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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 11:53 am 
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"It's not the heat, it's the stoopidity"...Well...perhaps, something like that...

I've had my iPhono 2 for a few years now - actually, since it was released. I listened to quite a few* phono preamps before I bought it.

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File comment: iPhono 2
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*Started with my old NAD PP2 to provide some reference. Prior to that I listened to records through my NAD 7175PE and prior to that...a series of "vintage" receivers...Other more modern phono preamps that I borrowed while trying the iPhono (as I remember...) from friends: Graham Slee Era II, Pro-Ject Phono Box DS2 and Cambridge Audio CP1...or something like that...

The iPhono 2 developed the dreaded "motor boating" sound early this spring. Replaced the "iPower" unit and it was greatly reduced. Actually tested some lab DC power supplies from work and they not only cured the noise problem but greatly improved the overall sound quality. I recently borrowed a friends Parasound and it was amazing...I will say that the iPhono is no slouch but now the fact there is faint motor-boating I am getting...annoyed. And I actually tested their "AC iPurifier" which made no difference other than for my digital side...

IMHO the phono cables and preamp are the most important components in the analog front end. What is my next step? I guess I could buy a Teddy Pardo 15V dc PSU but I feel, for the price, I might as well move to the proper place.

I would only like to hear from those who have moved on from iPhono 2...Phono preamps that I am considering:
- Mies P1000
- SPL Phonos
- Parasound Halo JC 3 Jr.
- Dark horse: Space Tech Labs P-001-Mk3

Again, please provide input if you have actually compared something on this list...

Things that I feel could be the next step for my phono preamp:
- Lowered noise floor (definitely no motor-boating)
- Improved dynamics

Hey, I listen to a good variety of vinyl and can actually hear the effects of cables in my system/room...

thanks!


Last edited by fifthbusiness on Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:10 pm 
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Can’t comment on the phono stages you mentioned. Parasound no longer has Canadian distribution so that will have to be purchased through a US source and shipped. Not sure if that is a deal breaker or not.

How do you feel about tubes? In the price range of what you have above, if you are ok with tubes I would also consider the Manley Chinook. Dead quiet, extremely flexibly with almost endless loading options and it sound f’n fantastic!! So much so that I am actually enjoying budget cartridges that I otherwise neglected with previous phone stages.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:17 pm 
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What is the rest of the system? From your picture, the table looks to be a Pro-ject Classic which is a nice table.

For sysnergy, I always matched my tables and phono pres (Linn with Linn, Rega with Rega etc).

I currently use a Clearaudio Basic Plus (a two box set up) with my Clearaudio Concept table, a Clearaudio Nano with my Pro-ject Essential 2 and a Pro-ject Phono Box 2SE for my Debut 3/AcrylIt/Speedbox2.

I love the clean neutral sound of the Clearaudio pres but Pro-ject tables work really well with their own pres which are also neutral sounding and a bit warmer.

Also depends on what kind of music/sound you like - I always choose based on how the system makes my classical records sound and work back from that.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:25 pm 
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sthomas1049 wrote:
Can’t comment on the phono stages you mentioned. Parasound no longer has Canadian distribution so that will have to be purchased through a US source and shipped. Not sure if that is a deal breaker or not.

How do you feel about tubes? In the price range of what you have above, if you are ok with tubes I would also consider the Manley Chinook. Dead quiet, extremely flexibly with almost endless loading options and it sound f’n fantastic!! So much so that I am actually enjoying budget cartridges that I otherwise neglected with previous phone stages.


Man...tubes...are you running something like this? As a phono preamp? Please give me some details...

I know, heard lots of good stuff about Manley but still...tubes...You know, I do very much like my ATOC9/III and just have a hard time wrapping my head around tubes for MC...Perhaps I need to be proven wrong here...

Other notes:
- I use a Marantz NR1504 as preamp (I have found that the Audyssey is really good for my room)
- Class D Audio amp
- Tannoy XT6F speakers
- Take Five wiring (really made a big difference)
- Emotiva CMX-02 (seems like a lot of dc offset in my neighborhood)

Other comments on my system are relevant (Pro-ject Classic, AT OC9/III)

-- 01 Jul 2018 20:37 --

banerjba wrote:
What is the rest of the system? From your picture, the table looks to be a Pro-ject Classic which is a nice table.

For sysnergy, I always matched my tables and phono pres (Linn with Linn, Rega with Rega etc).

I currently use a Clearaudio Basic Plus (a two box set up) with my Clearaudio Concept table, a Clearaudio Nano with my Pro-ject Essential 2 and a Pro-ject Phono Box 2SE for my Debut 3/AcrylIt/Speedbox2.

