Bellari spent a considerable amount of time developing the VP549. Hundreds of hours went into listening and improving the design.
“If a phono preamp has to follow the RIAA curve (encode/decode), then why don’t they all sound similar?” To follow the RIAA equalization curve they have to reproduce the same frequencies at the proper amplitude or they simply do not follow the predetermined curve. OK, so why all the hype?
Well, there could be several reasons, there are differences in types of parts. For instance, surface mount (SMT) parts are generally inferior to thru hole parts. If you look at the bank-account-draining preamps, they are constructed with a technology that has been around since the early 1970’s called “thru hole”. It is called thru hole because all parts are connected to the PCB via the part passing thru holes on the PCB to the other side, and then soldered in place on both sides of the PCB. Surface mount (SMT) technology is better for high speed digital than audio. Also, attention to good audio engineering principles helps lower noise.
The power supply of the VP549 is in a different league. Bellari built the VP549 around the power supply in an effort to make it as quiet as possible. You simply will not need to upgrade the power supply of the VP549.
About the sound: The Bellari VP549 has excellent true sound resolution, no frequencies are omitted. It’s tone center is right in the middle of the music. It performs very well on the extremes and never loses its solid performance when things get loud. It never gives you the impression that it has artificially fluffed up the bass or over emphasized the treble. It is well balanced and bold, yet has a very surprising attack that will take your rig to the next level.
- Selective Cartridge loading is a feature rarely seen on affordable phono preamps, and it makes a difference.
- The ability to attenuate output level of the cartridge is a big deal if you need to adjust it and do not have the option to do so.
- No surface mount (SMT) parts are ever used at Bellari. We use all thru hole components.
- The VP549 was designed with true phase integrity. The audio signal is not out of phase in our circuit, this is a bigger deal than you might think.