A first look.
Over the past twenty or more years Jim Hagerman has been responsible for creating a number of legendary products. Among them were the Hagerman Cornet and Bugle phono stages as well as the Stereophile Class-A rated Trumpet phono stage.
Hagerman is an electrical engineer whose broad background in electronics extends back more than thirty years and was not limited to audio. He holds many patents; even one for a mass spectrometer, which is more physics than electronics. Another example are the FryKleaner devices that were derived from some work that he did on an underwater modem. The point here is that Hagerman brings an unusually broad spectrum of experience from many disciplines to audio design.
The new Hagerman Trumpet Reference could best be described as being designed from a ‘clean sheet of paper’. Every part of the Trumpet has been designed by Jim Hagerman. There is nothing off the shelf, here.
This is a truly convenient phono stage to use. All of the functions are easily accessible from the front panel. The eight tubes are also easily accessible through the top plate. No need to remove any covers, just pop them in and out.
In addition to fully balanced differential circuitry, Class-A operation, no feedback, choke regulated power supplies, two inputs and balanced JFET MC front-end gain-stage, some of the other features of the Trumpet are:
Component upgrades all around, especially in the resistor department.
MC gain stage.
Variable loading that is gain independent.
RIAA, Decca, Columbia and EQ curves.
Automatic soft start (delay) for the high voltage.
Front panel pushbutton control of all features.
Implemented a larger power transformer that runs cooler.
Ability to run either 120V or 240V, switchable by user without removing the cover.
I have had the opportunity to hear the Hagerman Trumpet Reference on several occasions. What I heard made a very favorable impression on me. The soundstage was wide, deep and fully populated. The images within the stage were clearly delineated. The sound wasn’t particularly warm nor was it cold. The Trumpet seems to just get out of the way and allows you to hear just how good your turntable and cartridge really are. The instrumental timbres were rich and full. Bass performance was outstanding. This phono stage will have you reaching for your best recordings, it’s just that good. I believe that the Trumpet Reference is yet another landmark product from Jim Hagerman.
I’m looking forward to an extended audition and will report on my findings.
Hagerman Audio Labs Trumpet Reference Vacuum Tube Phonostage
Manufactured by Hagerman Audio Labs
PO Box 61911
Honolulu, HI 96839
Monday - Friday, Hawaii Standard Time (GMT-10)
Source: Distributor audition