Last but not least, I moved to some favorite classical albums including opera. One was Carmen with Leontyne Price on RCA's Red Seal. It swallowed me wholesale already during the overture. I know that my combo of table, tonearm and cartridge kills it on dynamics, on saturating music with energy and keeping every element of a presentation in check. The whole point of a phono stage is keeping up with the turntable. Not many tube devices do but the LampizatOr effortlessly joined the best of them. And so the overture entered with true fire and momentum and I got so immersed in the familiar story of a beautiful passionate gypsy and Don José that the end came surprisingly quick. Leontyne Price's voice was as beautiful as ever, deep, powerful and magnetic. The stage was huge with its farthest reaches placed seemingly dozens of meters away and the front spread wide as if I sat in one of the first rows of an opera house. Following the singers as they moved about was as easy as ever due to the precision and abundance of localization cues. Where allowed, the orchestra displayed its power, dynamics and momentum to an extent that very few phono stages ever delivered in this room. And yet it was Carmen, Don José and other main characters that grabbed my attention with their emotionally immersive performances. Even on such large-scale complex classical fare the LampizatOr did a marvelous job of delivering all in a precise, orderly, energetic and highly expressive way. Which at this final stage of the review no longer came as a surprise. I already knew it was that good.

I've been rooting for Polish hifi brands for years hoping they would attain ‘world-class' status. I'm happy and vicariously proud to see more and more conquer foreign markets with excellent, well-made, great-looking and sounding products. We'd already seen several interesting Polish phono stages from JSikora, RCM, Closer Acoustics and Muarah to name a few. There are still more in development. Yet LampizatOr's VP4 Silver stands out as clearly the best I've auditioned. It's a truly high-end offering with refinement and musicality that only a handful of the best I reviewed over the years exclipsed. Amongst those were Tenor Audio, Kondo, Audio Tekne and Ypsilon. So yes, it's a product I would welcome in my system with open arms and maybe one day shall to continue my quest of a fully Polish high-end setup. The LampizatOr VP4 Silver is not only one of the best phono stages I know but a worthy partner or alternative for my LampizatOr Pacific 2 DAC.

The LampizatOr VP4 Silver is a great contender at €12K which, while far from being cheap, delivers arguably even more than its price suggests. Even if you're pursuing a phono stage that costs 2, 3 or 4 x more, you'd be remiss if you didn't check out this LampizatOr VP4 Silver first. Even knowing of the coming Horizon flagship, I can't resist bestowing upon the current top phono from this Polish brand our award.