Elevator EXP - MC Step-up Amplifier

Elevator EXP moving coil cartridge step-up amplifier

Elevator EXP Beats S.U.T.s

Want to use moving coil with a moving magnet phono preamp? Read what this conductor uses:

Kory Katseanes teaches

The Elevator EXP will give you hum-free sound, purer bass, greater definition and much more of your music.

In the beginning you'd buy a step up transformer (S.U.T.) to be able to use a moving coil cartridge. But they hummed and did weird things to the bass. The Elevator EXP changes all that.

The Elevator EXP is supplied with the PSU1 power supply, and a choice of voltages and power plugs.

For more information continue reading after the purchasing options below.

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Price: £640
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Standard or Enigma PSU1?

Mains Voltage

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Specification Reviews

Make Your MM Stereo Phono Amp Do Moving Coil

The Elevator EXP is designed to step-up the tiny moving coil signal to the moving magnet level of a hi-fi phono amp input.

It Also Let's You Adjust To Taste

Whereas some moving coil cartridges will happily give their best with 100 Ω loading, others can be quite particular.

Rather than fiddling around with links or DIP switches, the Elevator EXP gives you all its loading options up front, right there on the front panel - making it easy to get your sound right.

The Differences Between The Elevator EXP And S.U.T.s

Part 1: the hum

For a start, the Elevator EXP doesn't hum. Transformers do. To be correct, the transformer itself doesn't hum, but the magnetic surrounding fields easily get induced into it.

These magnetic fields are predominantly mains-borne. There are a number of hum sources including all your mains powered equipment, surrounding mains powered products, and even the wiring you see, and the house wiring you don't see - all emitting magnetic fields by differing amounts.

The SUT, being a transformer, is influenced by them all. The result is hum. No matter how well shielded its case or how well you carefully position it, in most cases that isn't very successful.

The Elevator EXP is an amplifier - it doesn't contain a transformer so it's harder for hum to be induced into it.

Part 2: weird things to do with the bass

Bass frequencies are the lowest audio frequencies, below which everything becomes DC or direct current. DC doesn't commutate from positive to negative - it doesn't 'cycle' - so it cannot be transformed. Low bass frequencies to a transformer move so slow that they're 'almost DC', As a result transformers distort most of all at low frequencies.

All sorts of tricks and adjustments are employed to reduce this distortion - many include the use of expensive metals and labour intensive winding techniques in a bid to overcome the bass distortion. This is why good S.U.T.s are so expensive.

But the distortion is never really overcome and in the place of detailed bass, all the transformer can really do is 'fudge' the sound. You might have heard people refer to the bass they get as a 'smooth chocolatey sound'? I suppose that's similar to fudge...

The electronics of the Elevator EXP however, don't cause anywhere near such levels of distortion, so all the bass details - the layering and the timbre (the characteristic sound of an instrument or voice) is there to be heard and enjoyed.

Part 3: 'signal theft'

All transformers require excitation current before they will pass any signal. Where do you think the S.U.T. gets its excitation current from?

Has it a power supply? No. So obviously it uses some of the signal as excitation current.

That would be OK but for the fact that magnetic cartridges don't have a linear response - their bass is much weaker than the highs, and so more is 'stolen' from the lows.

That's the reason you'll often see additional components inside a S.U.T.'s casing - these being used to straighten-out the frequency response.

I think you'll agree by now that the Elevator EXP step-up amplifier is the better option.

Suitable Cartridges

Low output moving coil (MC) with output in the region of 0.15 - 0.8 mV (ref 1kHz at 5cm/sec)

The Elevator EXP must always be used between cartridge and a moving magnet sensitivity input. It must never be used 'post EQ' - after the moving magnet phono preamp.

PSU1 power supply

The PSU1 power supply is supplied with the Elevator EXP

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Get the best out of your Slee. Discover the ways ...

Frequently purchased with...

