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A Dying Breed

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  • A Dying Breed

    How many manufacturers still make pure, unadulterated, all tube phonostages? No FETs, J-FETs, SUTs, etc. The only company that comes to mind is conrad-johnson. There must be others.
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    Aesthetix

    I have loved the Io for about 17 years.

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    • #3
      Atma-Sphere

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      • #4
        Audio Research Reference 10 phono stage?

        Ken
        "No summit worth climbing is easily attained."
        --------------------------------------------
        Source: MSB Select II DAC with
        Two Mono Powerbases, Femto 33 Clock,
        Renderer V2 and Roon Nucleus Plus
        Amps: Vandersteen M7-HPA Mono Amps
        Speakers: Vandersteen Model 7 Mk2
        Power: AudioQuest Niagara 7000

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      • #5
        I believe the Balanced Audio Technology VK-P6 & VK-P6SE are all tube designs with no input transformers.
        Even thought the VK-P12 & VK-P12SE include a step up transformer the user can select "direct" to bypass the step up transformer.
        [TURNTABLE] TW Acustic Raven One [TONEARM] Dynavector DV 507Mkii & Graham Phantom [PHONO] BAT VK-P10 & Dynavector PHA200; [CARTRIDGE] Dynavector XV1S, Lyra Kleos, Ortofon Cadenza Mono [TAPE] Otari MTR15 & Technics RS1500 with JRF Headblock [DIGITAL] Grace Design M920, Lynx Auroa 8 ADC/DAC, Mac Mini with roon labs [PRAMP] McIntosh C2300 [AMP] McIntosh C601s [SPEAKERS] Legacy Audio Whisper & Wavelet [ACC] Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

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        • #6
          I think a Manley Chinook is all tube.

          I have an old CJ PV9a Pre-amp with an all tube phono in it. It feeds an all tube CJ MV100 into a pair of CJ Synthesis LM300's. Way over kill for a small home office. Equipment is almost 30 years old. Still sounds pretty sweet(Alot of NOS tubes) & a nice heat source in the winter.
          CJ Gat, Lamm ML1.1, CJ Tea1 S3 phono, TW Acoustics Raven AC, Tri-Planer MK Vll SE, Vdh Crimson Stradivarius, Exemplar Modded 205(Tube Version), Rockport Avior ll Speakers, Shunyata Denali 6000t,Triton V3, Shunyata Python Zitron IC's & Sigma Speaker Cables. Shunyata Sigma Power Cables, Audio Desk Pro LP Cleaner, Stillpoints, Stillpoints Aperture Panels & MG Corner Tunes.

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          • #7
            The Fosgate Signature is all tube. Not being made anymore I don't believe.
            Magnepan 1.7i, VMPS Large Sub, Belden 5000 Speaker Cable, Synthesis 510 AC Integrated Amplifier, Celtic Dragon & Grover EX+ Interconnects, Crown SX 722 R/R, Nakamichi RX 202 Cassette Deck, PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamplifier, Clearaudio Solution Turntable, Clearaudio Satisfy Tone Arm, Clearaudio Concerto V2 Cartridge, Clearaudio Smart Syncro, Belkin AP41300 Power Conditioner/Surge Protector, Transparent Power Cables

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            • #8
              Originally posted by Hawk View Post
              I think a Manley Chinook is all tube.

              I have an old CJ PV9a Pre-amp with an all tube phono in it. It feeds an all tube CJ MV100 into a pair of CJ Synthesis LM300's. Way over kill for a small home office. Equipment is almost 30 years old. Still sounds pretty sweet(Alot of NOS tubes) & a nice heat source in the winter.
              No, the Chinook has JFETs. It's a damn good sounding phono stage and it's quiet.
              Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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              • #9
                The Hagerman Trumpet Reference is pure tube.
                Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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                • #10
                  Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                  How many manufacturers still make pure, unadulterated, all tube phonostages? No FETs, J-FETs, SUTs, etc. The only company that comes to mind is conrad-johnson. There must be others.
                  Jadis and VAC and others that don't come readily to mind. the VAC statement has SUTs but are bypassed when you select the MM input. IMO, there's no free lunch with tube phono stages, you can't expect 76 db of relatively quiet gain without assist from a SUT, JFET or the like.
                  TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

