Text: ©Roger Poulussen Photo's: ©puresound.be | 27 januari 2016 |  <   > |
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Remton 383MkII phono stage (English version)

Who has not heard of Remton yet? I must confess that it is brand new to me too. Remton has its headquarters in the capital of the Czech Republic Prague, and was founded by Alexander Remmer. Alexander has been known to insiders for his innovative tube amplifier designs, which seem to be particularly musical. We think that after an intense test of the Remton 383Mk2 phono we will know if the insiders are right in this

The Phonostage

Simply Audio,  distributer of Remton Audio in the Netherlands, sent the Remton 383Mk2 to us for a decent review. The Remton 383Mk2 is a tube phono preamp, built around three matched JJ ECC83s tubes.

Out of the box it is a good looking device. It feels solid and the build quality is good. The whole preamp is built by hand and they used only matched components.

On the front plate you see the brand Remton and the model printed in beautiful italic print. Furthermore, you will find  only a LED and an on / off switch. 

The back side is assembled with separate RCA inputs for MM and MC cartridges, some switches to choose between MM and MC high and MC low. Next to the inputs you’ll see a couple of dipswitches for the settings, an RCA output and a fused IEC net entry.

Do not be fooled by the terms MC high and MC Low. Apparently, they mean something different at Remtons. At Puresound we mean by MC High a cartridge with an output associated with a quiet MM cartridge. Such a cartridge should be connected to the MM input of the phono preamp. An MC Low is connected to the MC input and the corresponding load is set using DIP switches.


Remton uses a different philosophy. MC High is a normal  MC cartridge with an output voltage of 0.3-0.5mV. The MC Low mode is intended for cartridges with a clearly lower output voltage, for example a Denon DL304. The Remton 383Mk2 has in the MC High mode a gain of 73dB and the MC Low mode 79dB. Considering that most phono stages use a gain of 63 or 66dB in MC mode (usually there is no option for MC High or Low), then we know immediately that the Remton 383Mk2 is pretty loud.

The gain in the MM position is 53dB (43dB or even 40dB is normal). Also in the MM mode the Remton 383Mk2 is loud. You can get in trouble when using a cartridge that is outside the normal output voltage range. Take for example a vdHul DDT2 Special. With an output voltage of 0.65mV it is already quite loud for an MC cartridge.

Normally you should connect these kind of cartridges to the MC High input, but because of the gain, you need to set down the volume on your (pre)amplifier. And because of the gain the range in which the volume can be regulated is quite small.

Even worse is a Benz Micro M edition (Benz Micro provides most of the elements in an L, M and H variant with output voltages of 0.4, 0.8 and 2.5mV). Suppose you have a Benz Micro Ace M with an output voltage of 0.8mV. Then we think it’s more appropriate to connect it to the MM input of the Remton 383Mk2.

A little confusing are the values printed next to the dip switches, which apply only for MM cartridges. When set to the MC the values differ from the print. Which is which is nicely mentioned as a table in the manual of the Remton 383Mk2. So is the 100kΩ position on the dip switch also the setting for 250Ω when the MC Low switch is set. And when this switch is set to "High" that same position forms a 1kΩ load.

This allows the Remton 383Mk2 to be very flexible that almost every connected cartridge will have an appropriate load.

Despite the high gain the noise of the Remton 383Mk2 is remarkably low. Even at high volumes, you almost do not hear any noise.

Step-up transformers

Inside the Remton 383Mk2 you’ll find a toroidal transformer, a power supply board and the actual phono section. Like many other phono stages built around tubes, the actual electronic circuit is only suitable for MM cartridges. Remton uses a Sowther step-up transformer to transfer the incoming signal of an MC cartridge to the level needed for the phono stage to work properly and fairly noiseless.

With the help of the MC High / Low switch you select either a 1:10 ratio (MC High) or a 1:20 transformation (MC Low). Sowther transformers are transformers with a very good price / quality ratio and fit perfectly into the concept of Remton 383Mk2, namely an affordable universal and flexible phono pre-amp.

Of course everyone is free to use and better external step-up transformer, but keep in mind that good transformers are expensive.


Right out of the box the Remton 383Mk2 already makes music, but it can be better. Luckily it is normal, so we continue to listen. It’s funny that there is nearly no sound stage. The sound is coming directly from the loudspeakers without anything happening in between, and it’s a little bit off center. Most is coming from the left speaker. The right speaker is nearly quiet, therefore I went to the right speaker to listen if it was working. It was, so I got back to my seat again. At the end of the song, the voice suddenly moved to the middle and we had a real sound stage. It was as if a switch was turned on.

