The knob gives various resistance loadings,
A recent magazine review stated that there was a great gap between state of the art phono pre-amplifiers ( phono stages ) and affordable ones . This coincided with the final development work to our Missing Link Mk II phono pre amplifier . With due respect for taste in such matters we feel that gap is filled.
As far as we know the Missing link is the worlds' only hardwired transistorised phono pre-amplifier. In fact where possible components are wired directly one to another. Surface mount devices are used where possible as these have no wires.
The inspiration for Missing Link came from the Leak Varislope stereo pre-amplifer circa 1959. The Varislope is powered from a high quality/high voltage supply is a wonderful sounding and useful device. It's vintage required it to have various equalisation's for now long forgotten 78 and mono vinyl records. We rebuilt a number of these with interfacing electronics for remastering studios who transcribe various archive recordings onto CD.
The inspiration came from feeling that the Leak was part of a story now removed from history. Hardwired EF 86 Pentode valve/ tubes using negative feedback and active only circuitry. No Triodes, no fancy components, no passive equalisation and a telephone exchange of components. Further investigation uncovered a design of remarkable elegance and lets say genius in the understanding of it's components.
Missing Link evolved from saying that must work with transistors in place of Pentodes. Also the hardwired design forces elegant solutions. For example the correct single component is used, where as when using a printed circuit a number of cheaper elements will do the job.
Missing Link is now lead free to meet the EEC RoHS standard (hence Mk II). Using silver/tin alloy solder in place of the lead based solders of the past. An unexpected bonus is better sound quality, regrettably build time is increased as this solder requires extra care to avoid dry solder joints. New components have been tried as these also have to be RoHS compliant, again better components unexpectedly resulted.
The first three resistances are for Moving coil pickups and the last three for Moving magnets. However the reference cartridge the Lyra Helicon works well with 47 K ohms. In general use the highest resistance possible. Some manufactures over state this parameter , adjust to taste. Also the Lyra works well on both Moving coil settings, to switch is very useful depending on recording level. For this reason the gain switch is on the front of the unit with the outputs, it is perfectly safe to adjust this when listening. The resistance ranges are at the rear with the inputs. The long box design of Missing Link is to ensure stable operation ( this is often forgotten as the gain reaches 10 000 at 20 Hz on MC 2 , a power amp gain is usually about 30!).
To sum up the Missing Link. It sounds , fast , open and dramatic whilst showing great detail. Half buried sounds are now part of the music. The balance between rhythm and tone colour is just right, neither harsh nor artificial. It is hand built by it's designer and receives a lengthly listening test against a reference. It is universal in application and will compliment pickups many times it's price.
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Here is a review of the missing link
Why are we selling electronic equipment when our main business is turntables?
We used an ancient Quad 33/303 (FM3) amplifier for testing our early turntable developments, but soon found we need to improve the sound quality. We developed our own phonostage so that we could fine-tune the development of the Garrard 501 into the high end transcription turntable it is now acknowledged to be. Visitors auditioning the 501 noticed loved the audio quality and asked what we were using as for phono stage and, despite its unfinished appearance, they started asking for one. Eventually we decided to produce them in a proper case for sale. We considered a printed citcuit board for simplicity, but ended up sticking with the original hard wired design, despite the production implications as they are all hand made on the premises.
A friend suggested the name Missing Link, not a reference to man's ancestors, but something he felt was missing from most hi-fi systems, a decent phono input for turntables.
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