Further improved on the highly-acclaimed first generation, the AVID Pulsare II phono stage clearly reflects the well-respected brand's ongoing tradition of solid engineering design and execution. The overall build-quality is exceptional and all knobs/switches are highly user friendly. In listening, the full-bodied, in-the-flesh presentation, along with state-of-the-art bass performance, differentiates the Pulsare II from typical solid-state electronics. On the other hand, its fully-balanced circuit delivers ultra quite background and sense of ease with diminishing distortion level even when handling explosive musical passages, surpassing most tube-based offerings. The four selectable gain levels, coupled with wide ranges of impedance and capacitance options easily adjustable by users, also greatly improve the chance of optimal matches with a diverse range of cartridges.
Even though the list price is far from inexpensive, the Pulsare II is still an excellent value with all its virtues figured in. People who are shopping for a phono stage in the 10k USD range should definitely grab the chance to audition this device, preferably with cartridges of various designs to fully appreciate the quality and versatility of the Pulsare II.