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Phono stage choices

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=4755
Printed Date: 26 May 2020 at 6:25am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Phono stage choices
Posted By: Cipollae
Subject: Phono stage choices
Date 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



Replies:
Posted By: Richardl60
Date 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?




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


Posted By: Cipollae
Date 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  


Posted By: Richardl60
Date 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.



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


Posted By: Cipollae
Date 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.


Posted By: Richardl60
Date 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, Leema Antila 2Seco CD player, TDL studio 1.


Posted By: Cipollae
Date 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 - https://www.analogplanet.com/content/graham-slees-1449-accession-raises-mm-playback-bar-page-2 . FWIW.




Posted By: Richardl60
Date Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 6:36pm
which I recall reading - the impression I formed was that the writer passed comment without experiencing the AMC.

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


Posted By: Fatmangolf
Date Posted: 30 Jun 2019 at 8:07pm
I recommend the AccMC and Enigma to anyone with low output MC.

-------------
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.


Posted By: RichW
Date Posted: 01 Jul 2019 at 8:28am
Hi Martijn,
I would also recommend the Accession MC. 
I tried the Acc MC with PSU1 via the loan scheme to compare with my Acc MM + Elevator
and the Acc MC won - it had even more detail & stronger defined imaging & tone.
It is a delight with well recorded classical music & much else.
I haven't tried the Enigma but it generally seems to be regarded as a worthwhile upgrade 
with the Acc MC.

Many years ago I owned a standard EAR unit & it sounded nice enough but a little soft & woolly.

Good luck.




-------------
Elevator, Accession M, Majestic/Enigma, Reflex M, CuSat & Lautus.


Posted By: Cipollae
Date Posted: 01 Jul 2019 at 6:59pm
Hi Jon and Rich

Many thanks for your recommendations. The MC it shall be! I will contact Kevin and sort out the details of obtaining a loaner device (or just place an order if greed gets the better of me Wacko).

Best


Martijn


Posted By: Cipollae
Date Posted: 02 Jul 2019 at 10:37pm
OK guys - after reading another couple of rave reviews regarding other Graham Slee phono stages I decided to simply take the plunge and order the Accession + Enigma... ClapClapClap 

You will hear back from me as soon as I have had the chance to audition them!

Best 


Martijn


Posted By: PaulRS
Date Posted: 03 Jul 2019 at 7:43am
Congratulations! You work faster than my procrastinating self, but i will also order an Accession M this week based on reviews only, plus good advice from forum members. 

I was a long term Sonus faber fan until last year.... 


-------------
No Music, No Life!
Paul


Posted By: Aussie Mick
Date Posted: 04 Jul 2019 at 6:23am
Woohoo!!!

-------------
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: RichW
Date Posted: 05 Jul 2019 at 7:49am
Congrats both.Thumbs Up 



-------------
Elevator, Accession M, Majestic/Enigma, Reflex M, CuSat & Lautus.


Posted By: morris_minor
Date Posted: 08 Jul 2019 at 10:22am
Originally posted by Cipollae Cipollae wrote:

OK guys - after reading another couple of rave reviews regarding other Graham Slee phono stages I decided to simply take the plunge and order the Accession + Enigma... ClapClapClap 

You will hear back from me as soon as I have had the chance to audition them!

Best 


Martijn
You definitely won't be disappointed!

-------------
Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links


Posted By: WigglyWoo
Date Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 2:03pm
Hi all,

I'm looking to upgrade my (modified) Rega RP3 to either the Planar 8 or perhaps even the new 10.  I'm assuming that at this price level I should be looking at the Accession MC + Enigma but would welcome people's opinions on the following:

- Can anyone comment on the performance improvement of the Enigma on the Accession MC?
- I already have a couple of PSU1s (for my Reflex M and Solo) so am assuming that I could do a side-by-side comparison of Enigma vs PSU1 (or has the PSU1 been upgraded in the past few years?)
- Has anyone compared the Accession MC+Enigma to the Rega Aria or Aura? (I previously swapped out my Rega Font for the Reflex M so am a definite Graham Slee fan so wondering whether just to take the plunge with the Accession MC or run a comparison first - any experience on this one?

Oh, and interconnect - I may upgrade that while I'm at it... what's everyone using these days (I currently use a mix of Chord and GS)

Sorry for the barrage of questions!

David


Posted By: Fatmangolf
Date Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 3:17pm
Hi David, I helped with testing of the beta PSU1 that became the Enigma PSU 1 so tried it with my phono stages. It was a big upgrade for the Elevator EXP and Accession MC, and an improvement on the Reflex M compared to a standard PSU1. On another member's advice I tried the beta with my Majestic dac and was so impressed I traded up to another Enigma.

You'll find postings with our forum's search for Enigma.


-------------
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.


Posted By: WigglyWoo
Date Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 5:05pm
Many thanks, I'll take a look...

On a related topic, has anyone tried/would recommend mains conditioning - I've always stayed away from it in the past... would it help or hinder the Enigma?


Posted By: morris_minor
Date Posted: 06 Oct 2019 at 6:07pm
The Accession MC+Enigma combo takes Graham's phono amps into a different league IMO. The loan scheme is the way to go to find out for yourself - and borrow some of Graham's interconnects too Wink.

-------------
Bob

Majestic DAC/pre-amp
Accession MC/Enigma, Accession MM, Reflex M, Elevator EXP, Era Gold V
Solo ULDE, Novo, Lautus USB and digital, Libran balanced, CuSat50
2 x Proprius + Spatia/Spatia Links



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