It is not about low voltage buttery power, tube version with 200 pounds power supply, CRL filtration, no-transformer gain or air capacitors. The topology that we might or might not admit to comply with the concept of “acceptable phonostage” is completely separate subject from the subject of actual phonostage performance. We read or look at how some specific phonostages made, we evaluate the sound of those specific phonostages and we attribute this or that sonic characteristic to this or that design topology. However, we do not know the sound of the topology but we know only the sound of that specific implementation, the implementation that might have sound not even remotely associated with the topology itself.
So, I do feel that in most of the cases, unless you yourself test the topologies and you yourself evaluate the sonic consequences of the topologies applications. You can buy as many let say phonostages with input pentode as you want and you can run your mouth about benefits and contra-benefits of having the input pentode. However it all will be meaningless. The sound of a given input pentode would be on 90% dependant from the type and balance of the screen voltage supply. You need to move the screen voltage, provide different type of filtration, stabilization, damping and a few other things until you file that your pentode provide right sound in context of what you are looking in sound. That you will be the person who gets the grip with that very minor aspect of topology.
The very same is about low voltage buttery power phonostages. Of cause it is a great idea. I am absolutely sure that all of you, one time or other, have bought some of those $19. 95 buttery-powered phonostages with a secret wish that it might be sounding so good that it will get rid of the need of use multi-thousand dollars mastodons- phonostages. I did the same and all of those phonostages ended up in the same garbage can as yours did. Does it mean that a good phonostage must be multi-thousand dollars? Absolutely not! However, it also does not suggest that any topology or technology is suitable for any phonostage or any price point.
The problem in all of it that most, or even any, phonostages out there, being made, being marketed, or even been spoken about, do not make any sonic claim. We spoke about technologies, parts, assembling techniques, and topologies but that is such a full of irrelevant crap from some perspective. Can you approach a manufacture or your dealer and request as phonostages with well formed sonic objectives? Can you request a phonostage that would make the last two movements of Brahms second pianos concerto as interesting as the first one? Can you request a phonostage that would make the meaningless sounds from woodwind of American orchestra to have the same aesthetic beauty as the woodwinds have in Czech, Austria and South Germany? I do not think that you can and this to me make any conversation “design objective” worthless, unless the awareness of the listener itself is plagued into a decision making processes.
For sure, it would not be not a problem if the people who design and sell our audio were the individuals with proper mind set but we all know that it is not the case.
"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche