to old mono and 78 rpm records with the correct equalization! And we can confirm that listening to Enrico Caruso, Glenn Miller and Edith Piaf with the timbre that was originally intended for them is a thing to behold!
These kinds of products are few and far between, which makes it indispensable for many. Franck
An industry benchmark!
Principle: High output MM and MC preamp
Input sensitivity: 0.2 mV to 1. mV
Gain: 42 dB at 1 kHz
Input impedance: 47 kOhms
Input capacitance: 100 pF
Signal-to-noise ratio: 42 dB
Channel separation: 64 dB
Channel balance: 0.2 dB
RIAA accuracy: < 0.3 dB
Frequency response: 20 Hz-100 Khz
Dimensions: 107 x 50 x 180 mm