HiFi System Components Blog

Graham's anti-BS thoughts on hi-fi, and what high fidelity is, or should be.

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A Beginner’s Guide to Phono Stage Preamp Before Making A Purchase

Posted by Graham
April 1st, 2019
Beginner's Guide to Phono Stage Preamps by HiFi System Components

You're grabbing your dusty old record player out of the attic prepared to slowly fade into a rock-induced coma of nostalgia and bliss. But when you plug it into your amp you aren't met with the foot happy tunes and ear-damaging metal of your youth. Instead, you hear a faint whisper of your favourite classic song, distorted into a grainy, treble-heavy nightmare.

Read our beginners guide

Clash of the Titans - Art & Science

Posted by John Askew
June 2nd, 2018

This is a guest post, and the views of the author are not necessarily those of Graham or HiFi System Components Ltd.

Art/Music/Science venn diagram

Subjectivism in Hi-Fi reviews is a topic covered by Douglas Self under the title Science and Subjectivism. This is an excellent article and well worth the time taken to read and consider.


The main body of the article is well argued, although I find it looses it's bite at the close. Don't be put off by this, it is as good as it gets so far as this subject is concerned...

Read our guest post

Graham's Upside-Down Turntable

Posted by Graham
March 4th, 2018
Graham's Upside-Down Turntable

What I just did to my 1979 vintage turntable may be seen as crazy to some, but to me it's just plain engineering.

I was originally trained as a mechanical engineer and I could (eventually) see there was a mechanical contradiction about this turntable which in my opinion was either a design oversight, or that it was done intentionally to make it sound a certain way...

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Zero Negative Feedback

Posted by Graham
July 14th, 2016
Feedback block diagram (Image licensed under Creative Commons)

Right now negative feedback is bad. They're selling amps without it.

As a circuit designer I didn't understand what zero negative feedback meant! Well, I did, and I didn't...

More info

All About The Phono Preamp

Posted by Graham
July 13th, 2016

This piece on phono preamplifiers, which originally appeared on our previous website, is written from my personal experiences with gramophone (phonograph) records which started in July 1969 (at the age of 14), and my subsequent work with AV equipment during the 1970s . . .

Read more about Phono Preamps

Analogue Audio Needs Headroom

Posted by Graham
June 17th, 2016
Analogue Audio Needs Headroom

Analogue audio signals (mainly from vinyl these days) are not constrained like digital audio signals, so they need headroom to expand into.

Think of a digital signal as a 14 ft 4 1/2 in double-decker bus. Will it pass under a 14 ft 4 1/2 in bridge? Yes it will. In real life however, it would probably take the paint off the roof.

Now think of the road underneath the bridge being bumpy...

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Not Enough Volume From A Valve Amplifier

Posted by Graham
June 13th, 2016
A Vacuum tube

You know you can't fit a square peg in a round hole - although it might go in it would not be a fit - and so most people are really-sensible. But when it comes to valve amplifiers I often find common sense goes straight out of the window.

When something doesn't work it cannot be the valve amplifier's fault - it simply can't be that - can it?

Read more about vavle amplifiers

Graham's older blog posts can be read here . .