Published on October 6th, 2015 | by Greg0
Make A Statement With Lehmann Audio’s Black Cube
Today, we’re looking at a product that you probably don’t need, from a company that you’ve probably never heard of. But it’s a chance to learn, and we promise some cool details, no matter your level of interest or knowledge. Where most people’s needs in audio gear start with speakers and end with headphones, serious audiophiles know that there is a wide world of other components that are critical. A/V receivers, DACs, tube/analog amps are just a few of our favorite things. And analog is hot- vinyl is only growing in popularity. And that means you’ll want a quality record player, which begs for a good pre-amp.
A solid state phono pre-amp is a specialist piece of gear- and Lehmann Audio’s Black Cube Statement is custom built and designed to be the best possible addition to your listening system in this price range. First step: get a decent set of speakers, ideally at least $500. Second, you’ll need a record player, and again, it should cost at least a couple of hundred in order to really benefit from adding the new preamp to the mix. But once you’re ready, then the Black Cube Statement is the perfect little guy. Passive RIAA is a term that you might not be familiar with, but instead of active equalization, passive prevents feedback, doesn’t lead to instability problems, and you won’t face high frequency gain limits. And when you’ve figured out what that means, you’re ready to listen carefully.
Amplifiers tend to be fairly large, but not this one- it looks more like a portable headphone amp at first glance. It’s tiny footprint (about 10 ounces, 4x4x2 inches) allows it to be placed very close to your turntable, which minimizes issues stemming from longer cabling. The versatile BC Statement can handle all common cartridges on the market, and is built using top-of-the-line Burr-Brown chips. In fact, Lehmann offers something unusual- “on request, they’ll gladly enclose resistors with your order for matching your system to this phono stage – free of charge, naturally”. There’s even a special slot for your custom impedance. An external power supply keeps potential interference distant, and the contacts are gold-plated too. Setup is simple- RCA inputs on one side, outputs on the other.
If you need something bigger, more powerful, or more flexible, Lehmann offers quite a few options. But this one does very nicely if you’re space-constrained, or budget-limited. Unless you’ve got an incredibly sensitive system, the backdrop (when no audio can be heard) is dead silent, and there was never any hiss or . We didn’t miss finicky tubes, but did appreciate the made-in-Germany quality of the phono preamp. The case isn’t fancy, but simple can be very effective, and clarity was clearly the aim here. If you need a phono pre-amp, Lehmann Audio’s Black Cube Statement is available online and from stores for around $450. It’s been around for a few years, but there is a reason for that: it’s still widely considered one of the best in it’s class.