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Don't You Just Hate This!?!?

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  • Don't You Just Hate This!?!?

    Or file this under I should have known.

    So I've been busy the last two weeks trying to wrap up the Charisma Reference MC2 moving coil cartridge review. Bernard's new Reference MC2 represents his latest attempt to improve upon the performance of the $1500 Charisma MC2 that I reviewed a while back and left a very good impression (JackD also heard the MC2 here when visiting NYC and me and was also impressed by the cartridge's performance). Overall the new cartridge's sound impressed me but one thing--the creeping in of some brightness as the music became more demanding-- really bothered me. Nothing I did during the dialing in and tuning process-SRA, loading, VTF, changing phono cables, etc--helped either. The brightness so bothered me that I even called Josh at Transparent Audio to see if their phono cable needed to be retuned for the Charisma (it was initially tuned for the Atlas). Josh did the calculations and called me back the next day with the news that the phono cable didn't need to be adjusted for the Charisma. I even called Nick Doshi for his usual insights but that conversation didn't reveal any further insights. What was left to do? Was this going to be another case of a frustrating flawed product? So it looked.

    Fast forward ahead to tonight's listening session. Tonight started out with a couple of tapes eventually switching over to after dinner to records. Put the first record on and the right channel was dead as a doornail. (I'm sure everyone has experienced that sinking feeling at one time or another!) Went back to the tape and both channels were working. So that at least narrowed things down. Switched the channels at the turntable and the problem remained in the right channel. Switched the leads at the phonostage output and the problem moved to the other channel now, thus at least isolating the issue to the phonostage. So I decided at that point to switch tubes between channels and began with the 12DW7s (otherwise known as 7247s). Unfortunately, the 12DW7s are a weird tube and my tube tester won't check them (well maybe my Hickok will but that is at the bottom of my closet as I tend to use the old George Kaye tube tester). Once again, the problem switched channels thus isolating the problem. Of course, the problem tubes were from JJ and those who have read the forum since the beginning remember my reports of the terrible Q/C of JJ tubes.

    But terror immediately struck. Ack/Tasos was coming by this weekend and I didn't have any backup JJ tubes. I immediately called Nick and left a message. But once the initial sensation of terror subsided, I remembered I still had a pair of Phillips that had initially come with the unit. So I searched through my storage box and found that pair of 12DW7s and installed them in place of the hated JJs. Voila, music in both channels.

    That's not, however, the end of the story. These NOS Phillips tubes run rings around the JJ and really elevated the cartridge's performance. The new tubes have far more midrange palpability and transparency. Far more resolution of the Brown/Almeida Jeton D2D. Almeida's guitar was oh so delicate but more so, one was left with a feeling that the instrument, not just the sound, moved toward the listener. The same thing was true for the Dream with Dean. I was even hearing things here had never heard before. And we're talking Charisma, not Atlas. Even more impressive is this tube's soundstage. I thought the stage was at its limit but the new tubes increased not only the width but amazing adding substantial depth on The Doors LA Woman. Percussion was on the street and other instruments at times were outside the walls.

    So I guess, the adage that alls well that ends well. Yes, I should have suspected a bad tube but the failing 12DW7 just didn't exhibit the usual and "typical tube distortions" that I was used to (Well now just added another thing to my toolbox). Now just got to find me some more of these tubes or maybe experiment with some Mullards, etc. Also makes me wonder whether some NOS Black or grey plate RCA 12BH7s would have the same effect compared to the stock JJs in Nick's tapestage?
    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
    Boy you and JJs really don't get along Myles LOL Knock on wood but no failures for me yet. Well, I usually swap them out anyway.

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    • #3
      I'd say the JJs were used for at most 700 hours. Pitiful. And the tube still lit up so am curious about why it failed. One of the two triodes?
      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.

      Comment

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