We’ve been making phonostages for about 20 years now. Till recently(Yes, we have something New) we had two. One inside our Alabaster amplifier, which started life as an option in our original Campion, and our main separates, multi award winning Sonneteer Sedley phono pre-amplifier. Twenty years means a lot of reviews. Here’s a taster.
“So I can’t keep the Sedley forever, even though I would like to, so I will add another few lines from Shakespeare’s sonnet to sing the Sedley’s praise. The Sedley’s music will be with me, if not eternally (who can keep a piece of equipment forever): “Or at the least so long as brain and heart / Have faculty by nature to subsist, / Till each to razed oblivion yield his part / Of thee, thy record never can be missed” to quote but one reviewer, Jon Eben Field for the Wall of Sound.
HiFi Choice had a chance to marvel this time as they played through a pile of LPs. “Build quality is very impressive…Tank-like build (they exclaimed)…lovely sound…The Sedley is a very level headed performer unruffled by whatever you throw at it…it is able to get the best out of all test material in equal measure…notes extend from the sound stage and hang in the air with natural grace. Bass is well extended and without..bloom”
“…..Right away I sensed there was something special happening. While some of the preamplifiers I auditioned were (as Goldilocks would say) too hot or too cold, the Sedley was just right. It was quiet, had good sense of space, nice top end without hiss or excessive sizzle, and images were appropriately sized and didn’t sound congested or obviously coloured in any way. Soundstage wasn’t too wide or too narrow and image location was excellent as evidenced by the track ”Home At Last.” This is the first preamp that I’ve had under review that I could honestly consider using for the long term. This is not to say it’s perfect and there is nothing better, but only that it doesn’t have any egregious flaws. I felt comfortable sitting and just listening (and without the feeling I was missing something or the music was being edited by the equipment).
…Tonally this preamp gets it right. I have to say that I had to be reminded I was working on a review and try to critically listen as I continually lapsed into just enjoying the music–as it should be! The other thing I noticed was that although the LP wasn’t in perfect shape the imperfections became less noticeable when the music was this engrossing.” Brian Bloom, Audiophile Audition.
For several years What Hi-Fi had the Sedley as their reference phonostage (they never sent it back) having given it a 5 star award. They said many good things but a simple sum up was, “This is a great product from Sonneteer.”
Not that long ago UHF magazine did a big spread on the Sedley and got a few reviewers involved:
“We know that a test like this has to include a female vocalist, and we pulled out an old classic that went out of production years ago. It’s Ain’t No Cure For Love from Jennifer Warnes’ superb album of Leonard Cohen songs, Famous Blue Raincoat. It was close to perfect, with Warnes’ expressive voice clear, with subtle inflections and modulations.”
“The Sonneteer Sedley USB is an excellent phono preamp, and its flexibility will allow it to adapt to any cartridge you own or may buy. “
“This listening sessions seemed all too brief. That was because the music was present, and it was some music! All my expectations were fulfilled. “Reine Lessard UHF
“Not only does it sound outstandingly good, but its configuration is destined to be copied by any competitors who plan to be around for the long haul” Gerard Rejskind UHF
“Fire that turntable up, let it play through the Sonneteer, have a seat and enjoy it as you probably never did before.”Albert Simon UHF
And then there is our favourite remark, which has been said about some of our other products too:
“On Tori Amos’ Little Earthquakes, for instance, her vocals were hauntingly pure; I just stopped taking notes and listened to the album all the way through” HiFi World.
The phonostage internal to both the Campion and Alabaster also came in for a lot of praise, “What I’m the most excited about is the quality of the MM phonostage. ” said one reviewer, echoing many pundits and customers alike. It is often listed amongst the best built in features to an integrated amp. For this very reason, as we started our big Heart beat project we made sure we’d carry over that feature. The Bard’s Phonostage is where the new work first shows off its vinyl sound polishing abilities, but it wont be the last. Based on the original circuitry with much enhancement work, The Bard’s phonostage is a big taste of the Sedley sound with a more human price tag.