LFD AUDIO: Zero LE III with onboard phono stage

What are the important things for me to consider between the LFD Zero Le MK3.0 & 3.1 with the onboard phono stage and without please?

  1. The main board for both versions is slightly different. Not sonically different, but in terms of construction. This means that the LFD on-board phono stage is not a retro-fit. This means if you want it with the phono stage you have to order it with the phono stage.
  2. When comparing both versions using the line level inputs i can hear no sonic difference whatsoever – however hard i try. Thus you should not believe that one version is superior to the other. The only difference is that one has a phono stage and the other does not.
  3. The onboard phono stage is both MM and MC. All that is required is to make or break one small solder link on the board. This is very easy. A degree in advanced electronics is not required for this task. Dr Bews feels that a soldered link is sonically more acceptable than the silver plated switch he uses (or used) on some of his stand-alone Phono Stages.
  4. Although Dr. Bews is a little dismissive of the quality of his on-board phono stage, it really is a fine unit. Certainly up to the standards of any stand alone unit I have heard up to say £500. Not quite as good as say the PS Audio GGPH phono stage, but terrific value as you are only paying around £250 for the on-board.
  5. It's worth mentioning that Dr. Bews built the unique battery-driven phonostage for the R&D department of SME. That unit (not available to the public) is a cost-no-object device that, as far as I understand, remains SME's reference standard. Against this achievement I suppose that sonically he might feel that the onboard phono stage of the Zero Le III is only adequate. However when looked at in isolation, the on-board phono stage is a minor miracle of dynamics, compact size, simplicity and value.
  6. Finally delivery on the version with the phono stage is usually 50% longer than the non phono stage version.


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