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A Well Trodden Path

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Mikeh View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Apr 2021 at 9:39am
I’m not sure whether the well trodden path of system upgrades or de-bottlenecking is an enjoyable search for aural nirvana or a journey to a financial black hole. My return to to vinyl after a 20+ year gap started 4-5 years ago when ‘she that must be obeyed’ wanted to de-clutter (i.e. dispose) of my record collection. On the basis of ‘use it or loose it’ I quickly cobbled together a system based on a Rega Planar 3 I had kept from the ‘90s, an A*cam Alpha amp I’d been given and some Wharfedale Diamonds of ebay. After refurbishing the Planar 3 with a basic AT catridge and new belt, the cheap and cheerful system was usable but gave a sound to match. The upgrade path began and over an 18 month period, with several changes I ended up with a system I was happy with, the Planar 3 upgraded with an engineered sub platter and Nagaoka MP110 cartridge, Pro-***t Phono Box DS2 USB, C-Audio CXA 60 amp and cd player, A*cam Rdac II and Monitor Audio Gold 50 speakers. The Phono Box was chosen after a couple of trials to provide high quality digital output for vinyl ripping. All well and good, this lasted for a couple of years spent collecting new and second hand vinyl and enjoying the music.

I did look at GSP products and liked the reviews but didn’t think they would fit my requirements. All that changed following recent upgrades, the Planar 3 gaining replacement 24v motor and a Nagaoka MP200. Even after proper fitting (shimmed and tracked) the cartridge seemed to have more to offer than the rest of the system allowed. The Phono Box appeared to be the weak link so I started looking around and the GSP loan scheme seemed the ideal way to determine if this was right. After contacting John C, I arranged to pick up a Reflex M to try.

Allow the Reflex M settle in and what a revelation! I won’t try to add to the reviews given by others more articulate than me but the clarity, sense of positioning and extended range was just amazing. It seemed to me that I could peel back layers of sound to focus on individual instruments to a degree I’ve never experienced before. One track said it all, a favourite ‘go to’ from John Mayall’s Turning Point live recording album. Listening to the track California features Johnny Almonds sax reaching unbelievable notes took me back to the spine chilling sound he produced in Sheffield City Hall, 1969, outstanding! The Reflex M gave a whole new sound to the vinyl collection.

Having a chat with John C when returning the Reflex M made me realise that the Accession M might be an even better match, giving an additional analogue output to be used to for ripping. When a dealer demo unit came up on ebay, I snapped it up. After selling the Phono Box, it meant the Accession with PSU1 had cost just over half the price of a new Reflex M. Anyone likes a bargain, especially a Yorkshireman! The Accession is now in place and getting settled in. After 30 hours the sound is still improving and showing it will be as good if not better than the Reflex M. I don’t know whether I will be able to tell the difference but I will see over the next week.

Trouble is, the path is now going down the route of trial Proprius which will no doubt make a significant improvement and once there, a Majestic is the obvious complement. Mind you, the quality of GSP products will last me the rest of my lifetime and supporting such a world renown company that is just a few miles away is an excellent investment, in my eyes.

Many thanks to John C for his knowledgeable advice and help and to Graham S for such superb products!!

Please tell me I’m not alone on this path?

Mike

Technics sl1210gr with Nagaoka mp 200
Accession MM
Cambridge CXA 60 and Arcam irdac II to be Majestic + Proprius
Cambridge Audio CXC CD player
Old desktop pc as streamer
Monitor Audio Gold 50
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bass man View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bass man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2021 at 9:52am
We are all addicts here Mike haha
Are you using the rb300 or rb250 
paul
am from Yorkshire tha nuz
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Mikeh View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mikeh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2021 at 10:18am
Hi Paul,
My Rega has the RB300 arm and is old enough to have the heavy tungsten counter weight.  Still in excellent condition but I find it a swine to set up properly.  Such is life Wink
Mike

Technics sl1210gr with Nagaoka mp 200
Accession MM
Cambridge CXA 60 and Arcam irdac II to be Majestic + Proprius
Cambridge Audio CXC CD player
Old desktop pc as streamer
Monitor Audio Gold 50
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bass man View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bass man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2021 at 10:22am
Are you using the method of balancing the arm then setting vtf
I prefer it the other way set the dial at 3 the use counter weight to set the tracking weight 
paul
am from Yorkshire tha nuz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bass man Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2021 at 10:29am
I have just gone back to a rega p2 with rb250 from an ariston rd80 and mission 774 arm witch sounded great but if you farted too loud near it would  need setting back up haha


paul
am from Yorkshire tha nuz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote ICL1P Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2021 at 7:12pm
Originally posted by Mikeh Mikeh wrote:

Please tell me I’m not alone on this path?
You’re certainly not alone!
Ifor
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Reflex M & ACCESSION M, CuSat50, Majestic DAC, a Proprius pair.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lfc jon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Apr 2021 at 8:22pm
Hi Mike
I may not be on the same path as you but I am on a up grade path, I went from Gram Amp2 SE to the Reflex M before that I up graded the power supply on the GA2 SE to the PSU1, I have now replaced my cables from the Amp to the headphone Solo amp with Lautus cables that was done to get more Bass from my headphones which they did do, I now have on order a pair of CuSat50 cables to go from CD player to my Amp ( Treble is a bit harsh) and when funds allow I will be replacing all my interconnect cable with Graham Slee cables.
So you are not alone.
Jonathan 
Pro-j tt,Ortofon 2m Bronze cart,Audiolab 8300CD,GS Reflex M. Solo headphone amp both with PSU1,MF M2si amp, Monitor audio silver 100 speakers, Atlas cables and Lautus cables
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