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 Post subject: Re: PJL Tube Phono Stage
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2017 6:53 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:46 pm
Posts: 459
Location: Markham, ON, CA
Cyrus, I just wanted to thank you for your post and detailed review; this is exactly the POWER of these forums; the ability for the rest of us to benefit from your experience. Thanks!

I was literally reading this thread when a friend's wife called and gave me a budget to purchase a new phono pre for my buddy.....talk about Karma..... :lol: PJL have been contacted.

EDIT I have placed an order for one. Unfortunately through Fleabay....and they're promising a delivery for the third week of January...which sucks because this was going to be a Christmas gift...I have (again) emailed Pat to see if we can speed the process up. I LOVE trying new gear, especially when my buddy's wife is paying the bill :lol:

Best, Tom


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 Post subject: Re: PJL Tube Phono Stage
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:31 pm
Posts: 986
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
brownslane wrote:
Cyrus, I just wanted to thank you for your post and detailed review; this is exactly the POWER of these forums; the ability for the rest of us to benefit from your experience. Thanks!

I was literally reading this thread when a friend's wife called and gave me a budget to purchase a new phono pre for my buddy.....talk about Karma..... :lol: PJL have been contacted.

EDIT I have placed an order for one. Unfortunately through Fleabay....and they're promising a delivery for the third week of January...which sucks because this was going to be a Christmas gift...I have (again) emailed Pat to see if we can speed the process up. I LOVE trying new gear, especially when my buddy's wife is paying the bill :lol:

Best, Tom


That's great Tom! Did you decide upon the Retro Edition, or the Vinyl Edition? I don't know if my new speakers are continuing to break in, or if the PJL is continuing to break in as well, or perhaps it is my ears becoming more accustomed to the new sound. But, analogue playback is getting better and better each week it seems. My brother came over for a listening session last night, and was very impressed with the PJL (he has a $2,200 Fosgate Signature). This was the second time he has come over for an extended session, and he was certain that my system sounded considerably better than it did a few weeks ago. I had written in my initial review and posting that the Sugden was stronger in terms of that (somewhat elusive) "presence" over the PJL. Interestingly, the PJL has surpassed the Sugden considerably in this regard. We connected the Sugden mid session (after perhaps 2.5 hours of listening with the PJL in place), but quickly realized that we had lost much of the ambiance and "life" of the old recordings. It was a fun evening of primarily late 50's cheesy lounge (including south pacific/Hawaiian lounge) and the recording qualities were excellent, most being original heavy pressings of the era.

I have ordered two 1959 Baldwin Organ labelled Sylvania 12XA7 tubes, and I am expecting them to arrive around January 8. I'm really looking forward to hearing the PJL with these tubes.

As with most new gear, the PJL does seem to evolve and improve over time. As said, there may be other factors going on here, but my analogue playback has certainly improved over the weeks since acquiring the new stage. I can conclude that at least some of this improvement is attributed to the stage, as it has surpassed the Sugden's stronger qualities as noted in the initial comparison. So, I think it is important to stay the course for a few weeks to permit for a full break in period. I estimate having perhaps 30 hours on the stage now, and it is sounding very nice indeed. Please follow up when you and your friend receive the new stage. I am very interested in hearing your initial thoughts, and then another follow up after a month of regular use.


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 Post subject: Re: PJL Tube Phono Stage
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 12:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:46 pm
Posts: 459
Location: Markham, ON, CA
Cyrus, I ordered the retro edition. I was hoping for Christmas (it was a present), but no soap...I have yet to hear from him. But we waited way too long ( I am buying this on behalf of a friend's wife) so we will wait. He has a clearaudio (branded a Marantz) with a Denon 110, so it will be interesting when it arrives.

Currently he is also borrowing a pair of my Elacs....new speakers are next on the list.

I am quite impressed with the owner of PJL; seems a responsive, caring sort of guy. The jury (of course) is out until he builds the amp.

I will report once the amp arrives and is in use.

Have a Happy New Year!
Tom


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 Post subject: Re: PJL Tube Phono Stage
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 2:40 pm 
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Joined: Mon Aug 08, 2016 5:46 pm
Posts: 459
Location: Markham, ON, CA
Well, an update is in order. I just spent the better part of today setting up a new sound room and installing the PJL for my friend. He is using a DL-110 on a Clearaudio, powered by a Carver into a pair of Elac B5's. His previous phono pre was a Cambridge Audio 551.

First off, the unit arrived via USPS in about 6 working days, well packaged and supplied with a complete set of wiring prints. Nice touch. I let it warm up to ambient temp before powering up.

The sound was uninspiring, but in a different way from the CA. What was missing was the highs and lows...there was just a big blob of midrange ...nice warm midrange, but not much else. It was like a bed sheet was hung in front of the speakers. I found myself straining to hear what must be missing. It appears everything was there, but subdued and muffled. We played both sides of Calyxta...and by the end of the second side, the veil began lifting. Next album was Ricky Lee Jones. Hmmm something is happening here. Now all those sounds I was feeling were missing were now appearing...and sounding good. Next was Norah Jones....on "come away with me", the veil was lifted....and the already present midrange found form and definition. Truly pleasant, composed and complete. The highs were becoming clean and rich, the bass started growing in presence and immediacy.

I left after 4 hours of straight listening with the strains of Roger Water's voice in my ears. In this short time the PJL had warmed up and started producing some really non-fatiguing pleasant sound. You know you are onto a good thing when the couch is covered with a selection of favourites, each waiting for their turn on the platter.

To summarize, at first blush the PJL is well engineered, nicely built and attractive piece of kit. There is zero flash or showiness; just a plain, steel box with a button and knob. If you are looking to show off your tubes, look elsewhere; but if you are looking for an economical tube front end for your vinyl, this may be a great choice. Pat (the owner) worked with me to match impedances and output so both the cart and amp got what they needed. A quality experience.

I'll follow up after a 100 hours or so of use; given the stack of albums on the couch, that might be in just a few days.

Tom


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 Post subject: Re: PJL Tube Phono Stage
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:04 pm 
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Joined: Sun Feb 03, 2008 1:31 pm
Posts: 319
Location: Southern, ON, CA
Always enjoy learning of a new company, in North America no less, thanks for posting your review, it is appreciated.


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