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A New Hope - Phono stage research-hunt

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  • A New Hope - Phono stage research-hunt

    I've been thinking about swapping out my ARC Ref2 SE for something different. First thing comes to mind is the ARC Ref 10 Phono which will match with my Ref 10 line stage and may not be too long available as ARC moves toward their GS line.. I hear from those that do know that the Ref 10 Phono is better than the linestage, which is most excellent.

    Once considered I felt obligated to look at other tube-based offerings.

    Thus far what's caught my eye are the H3000 and H5000 units from Allnic and the newest Doshi (3.0?) largely because people and systems I respect are using those units.

    Outside of a fling with an Xono years back I've always had tubed phono stages or preamps, and while I really enjoy rolling tubes I'm not in the mood for forcing myself into a constant search for quiet tubes necessary to make a gain stage sound decent. Too much time spent looking for Sylvania 6201s etc. for my now-departed Atma-Sphere MP-1, though that unit is been improved recently in that area. I'd consider hybrid units and I'm inclined to tube rectification. I might like some flexibility in gain (the 2SE has 51dB low and 74dB high, balanced) and I'd like a true balanced unit, so XLR out. And of course high reliability.

    Your thoughts and suggestions are most appreciated. (I read through the 'wanna hear' thread and that was good but thought not to turn it into something else.)


  • #2
    I have not owned a piece of Audio Research gear since the SP-10 so cannot comment on that ; however, I have heard the Allnic 3000 and 5000 at Albert Porter's home and very much liked what I heard. You may want to speak with Albert who is now the US Importer for Allnic. have now owned a Ypsilon tubed phonostage for about five years and could not be more pleased with the sonics. While it does use a NOS Siemens tube which was developeed for the tele communications industry, that tube isextremely quiet and reliable and is readily available. It also uses a tube rectifier but again my unit has been trouble free. It does use an external transformer.
    Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Audio Note M9 SE Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, HRS Equipment stand, Stillpoints Ultra 6 footers, Furitech cable isolators and plugs, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

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    • #3
      most tube mc phono stages are gonna use solid state devices or transformers on the front end to keep noise down.
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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      • #4
        Originally posted by fcrowder View Post
        I have not owned a piece of Audio Research gear since the SP-10 so cannot comment on that ; however, I have heard the Allnic 3000 and 5000 at Albert Porter's home and very much liked what I heard. You may want to speak with Albert who is now the US Importer for Allnic. have now owned a Ypsilon tubed phonostage for about five years and could not be more pleased with the sonics. While it does use a NOS Siemens tube which was developeed for the tele communications industry, that tube isextremely quiet and reliable and is readily available. It also uses a tube rectifier but again my unit has been trouble free. It does use an external transformer.
        Thanks for pointing out the Ypsilion. It does look interesting and I note it uses an LCR circuit for equalization (as do the Allnics) and it includes XLR outputs (but not a balanced circuit??) Interesting Fremer interview with the Ypsilion's designer, Demetris Backlavas here on TAB.

        Which step-up transformer and gain do you use with yours? If I may ask, where did you purchase?

        The Siemens C3g.


        Last edited by tima; 04-22-2016, 07:52 PM. Reason: fixed link

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        • #5
          Although unit you might consider checking out is the Zesto Audio Andros 1.2. I believe it is still just under $5,000, but from the times I've heard it, it's been pretty darn spectacular. Apparently they might also be coming out with a new phono stage at the $10k mark which will be everything they can think of in trying to make an even better phono stage. Actually, all the Zesto gear I've heard has been pretty great.
          Steve Lefkowicz
          Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
          -
          Analog: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 19a, iPhono2; Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Sumiko Pearl, iFi iPhono.
          Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 26, Tidal HiFi and Qobuz Studio), iFi iDAC2, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2.
          Electronics: Burson Conductor Virtuoso, DIY switch-box with TKD 10K pot, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso, Jolida JD1000P, B&K ST140.
          Speakers: Tekton Double Impact, Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7, ELAC Debut2 B6.2, Debut F5 and Debut B6, Emotiva Airmotiv B1, Sound Dynamics 300ti.
          Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Nordost Solar Wind, Audioquest Evergreen
          Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Nordost Solar Wind, Nordost Flatline, Audioquest Q2.
          Digital cables: Straightwire USB Link, Aural Symphonics Digital Standard xxv USB, Belkin PureAV.
          Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan racks, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Sound Organization speaker stands, Pangea Audio speaker stands, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
          Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More MK801, 1More Triple Driver IEM

          http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...ounding-system

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          • Guest's Avatar
            Guest commented
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            Thanks Steve, I'll take a look.

          • allenh
            allenh commented
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            I second the Zesto recommendation. Really liked what I heard.

          • Analog21
            Analog21 commented
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            +2 on the Zesto. I have the Andros 1.2 and it is spectacular. Message me - I know a great dealer on the Zesto.

        • #6
          Originally posted by tima View Post

          Thanks for pointing out the Ypsilion. It does look interesting and I note it uses an LCR circuit for equalization (as do the Allnics) and it includes XLR outputs (but not a balanced circuit??) Interesting Fremer interview with the Ypsilion's designer, Demetris Backlavas here on TAB.

          Which step-up transformer and gain do you use with yours? If I may ask, where did you purchase?

          The Siemens C3g.

          [ATTACH=CONFIG]temp_1707_1461300706968_225[/ATTACH]
          The ypsilon is great if you have the matching external step up to suit your cart, but its not balanced and I would advise useing the rca output in this case...

