Based in Hungary, Heed produces a nice line of products with a distinct slant towards the world of vinyl disc replay.

The Questar is the basic phono stage of the range and is available in high gain (moving coil) and low gain (moving magnet) versions, each having specifically designed circuitry entirely based on discrete transistors.

Energetic audio

Gain is suitable for quite low-output cartridges, even at a pinch very low-output types, and the noise floor is low enough to get away with that.

As usual, the power supply is remote - in this case a small box with captive leads at both ends. The Questar itself has a locking socket for the power input.

We found this unit lively and rhythmic. It really enjoys a good rock'n'roll thrashing and does bass timing with great aplomb. That's not to say it's coloured or, at least, not obviously so.

There's a trace of upper-bass lift, both subjective and measured, but it's not enough to intrude and in more laid-back classical music, for instance, the sound comes across as very neutral.

A more refined unit

Detail is also good, with quite precise imaging in both directions and rather impressive insight into the acoustic properties of the recording venue, the kind of thing that is all too easily lost in amplifying the minute and fragile signal off a cartridge.

We definitely found the most musically satisfying results were with quite upmarket cartridges, suggesting that this amplifier's natural home is in refined and capable systems.

In a budget context its advantages over some cheaper rivals are much harder to perceive.