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The MCL is a step-up transformer designed to raise the output of moving coil cartridges up to a level compatible with moving magnet phonostages. The purpose is not simply to allow moving coil cartridges to be used with moving magnet only phonostages, but to allow moving coil cartridges the chance to realise their full potential.
The MCL uses transformers supplied by Lundahl of Sweden and is a superb step-up transformer designed specifically for modern low output moving coil cartridges and optimised for use into moving magnet phonostage inputs. It features very wide bandwidth, low distortion and carefully designed primary and secondary loading networks to optimise the performance and give beautifully reproduced transients, free from ringing. The core materials and winding techniques employed in the manufacture are unsurpassed and feature multiple primary and secondary windings configured to cancel hum pickup from external sources as well as minimise inter-winding capacitance and maximise bandwidth. The step-up ratio makes it compatible with a wide range of cartridges and our proprietary loading networks maintain a 100 ohm input impedance, also compatible with a wide range of cartridges.
Used with a Koetsu Urushi (0.4mV) into an Audio Research SP14. The SP14 has enough gain to use this cartridge with no step up. However driven like this, the music lacks scale and some dynamics. Also there is not enough gain to properly drive my Stax SRM6tii from the line output.With the Rothwell between the turntable and preamp this situation is completely changed; The sound through the speakers is much more lively and dynamic and to my ears at least more natural. And my Stax headphones sound superb. I have replaced a pair of vintage Partridge transformers and there is a clear improvement in the midrange clarity, and the bass is clearer, deeper and more tuneful. Overall very good value for money, you could spend many thousands on a step up or low input phono stage without significant gains over this one.
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I spent a couple of weeks listening to the Rothwell MC1 and MCL as I needed to bring a Dunlop Systemdek 3, Logic arm and Ortofon Samba back from 3 years of gardening leave.As my Moon 240i only has an MM phono stage, I spent time pondering which route to take: external MC phono stage into a line input or a Step Up Transformer into the MM phono input.Being new to the world of SUTs I wasn't prepared for the magical sense of space and depth that a passive device brings to the party. Frankly, I was stunned with the delicate control of the music coupled with the soundstage precision of both Rothwells. Sure, they are delicate controllers and some might say light on the lower frequencies but once heard, all of the active options I had been listening to were boxed and sent back to the respective (and very kind) dealers. Why? Because I have learnt that SUTs simply do their job without adding component character which in my case, once heard there was no going back.In the end I chose the MCL over the MC1 as, in my system, I judged that it had a touch greater grip on the music and enabled me to hear more of what the Samba was extracting from the vinyl.It was very close though. So, if cost is a significant variable, the MC1 is remarkable for the money in my view.The MCL brings the MC1 musicality (a Rothwell trait )with a tad more grip which worked for me. Consequently, I thought it was worth the additional cost.Now for a cartridge upgrade....
1 of 1 people found this review helpful.
It compliments the "Audio Technica AT-ART9 Moving Coil Cartridge" perfectly
2 of 4 people found this review helpful.
1st time review. has been such a significant improvement i fell compelled to write about it . the mcl spread the the music out to where it should be. it placed voices to where they should be. with presence,depth,and realism
29 of 31 people found this review helpful.
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