Single ended "Class A" gain stages with discreet transistors
Gold plated RCA jacks
With an improved power supply and smoother styling, the Cambridge Audio
551P sharpens up a classic phono stage.NEW ECO FRIENDLY POWER SUPPLYBased on the
award-winning 540P, the 551P offers an improved power supply that will save you
money. Whereas the old 540P was powered up continuously, the 551P features a
facia mounted power switch. It's a simple feature but one that helps save
power.FRESH NEW LOOKWith a more rounded lid and front panel plus a bold new
design for the Cambridge Audio logo, the 551P matched the latest generation of
Cambridge Audio amplifiers and other electronics. As before, the build quality
and finish is exceptional for a budget phono stage. The front panel is aluminium
and the casing all-metal, with the fixing bolts hidden at the bottom and back
for a clean look.SAME GREAT PERFORMANCEThe high quality Moving Magnet design
features single-ended 'Class A' gain stages and discrete transistors instead of
the more common integrated circuits. This gives less cross-talk and interference
across the signal path. The 551P employs an active RIAA equalisation system. In
terms of sound quality you'll notice less background noise and more detail. The
rear panel benefits from gold plated input connectors to minimise signal path
interference and reduce surface degradation.Make your vinyl sound its best with
the Cambridge Audio 551P
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
If you are serious about listening to records for their clarity and detail, and you are also on a budget, this phono pre is for you. It beats out any phono pre in its price range and then some. Of course it will sound amazing over your phono pre in your integrated receiver. I compared this to a Rega Fono Mini, and although they are quite similar, the Cambridge 551P excelled in clarity, detail, soundstage, and overall life of the music. The 551P also beat out the Rega in background noise as well. The 551P is dead quiet. I returned my Rega Fono Mini very quickly after hearing it against the 551P.
Although there are some other more expensive units to compare, I doubt you will find a phono pre that sounds as good as this one in the same price range. I would put this as an entry level audiophile phono pre. You will have to spend a few hundred more to get any better.
This was my third preamp choice in three weeks, trying to get rid of a turntable hum. I finally went inside the turntable and added a second ground wire. That problem's solved, but I'm actually thankful I had to go through all that to end up with this item. I've been a record listener since a kid and always assumed the sound quality could be no better than "not that great". As others have described, this unit brings a depth of clarity and warmth I've never heard from a record. I'm no longer sure that digital is superior. The scratches are no longer a distraction. I can only hear the worst of them. I used to listen to one side of an album every Sunday morning, more or less for the nostalgia. Now I'm up to a full LP every night because it sounds so good. I am truly impressed!
I am a music enthusiast and professional musician now retired. All my life I have used dozens of phono preamplifiers and while each had a little something to its favor, nothing comes close to this Cambridge551P. It just sounds as good as I believe the LP can sound, and it has the convenience of an On/Off button. What else is there to say. Well, I can add this. Without naming names, I can tell you that comparing translations I"ve done with the little red phono preamp that is all over the net and this 551P, the difference is simply astounding. You can hear (even at my age) the crisper highs and the very full and non-muddy bottom of well recorded LP's. The better the LP, the better it will sound coming through this 551P. If I had to think of a way to make it better, the only thing I could suggest is to offer it in a rack mount package....but then not many folks have standard racks like pro studios would have. However, the cheaper little red phono preamps are fine for most...
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