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Get the most out of your vinyl by adding a Catalyst phono preamplifier.
28 backers pledged $2,705 to help bring this project to life.

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Lucid Labs Catalyst Phono Preamplifier

The Catalyst Story

 After being asked to recommend a sub $125.00 phono preamplifier by countless friends we decided to do some research...the results, we couldn't find a single solution we felt was worthy of a recommendation. Our Singularity Phono preamplifier sounded great but was too expensive. After some R&D work we decided that we could combine design cues from the singularity with parts carefully selected to maximize value and arrived at the Catalyst. We've been testing the catalyst for almost a year now and it sounds fantastic. If you are looking for dynamic, highly detailed sounding vinyl playback, the Catalyst is for you.

After several iterations, we've arrived at a design that features high-quality components, excellent sonic characteristics, and fantastic test values.  Our design utilizes multiple gain stages and a passive RIAA filter with rumble filter to eliminate distortion caused by warped vinyl.

We will be offering the catalyst phono preamplifier in the following gain options.

40dB-Low gain version

45dB- Standard version

55dB-High gain version.  

Prelminary testing results

testing completed with a QA400 Audio Analyzer  on 45dB gain model

Lucid Labs Catalyst vs Audio Technica AT-PEQ3
Lucid Labs Catalyst vs Audio Technica AT-PEQ3

Lucid Labs Catalyst-Yellow (THD 0.00486%,) 

Audio Technica AT-PEQ3 Green (THD 0.01934%) msrp $119

Emotiva XPS-1 (THD 0.00811%) msrp $149

Prelminary testing shows within +/-0.5dB of RIAA

Testing results with a QA400 audio analyser show that when tested against the Audio Technica AT-PEQ3 (former runner-up for Stereophile magazine joint budget component of the year at $119.00) and the Emotiva XPS-1 our phono preamplifiers have significantly lower total harmonic distortion and noise values.

Who needs this?

Anyone with a turntable that wants high-quality audio output.  If you are using a receiver or turntable with a built-in phono preamplifier, switching to an external phono preamplifier is a great way to significantly improve sound quality.  Internal phono preamplifiers typically rely on bare-bones circuitry featuring high noise and distortion levels.  If you are using an existing phono preamplifier in the same price range as the Catalyst this is an excellent way to upgrade your sound with out breaking the bank.

What makes our Phono Preamplifier Different?

Unlike most phono preamplifiers on the market, particularly in our price range, we don't skimp on the circuitry.  We opted to use multiple gain stages and a passive filter section to help reduce unwanted noise and distortion.  Our design utilizes high quality components like high tolerance through hole resistors and high quality film capacitors throughout.  Many other products offered in the same price range use simple, single gain-stage topologies with and active filter sections resulting in higher distortion and an increase in unwanted noise.  We also hand make every unit in the USA, test every single unit, and stand by our work.

What does a phono preamplifier do?

The output level from standard phono cartridges is significantly lower than line-level.  The result if you plug a turntable directly into a line-level input will be extremely low volume, tinny sounding audio.  Years ago the recording industry decided on a standard equalization resulting in decreased record groove widths allowing for longer play times and reduced groove damage.  A phono preamplifier amplifies the cartridge signal back to line level while applying an RIAA equalizer curve to make sure that bass treble and mid-range are all amplified the appropriate amount.

RIAA Equalization Curve
RIAA Equalization Curve

Why Kickstarter?

Simply put, Kickstarter works. Using it allows us to bring you a great product directly, without any middlemen and the high prices that accompany them. Kickstarter also helps us to meet minimum order quantities for supplies keeping our prices low. 

Risks and challenges

We have been testing and revising the Lucid Labs Catalyst Phono Preamplifier for over a year now. Changes have been made to make the devices more durable and simpler to manufacture. We hope that this extended testing period will help to limit potential issues and risks associated with this project. There will always be risks and challenges associated with creating a physical product when using contract manufacturers. Potential risks and challenges include quality control issues, unexpected costs, production delays. Years of experience in product design and working with contract manufacturers throughout the design process will help us to overcome any potential setbacks with this project.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    Get a Lucid Labs Sticker and future project updates. We appreciate your support.

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  2. Select this reward

    Pledge $69 or more About $69

    DIY Kit. Includes parts instructions to build your very own Lucid Labs Catalyst Phono Preamplifier with your choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. Also Choose 0, or 100pf input capacitance and 47, 100, 47k or 82k ohm input impedance.

    Kit includes enclosure and faceplates. All you will need is solder and a soldering iron to build your very own phono preamplifier.

    Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.

    Kit includes
    Includes US power adapter and RCA cable

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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge $89 or more About $89

    Early Bird Catalyst-MM Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA in your choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.
    Includes US Power adapter and RCA cable

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  4. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Early Bird Catalyst-MM Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA in your choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.
    Includes European Power Adapter and RCA cable

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  5. Select this reward

    Pledge $99 or more About $99

    Catalyst-MM Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA in your choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.
    Includes US power adapter and RCA cable

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge $109 or more About $109

    Catalyst-MM Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA in your choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.
    Includes European Power Adapter and RCA Cable

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge $119 or more About $119

    Custom Catalyst-MM Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA in your choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. We will build with your choice of input impedance and capacitance

    Input Impedance choices
    (47, 100, 12k, 47k, and 82k)

    Input Capacitance Choices
    (0, 22pf, 47pf, 100pf)

    Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.

    Includes US power adapter and RCA cable

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge $129 or more About $129

    Custom Catalyst-MM Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA in your choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. We will build with your choice of input impedance and capacitance

    Input Impedance choices
    (47, 100, 12k, 47k, and 82k)

    Input Capacitance Choices
    (0, 22pf, 47pf, 100pf)

    Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.

    Includes European power adapter and RCA cable

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
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  9. Select this reward

    Pledge $129 or more About $129

    Custom Catalyst-MM/MC Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA with internally selectable choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. Also includes internally selectable options of 47k and 47ohm input impedance as well as 0 or 100pf input capacitance. This option is usable on both MC and MM cartridges.

    Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.

    Includes US power adapter and RCA cable

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    1 backer
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  10. Select this reward

    Pledge $139 or more About $139

    Custom Catalyst-MM/MC Phono preamplifier. Fully assembled in the USA with internally selectable choice of 40dB, 45dB, or 55dB gain options. Also includes internally selectable options of 47k and 47ohm input impedance as well as 0 or 100pf input capacitance. This option is usable on both MC and MM cartridges.

    Get ready to hear your vinyl like you've never heard it before.

    Includes European power adapter and RCA cable

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    Ships to Anywhere in the world
    2 backers
    $
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Funding period

- (30 days)