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Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Audiophile Fixed Star

A fixed star is a celestial body in the night sky that serves as a fixed reference point for navigation (not only) in shipping. In navigation, fixed stars have been used for centuries to determine the course and position of a ship. In our high-end world, my recent experience has led me to count the Japanese high-end manufacturer Phasemation among these landmarks. No wonder, really: the Japanese have always been known for ensuring that only exceptionally high-quality products leave the factory in Yokohama.

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

In my many years of writing about hi-fi, I have come across many exceptional products. As far as the Phasemation preamplifier to be presented here is concerned, it has immortalized itself in my acoustic memory as an immovable landmark, that much can be revealed in advance – and so it is indeed a special honour for me to be able to report on the Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister hybrid preamplifier (no typo, more on this later).

The distributor also provided me with two MA-2000 mono power amplifiers that are suitable in every respect. A good idea: this way the chain concept can be finalized, because synergy effects cannot be denied.

The predecessor CM-2000 had already mastered the method of passive “amplification”, but now it has been substantially revised. In the successor, the amplification can be increased by +6 decibels using a small rotary control on the rear of the device. This required a change in the winding structure of the transformer/transducer. The previous 0.2 millimeter thick conductor material could be replaced by even thinner material, extremely high-quality PC triple C polyurethane wires with a diameter of just 0.1 millimeters (for comparison: this thickness is roughly equivalent to a thick human hair).

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Naturally, only exceptionally good copper is used in the country where the art of masterful metalworking has been practiced for many centuries. It is forged several times and repeatedly folded and reheated. This changes the inner structure and it is cleansed by mechanically expelling all impurities. It is understandable that this also improves the flow properties of the electrons within the wire. To put it bluntly, the super-clean copper cables also result in an extremely clean flow of electrons. And while we were at it, the transformer was also given a symmetry in its windings. This means that both conductors (plus/minus) are now wound in a transformer in such a balanced way that a high common mode rejection ratio (CMRR) is achieved.

The CM-2200 Control Meister has no power connection. It works passively, and the mere fact that it can be “amplified” by the aforementioned +6 decibels makes it a “hybrid” preamplifier. Inevitably, only the best ingredients are used. Every detail, no matter how small, has been carefully considered and worked on accordingly. A small excerpt: The transformers sit on a highly damping rubber material and are therefore virtually floating above the base plate of the device. To prevent external induction hum, the two-millimeter-thick steel base plate has a copper coating. The appliance lid has an induction hum protection, while the two-centimeter-thick aluminium front panel (in the beautifully matt, light champagne shade typical of Phasemation) provides a solid finish at the front. At the bottom, the walnut panel immediately catches the eye; it is designed to repel unnecessary vibrations. And finally, there are the four TAOC cast iron feet with their high carbon content, which should contribute to the very best sound resolution.

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Did I mention that the three RCA/cinch input connectors as well as the two RCA/cinch output connectors are from Furutech? I expected nothing less (than these perfectly rhodium-plated contacts). There are the same number of XLR contacts from Neutrik. I have to mention the patented volume control. The best on the market is the control via fixed contacts – a symmetrical stepped potentiometer with individual resistors. This controls the volume in combination with the individual contacts via the transformers. I can’t convey the haptic feel of the operation here – it is simply uplifting to control the volume! Consequently, this pre cannot be remote-controlled, which suits me very well. On the one hand, you usually listen at your own volume, and if you do need to adjust something, you just have to stand up. On the other hand, the concentration changes, the focus is entirely on the music (not even a quick readjustment via remote control). On the other hand, the volume control on both channels offers the finest synchronization values imaginable. No potentiometer, however meticulously measured (regardless of its origin), even comes close. It is precisely these meticulously thought-out details that make up the real class of the Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister. Honestly?I have quite a problem with it. Why?Because it’s so incredibly good! It is simply not present in terms of sound and passes the sounds through absolutely artifact-free. Never before have I experienced anything like this in my system. Every other preamplifier always “did something” and I had to find the right mains cable, which alao always “did something”. This is now a thing of the past – the CM-2200 doesn’t need a mains cable.