At first, the bass sounds a little bit hollow. This “hollowness” fades and swells in time, and in the end it vanishes completely so all sounds well. We are lucky that Simply Audio allows us to test the Remton 383Mk2 for quite an while. After a week it seems that the Remton 383Mk2 is fully burned in, because we did not notice any change in sound after that.

We tried several positions of the load settings. According to the rest of the audio equipment and the Benz Micro Wood L2, the best sound we achieved by setting the switches to MC Low and 250Ω. A higher load gave some more dynamics, but also a harsh sound in the treble.

It is nice that the load settings are so flexible. Slightly less pleasing is still the limited control range of the volume control.

The first music the Remton 383Mk2 had to process was something to warm up. Fish with "A Gentleman’s Excuse Me" from a standard LP. The Remton 383Mk2 immediately sets the atmosphere of this track. Fish's voice is clear and appropriate to the size of the guy in question and is placed right in the middle. The piano sounds full and large. 

The next one is on the turntable is a well-known all-time greatest. Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon". The "heartbeat" at the beginning of the record is very beautiful, with great depth. The clocks in “Time” sound very real.

Next, some more modern music. Pale Green Ghosts by John Grant. A song with drive and dynamics and the Remton 383MK2 also let you hear all. On MC the Remton 383Mk2 is a good phono preamp.

Then we tried the MM input. First with a Thorens TD166Mk2 / Linn Basik LV-X / Nagaoka MP200, and a later with a Thorens TD160BMk2 / Link Basik Plus / Technics EPC100CMK4. The Nagaoka preferred a load of 47kΩ and 100pF, while the Technics performed better on 27kΩ and 220pF.

With MM cartridges the Remton 383Mk2 let you hear more mids. Also you get more bass, the mids sounds slightly lifted and the treble are brilliant and open. It  sounds slightly less balanced than MC. Using the right settings you can get rid of most of the nasal sounds the cartridge is producing. It is a luxury that you also can change the resistive load when using an MM cartridge. Most phono preamps have a fixed resistive load and a couple of capacitive loads where you can choose from. The Remton 383Mk2 has both


The Remton 383Mk2 is an excellent phono preamp. We find it is one of the best in its class. Slightly more mid-sounding, but with a solid bass, the Remton 383Mk2 let you hear music. The Remton 383Mk2 does not lack settings. It is more flexible than most phono preamps in this class. Only the high gain can cause some problems. It would be nice if it also would be adjustable. Of course you can also choose other types of tubes. With ECC81 or ECC82 tubes that gain can easily be changed.

We think the Remton 383Mk2 with a better set of step-up transformers sounds even better than he does now. Unfortunately we had no better step-up transformers that we could use to take the acid test.

All in all the Remoton 383Mk2 is an excellent phono preamp in his class. The most important is that the Remton 383Mk2 makes music and that's what counts.


Suitable for MM and MC phono cartridges

 Passive RIAA equalization

 Zero negative feedback

 Low noise

 Gold plated input / output terminals

 Soft start, DC high voltage supply

 Hand-picked high quality components

 Toroidal Power Transformer

 Frequency response RIAA: 20 Hz to 20 kHz ± 0.5 dB

 Input Impedance: 36 ohms to 100 kilohms from

 Input capacitance: 0, 47 pF, 100 pF, 147 pF, 220 pF, 267 pF, 367 pF

 Output impedance: 0.6 kOhms

 Gain: MM: 53dB, high MC: 73dB, low MC: 79dB

 Tube complement matched 3xJJ ECC83s

 Dimensions: 386 x 295 x 85 mm

 Weight: 4 kg

W: http://www.remton.eu


Simply Audio

Phone: +31 (0) 79-888 04 71

Website: www.simplyaudio.nl

Email: info@simplyaudio.nl

Equipment used:

LS: Sonus Faber Guarneri Homage, Magnepan Smga

Reinforcement: Ayre K-3-RP, Mimetism 45.2 Audio Analogue Bellini, Donizetti Audio Analogue,

Sources: Transrotor Fatbob S / SME3500 / Benz Wood + Design Levi 9 "/ vdHull DDT2 Spec Thorens TD166Mk2 / Linn Basik LV-X / Nagaoka MP200, Thorens TD160BMk2 / Linn Basik Plus / Technics EPC100CMk4.

Phonopreamps Ayre K-3-RP, Ifi iPhono, Whest 20.0, Lite Audio LS-37

Cables: Sign @ udio, Jelco, Heaven’s Gate, Prefer, Cristal Cable, Wire World.

Tweaks: Akiko Audio GEM1 Gold, Acoustic Revive RR-77, Triple AC Akiko Audio Enhancer. Harmonix RF 900