Author Topic: Phono to recommend  (Read 3103 times)

Offline Chubs

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Phono to recommend
« on: July 17, 2019, 14:43 »
Hi guys,

I am looking to purchase a phonostage, budget about $10k.

Currently I am using a Pro-ject xtension 12 table, with Soulution pre and power and Vivid Giyas.

What would you recommend?

I listen to a vary of genre of music, from pop to Jazz to Classical.

Thank you.

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Offline blue_starfish

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2019, 16:01 »
What is the output of your cartridge? Do you intend to mount multiple arms in the near future?

Offline Chubs

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2019, 16:09 »
Hi Starfish,

I am using a Transfiguration axis cartridge, I am not sure of the output. Sorry, I am a newbie at this.

I am thinking of getting a 2 arm table in the future.

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Offline blue_starfish

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #3 on: July 17, 2019, 18:50 »
Axia-S is 0.4mV which is an easy load. However if one day you go to the Proteus which is 0.2mV cartridge, you need a phono with very high gain of over 70dB. As ultimately you are going for 2 arms, then you need a phono with 2 inputs. And easy adjustment of impedence load and gain from the front panel.

Off-hand, I can think of Pass Labs top model which fits the bill. Audio Research Ref phono is single input, so you need to swap wires. But the impedence and gain is on the fly which is easy. There is also the very very good combined EMT phono and pre which takes multiple arms. But the cost is 5X more than your budget. There is also a very rare Karan Ref phono that takes 3 arms. Each with its own setting. I believe this is by special order.

Other analog lovers will have more suggestions to contribute


Offline Chubs

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2019, 17:20 »


Axia-S is 0.4mV which is an easy load. However if one day you go to the Proteus which is 0.2mV cartridge, you need a phono with very high gain of over 70dB. As ultimately you are going for 2 arms, then you need a phono with 2 inputs. And easy adjustment of impedence load and gain from the front panel.

Off-hand, I can think of Pass Labs top model which fits the bill. Audio Research Ref phono is single input, so you need to swap wires. But the impedence and gain is on the fly which is easy. There is also the very very good combined EMT phono and pre which takes multiple arms. But the cost is 5X more than your budget. There is also a very rare Karan Ref phono that takes 3 arms. Each with its own setting. I believe this is by special order.

Other analog lovers will have more suggestions to contribute

Hi Blue_Starfish,

Thank you for that very useful info and insight. That definitely helps in choosing.

I think I will stay with a single tone arm, that price is too far off for me.

I will take a look at Passlab and Audio Research. In your view, what are the characteristics of these phono?

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Offline Chubs

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Offline blue_starfish

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2019, 17:50 »
If you are staying with a single arm, take a good listen to a Whest Titan or SE. It is in your budget. The reason I did not suggest earlier is because it has only a single input, and you needed 2 inputs. Also adjusting the loading and gain is a pain as have to do so with the unit belly up, and flipping DIP switches.

Whest is a purist design, everything is for the sound. The sound is fast, neutral, dynamic with very high resolution. The gain is high enough to take even the 0.2mV cartridges. The dealer may be able to loan you a set for home trial which is a big plus when it comes to choosing costly gear. To my ears, I prefer Whest over ARC. I cannot comment on the new Pass as never heard it in a familiar system. There are others who have it and can contribute their impressions.

Offline malsound

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2019, 19:48 »
Thank you for compiling, I will view them. Any opinion or recommendations of the ones you have listed out?

Thank you.

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It is all about balance and no one can really tell you how the new phonostage will interface with the rest of your system. Best to have home demo, noise level, toner quality, all this can make a difference between a good to a great system. For me I like a little meat on the bone plus a little atmospheric.  ;D


Offline Tiktokape

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2019, 20:07 »
You may consider Phasemation as one of the option.


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Offline macrotrust

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #10 on: July 19, 2019, 14:25 »
Consider this one- very unique Phono Amp for your full range genre from pop to classical. You can adjust on the fly listening to vocal & etc as to suit own sound preference. You can set your preference 1 to 6- can combine  Low & Medium output cartridge and  Mono too. Before they build they will configure to your existing Pre amp- for compatibility. The good thing about Tube Phono builder as most of them will configure based on your Pre amp configuration- as to be in tandem in sound reproduction. In short, customisation to suit your need & listening pleasure.

Most Tube Phono amp- typically rich, warm & full bodies (pending on cartridge too)  as to suit your Solid state pre and power amp ( transparent, fast & clear sounding) is a good synergy for vinyl listening.

It is premium pricing-

http://www.thoeress.com/en/phono-enhancer/



Offline Chubs

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #11 on: July 19, 2019, 18:00 »
Hi Malsound,

Some of the dealers don't allow home trial. I do agree home trial is best, as system matching is critical.

Hi Tiktotape, I have heard the Phasemation lower models and had not had the chance to listen to their higher models.

Hi Macrotrust, what's the Thoress price range and which local shop has this? I do like the idea of have a tube phono for the warmth in vocals.

Thank you guys for your feedback.

