One of the great benefits of reviewing the KECES Ephono is that I have been playing so many records lately. But with the recent inclusion of the Sophia Electric Baby Magik Box installed into my digital rig, digital music has been a lot more palatable and fun to listen to. This fact has reduced my record playing time quite a bit. The convenience of digital playback has also played a role in this scenario. Skipping the arguments both technical and subjective for now of analog vs digital, I hear in analog records spaciousness, depth, and a natural and organic sound still missing from digital recordings, no matter what doodad, latest number cruncher, or tube you slap on the end of a digital processor to try and improve digital sound.… Read the full article
The new Cary Audio VT-500 Phono Preamplifier, based on the venerable 6SL7 tube and the most expensive phono preamp Cary has ever manufactured here in America, takes its place as the most successful phono stage from this 30-year-old company. Cary Audio now sells direct to the consumer. Musical and melodious to the max, moving coil cartridges are treated to powerful amplification with ultra-low noise and unhearable distortion. My more expensive references are no more flexible or quiet than Cary Audio VT-500.… Read the full article
With the matching cartridges, the KECES Ephono turned out to be a real bargain: So much superb sound and substantial usage of materials plus good workmanship can hardly be found elsewhere at this price. The Sphono now also offers higher load impedances and even more features. Does it also have more to offer in terms of sonic performance?
Regarding the Ephono, I had wondered where KECES did cut costs considering its highly customer friendly price, but only became aware of the fact that both manufacturer and distributor were quite stingy with information on the technology.… Read the full article
Honey, I Shrunk the Phono stage
I’ve had the privilege of knowing Dan Wright for the past twenty years. Over that time, I’ve seen ModWright burgeon from its humble beginnings as an upgrade or modification-only service provider, to becoming a respected manufacturer of a full line of products. Over the past two decades, ModWright has established an unwavering benchmark in providing both remarkable sounding gear and exceptional value. In fact, I was so impressed with ModWright’s flagship phono preamplifier, the PH 150 Reference introduced in 2015, that I purchased mine after reviewing for another publication.… Read the full article
Stein Music of Germany has been known in these pages as the source for unique and exciting accessories that advance room treatment, amplifier performance, power supply distribution, power cords, turntable performance and more. We knew they were big into loudspeakers and electronics, though few made it to these shores. Time all that changed! Now available is their sleek solid-state phono stage that contains the genius and design work of their namesake, Holger Stein, and his engineers. With a tube-like sonic smoothness and elegance, giant soundstage, and blackest of backgrounds, the Stein Music Stateline Phono 2 Signature is the best edition of just their least expensive lineup of electronics.… Read the full article
‘Twas the week before Christmas when Nick Doshi and Anthony Chiarella dropped by bringing seasonal cheer in the form of the Doshi Phono Stage V3.0. While it was warming up, I took the opportunity to bring them up to speed on my current configuration: all CH Precision components, including the CH P1 phono stage.
Nick inquired, “Did I have an opportunity to try the CH dual mono phono stage?”
MN: “Not yet…maybe one day. That’s supposed to be killer, but to do that right means four boxes on the floor, including the outboard power supplies.… Read the full article
All components in BOLD are loaned; all components in standard face are owned by me.
Marten Bird Loudspeakers, Marten Duke 2 Loudspeakers, and REL Stadium III subwoofer.
E.A.R. 324 phono preamplifier, two E.A.R. 890 amplifiers (ran as monos), E.A.R. 534 stereo amplifier, E.A.R. 912 Professional preamplifier, E.A.R. 834L tube line stage, E.A.R. HP4 headphone amplifier, Grado Battery headphone amplifier, and KingRex headphone amplifier.
Analog: E.A.R. Disk Master Turntable with two Helius Omega Tonearms.
Cartridges: Koetsu Rosewood Signature, London Reference and Grado Statement1.… Read the full article
Hey, Positive People!
When we last spoke on March 9 in Issue 102 (HERE), I ended the article saying that being so inspired by the sound of the Modwright P9.0 preamp, it led me to purchase quite a few fun vinyl items for discussion in this Part II of Mono-mania! I have a complete mono-ready rig set up which includes the Technics SL1200 MKII turntable with Hana SL mono MC cartridge, coming through the ModWright PH 9.0 tube phono stage (with power supply), which is driven by the Rega Brio integrated amplifier (coming through input 5) and delivered through my Spendor D5 floor speakers.… Read the full article
Wayne Goins and Henri Musselwhite: a portrait. Salina, KS, 2017. Photograph by David W. Robinson.
A coupla months ago, I had a new experience when Dan Wright loaned me his ModWright PH 150 tube preamp for several months. Published in PF Issue 100 (HERE), I wrote about using the “mono” button on the front panel to achieve the desired effect. I really liked what I heard from the PH 150, except that a few other components it was combined with were not quite exactly what I needed to achieve the ultimate mono experience.… Read the full article
Hana SL Moving Coil Cartridge with the Musical Surroundings Phonomena II+ Phono Preamp with Linear Power Supply
I love the new world of digital file streaming; I love the convenience of accessing your entire music library at the touch of a few tablet buttons, and I love the fact that digital-to-analog conversion has reached a state of near perfection that early digital only hinted at. And with so many outstanding tools at our disposal, such as Roon, with its remarkable distillation of music player/file organizer and an unbelievable suite of bit-perfect digital signal processing at your disposal—what’s not to love?… Read the full article