Combining tonal purity with musical transparency, the PH 150 also delivers remarkably swift transients and microdynamics. Its engaging ability to uncover detail, texture, and “space” down deep near the noise floor is quite exceptional.
On Rickie Lee Jones’ 10-inch, seven-song EP, Girl at Her Volcano [WB], the dynamism and subtlety of the piano work on “Walk Away Rene” and the power of the drums on “Under the Boardwalk” were simply stunning. The snap of Chris Layton’s snaredrum near the beginning of the title cut from Stevie Ray Vaughan’s Couldn’t Stand the Weather [Epic] was also sharply rendered: a visceral assault you feel as well as hear.
Again from Couldn’t Stand the Weather, the time-keeping of drummer Chris Layton has rarely been better resolved. Early in the opening of that title track there are several breaks as the band repeatedly pauses and restarts. During those breaks, Layton’s low foot-tapping was so audible, so clearly and cleanly outlined in space, you could almost envision what brand of shoes he was wearing!
This latest phonostage from ModWright is an exceptionally mature offering from a company that is growing into its prime.
Its hybrid tube-JFET circuit and robust external solid-state power supply give the PH 150 Reference the ability to combine the bloom, body, spatiality, and microdynamics of the best tube designs with the ultra-low noise, bass conviction, transparency, effortlessness, and pitch definition of sand-based devices.
At this price point, one has every right to expect something exceptional. ModWright’s gorgeous two-box unit is extremely well designed, confidently executed, and a pleasure to behold, visually and sonically. Its transparency, transient speed, timbral purity, palpability, expansive yet accurate soundstage, fine resolution, and deep, black, virtually silent backgrounds combine to make the PH 150 Reference a truly noteworthy achievement—and one of the best buys in, and even somewhat above, its class. I consider it a standout in a group that includes a host of other extremely accomplished phonostages including the Jadis DPMC, the Lamm Audio LP2.1, and the Zanden Audio Systems Model 120, to name a few.
In short, its ability to simply reveal music is undeniable and infectious. It is such a stirring and superb performer that I have sent ModWright my check; I am adding it to my stable of gear. Most enthusiastically recommended.
SPECS & PRICING
Gain: 72dB max mc gain; 57dB max mm gain
Cartridge loading: Six resistive and six capacitance loadings via front panel control
Outputs: One set each, RCA (single-ended) and XLR (balanced)
Tubes: 2x 6C45; 2x 6922 (6DJ8/7308/6922)
Power supply: External solid-state
Dimensions: 17" x 5" x 12" (main unit); 8.5" x 5" x 10.5" (power supply)
Weight: 19 lbs. (main unit); 15 lbs. (power supply)
MODWRIGHT INSTRUMENTS, INC.
21919 NE 399th Street
Amboy, WA 98601