ROGERS PA-1A Phono Preamplifier: Analog performance to ultimate perfection has always been the standard at Rogers High Fidelity. Our newest performer, the PA-1A Phono Preamplifier follows our heritage in every detail. You have not heard your record collection until you have heard it being played through the Rogers High Fidelity PA-1A Phono Preamplifier. It’s dual-mono, Class-A, all-tube design has an industry-leading signal-to-noise ratio and represents an all-out assault on the state-of-the-art. Unless you are listening to your vinyl collection through our high performance, vacuum-tube preamp, you are missing out on half of the tonal qualities that you love about analog reproduction.
- Aerospace Specifications- All of our resistors, capacitors, transformers and inductive components meet or exceed the applicable military quality standards for parts selection. We use the same parts used by NASA in the Shuttle and Space Station equipment.
- Class A Design– All amplifiers are a full Class A design yielding the ultimate accuracy in music reproduction.
- Input Stage Design– The input design uses an ultra low noise tube design that yields typically a 100 dB signal to noise ratio– the best in the market. All of the overall gain is in this single stage. This significantly reduces phase distortion and yields a dynamic, stable soundstage with terrific dimensionality.
- Input Tube– The input tube can be “rolled” between a 12AU7, a 12AX7 or a 12AV7 to maximize gain and listening preferences. Each unit ships with a set of 12AU7s and 12AX7s.
- MM/MC– Selectable inputs for either moving magnet or moving coil cartridge designs
- Matching Input Transformer– The MC input utilizes a matching input transformer to optimize the impedance match between a MC cartridge and the amplifier input regardless of the interconnect cable variances.
- Loading Controls– Front panel controls allow the user to set resistive and capacitive loading to match our custom transformer input
- Voltage Meter– Illuminated front panel INDEPENDENT voltage meters allow for quick diagnosis and resolution of cartridge imbalances
- Output Stage– Our proprietary output stage design uses a 6GH8 the only one in the industry that provides ultimate signal linearity regardless of interconnect cable variances.
- Mute Switch– We have designed a front panel mute switch so that your amplifier gain does not requireadjustment between record changes
- Aviation Grade Chassis- All amplifier chassis are aviation grade aluminum with a mutiphase powdercoat and clear coat finish. The amplifier finish is absolutely beautiful and bulletproof! The front panels are machined from solid blocks of aviation grade aluminum. The entire amplifier is assembled using Military Standard stainless steel hardware for ultimate reliability and a lifetime of trouble free service. All hardware is meticulously staked using an aerospace coating to eliminate any hardware failures over time through vibration, shipping or movement. This is an assembly process honed over many years of satellite manufacturing and assembly where re-tightening hardware can’t happen.
- Internal Wiring– The entire amplifier is wired using 18 gauge Military Standard 16878 teflon coated, silverplated copper wire. This is the same wire used for the Navy’s Aegis Cruisers! Heat is the enemy of amplifier reliability. Because this is a Class A design, there is some heating of the unit which causes the wiring to age and degrade over time. Our wire never ages. The Teflon coating will last a lifetime. The interior of your amplifier will look the same in 10 years as it looks coming off of the production line. The amplifier is designed using all 18 gauge wire to provide many times more the current density that can be achieved using printed wire boards or lower quality wiring.
- Burn-In Process– Each amplifier undergoes a rigorous 100 hour burn-in prior to acceptance testing. This drives out any component infant mortality problems and ages each amplifier into it’s perfect listening range.
- Manufacturing Process– All amplifiers are built using our own Statistical Process Control manufacturing processes that yield better than a 99.8% first pass yield. This is better than the airline industry’s or hospitals’ safety record. The finished amplifier is 100% reliable, tested and guaranteed for a lifetime.
- Power Measurement System– Each amplifier has a tuned, power measurement system that allows for flawless system integration and adjustment.
- Frequency Response: +/- 0.1 dB deviation from the RIAA curve, 10 Hz to 20 kHz
- Gain: 50 dB- 65 dB selectable thru input tube selection, both 12AU7 and 12AX7 supplied
- Input Impedance: Moving Magnet- 47 K ohm, Moving Coil-transformer input with front panel selectable cartridge loading. 100 ohm – 1 Meg ohm, 100 pF- 500 pF
- Input Jacks- unbalanced RCA
- Output Impedance: 1 K ohm- 1 Meg ohm
- Output Jacks- unbalanced RCA
- Noise Floor: 0.1 microvolt, input referenced, A-weighted and un-shorted
- Signal to Noise Ratio: 90 dB at 20 mV input
- Channel Isolation: 75 dB minimum
- Tube Compliment: 2- 12AU7 or 12AX7 (user selectable,both supplied), 2- 12AX7, 2-6GH8
- Front Panel Controls: MC cartridge loading, MM or MC mode select, Mute switch
Weight: 17 Lbs
Dimensions: 18” width, 10” depth, 7” height
Roger Gibboni’s newest creation is a phonostage that takes his design ethos a step further. While it’s no small feat to produce a great amplifier, the minute signal that a phonostage has to work with is a challenge for any designer. And the Rogers PA-1A exceeds all of my expectations in terms of sound quality and the absence of noise.
The PA-1A has me pinned to the listening chair from the first track of MoFi’s recent remaster of Los Lobos’ Kiko. Insert your favorite adjective here, and maybe add very in front of it. In short, if you don’t need more than one MC phono input, your search ends here. It’s that good—and it’s only $7,400.
Having lived with the $65,000 Indigo Qualia and the $55,000 Vitus phonostages, I admit that you don’t need to spend anywhere near that much money to achieve analog nirvana. We’ve been through a pile of excellent phonostages from Audio Research, Pass, Simaudio, Naim and Burmester, to name a few. As great as these all have been (and the Burmester, Pass and ARC all offer two inputs, a definite advantage for those with multiple tables or tonearms), the Rogers raises the game for what is possible without taking a second mortgage on your house.
To look at it another way, for the $60K that one of those top-of-the-mountain phonostages will set you back, you can pick your favorite $30K turntable/tonearm combination, a great $10K cartridge and the Rogers for $7,400. That still leaves a lot of cash left over to add some great records to your collection.
Of course, $7,400 is not pocket change, but for someone taking a run at a state-of-the-art analog front end, this is incredibly reasonable. It’s like getting a tricked-out Porsche GT3 for the price of a Boxster. I knew I was in for something good when discussing the Rogers with Harry Weisfeld of VPI; we share a similar aural aesthetic and Harry knows great analog when he hears it. Plus, we both have a similar amount of respect for the Lyra Atlas cartridge, which we both use as a reference transducer. Bottom line, when Harry is excited about something, my ears perk up.
I was not disappointed in the least when firing up the PA-1A for the first time. The review sample had been burned in for a while at the factory, so I did not notice much of a change in its sonic character during the review period.