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Review: Dynavector P-75

June 2, 2004

Last Saturday, i was able to borrow a broken-in P-75 from Architectural Audio. It came in a little box with a three-fold manual, an allen wrench, and spare jumpers. If you are wondering what the allen wrench is for, it is used to unscrew the cover of the unit to gain access to the electronics inside. What for? Well, this Dynavector New Zealand made P-75 has quite a number of configuration which the manual clearly explained.

The tiny unit lights up the red "DV" logo on the front panel when powered on. By the way, the power source is not included in the unit and you can use any readily available 12V DC supply just like the one that was thrown in with the unit so i can use it. Consult with Architectural Audio if they will also throw in one, gratis.



At the back, you will find high quality, gold plated connectors - a pair for input and a pair for output, and a tiny ground screw that requires an allen wrench whose size is different from the one supplied. It may prove to be difficult to tighten this gound screw using your fingers. Although at first i was not impressed by that tiny ground screw which rather seems unconventional compared to those bigger, more "macho" type found on other units including my Musical Fidelity X-LP, I discovered that the size was perfect for the ground terminals of my phono cables.

 

Removing the screws to separate the cover from the rest of the unit revealed a typical solid state construction. Though not as "congested" as a DACT CT100 phono stage top and bottom where the parts count is staggering, it still has a significant number of parts.

The unit offers numerous configuration settings via jumpers, and as such could prove to be a challenge to the non-technical user. I suggest that you consult with the vendor so that they can pre-set the settings to suit your requirements. The various jumper settings allow for the following options:

  1. MM or high output MC setting
  2. Low output MC settings with different loading
  3. Enhanced MC with three different resistance settings

I initially configured the unit for low output MC and 100 ohm loading but i found that the Enhanced MC with medium cartridge coil resistance setting sounds best in my system.

The first thing i noticed with the P-75 is that the music is livelier, not just with the Out of the Blue LP but with most LPs i played in various sessions. The PRAT is a better than my X-LP and the Wright WPL11 that i babysat sometime ago.

On the enhanced phono mode (which require a low output MC) i found that the dynamics is also better compared to the "normal" low output MC mode at 100 ohms loading. Generally, the enhanced phono mode is better on every aspect compared to the low output MC mode, in my experience.

What i also discovered is that the high frequency extension is very clean and airy, definitely betters the X-LP and WPL11 on tracks such as Mas Que Nada. The exceptional power supply design of the unit which does not require special DC sources could attribute to this, as well dark background and the super quite operation.

I thought that the P-75 will sound lean, but hell i was wrong. The low frequency extension is very good, which to date is only bested by the EAR834P that i borrowed sometime ago.

On another area which is also important to me - soundstage and imaging, the P-75 is very good indeed. While the X-LP has better soundstage depth than the WPL11, it causes the mid bass to seem to come from a spot on the center of the soundstage and not "around" the soundstage.

In contrast the WPL11 does not do well with depth in my room, as everything tends to be flat. The P-75 excells in that the bass is around the soundstage, the imaging is also well defined and soundstaging is quite holographic.

The WPL11 creamed my X-LP in terms of openness, as the X-LP would sound constricted in comparison, at the expense of losing depth, which is something i do not prefer. The P-75 while clearly top notch in openness, does not suffer from any such disadvantage. Vocals do float and interestingly, neutral sounding.

In summary, the P-75 offers:

  • Excellent PRAT
  • Superb micro- and macro-dynamics
  • Very good low and high frequency extension
  • Very good sounstaging and imaging
  • Very flexible configuration
  • Really small

On the negative side:

  • Only one input
  • Inconvenient way (pushing and pulling jumpers on about 6 locations) of configuring

Equipment used:

  • Oracle Delphi Mk II, Eminent Technology 2.5 Airbearing tonearm, Clearaudio Sigma low output Phono Cartridge
  • DIY 417A-45 power amplifier
  • DIY "Foreplay" pre-amplifier
  • Infinity Kappa 200 speakers

Silver Audio Silver Bullets 4.0 interconnects, Sonic Art Interconnects, and John Risch recipe speaker wires (haven't got my Express 6 back)

Thank you to Architectural Audio for letting me borrow the unit.