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Reflex M + PSU 1 In Home Audition

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Dec 2018 at 6:19pm
Originally posted by RichW RichW wrote:

I still remember the put-down I got from some trumpet on a forum for suggesting
it is a modified Grado. Smile
Heavily modified it is - to the extent of using only the original body.
They do sound excellent though.


I can imagine. Does Len wind his own coils as well? Am I right to assume he still uses an MI design for these cartridges, or are they something else? 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Dec 2018 at 8:02pm
To try the Reflex M with some bass-heavy music I selected some reggae records from my collection:

Steel Pulse - Handsworth Revolution ('78 U.S. Mango)

Wailing Souls - Inchpinchers (Recent RE Greensleeves)

Linton Kwesi Johnson - Dread Beat An' Blood ('81 Heartbeat)

The Heptones - Nightfood ('76 Island)

On each record, the bass was smooth and deep, never too bloated or too thin. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Richardl60 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20 Dec 2018 at 8:58pm
The even handedness is what I would have expected from your Reflex;  in line with my experiences of the revelation incarnation which was even handed to all sources; indeed more so than the Era gold V in itself very good.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote RichW Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Dec 2018 at 7:44am

I can imagine. Does Len wind his own coils as well? Am I right to assume he still uses an MI design for these cartridges, or are they something else? 
[/QUOTE]
Yes, Len does wind his own coils & they are MI designs.

Some phono stages struggle with bass - the Reflex M has no problem here.


Elevator, Accession, Majestic, Reflex M, Solo ULDE, CuSat & Lautus.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Dec 2018 at 7:43pm
How the Reflex M fares with Classic Rock, Hard Rock, and Blues Rock: 


I picked out these four LPs from my collection:

Jimi Hendrix Cry of Love (2014 Legacy U.S. RE, mastered by Bernie Grundman)

Jeff Beck - Truth (70s U.S. Epic 2-fer RE w/Beck-Ola)

Steve Ray Vaughan - Couldn't Stand the Weather ('84 U.S. Epic)

Blue Oyster Cult - Secret Treaties (70s U.S. Columbia)


Spoiler: the Reflex M performed very well on all these albums.

The Reflex did a very good job conveying the richness of Jimi's voice and the heaviness and clarity of his guitar work. Where the recording of a particular song allowed it, cymbals were also very detailed as on other albums.

For Truth, Rod's voice is way out front compared to Jimi's and of course his vocal style is totally different. He has more of a scratchy soul singer's voice. Beck's guitar tone is also totally different - not as heavy and more of a slashing sound. This was also played back very well with the Reflex.

On the SRV LP, the standout track is "Tin Pan Alley". This sounds very different to the rest of the LP, as @bever70 noted, it's a spacious slow-burner covered in reverb. You can hear the separation of the instruments very clearly on this track. The Reflex again reproduces the bass lines very well in a smooth and deep manner. SRV's guitar is clear as a bell here, and the attack and decay when he suddenly hits his strings hard is quite jaw dropping. I had to stand directly in front of the speakers for this one.

For Secret Treaties, the main takeaway here is that the Reflex doesn't add any unnecessary bloat to the album's sound. If you know this album, you know the production is tight and compact, not bloated and leaden like a lot of 70s hard rock. Detail again is excellent.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Dec 2018 at 9:23pm
How the Reflex M Fares With Jazz:

I have been listening to the Reflex with jazz since I started the loan period but wanted to do some more concentrated listening. Frankly jazz encompasses so much I struggled with what records to use, but I ended up selecting these from my collection:

Sonny Rollins - What's New? - ORG RE 2015

Lee Morgan - The Sidewinder – U.S. 70s BN RE, RVG plates

Herbie Hancock – Empyrean Isles - Music Matters RE, 33rpm 2015

Frank Lowe – Fresh – U.S. Arista Freedom 1975

Dave Holland – Conference of The Birds – U.S. ECM 1973

Shoji Yokouchi Trio Plus Yuri Tashiro ‎– Greensleeves – Impex RE 2017


First up is Sonny. If you don't know this album, it's unique in that it features the percussionist Candido doing some work on bongos and congas. Although I love listening to Sonny play I probably focused more on these percussion sections which sound astoundingly lifelike here. In terms of how it conveys Sonny's Sax, I think it does an excellent job with tone and texture.

Next up, one of the most popular BN albums. Lee's horn slices through the mix very sharply. Even though RVG was said to cut his lacquers with some roll-off to accommodate for the limitations of average equipment at the time, I don't think the Reflex is adding an additional roll-off. It just portrays what's on the record.

Empyrean Isles is one of my favorite jazz albums and by far my favorite Herbie album. This particular LP wasn't cut with many compromises to my ears. Everything is very clear and defined with no romantic roll-off. The first thing I notice is the detail in the drums, which is running theme with the Reflex. Ron Carter's bass is deep and clear, Hancocks piano sounds great, and Hubbard's horn is fiery. I've played back this album many times on both of my turntables with different phono stages and cartridges but I don't think it's ever sounded this powerful.

Next is something totally different. A mid-70s free jazz album by Frank Lowe. There are a couple of Monk tunes on this LP, but they are almost barely recognizable once they get going. This is screech and skronk with zero concessions to accessibility. Not much to say here other than the Reflex portrays harshness very well.

The effect is the same with Conference of the Birds. If you know the ECM label primarily for its more soothing sounds and atmospheric albums, this one might be a curve ball for you. It's a free jazz album featuring Sam Rivers and Anthony Braxton. It ranges from spacious and moody to sudden bursts of harshness. There are some sections with a sudden rush of cymbal work that my Goldring 1042 had trouble keeping up with. To be fair, it might be a challenge for most cartridges outside of the very best trackers.

Shifting gears again, I moved to a melodic jazz guitar album originally released on the Three Blind Mice label in the late 70s. If you've never heard it before, I'll just say this is one of the best recorded and pressed records I own. Here, the guitar work and drums are very detailed and the Reflex doesn't gloss over the deep tones of the Hammond organ or the bass.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Jan 2019 at 5:31pm
How the Reflex M Fares with Electronic Music: 

For this grouping I selected these albums from my collection: 

Isolee - Well Spent Youth (Pampa, 2011)

Depeche Mode - Playing the Angel (Mute UK 2005)

Clock DVA - Buried Dreams (Wax Trax, 1989 U.S.)


Like all the other groupings, the Reflex continues to impress. The theme here is bass reproduction and detail. 

For Isolee, we're talking about contemporary computer music production in the form of experimental house music. The artist behind this project, Rajko Muller, was one of the pioneers of the microhouse genre back in the late 90s and this album is one of the most complex, textured pieces I've heard from him. The Reflex obscures nothing when playing back this album. 

Playing the Angel is one of my favorite albums by Depeche Mode, but audiophiles in particular have always complained about the production and mastering on this record. The CD edition was brickwalled to death and this 2005 LP is cut very LOUD. The Reflex handles it as well as can be expected, not adding any extra distortion or glossing over any of the detail in the production. My copy of this was not cared for by the previous owner, so there are some pops and scratches here and there even after two or three RCM cleanings. The Reflex pushes those well away from the foreground to where they're barely noticeable.

Buried Dreams is a very different kind of album than the other two, made during a time when outboard gear had to be relied on almost exclusively for electronic music. For its time, this was a fairly advanced album and it still sounds great today. The sharpness of the synth stabs and the detail of the different sequenced elements is conveyed with a great level of detail by the Reflex. Basslines and kick drums are rock solid and not muddy.

Edited by patientot - 01 Jan 2019 at 5:33pm
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