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PHONO Stages.... Oh No.... help

Printed From: Graham Slee at Hifi System Components
Category: Find what you're looking for here!
Forum Name: Buying a headphone amp, phono preamp or hi-fi accessory?
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URL: https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=4700
Printed Date: 19 Sep 2019 at 1:56am
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Topic: PHONO Stages.... Oh No.... help
Posted By: JohnnySH
Subject: PHONO Stages.... Oh No.... help
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 7:52pm
Still in the realms of looking for a good phono stage,

any feedback will be very much appreciated

I have tried the G.S. Accession which to be honest I was disappointed with! mainly with the build quality, it looked a bit like a home made electronics kit!

Din Connectors & plastic DC jacks were cheap and cheerful, the PSU also looked a bit like a maplin kit!

I'm not here to criticise, but if I'm in the Realms of spending +£1000 and upwards, I am expecting quality and expensive grade connectors Nutric etc. not cheap plastic din / jack connectors and plastic PSU casework.

This is constructive criticism and I'm only telling it as a consumer looking for a high quality RIAA phono stage.








For very similar money to G.S. Accession there is an Italian GOLD NOTE PH10 preamp, built like a tank with quality throughout, just wondered if there was any constructive feedback on this item, 

Has anyone compared this with Graham Slee units and what is there take on the comparison of the two phono stages mainly soundwise, and it's unfair to compare quality as they are poles apart in quality of build.

It has a very rich feature set, Supports 2 turntables, all settings via rotary encoder and front display, Load Settings, Multiple eq Curves Decca, Riaa, etc. Balanced Outputs .....YES this is what i Want!!! 

At the moment testing it with AT440MLB cart, as previously tested with a few other makes of RIAA phono stage. 

I have only had it on loan for a few days, but so far very impressed apart from the balanced outputs are too high signal wise. It is very clean sounding though would like to try it with an Audio Technica VM760SLC MM Cartridge which I am planning to get in the next few days.

As this is the place for educated analogue guru's any feed back as always appreciated.

This is proving the hardest purchase of all!! never thought looking for the right RIAA stage would be so hard!

But I am a perfectionist through and through and quality means everything to me 
  
 
So far this if the first RIAA preamp that is ticking most of the boxes for me within a price range that is not off the scale!!! 

You know what I mean!!! Crazy People, Spending Crazy Money, and trying to hear things that ain't even there! 

this item is still in the REAL WORLD cost wise






-------------
Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!



Replies:
Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 8:47pm
I don't know about you but I buy items for the performance, not the looks. The PSU-1 being in a plastic case should have no impact on the performance AFAIK. 

Personally I would never buy the Gold Note unit, mainly because I have specific requirements for what I need that may or may not apply to you.

Biggest flaw I see is the input capacitance being fixed at 220pf. That is too high for many newer cartridges, especially Audio Technica (which you mention and I've used also) which tend to be very sensitive to capacitance loading. 

Next flaw I see is the input impedance. Lots of options for MC but little for MM. If you are going to make a big deal about this in ad copy then follow through. I'm not aware of too many MM/MI carts that sound best loaded at 22K, which is the only other option besides 47K. You mention the 440 which I found I could get fairly flat by loading at 39K and 100pf at the phono preamp. Can't do that with the Gold Note. 

Last thing which is a big thing for me personally is the overload margin. GS does very well on this and is up front about stress testing. 

GN says it can take 7mV. Okay, but can it take that on a hotly cut record? We don't know because they don't say what the overload margin is. 

BTW it looks like your RCA cables in the pic are swapped around the wrong way. Red should be on the bottom with white on the top. 



Posted By: JohnnySH
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 9:15pm
Thank you for the reply as always appreciated,

To be honest I design electronics for a living and If I were designing for the high end audio industry I would not be designing my Audio Power Supply Units in plastic enclosures 

1) they look cheap and cheerful, and do not sing the quality of +£1000 phono stages
2) Plastic cases will allow induced noise to other electronics from the internal transformer, any PSU electronics and mains frequency to radiate through the plastic enclosure and be picked up by other sensitive electronics.