          One more thing: the arc phono pre's are VERY quiet. I am not sure the ypsilon is going to be the same lvel of black, but i have not compared the two so it is pure speculation on my behalf. Just keep a eye open for this as you would not want to be making a step down from what you have in this area.
          Have you considered the ARC ref 3?
          Last edited by Billy Shears; 04-22-2016, 06:22 AM.

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          • #7
            Kronos is supposed to be showing their new phono stage at the show in munich next month. Not sure if it is balanced. Worth a look.

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            • #8
              I purchased my Ypsilon from Brian Ackerman the importer as a review sample and at the same time purchased the Ypsilon 16L transformer which he recommended for the Ortofon A90 which I am using. In retrospect, I probably should have purchased the 20L which has a bit more gain, but the 16L has been trouble free. Initially I had a very low level hum problem which I attribute to the WBT connectors on the Odin 1 interconnects which I was using. When I switched to the Odin 2, the hum was totally eliminated even at wide oprn on my Einstein preamp. For what it is worth, this combination is one of the quietest that I have ever owned and that includes a few solid state units. I have been extremely happy with th sound and actually find Fremer's review to be spot on.
              Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Audio Note M9 SE Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, HRS Equipment stand, Stillpoints Ultra 6 footers, Furitech cable isolators and plugs, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

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              • Guest's Avatar
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                I found your review Fred - nice job.

            • #9
              Originally posted by Billy Shears View Post

              The ypsilon is great if you have the matching external step up to suit your cart, but its not balanced and I would advise useing the rca output in this case...

              One more thing: the arc phono pre's are VERY quiet. I am not sure the ypsilon is going to be the same lvel of black, but i have not compared the two so it is pure speculation on my behalf. Just keep a eye open for this as you would not want to be making a step down from what you have in this area.
              Have you considered the ARC ref 3?
              Thanks. I haven't heard the ARC Ref 3 Phono yet. Have you heard it? Not sure how much of a step up it would be from the Ref 2SE.

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              • #10
                Originally posted by fcrowder View Post
                I purchased my Ypsilon from Brian Ackerman the importer as a review sample and at the same time purchased the Ypsilon 16L transformer which he recommended for the Ortofon A90 which I am using. In retrospect, I probably should have purchased the 20L which has a bit more gain, but the 16L has been trouble free. Initially I had a very low level hum problem which I attribute to the WBT connectors on the Odin 1 interconnects which I was using. When I switched to the Odin 2, the hum was totally eliminated even at wide oprn on my Einstein preamp. For what it is worth, this combination is one of the quietest that I have ever owned and that includes a few solid state units. I have been extremely happy with th sound and actually find Fremer's review to be spot on.
                Good information, thanks. You've interested me in the Ypsilon.

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                • #11
                  Originally posted by tima View Post

                  Thanks. I haven't heard the ARC Ref 3 Phono yet. Have you heard it? Not sure how much of a step up it would be from the Ref 2SE.
                  No, but the Ref 6 linestage is more like the Ref 10 than the Ref 5SE, so i am willing to bet the Ref 3 Phono is going to be a considerable step up too...

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                  • #12
                    Originally posted by Billy Shears View Post
                    No, but the Ref 6 linestage is more like the Ref 10 than the Ref 5SE, so i am willing to bet the Ref 3 Phono is going to be a considerable step up too...
                    Yep ARC is quiet and ARC rarely goes backwards. I'm thinking the FETs used in the Ref 10 Phono are the same as those used in the Ref 2SE. Wonder if they changed them for the Ref 3 Phono. 2 more 6H30s, only 1dB difference in gain, per input menu parameters, specs close to the 2SE, I'm curious how different the two units sound.

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                    • #13
                      I think the most important thing between all of these great choices is the ability to demo them in your own system. The Allnic wont sound it's best w/o rectifiers being rolled. Preferably with WW2 RCA Jan-5R4GY or 5U4G RCA JAN from the 50's. On your list, since I already use the H5000, my finalists would be the Doshi, Ref 10 and maybe the Lamm ref phono. I don't think with Lamm, ARC, Doshi that tube rolling is very critical compared to with the Allnic.
                      Christian
                      System Gear

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                        Indeed. It will a challenge to try some the discussed units in my own system. I wish the Lamm LP1 Signature was a two box package instead of three - stacking discouraged. Marc Mickelson described it as: Vladimir Lamm's finest product to date.

                    • #14
                      If you're looking at Allnic, Ypsilon, LCR design, etc. may want to look at Audio Consulting's battery powered phono as well. Marshall Nack's review http://positive-feedback.com/reviews...ono-amplifier/

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                        Thanks I'll check it out - never heard of the Silver Rock Toroidal Phono Amplifier. Iconclastic, indeed!

                    • #15
                      I can only comment that th Ypsilon as provided by the manufacturer does not require tube rolling (this is not to say that it might not benefit from tube rolling the rectifier).. The tubes provided work quite well and replacements are available from the manufacturer at a reasonable price.
                      Rockport Sirius turntable, Lyra Atlas SL cartridge, Audio Note M9 SE Phono stage, Audio Note M10 (Signature) linestage, EMM Labs TX2/DA2 digital, Audio Note Balanced Kegon amps, EMM Labs MTRX amps, Acapella Triolons, Jorma Prime and Odin 2 cables, Stage 3 Kraken power cords, HB Marble Powerslave, Finite Elemente Pagode Reference stands and Cerabases, Halcyonics active isolation bases, HRS Equipment stand, Stillpoints Ultra 6 footers, Furitech cable isolators and plugs, Loricraft and Audiodesk vinyl cleaners, Yamaha CT7000 Tuner.

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