Turning the phono stage around again, we look at the front. At the left there's the status LED followed by a 2.8" TFT color display and the SKC knob. Our review sample was finished in a stylish golden anodized skin and in combination with the fish-bone slots, this 20 x 8 x 26cm apparatus scored high in the looks department. We also received the matching PSU-10 external power supply. Matching here meant both electrical and in appearance and foot print.

Gold Note describe the PSU-10 as "proprietary dual-choke design which perfectly filters the signal voltages to eliminate all possible electrical noise from the AC power system. The PSU-10 uses its massive power supply to shield the PH-10 phono stage from electromagnetic interferences, insulating it effectively from the AC grid. The PSU-10 delivers high-quality power using four transformers, three dedicated exclusively to the pure power supply, one to the inductive filter."

In summary, it is a 'you can't have enough transformers' affair delivering +12V and +5V for logic and ±14V for analog including the inductive filter. These voltages are transported to the PH-10 by an 8-lead umbilical located at the back of the PSU-10 above the IEC receptacle next to the master switch. With looks and size matching the PH-10, it is tempting to dock both but that is not recommended. Gold Note recommend instead to place the power supply left of the phono stage as far as possible. In a rack that would mean a different shelf. The umbilical cord we received was 1 meter in length.

Time to get things going. We placed both devices at a reasonable distance conjoined by the cord. The unbalanced output went to the SPEC input selector followed by the SPEC RPA-MG1000 and our 109dB sensitive Avantgarde Acoustic Duo Omega loudspeakers. Input came from our Dr. Feickert Blackbird turntable with Zu DL-103 and the second input went to a Holbo air-bearing turntable with Benz Micro Ruby Open Air 2. When all was connected and checked, the power switch on the PSU-10 flipped. A push on the SKC brought the display to life and the very intuitive push/turn control quickly moved us through the menu options. This worked very much like Mytek implement their controls.

First we selected input 1 for MC duties. From the gain sub menu offering -3dB, 0dB, +3dB and +6dB, we chose 0dB and in the load sub menu 100Ω for the Zu DL-103. Here the other choices were 10, 22, 47, 100, 220, 470, 1K, 22K and 47KΩ. From the 3-way sub menu for equalization curves of RIAA, Decca London and America/Columbia, we chose RIAA. Each of these curves offers an enhanced option. This is a Gold Note goody that boosts the sound a little. It becomes more vivid and in some but not all cases more dynamic. We left this option unused for the moment. Input 2 with the Benz Micro underwent the same walk through the menu with now 47Ω as load value.