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Phono stage choices

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Cipollae View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 2:06pm
Hello everyone

Just arrived here looking for some useful info on the Reflex and Accession phono stages. I have started to rediscover vinyl about two months ago and it is already turning into an obsession LOL - so I am in the market for a phono stage that offers rather more than the standard one I have right now. 

My current setup: 

- Rega Planar 6 with Ania cartridge
- Rega Fono MC
- Line Magnetic LM 518ia SET integrated amp
Sonus faber Guarneri Mementos (soon to be replaced by DeVore Orangutan O/93). 

I listen to all kinds of music with about equal appetite (although, in terms of volume, classical music does take up the lion's share of my daily diet). 

Having had a look at the various option that I feel would make sense in this system (price-wise at least), I ended up with the following shortlist:

- Graham Slee Accession MC + PSU1 Enigma
- Graham Slee Accession MM + Elevator EXP
- Graham Slee Reflex C (+ PSU1 Enigma?)
- EAR Yoshino 834 P Signature
- Puresound P10 + T10.

The last two are on the list as I really love the liquid clarity and glorious tone that tubes can bring to the party, but I am generally not a huge fan of (a) how they deal with the bass foundation of jazz and rock - which, while pleasant sounding, tends to become somewhat woolly or indistinct - and (b) the laid-back way tubes often represent music. On the other hand, I really detest gear that sounds bright or uninvolving. If I had to choose, I would always take the smoothness of tubes over strict neutrality and dynamic slam (even if that means that I have to learn to live with bass instruments that are not sounding as tight as they can in the best systems). Absence of smoothness is a real concern for me, because I have the impression that the Rega turntable and cartridge already paint a slightly lean and cool picture of what is on the record...

So what should be my next step? Given all of the above, do you think that the Graham Slee phono stages would fit the bill (possibly even more so than the two tube phono stages listed)? And if you think they would, which one should I go for? 

Many thanks


Martijn
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richardl60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 2:47pm
Martijn welcome.

Having lived with/used each of the Graham Slee units if you are sticking with MC I would have no hesitation in recommending the Acc MM + enigma.  I do not believe the enigma with the reflex or Access mm will provide any significant improvement over the standard PSU although likely to be a marginally different.

I have no experience with the Rega/stage/cart or deck whether these may be lean warm etc which you may be compensating with the warmer tubes if on the leaner side of neutral?

I don’t believe Graham’s stages err on any particular side of neutral but feel the Access MC is particularly smooth but shouldn’t be confused with lacking dynamics, clarity, sharpness when there.

Perhaps trying the loan scheme- personally wouldn’t look beyond the Access MC if within budget.

Good luck and perhaps you can let us all know the outcome?




Edited by Richardl60 - 30 Jun 2019 at 4:27pm
The Source turntable, Audiomods V micrometer, Dynavector XX2-2, Accession M, Elevator, Leema Antila 2Seco CD player, TDL studio 1.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cipollae Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 3:20pm
Originally posted by Richardl60 Richardl60 wrote:


Having lived with/used each of the Graham Slee units if you are sticking with MC I would have no hesitation in recommending the Acc MM + enigma.  

(...)

Good luck and perhaps you can let us all know the outcome?



Hi Richard

Many thanks for your quick reply. I am already contemplating to try out a phono stage via the loan scheme! 

Just to be sure I understand correctly, are you recommending the Acc MM instead of the Acc MC? I'm asking because the Ania is an MC cart. Or was your recommendation for the Acc MM with the Elevator EXP?

As for the sonic signature of the Rega, I don't have any serious complaints about the sound being too lean or cool at the moment - I only want to make sure that I will not be pushing things in the wrong (i.e. leaner or cooler) direction with the phono stage I am going to purchase. Having tubes in the phono stage would in fact have the added benefit of being able to tune the sound to my preferences by tube rolling, but that only goes so far and perhaps I could do something similar with the GS Acc by opting for an input impedance above the 100 Ohms suggested by Rega?

Will definitely let everyone know what I have decided to do!

Best


Martijn  
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richardl60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 4:31pm
Martian, sorry typos. Access MC is the superior option with MC.   The enigma in my tests don't seem to provide a clear benefit over the standard PSU with the Access MM.  I have corrected my earlier post sorry for the confusion. 

Graham designs for long term sustainability of performance something which may not be as easily achieved wit tubes but sure your ears will provide the best analysis if you are able to loan.



Edited by Richardl60 - 30 Jun 2019 at 4:34pm
The Source turntable, Audiomods V micrometer, Dynavector XX2-2, Accession M, Elevator, Leema Antila 2Seco CD player, TDL studio 1.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cipollae Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 4:56pm
OK, thanks! I was inclined to assume that they were typos, but wasn't sure because I vaguely remember reading somewhere that there are people who actually prefer the MM version with the step-up transformer.

Long term reliability may in fact be an issue with tubes - good point there!

Thanks again.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richardl60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 5:02pm
I haven't come across anyone on this forum who prefers the MM& elevator- in my loan test it wasn't that close albeit that is what I still use until I can afford the AMC which remains very good all the same. 
The Source turntable, Audiomods V micrometer, Dynavector XX2-2, Accession M, Elevator, Leema Antila 2Seco CD player, TDL studio 1.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Cipollae Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 6:15pm
Originally posted by Richardl60 Richardl60 wrote:

I haven't come across anyone on this forum who prefers the MM& elevator- in my loan test it wasn't that close albeit that is what I still use until I can afford the AMC which remains very good all the same. 

Found it again. It wasn't on this forum, it was on Analog Planet: https://www.analogplanet.com/content/graham-slees-1449-accession-raises-mm-playback-bar-page-2. FWIW.




Edited by Cipollae - 30 Jun 2019 at 6:21pm
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