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Auditioning Reflex C and Accession MC

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    Posted: 18 Oct 2019 at 9:19pm
tl;dr Reflex is v good, Accession is sublime, will buy the latter.

First, my sincerest thanks to John C and GSP for the loaner scheme.  It's wonderful to be able to listen to new components at home at my own pace and for an extended period.

I've been buying records since the mid 70's: rock, pop, reggae, soul, jazz, classical; good, bad and ugly pressings; new and secondhand. I've had my own hifi since the early 80's.  

It is a truth universally acknowledged that marriage, mortgage and parenthood all but put a halt to record buying.  But the hifi was ever present and ever in use.  With a few planned upgrades and distress purchases down the years I found myself with a PT1 deck - Syrinx LE1 arm - Goldring Elite cartridge - Carver MCt step-up transformer - Croft (Super?) Micro preamp with MM phono stage - Mesa Boogie Baron power amp - Tannoy Stirling loudspeakers.  Oh yes, there's an Arcam FMJ CD23T and an Audiolab M-DAC too but that's not what this post's about.

The Croft had been getting noisier for years.  I'd been dithering over whether to have Glenn Croft rebuild it again or just replace it.  After months of indecision I hatched a plan to try a Tisbury passive stepped attenuator, intending if successful to add a stand-alone MC phono stage and retire the Croft and Carver.  With the Tisbury's very affordable price and a money back satisfaction guarantee, I figured I'd little to lose on this first step.  Running the M-DAC into the Tisbury was like lifting a veil from the music.  The die was cast.  

The bigger step was to find an MC phono stage.  It's years ago and miles away that I had a trusted hifi dealer.  Trawling the opinions of mainstream hifi journalists and enthusiasts' forums didn't help much.  I was anxious too about matching the Elite.  Evidently the consensus is that it's overly bright, so hardly anyone has one, much less uses one in a phono stage review.

I was encouraged by favourable reviews in trusted journals for GSP products, seeming to be musical rather than showy.  Finding the loaner scheme was a real bonus.  So I signed up, John C explained the process, I paid the shipping and now I'm graced by the presence of a Reflex C with PSU1 and an Accession MC with Enigma.

I warmed them up idle for a day then spent a couple of evenings listening to the Reflex.  Versus my memories of the Croft and Carver at their best, the Reflex was instantly superior.  I enjoyed the clarity, frequency extension and detail.  Happily the Elite was not made strident.  The poor pressings yielded more music.  The better pressings gave more insight.  Analysis gave way to enjoyment and the hours sped by.

The next evening I swapped to the Accession.  Oh my word!  After a few bars of the soundtrack LP of Ennio Morricone's music for "The Mission" (a ho-hum pressing) my wife and I looked at each other.  Such presence!  Such detail!  Later tracks showed the individual voices in the choirs, the interplay of the flute strands.  We moved on to a compilation of Trojan ska singles.  The rhythms were irresistible.  We couldn't sit still!  We played whole sides of albums and a few 45s.  There were many highlights.  Genesis's "Supper's Ready" from "Foxtrot" (another ho-hum pressing) was sublime, conveyed with delightful fine detail and easy mastery of dynamics.  The instrumental 45 "The Horse" by Cliff Nobles and Co had real power and drive, with the vocalist's encouragement (presumably caught at very low level by the drum mics) clearer than I'd ever heard.  The Nice's "Ars Longa Vita Brevis", quite a busy mix, had a coherence that it had long lacked.  The Elite sounded more mannered than I'd known it.  Was surface noise less, or was I just noticing it less?  

The Accession gets so much so right.  It's got authority and subtlety.  It's musical without a trace of brashness.  For my thrift and scepticism, I'd hoped that there wouldn't be much difference between the the Accession and the Reflex.  But no, the Reflex hadn't come close.  For my ears and my money, the auditioning stops here.  It's the Accession for me.
Richard
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morris_minor View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2019 at 2:03pm
That's a great write up, Richard! And an excellent example of how the loan scheme can help to make your mind up - better than any dealer demo in a strange system in a strange room.

I'm sure you'll grow to love the Accession even more once you get your own installed. Wink
Bob

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Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote McHolmeM Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Oct 2019 at 4:10pm
I'll second that.

Had a Reflex C on loan over Christmas 2014 which resulted in a purchase, this was replaced four years later with an Accession MC/Enigma following a similar loan.

It's all well and good window shopping at the likes of next weekend's UK Hi-Fi Show Live at Ascot but there's no substitute for an extended home audition. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thx_golfer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Dec 2019 at 3:17am
I am new to the forum and just today received my Reflex C and Ascension C to begin the auditioning process.  I will also be testing these against a SimAudio 110lp v2.  

I am super excited to see how they all compare on my system.  I will post my results and opinions of findings once I have a chance to spend some time with each.  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Thx_golfer Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2020 at 9:11pm
I have only had a few hours of listening but here are my I initial thoughts.

Gear:
Clear audio Concept table with Reflex arm and Sumiko Blackbird Low Output MC Cartridge
SimAudio ACE 

Moon 110lp 2 - Very musical, detailed soundstage and solid imaging
Reflex C - improved instrument separation, more enjoyable listening experience
Ascension - bloated bass, and smearing soundstage.  My assumption is that there is too much gain for a .7mV output cartridge 

Going to do some more listening and will continue to post feedback after additional testing.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Graham Slee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2020 at 10:41pm
Please leave the Accession on.
Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 18 Jan 2020 at 11:44pm
Originally posted by Thx_golfer Thx_golfer wrote:

I have only had a few hours of listening but here are my I initial thoughts.

Gear:
Clear audio Concept table with Reflex arm and Sumiko Blackbird Low Output MC Cartridge
SimAudio ACE 

Moon 110lp 2 - Very musical, detailed soundstage and solid imaging
Reflex C - improved instrument separation, more enjoyable listening experience
Ascension - bloated bass, and smearing soundstage.  My assumption is that there is too much gain for a .7mV output cartridge 

Going to do some more listening and will continue to post feedback after additional testing.

The gain specs for the Acc MC and Reflex C are almost the same. I doubt that is the problem, but maybe someone else can chime in. 

What you could try is using the variable output of the Acc MC and see how that goes. 
Reflex M + PSU-1 used with AT VM95ML, Stanton 680mkII + Ogura, and Shure M35X cartridges.
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