Accession MM phono preamp Reflex MM phono amp CuSat50 0.6m RCA/RCA short-link interconnect Lautus 1.5m RCA/RCA interconnect

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Input range0.15mV to 0.8mV
Output (for input range)2mV to 10mV, suitable for a moving magnet phono stage input
Maximum input378mV rms (a very large overload margin)
Maximum output4.914V rms
Gain22dB (13) < 10Hz to 917kHz (-3dB points)
Input impedance23, 30, 100, 840, 1000, 5100 and 47000 Ohms
Output (driving/source) impedance300 Ohm
Recommended load impedance47k Ohms phono stage preamp input
Noise at output-99dB CCIR Q-pk
Frequency response< 10Hz to 917kHz (-3dB points)
Channel balance0.2dB
Channel separation64dB
Size (approx.)W: 107 x H: 50 x D: 180 (mm) inc. jacks

Specifications subject to alteration without notice in keeping with our continuous improvement policy.


...the Slee provides better and more natural dynamics. The leading edges of notes are sharper, crisper and more 'real'... the Slee provides better focus along with a deeper and wider soundstage. Though some may say the sound is more 'clinical' than a step up, I'd term it as more transparent. On the best recordings, you really do get the sense of 'being there'. Once you experience this sense, it is unmistakable and something that follows you around to every system you will ever experience."
(using the Elevator EXP as a front end system in conjunction with a MM phono stage)
- Scott Faller, "Vinylly Yours Virtually", EnjoyTheMusic.com, February 2010

OK I'm going to nail my colours to the mast... Lucio has banned us from saying "best I've ever heard" "never heard anything as good" etc as it begs the question "compared to what?" and is often meaningless hype. But here I've listed the runners and riders, added the caveat "in my system and room" and finally "to my ears", so here goes. The Era Gold + Elevator EXP is the best phono combination for MC's I've ever heard - period...
- Geoff Husband, TNT Audio, July 2002

...you obviously will need a step up transformer or head amp of some sort. I've got an old Signet MK12T (Audio Technica) that I use on occasion. It sounds fairly decent and is supposed to have some cool iron in it. In this case after flipping back and forth between it and my Graham Slee Elevator, the choice was more than obvious. The Slee it was.
- Scott Faller - EnjoytheMusic.com: Yamamoto Sound Craft YC-03s Moving Coil Cartridge - 2009

Once the Elevator EXP and MC Denon DL103R were connected, I immediately noticed a significant increase in the soundstage, both in width and height and the imaging become more detailed and precise with instrument positioning being very well defined, I also noticed a greater depth and clarity to the music, there was a definite improvement all round to the SQ I was now hearing. My SGR CX3B speakers are extremely resolving and I can say that with the addition of both the Slee Elevator EXP and the Denon DL 103R cartridge, the detail and imaging I'm hearing now is just brilliant.
- forum member: handysteel

Hi I'm new to this forum my name is Doug. I have been using the Reflex M and the Elevator EXP for over a year and just love the sound. The wife and I tried many differant phono stages before we tried the Grahm Slee.A little backround we have Martin Logan Vantage speakers Simaudio W5.3 power amp McIntosh C2200 tubed pre amp Pro-Jects 10.1 turntable withe Benz micro SLR Gullwing cart and Cardas Clear and Golden ref cables. Just last week we brought in a friends McIntosh C2300 tubed pre amp with MC phono stage. Well we unpluged the C2200 and the Grahm Slee phono stage and gave it a listen.We played it for a few hours to get a fell for the sound. We then went back to my set up and WOW what a differance. The Grahm Slee sounded so much better the highs were so much better and the bass was well just like we turned up the volume.Sowhat I guess I'm trying to say is we love the sound we are getting from our Grahm Slee phono pre amps Cheers Doug
- forum member: wolfman

The Exp is indeed a fine headamp, Keith could tell you that I was indecisive for many months before replacing my SUT with one, but I have never regretted the extra cost, which it has repaid many times over.
- forum member: tg