A fully shielded metal quality case / enclosure is by far the better option for quality, aesthetics, looks, and electronic noise shielding, and heat sinking. This is just my take on it as a quality electronics design engineer.


As regarding your other points on the PH10, thank you very much for you're input and yes I do agree with most of what you said.

the AT440MLB is a funny kettle of fish!, never really been that happy with it, it's exceptionally toppy! but in a bit of an unpleasant way. And I guess why it requires careful loading and matching.

I agree that this phono stage is very limited for MM with only 2 resistance values and fix capacitors!!
so you do have a valid point on MM cart matching

I am planning to get the AT VM760SLC just to see if I like the sound quality more the the 440ML ??

As regards to PH10 level, it is off the scale too loud!! seriously both RCA and Balanced

and can not even connect my ORTOFON NIGHT CLUB 2E cart as it's RED LIGHTS all the way CLIP CLIP DC DC, those poor front end op amps being fed by the PH10.... are hitting the supply rails

Though one can not complain about build quality and the price it is pitched at..... I was looking at the Cyrus Audio Signature phono stage and still may go down that road as it has had many many great reviews.

As regards to the RCA leads, thanks yes you are right ! but was simply doing quick level comparison between my other preamp, so these were not final connections.

and thank you for your valid input, it is very much appreciated

Regards


-------------
Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!


Posted By: Richardl60
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 9:21pm
You are correct on the aesthetics of the Gold Note it does look HQ build from the outside as do the connectors; Graham’s products are all ‘functional’.  

I do prefer to see HQ fittings whether be sockets, connectors etc and though the red input cable doesn’t appear to match the same level of quality at the GN 10 connectors.

Having tried both GSP and GN10 how do you find the difference in sound (the acid test) and was my reason for buying the Accession?


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The Source turntable, Audiomods V micrometer, Dynavector XX2-2, Accession M, Elevator, Leema Antila 2Seco CD player, TDL studio 1.


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 9:40pm
Johnny SH, I'm sure Graham can explain the power supply you take issue with here or privately. I'm no electronics engineer but I have fought with RFI and other types of interference with one phono stage (not a GS) so I discussed this issue at length with the U.S. loan coordinator. In practice, when I auditioned a unit with the PSU-1, I could not hear any RFI or other interference whatsoever. I am also in a 2 mile radius of several radio and TV stations. When I had the PSU-1 on loan, I simply put it on the bottom shelf of the equipment rack, a little ways away from the phono preamp unit and basically out of sight. If the PSU-1 really required a full metal enclosure I would think that Graham would have made it that way. FWIW here in the U.S. there are other high-end/hi-fi phono stage builders that use plastic PSUs similar to the "brick" type you get with a full-size laptop...

Re: the 440, here is my rough graph of it loaded at 39K + 100pf phono preamp capacitance - take this with a grain of salt and do your own testing with a series of loading plugs and test LP to determine the best loading in your system...This is a sweep off the CBS STR100 test record...at least it gives you a rough idea that the upper peak can be tamed. Not done through a GS phono either, but I don't think it matters. 


RE: the 760SLC, I posted a link in another thread about a different AT cartridge to a site that did objective test measurements of the 540ML, 740ML, and 760SLC. In short, the SLC, though more expensive, did not measure better than the others. It actually measured worse and had more peaking in the FR than the other two. FWIW AT said straight up in an interview that they charge for different advanced profiles based on supplier costs which then get passed onto the consumer. AT doesn't say what the SLC is but I believe it may be an Ogura profile. The ML is a Namiki Microridge. You can look up the patents on both on Google Patents and compare them yourself. 



Posted By: JohnnySH
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 9:58pm
To be honest

The PH10 is not the worst sounding Phono stage I have heard... seriously..

but I do agree with the limitation of the MM side of this pre amp.

bang for buck, this unit is truly out there, no getting away from that!

maybe a few internal tweaks with the PH10 electronics (improve the MM matching options, Tame the levels both for both balanced and non balanced would be a major step in the right direction)!!


