I have owned this unit for a little over a year (it arrived here the first week of March in 2018). I was so impressed with it, I bought an Audio Research SP20 preamp which has a phono section built in. I have pared down to two systems here, and the two phono preamps that will be kept are the one in the SP20 and the Conrad Johnson TEA2 HG Max. The Audio Research PH5 is a great phono preamp, but I continue my clean up and consolidation of music rooms, and it is a piece that is only getting use as an occasional back up unit, so I'm offering it for sale.
The PH5 has 57.5 dB of gain, and can be used with either MM or MC cartridges. The load is switchable from the listener position by the included metal remote control, or by a push button on the right face of the unit. The equalization is standard RIAA +/- .25 dB from 10 Hz to 60 kHz.
The load can be set at 47kOhms (for MM, MI or High Output MC) or 1000, 500, 200, or 100 Ohms (for LOMC or MI). Capacitance is set at 200 pF.
It is non-inverting, with control either by the pushbuttons on the front face right side, or by the remote control.
I used this phono preamp with MC cartridges ranging in MSRP from $1200 to $9000 (Linn, Ortofon, Lyra, VAS). I also used it with a few MM and MI cartridges (Grado, Shure, Ortofon). I was surprised at how well this unit worked with such a wide range of devices. It held its own in every case, and initially (before I bought the SP20 and the TEA2 HG Max), I was stunned by how beautifully it conveyed music, bringing out the best of each cartridge compared to other units I had owned.
I bought it to compare it to the Linn Uphorik, a phono preamp with an incredible number of settings for gain, resistive, and capacitive loading. With the Linn, it seemed like making changes to resistance and capacitance could make a huge impact on LOMC cartridges. But the PH5 was stunning because it sounded acceptable on every single load setting. It was always possible to find the setting I liked best ... but any of the settings gave a decent result, whereas with the Linn Uphorik, there were always some settings that really stunk, and the game was to find the good one(s). After I got the PH5, I sold the Uphorik.
The other night my TEA2 HG Max started to make funny noises, and I patted myself on the back for having this PH5 as a ready back up. I substituted it into the system, it functioned flawlessly, and while I listened to the PH5 (between a Lyra Etna and an ET7), I changed the tubes in the TEA2 HG Max. I substituted back, and I was back in business, so the PH5 went back to the shelf. I thought about this for a while, and I decided that I really don't need a backup phono preamp. I keep tubes on hand, and the odds of blowing out some other component are quite slim. Both the SP20 and the TEA2 HG Max are made with very reliable components.
So .... I am offering this unit for sale. My preferred payment method is PayPal and I do not charge a fee for using it.
I generally ship within one business day of confirmed payment. I tend to use Fed Ex Ground or UPS, but I am open to the needs of the buyer on this.
The tubes are a premium set, new last August, of Electro-Harmonix gold pins. They sound great and should not have to be replaced any time soon. I doubt they have 150 hours on them.
The PH5 will ship in the original factory inner and outer boxes, with the owner's manual, screw driver, power cord, and Audio Research factory paperwork from 38506.
I've rated this as 8/10 because the Audiogon rating system says that you shouldn't rate something as a 9 if you're not the original owner. I am not the original owner, but this unit is in really really really good condition, cosmetically AND functionally. You will not need to make excuses for having it in your system. I've enjoyed it, and I expect that you will too.
Please ask questions before bidding.