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pearl Brilliant achievement

At first glance, the pearl phono preamplifier seems unobtrusive. But just like a pearl in a shell, this phono preamp has something special hidden in it. True to the mantra of genuin audio: The inside matters. It’s only the sonic result that counts. And, it’s not the device itself that dazzles with its artistic extravagance, but it’s the music it enhances that shines in all its beauty – after the pearl has performed its task. Which is: to make all facets and abilities of a cartridge audible.

Knowledge and consistency

Responsible for the development of the pearl is Walter Fuchs, and as with all luminaries in the engineering world that were commissioned by genuin audio for their respective products, he as well has been subject to the guideline: “No room for compromises on the way to the natural sound”. With this maxim in mind, the Bochum-based high end bedrock designed the pearl, a phono preamplifier that exactly follows his ideas of how a phono stage of the highest quality should be constructed. For example, on the basis of a channel-separated circuitry, all amplifier components operate internally in Class A mode and are switched by encapsulated relays via cross-bar contacts with a gold-silver-palladium coating.

The RIAA equalization is carried out in two stages. One is active and thus increases the overload stability, the second is passive. Both stages of the readily built-up device undergo a final adjustment by Walter Fuchs in the event of a deviation of the expected data with regard to gain or frequency response linearity. This is one of the advantages of the customized manufactory concept: here, each particular product can be optimized. In this way you are assured to own a perfect phono preamplifier.

Finest components

The pearl achieves fantastically low distortion values, which contribute significantly to its intimate sound. This is partly due to the use of the finest components available on the market, some of which are individually selected.
For example, 1% MKP capacitors are applied in the RIAA equalization, which are additionally selected in pairs. The audio operational amplifiers used have distortion values that can no longer be reliably measured (< 0.0001%).

The resistors in the equalization stage feature 0.1% tolerance values, as do the resistors at the outputs of the driver stages. All other resistors are set to a 1% tolerance. This guarantees that a high common mode rejection of more than 80 dB is guaranteed when used with correctly designed balanced inputs in the subsequent signal processing.

Exceptional linearity

In the equalization stage, the amplification values of the two separatedly executed channels are matched to frequency response linearity and level equality. This results in values that exceed the guaranteed plus/minus 0.3 dB and are typically better than plus/minus 0.1 dB.

Please note the extremely fine scaling on the Y-axis (left vertical).

MC and MM

The pearl is designed for the operation of two different cartridge systems which can be connected simultaneously. Usually these are a Moving Coil (MC) and a Moving Magnet (MM) or Moving Iron (MI) cartridge. “High Output” MCs may also be used.

The MC section features a strictly balanced circuitry and is therefore connected via XLR sockets, while an MM cartridge is to be connected in unbalanced fashion via RCA/cinch sockets.

“It is the well thought-out interplay of the many individually optimized sections that makes the pearl an extraordinary phono preamplifier.“

Walter Fuchs
Designer of the genuin audio pearl

Finetuning

Two rows of DIP switches are located on the underside of the phono preamp. These offer extensive possibilities to adapt the pearl individually to any desired cartridge and to present its qualities in the best possible way.

In the MC path, the input resistance can be set between 125 and 2000 ohms, while a total of five different switching options are offered for amplification. With an MM/MI pickup, the pearl’s fixed input capacitance of 47 pF can be increased by adding up to four further capacitance steps of 47 pF each. Thus, a total of five adjustment levels can be selected. When determining the optimum value, also the capacities of the connecting cable and the tonearm cable must always be taken into account.

Subsonic filter

The subsonic filter completely uses MKP capacitors in the form of a modified Butterworth filter, which also provides for the RIAA characteristic curve in order to produce an optimal filter behaviour.

Material combinations

The pearl’s enclosure, available in black or silver, is made as a slide-in construction. It consists of an inner housing (sheet steel) to which an additional outer housing (aluminium) is firmly screwed to achieve a high mass. In combination with the vibration-damped circuit boards and the rubber rings in the four damping feet, this results in a pronounced resistance to shock and vibration.

External pre-tracking power supply

The pearl’s power supply has been swapped out into a separate housing. Current is provided by a 250 VA toroidal transformer, which is fed via a mains filter with DC suppression. Subsequent stabilisation reduces the remaining mains interference to less than 25μV. The mains filter operates without reference to the protective conductor and has a very low cut-off frequency to eliminate potential interference as early as possible.

