The new 2021 H5500 entry level phono preamp charts a trajectory that dates all the way back to the giant killing H1200 phono of the early 2010’s and is all set to be the new biggest seller here at Lotus. It replaces the outgoing H1202 with a number of significant improvements. Firstly it sports an all aluminimum chassis. Gone is the stubby taller fascia of it’s predecessor and now we have a wider smarter look, more in keeping with its elder siblings and the new OTL/OCL preamps.
Like all Allnic Audio products, the H5500 uses Permalloy (iron and nickel alloy) for its transformer cores. As per it’s predecessor and indeed the original H1200, it employs four NOS E180CC twin triode tubes from the days of early computing, a staunch and highly robust choice that simply can’t be improved upon and which is much favoured by Kang Su Park. Like the 1202, this new preamp also uses a 7233 voltage regulator tube and a 5654 for voltage correction in a far superior tube power supply. A pure class A design with no negative feedback it offers 278Ω, 117Ω, 69Ω, and 29Ω loading settings, selectable from the chassis mounted rotational pots, each of which is tied to a specific gain factor. Soft start function, a convenient mute switch and single ended input and output connectivity at the rear complete the specs.
Functionality has also been improved; the H5500 offers users dual MC and dual MC inputs so up to four cartridges can be accomodated at any one time. The fascia has also been adorned with Allnic’s famed power meter, normally reserved for more expensive products. The meter is very useful in indicating and quickly diagnosing tube replacement or failure. On the sonic side there is of course a host of significant developments over the previous H1202. First of all the power transformer has been upgraded and the unit has also been furnished with the same step up transformers from the H7000 and flagship H8000 !
Build quality and finish is also up to the usual very high standard we have come to expect from Mr. KS Park. Available in silver or black. 2 year warranty on all Allnic Audio Products , 1 year on factory supplied tubes.
“A giant Slayer” amongst sub $10,000 stages.”
“There’s just something intrinsically ‘right’ about the Allnic sound. It draws you in, and into the music. The sound is seductive, not in that lush way people naturally expect when they see valves in the circuit, but in a way that is so damn listenable you might lose yourself in vinyl the way we always used to before we all became so damn time poor.”
“The detail levels are immense … music was portrayed with great accuracy and insight, as if you could see into the studio with more clarity than many Big Name phono stages.”
“When it comes to the dynamic range, music dances off the grooves, with no sense of limitation or compression from the phono stage. The real joy of the H1201 is it doesn’t put a foot wrong.”
“In its own right, the Allnic H1201 is a remarkably good phono stage and – for many audiophiles – that represents an end point in and of itself. Howvere, if the H1201 is this good, imagine what the H3000 and H5000 must be like ?”