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

“I’m Not Yours” by Angus & Julia Stone is currently playing and I’m completely taken by this voice.Incidentally, I’m listening to the CM-2200 with the two MA-2000s I mentioned at the beginning. Now I’m not a hardcore 300B freak (I went down the path of the potent transmitting triodes years ago – there’s just something about the smooth power of these parts), but what these three Phasemation devices are doing here in my large system right now is an exceptionally good performance and deserves my unconditional respect.The power amplifiers have been known since 2016 and are in no way inferior to the CM-2200 in terms of build quality.The two PsVane 300Bs are driven by a 2A3 from Sovtek, which is used by some competitors as the sole power amplifier drive.This power tube is set to its optimum operating point during phasing, giving the two 300Bs the correct bias voltage.The parallel single-ended power amplifier does not care whether four- or eight-ohm loudspeakers are connected; it can be used for both resistance values due to its independent winding structure in the transformers (these are made by Lundahl from Sweden).A 12AX7 in SRRP circuit serves as a voltage amplifier.The 2A3 has its own power supply, which prevents mutual interference between the input signal and the driver circuit. To reduce noise, a rectifier tube (5R4G) is used, which produces no switching noise compared to a high-voltage supply. The two-color “Power” LED indicates readiness for operation; after a one-minute warm-up time, which it signals by glowing red, it changes to blue.

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

I just listen and ask myself: What’s actually going on here? Because I notice that it is this incredible calmness in the music that captivates me so much. Quite impressed, I end the musical day with the Tingvall Trio. Birds plays all the way through; I deliberately turn it down a little so that I can listen to it with more concentration. Occasionally I find it exhausting to listen in this way, but here the music is presented to me with an almost astonishing naturalness. The subtle presence of the bowed double bass in particular captivates me completely and brings a smile to my face. Again and again, it is the strikingly large space around the respective instruments themselves that is presented to me by the CM-2200. A good glass of red wine (a great Bordeaux from the Chateau Tour Seran from 2009 – it needs to be drunk urgently anyway …) ensures that my personal iron balance is maintained – musically, however, that’s it for today, and my thoughts meander around the CM-2200.

Ah yes, the name. Still under the name “Phase Tech”, a new, patented concept of volume control – which is often regarded by connoisseurs as the heart, the essence of a playback chain – went into series production with the CM-1 in December 2009.This control is passive, i.e. works without amplifying components, and combines a resistor network with transformer technology.The unusual name for a product from the Land of the Rising Sun is based on an idea by company boss Noboyuki Suzuki – it is intended to symbolize the dedication to the best possible reproduction using highly developed craftsmanship.He found this craftsmanship and striving for perfection better reflected in the German term “Meister” than in the English “Master”, for example.And so the name “Control Meister” was coined and passed on to the fifth generation of devices – the CM-2200 Control Meister.

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Back to the music: Franco Ambrosetti is in the CD player with Nora.The track “All Blues” is not really an unknown title in the jazz world, but here it is transferred into a new world of sound accompanied by the 22-piece string orchestra.The guest musicians are:Guitarist John Scofield, bassist Scott Colley, pianist Uri Caine and drummer Peter Erskine.The sonic opulence of the recording is remarkable, and it is precisely this that the CM-2200 Control Meister allows to shine.Nothing is forgotten, every little detail is revealed – unbelievably good.

I haven’t been able to listen to Sting with “An Englishman In New York” for years, I’ve played this track too often, but now it had to be played again.As if I hadn’t already suspected it, I’m sitting in front of the stereo shaking my head in agreement.

I’ve been listening to Deep Purple with “Smoke On The Water” on and off for 50 years now, but I’ve never heard Jon Lord’s organ played so succinctly in my room before.Louder?Absolutely!The fascinating thing is that it just gets louder without changing one iota!This was followed by a few more rock records and then a break of several hours …

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Miles Davis Walkin opens my personal Miles Davis evening.This album is one of the artist’s most important and was recorded in two sessions in April 1954. My favorite here is “Love Me Or Leave Me”, because the speed with which the musicians start is always inspiring.J.J. Johnson on trombone, Horace Silver on piano, Percy Heath on bass and Kenny Clarke on drums provide the perfect accompaniment on this recording.

