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ANK Audiokits L3 Phono Stage
Single-Ended Triode Phono Stage (formerly called the M3 Phono Stage)

 The L3 phono with upgraded parts is spooky quiet and the high frequency detail is the best I've heard from any phono pre amp I have ever heard. All this detail comes with sophistication and a finesse that is hard to believe. I'm listening to information and inner detail that before where non existent in my vinyl playback... 

Audio Note L3 Phono Stage

UPDATE on L3 Phono!

We are pleased to announce our new ALL PCB L3 Phono Stage - The kit has been typcially hardwired over the years which can be very difficult for new builders - All L3 Phono Stages are now shipping with the pure PCB version - our ultra thick heavy copper traced PCB allows any builder now to just drop in all the parts. We are now shipping the Takman Carbon Film Resistors as standard with this kit.

As a vinyl and tube lover and I am pleased to announce the L3 Standalone Phono Stage from ANK Audiokits. Truly the ultimate DIY Phono pre-amplifier for the DIY market.

The much anticipated L3 Phono Stage Kit is now available - a perfect partner for the L3 Line Pre-amplifier or an integrated amplifier like the Kit1.

Using the circuitry from the phono section of the highly acclaimed Audio Note M3 Pre-Amplifier finished product, we are making available a DIY phono stage that is second to none!

Below is the new L3 Phono Stage board. The board is hardwired with silver wire and note the stencils and the thick ground trace. We use plated through holes which makes hardwiring a breeze - you can solder the components into the board and then bend the component legs along the stencil traces to complete the circuit.

The input audio signal is driven by an cascode input 6072 section tubes followed by an RIAA passive EQ circuit and another 6072 output tube. The filament circuitry from the power supply supplies the input and output tubes separately. The L3 Phono board itself will be powered by the Audio Note M2 (6X5 & ECL82) Power supply.

The L3 Phono Stage Kit boasts an overall gain of 40db (100x voltage gain) and is ideally suited to driving a line pre-amplifier or an integrated amplifier. An input impedance of 47K makes it ideal for a Moving magnet cartridge.

 

The Standalone L3 Phono Stage Kit comes in the same large chassis that we are using for the L3 Line and the DAC Kit 3.1 - When stacking the 3 units you will have a pre-amp section of superb quality.

Both the DAC Kit 3.1 and L3 Phono Stage will plug directly into the L3 Line unit which allows you to select the various sources i.e. PHONO, DAC, etc.

Using the the very high quality Audio Note M2 Power supply section (6X5 rectified and ECL82 regulated) we provide the 12V filaments and HT for the M3 Phono Stage.

L3 Phono Stage -Our standalong phono stage for Moving Magnet cartridge with 47K input impedence uses the AudioNote M3 Phono stage but in a well design PCB - A snap to build and perfect sonics with zero hum!

Use our specially terminated ground cables for a perfect hum free phono stage! We cut , trim, twist and terminate all the required cables for your build using high quality Silver Plated Teflon hookup wire!

The circuit uses 3 x 12ay7 tubes and we now ship with all TAKMAN 1W non magnetic resistors! - AudioNote AN-A shielded cable , M2 Tube rectified and regulated Power supply ( 6X5, ECL82) The sonics are glorious and it’s a super affordable way to achieve incredible vinyl enjoyment - Build the kit yourself and then test out with our RIAA CD for perfect results!

The Phono Board itself is silver hardwired using 1W tantalums and AN copper Caps - This same circuit has been used in Audio Note's finished product M3 Pre-amplifiers for over a decade. We use Audio Note AN-A or AN-V (silver) cable to connect between AN silver RCA's located on the rear of the chassis for both input and output to the phono stage.

For a complete Moving Coil solution of the highest quality, see our Moving Coil Step-up kit.

Enquire about extreme versions of this phono stage that are not listed - you can load with 2W tants on both the power supply and the Phono Board along with Silver Audio Note capacitors! Phono-MM customers - please enquire about upgrading your phono kit to the new L3 phono stage!

