KTE LCR-1 MK4 / MK4S – MC / MM / MI / MF – LCR RIAA Phono Stage
This is our 2020 MK4/version of LCR-1 RIAA phono which is the most expensive investment. Kevin Valab’s experience in phono stage design and LCR choke building experience teamed with KitsuneHiFi to further tune and get the very most out of a Phono Stage. Total of 8 revisions have been designed/built and now what you see is our workout in past 4 years.
If you are serious analog audiophile then its quite possible that you may have a dream to have a LCR RIAA phono stage and know these can be very expensive. Typically the price is too much for many as well as they are somewhat rare. For LCR RIAA EQ it is so difficult to build and they require inductors that are extremely expensive. Valab in Taiwan has developed these LCR RIAA EQ chokes and are custom made to our specification. These use 80% high nickel content Permalloy cores and chokes. It has incredibly low DCR and capacitance. Each choke has 2 layers of electro magnetic “EMI” shielding to assure very low interference.
New full discrete circuit design which works at higher voltage to drive LCR equalization and followed by discrete class-A circuit as output stage, all transistors were carefully matched, and full DC design.
The New LCR inductors we are using are 3 times larger than the last version, but have only 1/3 of the inner resistance. These cost significantly more but will be worthy investment for new LCR EQ and get perfect linear curve and ultra low distortion! They deliver music with significantly more detail and especially have very good micro dynamics.
No capacitors in signal path and No-feedback LCR EQ circuit.
This is indeed KitsuneHiFi’s best implementation of the LCR-1 and is based on intensive investment and research and development. MK4 is exclusive to KitsuneHiFi.
Separate power supply design to eliminate EMI and vibration from power transformer. So this phono stage is incredibly quiet. No audible noise even with 100db level with speakers. How’s it sound? While it’s the best Phono we have ever heard. And better than many other phono stages 10x it’s price! It’s incredibly dynamic and pulls details out of analog vinyl that most phono stages cannot achieve. Staging is incredibly deep and wide with excellent separation. Foot tapping worthy.
It is full of components that are quite high in cost and implementation. You can see and appreciate the photos on this phono stage. All parts are carefully chosen, Dale resistors, Valab wound LCR RIAA EQ chokes (80% Nickel Permalloy), Panasonic and SIC-Safco, Nichicon, Vishay capacitors and more. OCC internal wiring for signaling. Almost no budget concerns, we use best sounding and most reliable parts based on our experience.
Each KTE LCR-1 MK4 Phono stage is fitted with a discrete voltage regulation that has -125db PSRR and about <10uV output noise/ripple. This in turn allows the phono stage to deliver super detailed sound stage and micro dynamics. And of course excellent SNR.
Most importantly, we use expensive choke based LCR RIAA Equalization instead of conventional RC RIAA. In conventional RC RIAA circuit, music signals are ‘digested’ in resistor-capacitor filter for it’s large value resistor in circuit. While in LCR RIAA, almost all music details preserved! You can easily hear more music details and subtle nuanced that would otherwise be lost in most other phono stage circuits. So if you use LCR RIAA, your analog system can easily output ultra high resolution like a top end digital audio system and of course, very natural analog sound. Must be heard to appreciate! LCR RIAA phonos all sold at incredibly high prices. We developed this product to deliver a reasonable price to the most demanding analog audiophile. We believe there is no compromises in sound quality and the KTE LCR-1 MK4 pairs perfectly with high end cartridges/turn tables. NOTE: AC power cable is not included, and recommend user chooses their own high quality Audio Grade power cable.
Adjustable Gain : 100X (40db) 、 400X (52 db)、 800X (58db) 、1000X (60db) 、1250X (62db) 、1500X (63.5db) 、1800X (65db) 、2100X (66.5db) 、2400X (67.5db) 、2800X (69db) 、3000X (70db) 、3600X (71db) 倍、4000X (72db)
Adjustable Impedance : 47k、200Ω、150Ω、100Ω、85Ω、66Ω、60Ω、46Ω、20Ω、18Ω、16Ω、14Ω
Spec : Class-A FET , DC coupled, LCR-RIAA Equalized, Custom wound EQ Chokes w/ high 80% nickel Permalloy cores and Annealed wiring (matched/hand picked/hand wound to perfection)
Power Supply : 30VA 24V R-Core power transformer, offering massive dynamics and more than enough power than it consumes. 6N OCC Copper internal wire for signaling (S model uses 4N silver wiring). Dual Chassis Design. Fully Discrete 24v voltage regulation for ULTRA LOW <10uV RMA output noise @20Hz-20Khz and -124dB PSRR.
Frequency Response : 20Hz-50kHz +/- 1db
HTD : 0.008%
(SNR) Signal/ Noise ratio : 100 db on MM/ 93 db/MC
Nominal THD+N : <0.1% ( DC coupled circuit is very critical for the RIAA EQ circuit and listening to this phono amp tells the real story – The first gen design was 0.5% and our current generation is significantly better!)