The next album, Tutu, was released in 1986 with Marcus Miller on bass, who had already made an extraordinary name for himself as a studio musician at the age of just 27.At that time, the use of synthesizers in jazz was totally normal, so this recording is also a special kind of contemporary witness.Bassist and trumpeter got on perfectly, and Siesta was released the very next year.While the film of the same name flopped in the cinemas, the album, which was conceived as a film score, was enthusiastically celebrated by the critics.On this recording, Miles Davis proved his ability to make his trumpet sound extremely “sad”.

Of course, the best-selling jazz album in the world, Kind Of Blue, should not be missing at the end of the evening – albeit in the correct release recording from 2010, as all other recordings come from a master tape that runs too slowly on the second track.This double LP was only re-pressed in 2010 after the former backup copy was discovered. “So What” is the first track, and I inevitably have to turn up the volume (two notches on this haptically wonderful control) … an acoustic dream. No more, no less.

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The next day: The New Mastersounds recorded The Hamburg Session in November 2013. The four Brits present the songs in the border area of blues, jazz and soul with a unique dynamic. A carefully guarded LP treasure in my collection, which is always consistently washed before use and with which I gain completely different impressions every time I listen to it. The Phasemation CM-2200 is the most perfect mediator of these sounds that I have ever had in my system – and there have been many before.

Finally, some vocals from Kari Bremnes to wind down personally. Here, too, I simply have no criticism – great recordings sound better with the Phasemation than ever before. How can a device that doesn’t actually do anything actively (and does it perfectly!) provide such experiences?There’s only one answer: it makes no mistakes and lets the music speak for itself.I hereby conclude my sound journey with the Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister hybrid preamplifier and its two MA-2000 power amplifier partners, and I’m still reeling inside – what an impressive feast of sound!

What does the manufacturer say? “The aim of Phasemation devices is to give the music listener the truest possible impression of a live concert, in which the presence and energy of the music can be felt and experienced emotionally,” says company founder Noboyuki Suzuki, himself an enthusiastic hi-fi fan, conductor and head of the parent company Kyodo Denshi Engineering Co. Ltd. which was founded in 1970 and originally dealt with high-precision measuring devices.Around 20 years ago, in April 2002 to be precise, the hi-fi division was first run under the name “Phase Tech” and then, since December 2010, as “Phasemation”. In fact, and with all the good spirits of outstanding music reproduction – in my long, long life as a hi-fi editor, I have never been so “close” as with the amplifiers from Phasemation.There have certainly been some impressively good performances in the past, but no one has yet matched the genius of these Japanese luxury amplifiers – not to mention their utilitarian charisma. This just occurred to me, because the utilitarian principle is ultimately about each individual having to evaluate the benefits for themselves. As always, there are two sides: The (highfidelity-acoustic) pleasure is the benefit, the cost of acquisition is the suffering …

Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Accompanying Equipment

CD player: Wadia 6 | DAC: Wadia 25 | Turntable: Clearaudio Innovation with tonearm Universal and power supply Clearaudio Smart Power 24V | Cartridges: Dynavector Te Kaitora Rua, Clearaudio Charisma V2 | Tube preamplifier: Octave HP 300 SE | Phono preamplifier: Rike Natalija II MM/MC | Tube stereo power amplifier: MFE TA 845 with Elrog 284 | Speakers: Blumenhofer Acoustics Genuin FS1 Mk 3 | LF cables: AudioQuest, HMS | LS cables: AudioQuest, HMS | Mains leads: GigaWatt G-C20A circuit breaker, shielded mains cable in the wall, HMS double socket, MFE DF1+ mains filter in front of in-akustik AC 3500p | Mains cable: from AudioQuest, Fisch, MFE | Room: acoustically treated, floor area 40 sqm, reverberation time 0.4 ms

Preamplifier Phasemation CM-2200 Control Meister

Concept: hybrid (but in fact completely passive) analog preamplifier | Input impedance: 47 kΩ or higher | Output impedance: 250 Ω or lower | Frequency response (+0, -3 dB): 10 Hz to 100 kHz | Inputs: 3 x RCA, 3 x XLR | Outputs: 1 x RCA, 1 x XLR | Dimensions (W/H/D): 43/12/29 cm | Weight: 10 kg | Warranty period: 2 years | Price: around € 20,000

AXISS Europe

Haneckstraße 32
65719 Hofheim
Phone +49 6192 2966434


The stated retail price of the reviewed device is valid as of the time of the review and is subject to change.