Fosgate Signature Phonostage and Fozgometer

September 20, 2010

Chris Martens has posted a review of the Fosgate Signature Phonostage ($2,500) and Fozgometer azimuth range meter ($250) at The Absolute Sound: His conclusions:

Like many of you, I’m intrigued by the idea—first put forward by our own Jonathan Valin—of using a “truth-to-beauty” continuum to characterize the personalities of fine audio components. Where does the Fosgate Signature fall on this continuum? I’m tempted to say it comes tantalizingly close (much as does Shelter’s magnificent Harmony MC phono cartridge) to landing smack-dab in the middle of the scale. If you twisted my arm a bit, I suppose I would say that it shades (but only just barely so) toward the “beauty” end of the spectrum, which to my way of thinking is almost always the smart way to compromise. But audiophiles seeking that extra “nth degree” of treble resolution that makes “truth-oriented” components sound so accurate should note that the Fosgate ships with “an extra 12AT7 tube that can be used in place of the 12AX7 in position three (V3) to give a slightly more detailed top end.” Personally, I found the Signature’s standard tube complement almost ideal for my purposes, but I encourage you to try the alternate tube to see how its sound matches up with your own tastes.

Is the Fosgate Signature the best phonostage ever? Probably not, given that there are many, many talented designers looking to push the envelope of what’s possible with analog sound, many of whom are developing phonostages more than twice the Fosgate’s price. But is the Fosgate one of the strongest performers available at the $2500 price point? It’s certainly the best one I’ve heard thus far, and by a not-subtle margin—meaning the Fosgate will offer all the performance some listeners will ever need or want. If you’ve wondered, as I sometimes have, if it is really worth the effort and cost to step up from a phonostage in the $1000 range to one at this higher level, the Fosgate provides great sounding answers that add up to a resounding, “Yes.”

You can read the full review here.