I love the clean neutral sound of the Clearaudio pres but Pro-ject tables work really well with their own pres which are also neutral sounding and a bit warmer.

Also depends on what kind of music/sound you like - I always choose based on how the system makes my classical records sound and work back from that.


Haven't tired Clearaudio stuff...Did try Pro-Ject and Lehmann (Black Cube, sorry, forgot to mention)...Lehmann might be interesting but I did find it a bit on the 'analytical' side. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But I suspect my long run with NAD predisposes me to "warmth". Growing up we had ESS and a Technics 1200 with Shure...so maybe warmth is something that I expect? BTW I totally agree about synergy.

I listen to a lot of different kinds of music so not much help here...I have also used a lot of different kinds of cartridges with the iPhono and the Classic:

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File comment: catridges...
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:40 pm 
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Location: Victoria, BC, CA
A dark horse which I think is wholly underestimated is the Hagerman audio line . Their website is
https://hagerman-audio-labs.myshopify.com.
I originally bought the Bugle 2 and then upgraded to an older Cornet ( tube model). Innovative engineering and the money is spent on the circuit , not the jewel box.
If you google his stuff the reviews are uniformly excellent and the $$ value is great even with our current dollar .
Has absolutely no aesthetic charm, my god a plastic case - just sounds great .
Other's I can heartily recommend are the Graham Slee ERA and the Black Cubes. FWIW


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:48 pm 
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Thanks a lot, guys! I know analog front-ends are really really personal choices - so many variables here that are dependent upon ears and gear...

I think I will see if I can test the Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE II since I found the black cube so close to the iPhono 2 in my original listening...

But I would also like to move a few steps beyond this point, at least for the phono preamp section. I would love to "blame" poor audio on the Marantz...it's gotta' be the weak link here???


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:54 pm 
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fifthbusiness, I sent you a PM.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:55 pm 
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fifthbusiness wrote:
sthomas1049 wrote:
Can’t comment on the phono stages you mentioned. Parasound no longer has Canadian distribution so that will have to be purchased through a US source and shipped. Not sure if that is a deal breaker or not.

How do you feel about tubes? In the price range of what you have above, if you are ok with tubes I would also consider the Manley Chinook. Dead quiet, extremely flexibly with almost endless loading options and it sound f’n fantastic!! So much so that I am actually enjoying budget cartridges that I otherwise neglected with previous phone stages.


Man...tubes...are you running something like this? As a phono preamp? Please give me some details...

I know, heard lots of good stuff about Manley but still...tubes...You know, I do very much like my ATOC9/III and just have a hard time wrapping my head around tubes for MC...Perhaps I need to be proven wrong here...

Other notes:
- I use a Marantz NR1504 as preamp (I have found that the Audyssey is really good for my room)
- Class D Audio amp
- Tannoy XT6F speakers
- Take Five wiring (really made a big difference)
- Emotiva CMX-02 (seems like a lot of dc offset in my neighborhood)

Other comments on my system are relevant (Pro-ject Classic, AT OC9/III)



Yes I’ve owned the Chinook for a good 4 years now. Mostly used with a Pro-Ject RPM 9.2 Evo and a Cadenza Black cart. Sold the Pro-ject and Cadenza to test other waters but life kinda got in the way so that excursion has been put on a back burner. Currently using a tried and true SL 1200 and swapping between a 2M Blue and Nag MP-110. 2 cartridges that I absolutely hated with other phono stages but think they sound great with the Chinook. Not Cadenza Black good, but good enough for me not to be tempted into another $3k MC cartridge…..at least for now! :wink:

What I found amazing with the Chinook was how well it reacted to MC loading. As little as a ~10ohm difference could be heard using the Cadenza. Cable swapping also showed massive changes compared to previous phono pre’s. Ended up with a custom TFA OCC cable. The red sleeved phono cable with the WBT RCA's he has pictured on his site is my exact cable, which he does not offer (but I’m sure he will build if requested).

Also use a Class D W4S integrated…another phenomenal product!


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:03 pm 
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sthomas1049 wrote:
fifthbusiness wrote:
sthomas1049 wrote:
Can’t comment on the phono stages you mentioned. Parasound no longer has Canadian distribution so that will have to be purchased through a US source and shipped. Not sure if that is a deal breaker or not.

How do you feel about tubes? In the price range of what you have above, if you are ok with tubes I would also consider the Manley Chinook. Dead quiet, extremely flexibly with almost endless loading options and it sound f’n fantastic!! So much so that I am actually enjoying budget cartridges that I otherwise neglected with previous phone stages.


Man...tubes...are you running something like this? As a phono preamp? Please give me some details...

