Conveniently, the NAD USB phono/preamp outer box has quick install instructions on the back as no manual is supplied. Inside in the card tray is the wrapped preamp, a power supply (prefitted with a UK plug for my market) and a USB lead. The supplied software comes on a mini CD – so I downloaded Vinyl Studio Lite from NAD directly. Quicker than faffing with adaptors and a bang up-to-date copy too.
From photos online you’d think the PP4 was in a cut-price plastics case but it comes in a surprisingly well-finished and hefty black spatter-finish metal case. You’d be advised to attach the power supply to the preamp before plugging in – I got an unwelcome snap and sparks by doing things the other way round.
Back of the unit has gold-plated RCA phonos for moving coil or moving magnet cartridges, selected with the small slider switch between them. Phono or line input are selected with a similar switch beneath the hefty ground post – something I like to see. The PP4 also has Line Out RCA phono sockets. The front panel has a simple ‘Wake’ button to the left, the USB type B socet and two LEDs for power and USB connection.
I picked a quiet corner in my workroom to setup my Linn LP12 fitted with a Fidelity Research FR-64fx arm and Koetsu Black K cartridge. This produced a heathy noise- and hum-free signal when monitored through the NAD on the attached Mac Book Pro. To avoid all possibility of feedback I used headphone monitoring. While I’d intended using the Mac Book on battery power I could detect no hums or noise with the mains transformer attached so I used mains power to record.
No setup on the Mac required – two hours later, never having used Vinyl Studio, I am the proud owner of four very fine 16-bit 48kHz WAV representing the sides of two test albums. More about sound quality, Vinyl Studio Lite, track splitting and click elimination in a later post…let’s hope it stays this easy.