Audio Note UK M1 Phono preamp & Empress Silver parallel single-ended triode monoblocks Review $3,394 Review

April 19, 2022 § Leave a comment

The more costly Audio Note M3 preamp and models above it use two stepped attenuators, one for each channel, and they have the most solid feel of all. The in-house-made Audio Note stepped attenuators are superb but they require more user attention to ensure setting both channels to the same volume level. And because they are stepped, they can become somewhat noisy if dust gets onto them when making volume adjustments. It does not affect sound quality mind you, but it will require some effort to keep the volume pots clean if you live in a dusty environment.

I had been using the M3 Phono as my reference preamp for a couple of years when I decided to upgrade to the M6. Audio Note largely builds to order with the higher-level items in their product range. With the pandemic, the wait time was to be around 5-6 months for the M6 Phono. My M3 was an older version that used twenty-three resistors while current versions use thirty-six steps. This, if you were wondering, is why I did not review the M3 as it is no longer a current model.

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