There's no frequency-dependent feedback. Instead two linear gain stages couple via passive filter. This avoids nonlinear rise times and inferior feedback in the bass which lead to distortion and loss of control. Linear gain stages act neutral to ideally suffer zero coloration. As often it's old solutions adapted to modernity which carry the day. "The basic circuit concept dates back to the 1960s. At the time they worked purely with valves which couldn't deal with high feedback so needed to use a passive filter." Instead of a subsonic filter to blend out infrabass and protect against rumble and foot fall, Lindemann's circuit is down -3dB/8Hz on its own.

The power supply runs voltage regulators of less than 10µV noise and all gain stages use Oscon polymer bypass caps to see clean DC without ripple. The wall wart is of 'medical grade' to suppress line disturbances and avoid AC harmonics altogether. This supply still gets filtered inductively and its environmental load is a max 0.8W power draw. Fit 'n' finish impress just as they had with the predecessor. Massive aluminium fascias aren't on the menu but the case is solid, sockets don't wobble and switches handle as though they'd work just fine many years later. That my loaner mounted its 'mouse pianos' on the rear slightly crooked was forgiven since nothing there wobbled either.

In the €500+ division, one assumes that the majority of signal which presents itself at a phono stage input taps off an MC pickup. My basic sonic descriptions are thus based on MC mode with the €2'500 Transrotor Figaro mounted to a Kuzma S12 VTA arm on a Sikora Initial table. As recommended by Transrotor, I like a 100Ω termination for the Figaro's low 5Ω internal resistance. MM fans have my addendum to briefly report what the Limetree Phono II wrought from a €110 Ortofon 2M Red and €350 2M Bronze. With my well-conditioned loaner, already the first record impressed with calmness and scale that surprised for this class. That was true even when coming off my €5'999 thus 10 x dearer LinnenberG Bizet. I couldn't claim that the Limetree played it that much smaller or less consistent. Of course there was an audible difference. Discount hunters hoping for sensational giant slayers don't smell these roses. That's particularly relevant when one switches back to a 'better' machine. Just so, the Phono 2 created a most believable self-validating musical presence. It also managed an aura of solidity that was surprisingly free of opacity due to marvelously clean low-distortion gain. Take intimate settings like Jacob Karlzon's gorgeously relaxed Jazz piano masterclass Open Waters. The musical stage actors appeared in a wide and deep space of clear dimensions in unwavering locations.

The same held for Jazz at the Pawnshop. Image sizing and stage dimensions didn't vary with SPL or frequency. The Limetree made child's play of differentiating the phenomenal ATR Mastercut 180g reissue of 1976's original twofer. It's humbling how much more dynamic, finessed and calm the Mastercut is when already the original is a real pleasure maker. That better is always the bane of the good Limetree's Phono II divulged more clearly than expected. Was the very good ASR Mini Basis [€1'200] that much superior? Not really. In fact, the Phono 2's in the best sense sober ability to deal with a recording objectively came even close to the €2'600 Neukomm MCA112S. While that managed a tick more space behind the speakers and rendered the edges of the swinging Swedes' instruments a bit crisper against the surrounding air, the Limetree's maturity on these counts was truly astonishing.