Yep, that’s the right price. For less than $200 you can buy cable with a nice fit and finish that uses a modified helix array inside a polyurethane jacket to improve performance. At this price, the Prestige III could be a game-changer–especially for second systems and those new to the hobby.
The Arion Mk.II is identical to the original version of this phono preamp (reviewed by MF for AnalogPlanet.com) except that it eliminates the MM input and features higher-voltage–rated dual-toroidal transformers and an upgraded MC input stage. MF echoed the manufacturer's claims, writing that the Arion exhibited "a sense of purity and low-level detail resolution that [was] highly dynamic and musically involving." With the Audio Relax EX1000 cartridge mounted on the Schröder arm on the OMA K3 turntable, feeding the Arion Mk.II loaded at 100 ohms, the combination produced a dazzling presentation; MF said it was "among the most enticing vinyl-playback...
The Arion Mk.II's low-level detail resolution and delivery of the subtlest microdynamic shifts, combined with the absolute "absence of (electronic) texture most noticeably on vocals and on passages with complex stringed instruments," made me feel I was listening to modified Quad ESL-57s driven by the best tube amps, so pure, delicate, and well-resolved was the midrange, so free of electronic texture was the reproduction of massed strings.
From the mind of Michael Bettinger comes this heavy and substantial phono preamplifier, which is a “highly refined version of the original Arion.” That means better parts, more effective grounding, PCB routing and, of course, spectacular sound. We felt the sound wasn’t different, there was just more of everything, including “outstanding dynamics and plenty of gain.” A Reviewer’s Choice award winner.
We described this small passive unit as a “volume control in a box,” and were amazed when it kicked the butt of a few very expensive preamplifiers. Passives aren’t for everyone, but if you’re one of those people who are going “DAC direct” you might want to spend a few hundred bucks with Luminous Audio Technology to get clean, clear sound - and all without a power cord.