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Offline macrotrust

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2019, 01:18 »
This Thoress Phono Amp is not available in Singapore. It has to be imported from Germany.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/VLE63GEwohc&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/VLE63GEwohc&fs=1</a>

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/v/XrIYfcnuidc&fs=1" target="_blank" class="new_win">http://www.youtube.com/v/XrIYfcnuidc&fs=1</a>
THÖRESS
Dual-Function . Control . Amplifier
.............................................................
THÖRESS announces...
the introduction of a very special Control Amplifier:
The Dual Function Reference Control Amplifier represents an ultimate
implementation of both a reference class LINE CONTROL preamplifier and a
reference HEADPHONE driving amplifier. Both functions of the Reference
are performed by the SAME minimalistic circuitry which is based on a
unique single-ended, zero-feedback topology. Despite the complete
absence of any negative feedback, the Reference offers extremely low
output impedance which provides the line control section with an
outstanding ability to drive difficult amplifier loads and long cable runs. The
ultra low output impedance characteristic is also ideal for driving all types
of dynamic and planar headphones with impedances as low as 50 ohms, or
even lower.
The new Reference will easily meet the highest expectations of the most
discerning and critical music enthusiasts. It is an “ ultimate “ component
in every sense and the perfect complementary preamplifier to partner with
the THÖRESS Parametric Phono Equalizer (The Phono Enhancer).

FEATURES
The Dual Function Reference features 6 line level inputs, 3 line outputs, 2
headphone outputs (toggle selectable) and a custom designed remote
volume control presented with typical Thoeress style and attention to
detail. Volume control is performed by a high quality motor-driven dual
potentiometer. Whereas each individual part has been selected from a
larger production batch for exceptionally good channel balance via
measurement. Our potentiometers are custom made (by ALPS in Japan) for
very low angle sensitivity in order to allow for conveniently fine volume
adjustment.
Program source selection is performed in the classic most basic way via (6-
position) rotary switch, mounted on the rear panel near the input
terminals, driven by the respective front knob via metal spindle. The 6 line
inputs are divided in 3 groups with different sensitivity levels
(3xfull/2xmedium (-6dB)/1xlow (-12dB)), marked with different colors of
the respective jacks .

TONE AND SENSITIVITY CONTROL
One additional function of the Dual Function Amplifier is worth a more
detailed explanation - as it will be found quite unique. This function has
been implemented via a 6-position rotary switch, labeled with
EMPFINDLICHKEIT UND KLANG (sensitivity and tone). The respective
selector offers tone control presets on two different gain levels (full gain in
positions 1, 2 and 3; (-)6dB gain in positions 3, 4 and 5), whereas selector
positions 1 and 4 are asigned with a fully neutral operation mode (flat
frequency response).
The FOUR tone presets assiged with selector positions 2, 3, 5 and 6 are
meant to restore eventual tonal imperfections of the listening program,
often given by too weak a response at one or both ends of the audio band.
But also for counteracting the well known loudness effect (weaker
perception of bass and treble frequencies at lower listening volume) of the
human hearing. In addition, any of the presets will be found effective for
equalizing the response of headphones in terms of adding bass and/or
treble extension to a given component. In practice it often happens that a
combination off all equalizing purposes is applicable. Not only that these
tonal manipulations will be found much more subtle and as such more
useful in practice - compared to the possibilities know from traditional
bass-and-treble tone controls. Most importantly, they are implemented
without the aid of conventional, clumsy tone control circuitry. Much in
accordance with our minimalist approach. In fact, 3 out of 4 presets have
been created by solely adding one additional capacitor (per channel) to the
neutral mode circuit.

DESIGN PHILOSOPHY
Readers who are familiar with our general design approach know that we
strongly believe in the supremacy of vacuum tube SINGLE-ENDED topology
while strictly avoiding balanced arrangements. Accordingly the circuitry of
the DFAmp is entirely based on single-ended, non-balanced zero-feedback
schematics featuring 4 tubes, 2 x 6J5GT and 2 x 12HG7. Tubes which are
known to be amongst the most linear tubes ever developed in the history
of vacuum technology. Intentionally ignoring the fact that many music
lovers seem to persistently believe that balanced technology (and the
associated XLR connectors and cable configuration) is generally superior
over the non-balanced one. Probably because this myth has been
frequently spread in the audio press. (Readers who want to learn more
about our oppinion on this matter are encouraged to read the paper
(THÖRESS - Behind the Curtain) available on our website. Consequently, the
Dual Function Amplifier comes with RCA terminations for signal input and
outputs throughout.

MAINS TRANSFORMER
The Dual Function Amplifier is equipped with a proprietary power
transformer, as it is the case with all THÖRESS components. Our
transformer is optimized for low leakage and is deadly quiet, of course. In
order to eliminate even the slightest interference of residual vibrations
with the circuit this part is mounted to the chassis via isolation elements.
The fact that all power transformers are produced in-house enables us to
readily make dedicated power transformers for all kinds of mains voltages
such as 100Vac (Japan), 220Vac (South Korea, China, Thailand, Russia,
Indonesia) and 245 Vac (Australia).