We have also made available a fast download / low resolution copy of the M3 Phono Board Hard-Wiring Guide so you can see for yourself the quality and detail of the build instructions. You will, of course, recieve a high resolution printed manual of the latest version with your kit. The downloadable version excludes the Appendix which contains the circuit diagram.

Click here to view the M3 Phono Board Hard-Wiring Guide. We are also here for full support during and after your build!

General Specification

Input Impedence 47K ohms
Voltage Gain 100x
db Gain 40db
   
Inputs 1x Stereo Phono Input (Audio Note silver plated RCA's)
Outputs 1x Stereo Phono Output (Audio Note silver plated RCA's)
Chassis Dimensions 15" wide, 16" back to front, 5.75" height including height from floor
   
Tubes 6072/12AY7 Cascode input followed by passive EQ and 6072/12AY7 output

Generalized Schematic (one channel)

New high quality hard-wiring phono board

We have recently improved our hard-wiring boards for this and some other products and are very happy with the results. The M3 phono board now boasts the following:


View from the top

View from the underside

Here is a close-up shot of the underside.

You can see that all of the holes are plated-through. Also, the component identifiers are also shown on the underside to avoid confusion when turning the board over to work on either side.

Some of the connections are already connected (such as the earth track which can be seen going down the left of the picture). This has been done to simplify the hard-wiring process - although there is nothing stopping you from still connecting the earths manually, of course.

Only having a few tracks has allowed us to make those that we have included of significant thickness instead of having to keep them thin in order to cram as many as possible into a small space.

Click on the image to the left to view a high resolution image of a fully wired phono board.

More Pictures

Click on an image below to zoom-in or cycle through the images using the arrow buttons below.

The complete pre-amp solution

To complete your pre-amplification section, you may want to consider adding our ultimate choice for line pre-amplification - the L3 Line Pre-Amplifier Kit. Its 5687 based output stage is taken directly from Audio Note's M3 pre-amplifier. This consists of the silver hard-wired M3 line board driving a pair of Audio Note TRANS 027 output transformers.

A perfect combination.

The picture opposite shows the L3 Phono Stage Kit sitting on top of the L3 Line Pre-Amplifier Kit.

General Support

We have included a special 0db 1KHz test tone WAV file here that may be useful when you are building your L3 Phono Stage. It allows you to feed the signal into your phono stage so that test voltages can be measured.

Note that this is a special low output WAV file that can be put onto CD and played through the phono stage. Under no circumstances should a normal CD be played through the phono stage.

Click here to play the file.

To download the file to your computer, right-click on the link and select 'Save Target As...' (Internet Explorer) or 'Save Link As...' (Firefox) from the pop-up menu.

Pricing

L3 Phono Stage with Takman Resistors $1,425(USD)

1 Takman Resistors
11 Rubycon Electrolytics
1 3mm Aluminum chassis
1 3mm PCB's
1 Gold RCA's
1 High Quality Audio Note Mains and CHOKE
1 Compete set of tubes
1 Twisted cables

What customers are saying about the L3 Phono Stage

Brian

I am loving the L3 Phono. It’s hard to understand (and yet not) how at 1/3 to ¼ of the price of other units I have tried, your unit still outshines them.

Richard Blair June 2013


Hi Brian,

Have spent too much time listening to LPs in last couple days.. wife got mad at me, it's all the L3 phono's fault :)

I tried with MM cartridge, it's very quiet and hum free, comparing with my Ayre, the L3 has all the details and transparency, but L3 is with much more pleasing texture and harmonics, especially the highs, it's silky with all the details but never harsh..the vocals is so real and liquid, just like "she's singing right in front of me".. I had a friend coming over to listen to my new AN kits, he is so impressed with my vinyl playback, he had no idea that vinyl can sound that good.. :)

Jerry Zhang


The quality of sound is simply perfect, very neutral, very 3-dimensional and never fatique. But the main thing for me is: it has not limited in any instance the quality of my very expensive MC cartridge with step-up transformer.(Transfiguration, Koetsu, Phasetech).

