Aurorasound VIDA MkII Phono Preamp

It’s been just over a decade since noted specialist Japanese manufacturer Aurorasound first introduced their flagship VIDA phono preamp into the marketplace. The original VIDA — an acronym that stands for VInyl Disc Amplifier — featured LCR (inductor/capacitor/resistor) RIAA equalization, with its inductors being sourced from Lundahl in Sweden. Since then, the Yokohama-based company has added other VIDA models like the Prima and the Supreme to their burgeoning but focused equipment line — but the latest iteration, the VIDA MkII phono preamp, is what’s going under the AP microscope today.


But first, some company background. Aurorasound was founded by company president Shinobu Karaki in 2010. Prior to that, he was an engineer for Texas Instruments in Japan for 28 years (i.e., between 1980-2009), and he chose to take early retirement in order to pursue his own outside, audio-centric interests. After developing the CADA line stage (which incorporated a DAC and triodes), he came up with the first VIDA. We’ve since learned that Karaki-san participates in a Japanese-audiophile social-media group that shares their respective love of vintage cartridges online, and we also hear that he plays a mean guitar too (and teaches the instrument as well).


But now, back to the VIDA MkII. Its exterior design remains essentially true to the original VIDA — “we believe this design is complete, and there is no room for improvement,” according to Aurorasound — but there are some internal updates.


Among the cited MkII upgrades are new gold-plated amp modules that were developed for the VIDA Supreme, and inputs for two moving coil (MC) or two moving magnet (MM) cartridges at the same time (or one each). The U.S. version of the MkII comes standard with a six-position impedance selector switch for MC on the unit’s backside (12ohms, 47ohms, 120ohms, 240ohms, 410ohms, 1kohms).


The MkII’s front panel features a large Mute switch near the top left, in addition to vertical toggle switches for (as seen from left to right) stereo/mono, direct/subsonic filter (–6dB cut at 20Hz), high/low MC impedance (high over 15ohms, low under 15ohms), MC/MM, and Phono-1/Phono-2 (input select). The RCA terminals are rhodium plated. The unit’s matte silver fascia is framed by a real wood enclosure.

On the specs side of things, L/R channel separation is said to see a +6dB improvement, while THD+N has gone from 0.028% to 0.012%. The use of precision DC circuitry within the MkII was intended to eliminate all capacitors in the signal path, said to enable a, quote, “completely flat frequency response without any coloration across the entire audible range.” The active DC servo circuit permits “absolutely stable” outputs.


The MkII’s external power supply unit (PSU) uses a toroid transformer, while a Schottky barrier diode allows “ultra-low noise.” The PSU’s new printed circuitboard was developed by optimizing the placement of each component and reconsidering the signal path. There has been no change in power capacity or size.

The basic SRP for the Aurorasound VIDA MkII with the PSU supplied is $4,990. The considerably more expensive top-tier model, the above-noted VIDA Supreme ($12,790), gives the option of plugging in various cards that allow different MM or MC inputs via active circuitry or step-up transformers, EQ curves, inverse RIAA, and other related settings. At the other end of the SRP spectrum is the more basic VIDA Prima ($1,290), which offers only high and low adjustments for MC carts.


For more about Aurorasound, go here.
To find an authorized Aurorasound distributor, go here, and scroll down to the Overseas Distributors section.



Features & Specs
Inputs: Phono-1, Phono-2
Outputs: RCA, rated 2Vrms
Output impedance: 910ohms
MC gain: 65dB
MM gain: 40dB
RIAA deviation: 10Hz–20kHz ±0.25dB
THD+N: 0.012% @1kHz (MC input; A-weighted)
Channel separation: 90dB @10kHz
Input equivalent noise: –138dBV (input short at MC)
Power supply voltage: 100V, 50/60Hz
Dimensions: 260 x 100 x 250mm (w/h/d, MkII); 114 x 70 x 200mm (w/h/d, PSU)
Weight: 2.8kg (MkII); 1.4kg (PSU)


Anton D's picture

That's a stiff price point for competition.

Does this mean there will be a review?

This part made me wonder: "...the VIDA MkII phono preamp, is what’s going under the AP microscope today."

Tom L's picture

No audiophile paramecia were found.

Mike Mettler's picture
We are indeed considering doing a review of the MkII, absolutely!

Hmm, maybe I shoulda said macroscope...? ;)

Glotz's picture

A subsonic filter! Usually a huge omission for those with vinyl and subwoofers!

Love those switches and mute button!

Tom L's picture

all my senses sprang to alert mode. So sweetly modern, but with a sleek, vintage look. I sidled up to her and intoned in my most seductive voice "mmmmmmm...I love your switches and mute button...". As a gentleman, I can say no more.