Well, dammit (NPC added)

I was not expecting any single component to have such a dramatic impact to my vinyl playback chain. I’ve had a highly-rated entry-level tube phono pre-amp since I got my turntable a few years back. But it was a bit noisy and I felt a bit smeary sometimes. Never satisfied, right? I was going to get an NPC at Christmas but jumped a little bit late. So I found one on Audiogon, said it was a demo. Price was doable but not trivial at this point. What the heck, right?

I’ve been looking for a reason to NOT like it so I can recoup some of my purchase. And dammit. I can’t. I’m listening to the “Inside Llewyn Davis” soundtrack. And freaking Oscar Isaac is singing in my music room. Now I’m stuck with it.

And delighted.

Thanks for upping my system, PS Audio. Now I just need to control myself from getting a damned Stellar Pre to run into my existing Peachtree 220SE.


I’ve been very happy with mine. It was superior to the more expensive Whest phono amp it replaced. Don’t be afraid to play with different loading and gain settings - the settings I’ve settled on are a bit different than what I would have used based on my cart’s rated output and recommended loading. Also be aware you can use a PS Audio remote handpiece to turn off (use the ‘Off’ button) the blinding blue logo (though it does make a pretty good night light).


I’m enjoying mine. I think my previous tube phono preamplifier was very good and perhaps even a bit better, but the NPC has balanced output which really helps it fit well in my system, and with excellent isolation feet, a great power cord and great XLR cables it’s really shining in my system.

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Oh, sure. Keep pushing me to get that Stellar Pre so I can have a remote. :wink:

I really like my NPC too. I am constantly amazed at how well it converts analog to digital. I have digitized about a dozen LPs so far using Vinyl Studio at 24/96 settings. After burning the files to DVD the playback on my PWT sounds really close to the original LP. I was a pure analog listener until I purchased my PS Audio equipment. My digital listening will probably never go beyond the PWT and my Stellar Gain Cell DAC but I am very happy with the sound.

Another great NPC benefit - after digitizing LPs I probably will not spin them much. That will take a lot of wear and tear off of my TT cartridge. I might be able to double the time (or more) between cartridge rebuilds - which are not cheap.

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Interestingly I haven’t tried the digital aspects of the NPC. I thought I would use it not to make needle drops (I don’t do files, mobile audio, etc.) but to utilize the second HDMI input on my DSD–at the time I had a video and audio system and was running out of rack space and analog inputs). A move to a different room and dropping the video aspect has eliminated the need to use the NPC digitally and I’m getting such great sound as an analog device that I haven’t been tempted to experiment.

I liked the movie so I bought the CD. Track 14 is the best song on the album.

I think Isaac’s take on Queen Jane is epic. The one in the film was shorter but played live.

My 12 year old daughter adores the album. There is hope for the future.

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I haven’t tried the digital side yet. My Peachtree doesn’t do DSD and I don’t actually have a decent coax digital cable anyway. The analog side is plenty good for now. It DOES stretch my Audioquest cables pretty wide though for the inputs.

I’m hurt you didn’t buy mine ; ). It would’ve gone better with your black components.

This post is timely, I recently added NPC to my system as well. Although I didn’t find it to be better than the Rega Fono MC, which is a cheaper unit. I found the NPC to sound thin, vocal is recessed. Maybe it’s a system synergy thing. I’m keeping it though for the dsd record of my vinyl, which I found it did a pretty good job at.

Wow, mine certainly doesn’t sound thin! I suspect system synergy has me happier with mine than you are with yours.

That’s good to hear, I have a rega planar 6 with ania cartridge so I can see why the rega fono mc is better suited, but I was really hoping to recoup some cost by only having the NPC, such is not the case

Yeah…I had spent the last three days going back and forth over emailing you again. When I had decided I was going to, I checked audiogon and found it for quite a bit less, albeit with an expired warranty.

I DO kind of feel bad about that.

Don’t! I was just kidding : ). Glad you like it. Of course, Darren’s, now…

I’ve an RP3 with the TTPSU, Exact2 and white belt, and Groovetracer Reference subplatjer, counterweight, Delrin platter and record weight. I’ve no experience with MC cartridges, really like the Rega sound and the NPC conveys that well. I’m using balanced outputs as I have a balanced preamp.

A friend of mine just bought one from Galen Gareis to take the place of the phono pre in his Prima Luna integrated. He is raving about the upgrade! Galen was well set already with a PASS XP-25.

Another Rega man… NPC wasn’t for me either. I used one a few years back. I now use the Rega Aria phono. I intend to buy the Aura MC reference pre-amplifier but waiting for the Rega P 10 to be released and buy both together…

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I bought the NPC specifically to make 24/96 records of my records so I can listen to them on my portable gear. It works really well for that. It’s a fine phono preamp on the side but it’s third place in my system. You should hear first place. LOL
Rega RP10 here.

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Out of curiosity, What’s your first place phono pre? And what is the second?