BUILT
The Reference is built with meticulous hand construction using our proven
point-to-point hard wiring techniques,
whereas select components are
incorporated to assure outstanding sonics and reliable performance for
many years to come.

CIRCUIT TOPLOGY
The circuit consists of a 6J5GT gain stage followed by a unity gain buffer
employing a triode-strapped 12GN7 tube. Tubes which are known to be
amongst the most linear tubes ever developed in the history of vacuum
technology. The 5J5GT tube is an old medium gain octal single-triode with
rather low transconductance whereas, by contrast, the 12GN7 is a modern
9-pin all-glass power tube, with very high transconductance and high gain
and as such perfectly suitable for buffer applications. The same tube pairing
is being utilized in the driver section of our EHT mono amplifier, which is
based on similar schematic. Both triodes are complemented by a set of
solid state devices such as light emission diodes, MOSFETs and bipolar
transistors, in this way providing the tubes with optimal operation
conditions and let them perform at their very best. THÖRESS is nor about
dogmatic vacuum tube design nor about the transfiguration of the glory of
the sunken age of vacuum tubes. We use tubes because they are inherently
linear devices and perfectly suit our minimalist design approach. And we
are determined to employ ALL ingredients the universe of electronics helds
in store, in order to reach the very top of sonics. By this approach (which
could be classified as CONTEMPORARY tube technology and should not be
mixed-up with (tube-transistor) hybrid technology!), we have created a
circuit with inherently low distortion figures and an astonishingly low
output impedance. And, most importantly, all this in complete absence of
feedback loops!

DEVELOPMENT
About three years ago, we were concerned about developing an ultimate
stand-alone line amplifier, meant as a complement to our Parametric
Phono Equalizer, “”The Phono Enhancer”” as we call our standalone phono
device. Filling this gap in the product line was a rather urgent matter
because the Phono Enhancer happens to be our best selling product and a
matching line device was frequently requested by both, THÖRESS
customers and importers.


 FEATURES & SPECIFICATIONS . HIGHLIGHTS
 Vacuum Tube Line Control and Headphone Driving Amplifier.
 Both functions performed by the same outstanding minimalist single ended circuit topology with zero feedback operation.
 Remote and manual volume control via (motor driven) dual
potentiometer providing better than 0.5dB channel balance.
 On-the-fly gain/sensitivity adjustment via rotary switch.
 Unique, fine tone control features for equalization purposes.
 Unique contemporary schematic utilizing 2 x 6J5GT + 2 x 12HG7
vacuum tubes.
 SIX line level inputs, with 3 different sensitivity levels:
full, medium (-)6dB, low (-)12dB; selectable via rotary switch.
 THREE line outputs with very low output resistance.
 TWO headphone outputs selectable via toggle switch.
 Full hand construction; point-to-point wiring throughout.
 Deadly quiet power transformer produced in-house.
 Mains voltage 230Vac, 115Vac via jumper setting; customizable for
100Vac (Japan), 220Vac (South-Korea, Thailand, China ML, Russia,
Indonesia), and 245Vac (Australia).
 Dimensions: 134 x 434 x 434 mm; weight 10Kg.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2019, 16:06 by macrotrust »

Offline Doggie Howser

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2019, 08:42 »
Hi guys,

I am looking to purchase a phonostage, budget about $10k.

Currently I am using a Pro-ject xtension 12 table, with Soulution pre and power and Vivid Giyas.

What would you recommend?

I listen to a vary of genre of music, from pop to Jazz to Classical.

Thank you.

Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk



Have a listen to the VTL TP2.5i - the brand new one. Virtually ZERO reviews out. I took a punt and ordered it - just based on VTL's reputation and Sammy's recommendation.

Less than 10k.

Full tube mode available (including MC gain).

A pain to change loading settings (if you have fat fingers like me) because they all use jumpers in the hardest to reach location. Also doesn't help I have old flower eyes.

But what a sound when you dial it in right. Have tested it with a Kiseki Purple Heart and Linn Krystal and ClearAudio Stradivari v2.

All stunningly reproduced.
End of Line - Derezzed

Offline annapurna

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Re: Phono to recommend
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2019, 15:10 »
You should also consider ARC Ref 3 phono or the Pass XP27 which is probably slightly above your budget.  Both are very good with the Ref 3 having more midrange bloom while the XP27 is quieter noise floor and better transparency.  I had the Ref 3 previously but now using XP27.  Both are easy to switch loading externally.  With Ref 3 it is by the remote control and XP27 is by rotating knobs.
SME20/12 V12 arm, Clearaudio Titanium V2, Pass XP27 Phono, Marantz SA10, CD7, NA11S1, Pass XP22 Pre, XA100.8 Monos, Sonus Faber Lilium, Kimber PK10 Palladian, Shunyata Alpha Zitron & Yter PC, Yter XLR, bi-wire spkr cables, Nordost Tyr phono cables, PurePower PP+ 3000  Regenerator, TAOC ASR2, Furutech GTX-D NCF(R)