Hello and thank you for another reply it is very much appreciated, I kindly do not require any info on power supplies as I design both linear and switching power supplies on a daily basis.

Please do not think I am criticising as I am not! It's only constructive and the way I would design, everyone has their own idea, what is also very important is what is inside. 

Hey!! at least we are all having a educated discussion :-)

and thank you so much about the feedback on the AT carts, so if im not wrong you are saying the 
VM750SH is a better option than the 760 ??

Oh and how do these compare to the ORTOFON 2M black and this was going to be my first option, but now favour the AT route

regards




-------------
Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 10:08pm
Originally posted by JohnnySH JohnnySH wrote:

To be honest

The PH10 is not the worst sounding Phono stage I have heard... seriously..

but I do agree with the limitation of the MM side of this pre amp.

bang for buck, this unit is truly out there, no getting away from that!

maybe a few internal tweaks with the PH10 electronics (improve the MM matching options, Tame the levels both for both balanced and non balanced would be a major step in the right direction)!!


Hello and thank you for another reply it is very much appreciated, I kindly do not require any info on power supplies as I design both linear and switching power supplies on a daily basis.

Please do not think I am criticising as I am not! It's only constructive and the way I would design, everyone has their own idea, what is also very important is what is inside. 

Hey!! at least we are all having a educated discussion :-)

and thank you so much about the feedback on the AT carts, so if im not wrong you are saying the 
VM750SH is a better option than the 760 ??

Oh and how do these compare to the ORTOFON 2M black and this was going to be my first option, but now favour the AT route

regards



If it were my money I would skip both the SH and SLC models and go for an ML model instead. The ML profile has a thinner side radius than either the SH or SLC variants. That means better inner groove tracking IME, which is something I put a high premium on. The Shibata and Ogura patents came well before the Microridge (a/k/a ML) and are less advanced designs with a fatter side radius. Unless you have a particular reason for prefer those stylus shapes I would choose an ML instead. 

Re: the 2M Black, totally different. I've never had one in my system but it has its followers. You will likely need a very robust phono stage with this cartridge that has a very high overload margin especially if you play hotly cut records. Output was measured at 8.6mV by this mag, far greater than factory spec:

https://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/index.php/vinyl-lp/25-cartridges/174-ortofon-2m-bronze-2m-black.html - https://www.hi-fiworld.co.uk/index.php/vinyl-lp/25-cartridges/174-ortofon-2m-bronze-2m-black.html


Posted By: JohnnySH
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 10:17pm
Thank you so much for you're feedback 

appreciated as always....

So this is the baby you would suggest VM740ML, which is amazingly the cheapest out of the 3 high end carts.

Yes the 2m Black is closer to one of my DJ night club pro II E carts level wise, very high gain and yes you are right! this will need a very well designed front end RIAA preamp

I know from the past few days the PH10 is NOT the phono stage for high gain carts, it a bit like a ravaging beast level wise, you just want to keep trying to attenuate the signal from the PH10 

But loving the feedback tonight , thank you so much


regards


woosh...... just seen the 2M Black specs wow serious levels from that baby....

BLACK

Tracking force 1.5gms

Weight 7gms

Vertical tracking angle 22degrees

Frequency response 20Hz - 20kHz

Channel separation 30dB

Tracking ability (300Hz)

lateral 90µm

vertical 45µm

lateral (1kHz) 23cms/sec.

Distortion (45µm)

lateral 1.2%

vertical 1.7%

Output (5cms/sec rms) 8.6mV



-------------
Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 10:22pm
The 540ML and the 740ML are basically the same cartridge. With the 740 you get a prettier, heavier metal body vs. one with a plastic shell. For some people that may be a negative depending on the effective mass of your tonearm, so the lighter version of the cart may be preferable. 

What turntable/tonearm are you using?

