Lehmann Audio, Black Cube MM/MC Phono Preamp - "Amazing"
Lehmann Audio (Entec) is a new German HiFi Company with ambitious plans: design and build hi-end level components at an affordable price.
Norbert Lehmann, the man behind the project, isn't totally crazy though.
He is an electronic engineer with an incredible know-how and who has understood that time was come to shake the Hi-end market with some top-level products at prices as low as possible, saving everywhere BUT in the sonic quality of its designs.
So aesthetics, finish and attractiveness of his designs are optimized to reduce the production costs. In other words what NAD and Rotel (and others) have been doing for years in the low-end of the market. More or less the same ideas behind the old Audio Alchemy project.
Norbert Lehmann has hence designed some products, a phono preamp and some digital converters (DACs), rather ugly but, as we will discover later on, a pleasure to the ear (and to the wallet :-).
The Black Cube is the solid-state MM/MC phono preamp. A plain, small black box (11 x 10 x 4 cm, more or less the same size of three piled CDs) with no switches, no chrome finishes, no gold knobs, nothing that can attract your eyes. Everything changes however on the inside of the box: a top-quality construction which makes use of top-notch passive and active components and a precision that is simply stunning.
If you dare to judge this preamp from the outside you start wondering why this product is quickly becoming a MUST for every serious vinyl addict.
It seems that after the Black Cube has started to be distributed in the US, the Company has been literally buried by requests of 110 V models.
The Black Cube has an equally plain separated power supply, one plastic black box that reminds those of the external modems and similar stuff.
Even the cable between the power supply and the preamp seems poor and cheap; at first glance - but then you soon realize that it is a hi-quality shielded cable, instead. It is 2 meters long so that the power supply can be placed very near from the preamp itself. So by now you just begin to understand that this little Black Cube is special - the $600+ price tag is totally warranted & still available today - it's about as good a phono preamp as I've experienced south of $2K. It's an amazing unit.
Come listen to this little wonder here at the Lawrence shop or purchase via this site.
Lehmann Audio, Black Cube: $349 + sales tax where applicable