Input Capacitance : 110pF
Input Impedance : 14 to 47k
Channel Separation : >70dB
Maximum Output Voltage : Approximately 300mV, however depends on cartridge and gain settings too
Includes Accessories : DC power cable** from Chassis 1 to Chassis 2. This MUST be plugged in first before plugging in an AC Power Cable (not included).
**High quality DC connectors that are CNC machined and auto locking.
note: this unit is NOT designed to be stacked on top of other gear, and not to be stacked on top of itself either. They are to be side by side or on different shelves in an audio rack. The main unit (with rca in/out) is very sensitive to emi/rf. So if it was on top of a transformer, dac, amp etc it can pickup feedback, hum etc. Keep away about 4-6inch from other gear for optimal performance. (should get it’s own shelf). unit’s side by side should be about 2-3inch apart.
Joseph Kreidler –
My system has gone through several changes over the last couple of years and while all changes make a noticeable difference I have to say that for my vinyl system this Phono Stage definitely has made the best difference by far.
My analog system currently consists of:
Clearaudio Concept Wood TT w/ Clearaudio an 11ohm CA MC Cartridge
Octave Audio V40SE Integrated
Dynaudio Special 40 Stand Mount Speakers
and the typical too many albums to listen to with not nearly enough time.
The changes this Phono Stage brought were as the hyperbole goes, blacker blacks, more extension on the highs, and a wider sound stage. I know that is passe’ but it really is true in audio reviews, this made a more significant difference in my system than going from a Low-Mid tier Rega TT/Cart setup to the Clearaudio setup, a very enjoyable difference.
For less than $1100usd I have to say this is the biggest bang for the buck improvement in my entire system.
Thanks Tim and Kitsune for such a great recommendation and stellar performing Phono, honestly amazed at the quality from build to sound.
Kisuh Sung –
My analogue system is as follows:
SPU G Classic (1965)+ Jorgen Schou 41 SUT+ KITSUNE KTE LCR-1 MK4 MC/MM/MI Phono Stage+ NAT01 + NAC52 + 3 NAP250 + SNAXO362 + NAIM DBL Loudspeakers.
This phono stage is excellent in everything, namely, musicality, resolution, wide stage. This little giant makes me listen to my favorite LPs repeatedly. What I miss is that it lacks a tube circuit which might make the sound much smoother.
Strongly I would recommend this product to those who want to enter the analog heaven with less cost.
JOHN PARK –
Friends, I recently got the MK4S. I am far from a professional reviewer. I’m just a middle aged guy who loves music and appreciates well made gear. I love but don’t worship vinyl. I subscribe to Tidal and Apple Music instead of Stereophile and TAS. I got off those trains years ago. You know what I mean, you see or hear about some promising new, invariably quite expensive, piece of gear that promises sonic ecstasy on par with the greatest physical pleasures. And if you only had THAT piece of gear your system/life would be complete. Bah! I say. Don’t wait for Fremer or Atkinson et al to justify or otherwise tell you to get this MK4S. Just buy/try the thing now, while they’re (somewhat) readily available. Because this thing slays. Like the first time you heard your favorite song. It’s pretty much the last phono stage you will need. Honest. True, $1,398 ain’t cheap in real world accounting, but don’t dismiss this wondrous device because in the hifi world it’s somehow not “expensive enough.” We audiophiles are a funny if not deranged lot, I agree.
I’m not going to lay out my system because, really, who gives a ****. Your system, cables, room, ears, income, neuroses and musical tastes are completely different from mine.
So: What I hear when I play this musical instrument is coherent notes/tones/melodies/emotions that have a delicious density, FLOW, and presence that just has me pulling record after record. As well, the thing that beguiles/confuses/elates me is how utterly detailed yet smooth it is. High rez digital levels when it’s on the recording. Yet no etch. No boosted highs to trick you into thinking resolution. And it’s so quiet. As the grave. When that miniscule piece of diamond on your cart moves through those tiny plastic grooves, inspiring your speakers to produce movements of air that inspire your ears, all the recorded bits and musicianship are there. They emerge perfectly placed, like the bricks at the start of a game of Jenga. And they just flow. I don’t think about soundstage or depth or ‘tightness’ of bass. I don’t think about tonal accuracy or where I am in the hall because I’m just entranced. I’m pulled into a riptide of music. I don’t need ‘proper’ 180g audiophile records to get there. This thing finds the music, with earnestness and precision, and lets it rip.
Grow out of the gear and into all your great music. Join the growing federation of independent thinking audiophiles and try the MK4S out, before the reviewers get their fangs into it. It ain’t exactly cheap but it MIGHT be priceless.