Here are some measurements of the VM540ML:

https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/vinyl/turntable-accessories/audio-technica-vm540ml-phono-cartridge-review/ - https://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/vinyl/turntable-accessories/audio-technica-vm540ml-phono-cartridge-review/

That site also did some measurements of other AT carts in the same series:

https://hometheaterhifi.com/features/secrets-world-of-vinyl/vinyl-accessories/audio-technica-vm760slc-phono-cartridge-review/ - https://hometheaterhifi.com/features/secrets-world-of-vinyl/vinyl-accessories/audio-technica-vm760slc-phono-cartridge-review/


Posted By: JohnnySH
Date Posted: 15 Apr 2019 at 10:31pm
thank you for your reply

I am planing to use a Technics SL1210 MK5G turntable, I know not the best audio phile turntable in the world, but it meets my requirements at the moment for the job in hand.



How does the VM540ML compare to my existing AT440MLB is it really much of an upgrade ??

I had it in my mind to get the best quality MM cart, i would need to be  spending over £500


Regards




Thanks for the review, just enjoyed a good read.........

If you are looking for a top-notch, daily-driver cartridge and $250 bucks is in your budget. Buy this cartridge, you won’t regret it. Sometimes, as the saying goes, “Less is more.” In this case though, a little bit extra gets you way more than you bargained for. The VM540ML is highly recommended.



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Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 16 Apr 2019 at 1:53pm
Originally posted by JohnnySH JohnnySH wrote:

thank you for your reply

I am planing to use a Technics SL1210 MK5G turntable, I know not the best audio phile turntable in the world, but it meets my requirements at the moment for the job in hand.

How does the VM540ML compare to my existing AT440MLB is it really much of an upgrade ??

I had it in my mind to get the best quality MM cart, i would need to be  spending over £500


Regards



Nothing wrong with that turntable, it's a good one. 

Re: the 540 vs. the 440, the 540 replaced the 440. There were some changes designed to mitigate the peaking in FR that the 440 had. Basically it was impossible to get a flat-ish response out of the 440 without non-standard loading as I mentioned above. With the 540 you get to track a little heavier (2g - lower compliance) and with a 100pf + 47K load and low capacitance cables running from the TT to the phono preamp you should be able to achieve a flat-ish response. Other than that the stylus profile and generator designs are very similar. 

RE: spending more, that is entirely up to you. You may find you get something "different", not "better" in all aspects. 


Posted By: RichW
Date Posted: 18 Apr 2019 at 11:43pm
 Hi Johnny,
Don't kid on - you're being critical. Smile
Criticism about aesthetics is fine - the Gold Note does looks appealing in its way but is no Nagra Wink
How did you find the sound of the Accession?



-------------
Elevator, Accession, Majestic, Reflex M, Solo ULDE, CuSat & Lautus.


Posted By: RichW
Date Posted: 20 Apr 2019 at 12:34am
Bizarre how this odd thread turned into a cartridge query.
Disappointing that Johnny hardly mentioned the Accession's sonic capabilities
Free speech is wonderful & opinions should be expressed.
Come on mate speak up.


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Elevator, Accession, Majestic, Reflex M, Solo ULDE, CuSat & Lautus.


Posted By: JohnnySH
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 3:16pm
Richy W

Yes free speech is wonderful, there was nothing odd about this thread, 

I was asking if anyone had an opinion on the gold note phone stage, I have now sampled the Assession and gold note.

The Accession did not blow be away sonically, to be honest was a little disappointed, may be my turntable or setup, but the build quality of the gold note was far superior, there is no denying that.

Found the Accession lacking bottom end and thin sounding, but i'm putting it down to my system not being matched ???

That said, the gold note did not tick all my boxes either, I have sent it back and have been in talks with the designers and pointed out a few of the weaknesses, they are going to work on a new version.

But  Richy W ...

Don't you kid on! everyone is entitled to their opinion! it's only my view and how I find it!

If the accession ticks all your boxes. I'm happy for you, that is the beauty of analogue audio, it is so subjective, what you find acceptable other people may not! 

You may have different standards or expectation, that's also the beauty of educated people talking about what they find and their experience. 

