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GramAmp2 & SE + Reflex M + PSU1

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    Posted: 03 Nov 2014 at 5:46pm

I tested 3 Phono Preamps: GramAmp 2 (which I own), GramAmp 2 SE and Reflex M (which I borrowed from GSP, together with the PSU1).

 

GRAMAMP 2: Up till now this was my favorite phono preamp. It is able to show the details an Ortofon OM2Blue fetches from the groove, i.e. you can almost hear every single jingle of a tambourine or distinguish the single voices from a chorus. Other preamps I had could deal with maximum the detail level of an OM2Red.

 

What I've been missing, though, is some weight (possibly caused by lack of some deep frequencies). It plays e.g. the bass guitar or bass drum properly and precise, but there’s less strength in it. Anyway, I still like my GramAmp2, since it gives big bands or ballad singers a light, transparent and open character, e.g. "Play Me" and other songs of Neil Diamond I still love played with the GramAmp2.

 

GRAMAMP 2 SE: This one delivers a detailed, open sound like the GramAmp2, but additionally this one adds more weight to the sound, i.e. more bass is present (not too much, but with that one I can feel it a bit). For me, it brings more life and dynamics into music. So, for me, together with the PSU1 the GramAmp2 SE is the right choice.

 

REFLEX M: It's a very special device. First I realized it’s powerful, well-defined and very colorful bass. So, in Queen's "Dragon Attack" the bass solo was just "wow!". Never heard such an intensive, colorful bass. The same with the standup bass in Robert Palmer's "Don't Explain". Additionally, it shows even more details in higher frequencies then the two GramAmps.

 

Though, for me there is a downside. The sound seems less open than with the two GramAmps. I heard Bach's "Toccata", where the deep reeds of the organ filled the room (very deep, clear and well-controlled, really amazing), but unfortunately the rest of that organ play sounded rather depressing than open to me, so I couldn’t fully enjoy it. And, sorry to say, though it's an amazing pre-amp, this behaviour I felt with most of the music styles I heard with the "M".

 

PSU1: With it I had a surprisingly experience. I never thought that a power supply could change the sound of a pre-amp, since it doesn’t need too much power compared with a power amplifier. But every of the three tested pre-amps did take advantage of the PSU1. The result was a well-defined bass. With the small standard power supply the deep frequenciees often got out of control. More deep bass was heard than there actually have been supplied by the pickup. It got obvious to me as I changed from the small supply to the PSU1. After that change, the bass frequencies sounded more defined and colorful. This effect I heard most considerable on the Reflex "M", still considerable with the GramAmp2 SE and only an ounce with the GramAmp2.

 

My Equipment: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon, Ortofon OM2Blue, Denon PMA-655R.

 

Many thanks to Graham Slee and his team. I appreciate to had the opportunity to test these valuable devices in my home with my equipment. It was a great pleasure!

 

Best Regards

Reinhard

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suggs Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 04 Nov 2014 at 7:03am
Thanks for posting the review Reinhard. I'm pleased to have been able to help you with loaning Graham's equipment and it seems that you have been very thorough in your trials of the various combinations available Clap

Derek
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jimf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Feb 2016 at 11:16pm
Thanks also for the review. I am new here and am looking to up[grade my phono pre amps from the Cambridge Audio 551P.

I am looking forward to trying out a few myself if possible before buying 2. I am also happy that the power supply makes a difference with things. I'm hoping to also try out cables.
2 Channel Equipment: Dual 701 w/ Stanton 881S MKII D81S stylus, Dual 1229Q w/ Shure V15 III and SAS VN35E Jico stylus, Class A SEP, Class A SET, Yaqin MC-10L Integrated, Klipsch Forte II Speakers
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Paul H Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2016 at 1:34pm
This is one of the most helpful reviews I've been able to find on the net simply because I have a very similar set up to Reinhard's. My Epos speakers offer the more relaxed sound I'm after but have a slightly boxy sound to them. I like the idea of the more open sound of the Gram Amp 2 SE but remain interested in the Reflex M. I'd like to get some idea of the "middle" option: the Era Gold.
ProJect 1Xpression Carbon UKX w/ Ortofon 2M Black; Arcam Alpha 7 CD player; Graham Slee Revelation M pre; Denon PMA 355UK amp; Epos K1 speakers; Blue Jeans LC-1 interconnects. Room: 2.9m x 3.1m.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote morris_minor Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 14 Mar 2016 at 7:55pm
Originally posted by PaulH PaulH wrote:

I'd like to get some idea of the "middle" option: the Era Gold
I've never heard a GA2SE (the only GSP phono amp I have no experience of*), but the EGV was the first of Graham's "wide band" designs and I got mine as an upgrade to the integrated stage on an Audiolab 8000A. It blew me away with it's detail and rhythmic pace - "toe tapping" doesn't even begin to cover it! My smile lasted weeks . .Wink 

The EGV still does great work in my lounge system. Back to back with the Reflex M, the RM is more refined with a touch greater depth and detail (IMO). Both, though are a great upgrade from the phono stage on an integrated.

*Edit: actually I've never heard a Revelation or a Jazz Club, but since they're basically a Reflex and Era Gold V with variable equalization I reckon I know what they sound like . . Wink


Edited by morris_minor - 14 Mar 2016 at 7:58pm
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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