Bernard Li visited us here in Ancaster yesterday, mainly to deliver and set up a slightly different version of Pre-audio’s BT-1301 linear tracking turntable (review coming soon). But he also brought along a prototype of his new Charisma Audio ‘Musiko’ MM/MC phono stage. This unit is due to be available this fall, and is expected to retail for between $1500-2000 USD. The final power supply choices are still being decided, and the production version will also have a slightly larger faceplate, and no bare metal surfaces.
Time was very limited, but – via the Charisma MC-1 mounted on the Pre-audio – we played the first couple of tracks from Bill Evans Trio’s famous Waltz for Debby (Analogue Productions), and it sounded wonderful – clean, detailed and rich, with a meaty low end. The Musiko also has a lot of gain, it should have no trouble driving systems that use passive preamps. This phono has been in development for some time, and is clearly a project of passion for Bernard, who has gained a large fanbase for his cartridges and has become known for his mastery of the analog arts. I have no doubt it will be a great success in its production iteration.
Probably the best way to follow the Musiko’s status is to check out Charisma’s Facebook page. I’m looking forward to having the chance to do a full review in the near future.