Week 42, 2018: Graham Slee Accession phono preamp, connecting a CD player to a Cambridge Audio Bluetone 100 speaker

Sound Advice

By Don Lindich

Week 42, 2018

Q. I am looking for a new phono preamp, priced up to $1,500. What do you recommend in this price range? I have the LP Gear The Vessel R3SM cartridge that won the 11-cartridge shootout on your soundadvicevinyl.com website, mounted on a Technics SL-1200GR turntable. I figure it is time to add a phono preamp that matches the quality of the other components.

-J.C., Philadelphia, PA

A. You practically have my vinyl playback system duplicated already with the Technics SL-1200GR and the LP Gear The Vessel R3SM, so you may as well finish the job with the Graham Slee Accession phono preamp, which is also my personal choice. The Accession sells for $1,498, right in your price range. The Accession is handmade in England and probably the most critically acclaimed phono preamp in its price range. It has some very unique circuitry and design parameters that makes the sound and performance unique in its class. The Accession has an output control so it can also be used as a preamp in a stereo system, connecting it directly to the amplifier to drive the speakers.

It is hard for me to describe how it works without copying it verbatim, and it would take up more space than this entire column anyway so it is probably best that you read up on it online. Once you do, I am sure you will be sold on it. There is an excellent description of it at lpgear.com, the same place where you got your cartridge.

Q. I purchased one of the Cambridge Audio Bluetone speakers you wrote about recently. I like it very much and would like to use it with a CD player from a stereo system. Is this possible?

-J.L., Minneapolis, MN

A. Yes, it is possible. You can connect a CD player to any speaker that has an auxiliary input. All you need is an RCA-to-miniplug cable. Connect the red and white connections of the cable to the matching connections on the CD player, then connect the miniplug end to the matching input on the speaker. Most speakers will select the input automatically when the cable is connected, but with some you have to toggle an input selector button to select the proper input.