In the past, I have spend thousands of Swiss Francs for Phono Stages, but I have never heard something like your AN Phono stage!!!

It's a fantastic product.

Philipp Gurtner, Switzerland


Hi Brian

All done and up and running. Only had a couple of hours use but the L3 Phono already sounds very promising indeed. Nice and quiet too. Seems quite excellent value.

Thanks for all your help. I will certainly recommend this stuff, where else could you get that sound quality for that money?

Peter Skinner
(customer with AudioNote finished product preamp and added an L3 Phono Kit PCB version to his system)


"I can tell you that I am a very happy listener of the L3 Phono and as each hour passes and the system burns in I get happier with the result. I am spreading the word among my audiophile acquaintances !"

Tony Scott


The L3 phono with upgraded parts is spooky quiet and the high frequency detail is the best I've heard from all the phono pre amp I've ever had. All this detail comes with sophistication and a finesse that is hard to believe. I'm listening to information and inner detail that before where non existing in my vinyl playback.

Anyone who is in the market for a world class phono stage regardless of price should audition the L3.

Miguel Alvarez
Tripoint Audio


Before I connect the L3 Phono stage in my system, I only listened CDs. So, it is a little bit hard to describe the changes since I connect the L3 Phono stage in my system, it is so different, there is no comparison. The listening of the vinyl is just sweet, living, clear, precise... it is just pleasure.

Thank you Brian for this beautiful kit. I really enjoy with it.

Antoine Poisson


I can't believe the gift of music that I just got. All those records that were stored with more or less little concern are playing in near flawless fashion.

Someone gave me four old albums of Ian and Sylvia. I thought it appropriate to play those first off since I owe so much to the North Country. Three of them are in mono and to hear the likely first recorded presentation of Four Strong Winds was moving. A bit scratchy, in mono and recorded in 1963, it was just Ian Tyson and Sylvia Fricker with one string base behind. The simple beauty and innocence of the music has made me showcase it to the three people who have already heard my system.. There are, of course other records that will blow anybody's hair back in terms of cleanliness and depth.

I am enjoying my Audionote phono preamp as I am writing this. I am grateful to you for your support, encouragement during the build, not to mention the sense of accomplishment and the fine piece of equipment.

Don Heggen


The sound is amazing! Still getting better every time I turn it on.

Thanks again, Rob


Just a note to say that my phono pre is up and running, and sounding fabulous!

From the very first note, on the first record, "Ella Sings Gershwin", I heard so much more life in the music than I ever did before. It has been breaking in for a while now, and is sounding better all the time! I attached some pics for fun, I thought you might be curious about how other kit builders do the hardwiring. I really enjoyed it!

Click to enlarge

Sheldon Carl


...I have been listening to an extremely wide range of music and have to say that this phono stage is an outstanding performer.

In terms of individual frequency ranges, you have a wonderfully silky top-end, high resolution mid, and low but extremely well controlled bottom-end. The balance across the entire range is superb.

Perhaps it is this consistency across the range that makes it as musically involving as it is. I don't know for certain, but it most certainly is capable of pulling you into the music - whatever type you are listening to...

...One thing is certain and that is that I won't be wanting to upgrade my phono stage for a very long time to come...

Paul Brookes - UK


"Brian - I think you have another winner here!!!"

Paris Burnette (owner of L3 Line/DAC2.1 upon completion of L3 Phono)


Before I purchase the new L3 AN Phono Stage - I worried the most about the hum, treble and bass because most hi-end preamplifiers don't have tone controls. No worries at all though, NO humm at all dead quiet & excellent stereo separation, sweet sweet trebles, powerful bass, and crystal clear mids. I can finally understand what are they singing about with no tone controls. What more you can ask for.?

Overall great looking Phono Stage, sounds excellent and I think I'm gonna stick with it for a long time.

Nick


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