In addition to the power supply’s sieve capacity of 40.000 μF, the phono preamplifier itself features eight additional capacitors with a total of 80.000μF. This list of measures all serves the purpose of protecting the fragile phono signals from electrical and mechanical interference and at the same time delivering a “clean” current. The result: an extremely calm and smooth sonic image in front of a deep black background.

Hear it all

By combining designer expertise and the uncompromising implementation of decades of experience paired to the use of finest selected materials, the pearl shows what your cartridge is really capable of. For the very first time you can experience how good your records can sound – if an outstanding phono preamplifier brings in its magic. Just like the pearl from genuin audio…

Specifications

 

Type of device Phono preamplifier
Possible cartridges Moving Coil (MC), High Output MC, Moving Magnet (MM), Moving Iron (MI)
MC
Concept Balanced (XLR)
Input impedance Variable: 125 Ohm to 2 kOhm
Input capacity 2 x 470 pF
Gain 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 dB
Common mode rejection > 90 dB between 20 Hz and 20 kHz
Signal-to-noise ratio unvalued > 60 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio valued > 65 dB
Output impedance 2 x 47 Ohm
MM/MI
Concept Unbalanced (RCA-Cinch)
Input impedance Variable: 47 pF to 285 pF
Gain 37 dB, 40 dB, 42 dB, 44dB, 46 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio unvalued > 80 dB
Signal-to-noise ratio valued > 90 dB
Output impedance 47 Ohm
In general
Equalization RIAA without Neumann time constant
Frequency response deviation 10 Hz – 100 kHz < +- 0,3 dB (typically < 0,1 dB)
Frequency response deviation channel-to-channel < +- 0,3 dB (typically < 0,1 dB)
Level difference channel-to-channel < +- 0,3 dB (typically < 0,1 dB)
Maximum output voltage balanced > 19 V effective
Maximum output voltage unbalanced > 9 V effective
Subsonic filter switchable; 15.9 Hz (-3 dB); 18 dB/Octave Bessel characteristic
Overload indication > though 10 mV/1 kHz MM input
THD & Noise < 0.001% between 20 Hz and 20 kHz
Intermodulation < 0,001%
Sieve capacity > 80 000 µF
Dimensions (W x D x H) 205 x 262 x 63 mm
Weight 2.4 kilograms
Mains power supply
External power supply Filtered toroidal transformer with DC suppression and voltage stabilization
Rated output 250 Watt
Sieve capacity > 40 000 µF
Dimensions (W x D x H) 165 x 315 x 70 mm
Weight 4.1 kilograms

 

 

Interferences and external influences in relation to the amplified signal*

No intermodulation visible

No harmonic interference visible

*All measurements were made via the MC input. The corresponding values for a measurement via the MM input are typically 20 dB better.

Press comments on the genuin pearl

„Don’t get fooled by the understated appearance. Walter Fuchs has injected his entire career experience into the Genuin Audio Pearl and thus created this little miracle, whose musicality will have you addicted. Congratulations, Bravo, encore!“

Michael Vrzal in FIDELITY Magazin, 05/2019


„Sometimes, recognizing a truly great product is very simple: You listen to music that, for whatever reason, you don’t actually like, hear the first notes and are suddenly drawn to it and curious as to how it continues. An hour later, you ask yourself how that time has slipped and why the chores you had planned for were forgotten. (…) Hearing? No, experiencing! (…) Fuchs has successfully done it again and delivered an amp for those kind of music connoisseurs that prefer visual understatement paired with a hidden gem versus opulence and a global brand name. The resulting amp holds its own with even the most expensive and premium systems.“

Michael Lang in STEREO, 11/2020


hifi-statement

„In the extreme oversizing of the power supply Old School, in the selection of output impedance rather idiosyncratic, the pearl convinced right down the line. Walter Fuchs has created a fun machine for Genuin Audio that you can hardly resist, if at all!“

Dirk Sommer in HIFI STATEMENT (October 2019)
hifistatement.net


„Totally oversized power supply, twisted connections, unusual fine-tuning – the Phono Pre Genuin Audio Pearl doesn’t fit into any scheme. And its sound breaks all limits. […] Rarely have I heard such an analogue thriller. Wicked. Wickedly good.“

Lothar Brandt in AUDIO, 03/2020


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„It is a perfect example for the outstanding level that can be attained by music playback from a vinyl record.[…] All in all, the Genuin Audio Pearl is a music machine that is truly worth listening to.“

Olaf Sturm in hifi & records, 02/2020

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