                  "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

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                  • #11
                    Originally posted by Rob View Post

                    Jadis and VAC and others that don't come readily to mind. the VAC statement has SUTs but are bypassed when you select the MM input. IMO, there's no free lunch with tube phono stages, you can't expect 76 db of relatively quiet gain without assist from a SUT, JFET or the like.
                    Absolutely agree. I would even lower the amount of gain from 76dB for being quiet with pure tubes. The signal from low output MC cartridges is so low that the signal is actually sitting in the noise floor of the tubes used to amplify their output. .2mV is actually 200 ┬ÁV - 200 millionths of a volt! That's why people are using SUTs or J-FETs to step up the signal level before it's handed off to tubes to reduce the noise. You simply can't have your cake and it too unless you like eating cake that was baked with some rocks in it.
                    Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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                    • Rob
                      Rob commented
                      Editing a comment
                      The VAC statement has 76 db of gain with SUTs, the MM input is only 35-40 db. the big Jadis can do 83 db (no doubt with some help from FETs/SUTs). IME, ~50 db of pure tube gain is about the limit before low level details get swamped out by tube rush.

                  • #12
                    There are few smaller manufacturers that come to mind. Mostly custom/made to order. Mine was entirely tube based, including the PS until recently when I had a FET step up installed. Haven't had a chance to compare it to my normal SUTs as of yet but the FET is in the ballpark.
                    Turntable: - 1. Fairchild 750/OMA slate plinth
                    2. Analog Engineering AE-2008 MinusK support.
                    Tonearm: 1. Schroder Custom
                    2. Schick 12"
                    3. Abis SA-1
                    Cartridge: Miyajima Kansui and Premium BE Mono
                    PhonoPre: AprilSound LR, EMIA Strain Gauge, EMIA silver SUT
                    CD: Wadia 860x
                    Server: Innuos Zen Mini Mk3
                    DAC: Computer Audio Design 1543 Mk2
                    Preamp: Bent Audio TAP-X w silver autoformers
                    Amplifier: AprilSound SET50 monoblocks
                    Speaker: Pioneer PAX-30C

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                    • #13
                      while an all tube MM phono stage is easily achievable, doing MC without transistors or transformers is not possible without accepting higher noise levels.
                      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 (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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                      • Guest's Avatar
                        Guest commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Yes. Ironically it was LO cartridge makers paving the road to Transistorvania

                    • #14
                      Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                      while an all tube MM phono stage is easily achievable, doing MC without transistors or transformers is not possible without accepting higher noise levels.
                      One hell of a difference between a cartridge with a 4.6 mV output and one with .2mV
                      Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

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                      • #15
                        don't forget, you can get extra high output MC carts that are compatible with tube MM phono stages.
                        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 (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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                        • Rob
                          Rob commented
                          Editing a comment
                          sure, but name one HOMC that you would unequivocally prefer--sonically--over a LOMC?? the list become vanishingly small if there is even a list

                        • MylesBAstor
                          MylesBAstor commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Rob what would you define as HO? Interestingly, MCs used to be categorized as LO, MO and HO. Now just LO and HO. Think the last HO/MO I had was the Blue Point Special and before that the Talisman Alchemist. And before that the AQ 404. Today, there are a few cartridge designers that will provide the output requested too. For whatever the reason, HO MCs always sound bright to me.

                          Most modern phonostages should be happy with MCs around 0.5 mV. Part of the reason love the Doshi is that it's got gain to spare (74 dB) but not all tube.

                        • JCOConnell
                          JCOConnell commented
                          Editing a comment
                          most modern MC phonostages that is
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