Everyone has their own standards of what they find acceptable for the hard earned money they spend. To be honest there are very few things in life I purchase, that I am truly happy with, there are substandards everywhere.

I must say my RME Purchase is one of the few items that I have been ultra happy with, german studio high end audio kit, some of the best quality DACs and ADs. Shame most things out there don't compare to RME!!

I'm still looking for a quality phono stage and will continue evaluating until I'm happy, next test will be the Cyrus Audio Signature and then the Pathos In The Groove.


Richy W, nothing bizzare about this thread talking about carts, it's called educated discussion.
Oh and yes I am critical about everything in life, no half measures! It's either done right or I am not interested  

Also considering the Nagra 500 cart too Smile






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Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!


Posted By: Aussie Mick
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 3:24pm
Hmm...all or nothing...black and white...the world just doesn’t work that way...unless you have vastly deep pockets...and even then...

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Rega RP8/Ortofon 2M Black/Rega Apheta 2 - Reflex M/Elevator EXP - C.E.C. TL5 CD Transport - MacBook Pro/Roon - Majestic DAC - Solo ULDE (Focal Elear) - Proprius - PMC Twenty5.22


Posted By: JohnnySH
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 3:37pm

As I previously stated Audio is Subjective what one person find acceptable others may not ??

There are so many variables, everyone's ears are different, turntable, carts etc, etc,

It's all about being happy with what one purchases, they are not cheap items ... well not the one's i'm tending to look at....

very simply I want to make a one off purchase of a phono stage and be happy, and within reason whatever it costs, I will have to pay,

But i'm not just looking for sonic quality, I want build quality too, that's why I am sampling various phono stages.

As always any feedback always appreciated.

 





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Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!


Posted By: ServerBaboon
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 4:24pm
Originally posted by JohnnySH JohnnySH wrote:


Found the Accession lacking bottom end and thin sounding, but i'm putting it down to my system not being matched ???


Not something I would ever accuse my Accession of being, that sounds more like the long run in/warm up for gsp stages before reaching optimum, give it a bit longer powered on and play records before listening again.




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Steve

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Various bits of GSP Kit ..well two so far, unless you count the cables that is.


Posted By: Richardl60
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 4:47pm
it sounds like you have made your mind up that build, aesthetics and sound are not for you Johnny.  I wouldn’t pretend the Accession is the prettiest or based on the assessment of external build quality (case, sockets) is as apparently high quality as some from the outside.

As to sound quality I am a little surprised by your sonic findings but everyone’s listening experiences are as valid as the next.  Having invested a significant sum in upgrading the mains power lead (as documented elsewhere) this did amongst other things improve the power, definition, extension, impact of the bass but then again it would likely have the same impact on most stages.

I cannot say the Accession is the best phono stage on the planet- I haven’t tried them all but in my real world experiences it is very good and meets my own needs very well in all areas or sound, facilities, flexibility, physical size and long term reliability and support in the unlikely event of a problem.

Let’s hope you find the solution to meeting all of your needs at a a half reasonable price.



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The Source turntable, Audiomods V micrometer, Dynavector XX2-2, Accession M, Elevator, Leema Antila 2Seco CD player, TDL studio 1.


Posted By: JohnnySH
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 5:38pm
It may be my turntable I was using the accession on, a Technics sl1210MK5G or the various carts ???

I don't really own a high end MM cart yet, but plan to try the VM740 and MP500

I can only tell it as I experience and even the Gold Note did not tick all the boxes,

but I will keep on looking, I will get there... I did with my Digital PC Sound System  (RME) but again that was lots of reading, reviewing and comparing until happy.





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Never give up looking for perfection, I don't!


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 6:47pm
Whenever someone says "this is too bright", "this is too thin", "this has too much bass", "this is lacking bass", etc. the first thing I do is ask:

1) Do you own a good broadcast grade test record with a frequency sweep? 

2) Did you attempt a frequency response test from the phono stage output? 

Often, IME, it's a cartridge loading issue or downstream equipment, room acoustics and/or the particular records that are making things sound a certain way.

Lots of albums are "bright" because they were recorded and mastered that way. Lots of albums sound "dull" because they were recorded and mastered that way. 




Posted By: Richardl60
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 7:13pm
I am sure Johnny will have tried a variety of material to reach his conclusions and have other sources as a reference?  I don’t know what balance the AT has but presumably this is better suited to his ears on his other hardware?

A frequency sweep may identify resonances or suck outs from system or room but expect a range of music should adequately provide the evidence for his ears?

I have found a balance issue tends to reflect inadequate or ill-matched components and if this is resolved/understood I have tended to focus more on naturalness, sound stage, dynamics etc which the Accession has proved excellent with.  To my surprise I have very rarely used the different curve settings on either my Revelation or Accession just too busy enjoying the music....

As a footnote and from memory the Era Gold V was “fuller” but less well defined/detailed with me if Johnny wanted to try one on the loan scheme?



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The Source turntable, Audiomods V micrometer, Dynavector XX2-2, Accession M, Elevator, Leema Antila 2Seco CD player, TDL studio 1.


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 28 Apr 2019 at 7:27pm
IME (and not just mine), it is nearly impossible to get a flat-ish response out of the 440mlb cart OP is using without some kind of non-standard loading. 

With 100pf at the phono preamp, I had to tune the resistive load down to 39K in order to get a flat-ish response. 

See here:


The entire reason AT created the 540ML to replace the old 440mla/b cart was to get a flatter frequency response. 

Measuring using a frequency sweep on a reliable test record directly from the preamp out takes other factors like music and speakers out of the equation. It also shows how flawed our hearing is, in case we think we are hearing something that is not there. It can also help us confirm things we think are there but aren't sure. 

Short version: can't use a "standard" loaded 440 to evaluate any phono stage. The FR deviates too much from flat. 


Posted By: Cyreg
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2019 at 1:27pm
Originally posted by JohnnySH JohnnySH wrote:

 ….Found the Accession lacking bottom end and thin sounding....
 
try evaluate/listen again with the "figure 8" connector (on the PSU1) turned 180 degrees around Smile
The power phase/neutral connection has a big enough influence!
 
And...so has the power phase/neutral connection on your complete system (but mostly no choice)


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TecnoDec/RB250/MP110>GramAmp2C/PSU1; Cyrus CD8SE; Cyrus FM7 > Exposure XXXV > Harbeth C7ES-3 '35th Anniversary' cables: DNM V3 Ic's; Expo DMFtwo LScable;    
SoloSRGII/BaPS> HD600


Posted By: Graham Slee
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2019 at 5:06pm
Some cartridges are toppy, some recessed, and some just right, yet the poor old phono stage designer has to please all whilst making the frequency response as faithful to the standard as possible.

I'm affraid that can't be done. It's like putting an athlete in a straightjacket and telling him to run a marathon.

Phono stages put simply, are fixed tone controls, yet if one suggests using adjustable tone controls one is shot down in flames.

Where there's no give, there's no give.

Perhaps other phono stage manufacturers massage the response. I have no idea. I just know what I do, and the AP checks my results.

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Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2019 at 5:32pm
Originally posted by Graham Slee Graham Slee wrote:

Some cartridges are toppy, some recessed, and some just right, yet the poor old phono stage designer has to please all whilst making the frequency response as faithful to the standard as possible.

I'm affraid that can't be done. It's like putting an athlete in a straightjacket and telling him to run a marathon.

Phono stages put simply, are fixed tone controls, yet if one suggests using adjustable tone controls one is shot down in flames.

Where there's no give, there's no give.

Perhaps other phono stage manufacturers massage the response. I have no idea. I just know what I do, and the AP checks my results.

Very true. That's what I've found as well. 

I would rather have the phono stage be "faithful" than adding anything or taking something away. 

I think some manufacturers do use a "tuned" response curve. There is one boutique U.S. manufacturer that does that - scooped upper mids and a big boost at both frequency extremes. Not for me. 

I think with cartridges, the best we can do is try to buy one that reasonably close to flat, or else experiment with loading or even tone controls/EQ. 


Posted By: Graham Slee
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2019 at 6:41pm
Just an idea for John, perhaps the Accession is a bit too honest or transparent, so I'd give an Era Gold V a try. Why? The bass is looser and leading edges a bit more relaxed. It might just be the ticket. Now, if that's too much in the opposite direction then it would suggest the Reflex M.


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Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...


Posted By: Graham Slee
Date Posted: 29 Apr 2019 at 6:56pm
Earlier today I was running an Ortofon 2M Bronze into my Accession M, and having read what John said was getting into a bit of a tizz, because it sounded a bit on the thin/bright side.

I've been using this Accession M for over a year constantly-on you see, so it's well run in. Anyway, I thought I'd try the LP Gear Vessel A3SE which Rome Castellanes had sent me a few years ago to try. The difference goes by the same name as the Gerry Raferty track I'm listening to as I type: night and day.

Definitely not thin, or dry, it's a very liquid sound with a generous but not overbearing low end helping.

http://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/lp-gear-vessel-a3sm-cartridge/ - http://positive-feedback.com/reviews/hardware-reviews/lp-gear-vessel-a3sm-cartridge/

https://www.lpgear.com/product/THEVESSELA3SM.html - https://www.lpgear.com/product/THEVESSELA3SM.html



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Not simple enough for Google-Bot to understand...


Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2019 at 12:23am
I used to have that Vessel A3SE cartridge before selling it. I think it's a good cartridge, with some limitations. At the $99 USD level I prefer it over some other options. It's also based on a cart that has been around in various forms since the 70s, so an old/proven design. Never had a problem with it sounding "thin" at all with different turntables and phono preamps. Unfortunately I never got to test it with the Reflex because I had already sold the cart by then. 


Posted By: Lucabeer
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2019 at 7:56am
Originally posted by Graham Slee Graham Slee wrote:

Some cartridges are toppy, some recessed, and some just right, yet the poor old phono stage designer has to please all whilst making the frequency response as faithful to the standard as possible.


For what I am concerned, my AT440MLa (universally considered "toppy") into your Reflex M is not bright at all, just perfect (and I usually HATE a bright sound). So, good job! But that's just my ears!


Posted By: Lucabeer
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2019 at 7:58am
Originally posted by Graham Slee Graham Slee wrote:

Earlier today I was running an Ortofon 2M Bronze into my Accession M, and having read what John said was getting into a bit of a tizz, because it sounded a bit on the thin/bright side.

Definitely not thin, or dry, it's a very liquid sound with a generous but not overbearing low end helping.


Again, same here for me with the Bronze and the Reflex. Just perfect. On the contrary, it was with the Black that I found highs (cymbals, etc) slightly hot and "ringing".




Posted By: patientot
Date Posted: 30 Apr 2019 at 3:25pm
Originally posted by Lucabeer Lucabeer wrote:

For what I am concerned, my AT440MLa (universally considered "toppy") into your Reflex M is not bright at all, just perfect (and I usually HATE a bright sound). So, good job! But that's just my ears!

RE: the 440, there is frequency peaking around 10Khz or so, and it's pretty prominent. This is at 47K ohm loading with 100pf at the phono stage + common cabling (add another 100pf or so). That's what makes it sound bright and it's very easy to measure that with a test LP that has a frequency sweep.

Load the 47K down to 39K with resistive loading plugs and it will tame that peak as I showed in my graph upthread. 

It's a quirk of the cartridge. Can't blame a "faithful" RIAA phono stage for not fixing a cartridge problem. 

It's like taking a pair of speakers that have very prominent peaking, then blaming a "flat" amplifier for not taming the peaking. 

Here is graph of the 440mla FR as done by Miller Audio Research. 


The 440mlb will have the same type of peaking you see in the graph as these carts are nearly identical. The newer 540ml which replaced the 440 models tames this peaking somewhat. 



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