I know, heard lots of good stuff about Manley but still...tubes...You know, I do very much like my ATOC9/III and just have a hard time wrapping my head around tubes for MC...Perhaps I need to be proven wrong here...

Other notes:
- I use a Marantz NR1504 as preamp (I have found that the Audyssey is really good for my room)
- Class D Audio amp
- Tannoy XT6F speakers
- Take Five wiring (really made a big difference)
- Emotiva CMX-02 (seems like a lot of dc offset in my neighborhood)

Other comments on my system are relevant (Pro-ject Classic, AT OC9/III)



Yes I’ve owned the Chinook for a good 4 years now. Mostly used with a Pro-Ject RPM 9.2 Evo and a Cadenza Black cart. Sold the Pro-ject and Cadenza to test other waters but life kinda got in the way so that excursion has been put on a back burner. Currently using a tried and true SL 1200 and swapping between a 2M Blue and Nag MP-110. 2 cartridges that I absolutely hated with other phono stages but think they sound great with the Chinook. Not Cadenza Black good, but good enough for me not to be tempted into another $3k MC cartridge…..at least for now! :wink:

What I found amazing with the Chinook was how well it reacted to MC loading. As little as a ~10ohm difference could be heard using the Cadenza. Cable swapping also showed massive changes compared to previous phono pre’s. Ended up with a custom TFA OCC cable. The red sleeved phono cable with the WBT RCA's he has pictured on his site is my exact cable, which he does not offer (but I’m sure he will build if requested).

Also use a Class D W4S integrated…another phenomenal product!


Frack...Tubes...You kill me...Class D sits on top of the mostly useless Pioneer subwoofer - really, it only functions as a support for the Class D...

But I will say that I have auditioned a few power amps for the L/R and only the Class D Audio has remained. It is truly a top-quality performer...

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IMG_20180701_180100.jpg [ 328.96 KiB | Viewed 1131 times ]


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:36 pm 
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fifthbusiness wrote:

Frack...Tubes...You kill me...Class D sits on top of the mostly useless Pioneer subwoofer - really, it only functions as a support for the Class D...

But I will say that I have auditioned a few power amps for the L/R and only the Class D Audio has remained. It is truly a top-quality performer...


Why? What’s wrong with tubes? I asked how you felt about them, shared what I was using, you seemed interested so I went into little more detail. The Chinook is the only tube component I use, so would consider myself a tube fanatic (not that there is anything wrong with that). It is a great sounding product that offers a lot of flexibility with MC loading. And it is from a very reputable company - despite their odd fish references.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 2:50 pm 
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sthomas1049 wrote:
fifthbusiness wrote:

Frack...Tubes...You kill me...Class D sits on top of the mostly useless Pioneer subwoofer - really, it only functions as a support for the Class D...

But I will say that I have auditioned a few power amps for the L/R and only the Class D Audio has remained. It is truly a top-quality performer...


Why? What’s wrong with tubes? I asked how you felt about them, shared what I was using, you seemed interested so I went into little more detail. The Chinook is the only tube component I use, so would consider myself a tube fanatic (not that there is anything wrong with that). It is a great sounding product that offers a lot of flexibility with MC loading. And it is from a very reputable company - despite their odd fish references.


My bad...Absolutely zero disrespect here...I've just heard such a bunch of "high maintenance" stories over the years from friends with regards to tube stages - amps as far as I now recall..

My bad...

OK...I will see if I can somehow beg/borrow/[temporarily]steal a Manley from a friend.

I really appreciate your input. And I also like fish a lot...


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:15 pm 
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Forgot I had this thing. Just unburied it. Been gathering dust for over a decade. I have to rewire, re cap and re-resistor it, so it just sits. I mean, it works fine, but it's sub-optimal. Headroom, it has. Probably swings 100v on the output. The one of a kind Luminescence prototype. (this is the MC/MM phono box, 1 of 3 boxes). Even though it is sub-optimal, it still has the best dynamics and slam I've ever heard. And it is is very low noise on the MC end of things. You can get to low noise on tube MC, in this case it is achieved with paralleled matched octal tubes. There is no reason the same can't be done with small signal 9 pin tubes:


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2018 5:41 am 
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fifthbusiness wrote:
sthomas1049 wrote:
fifthbusiness wrote:

Frack...Tubes...You kill me...Class D sits on top of the mostly useless Pioneer subwoofer - really, it only functions as a support for the Class D...

But I will say that I have auditioned a few power amps for the L/R and only the Class D Audio has remained. It is truly a top-quality performer...


Why? What’s wrong with tubes? I asked how you felt about them, shared what I was using, you seemed interested so I went into little more detail. The Chinook is the only tube component I use, so would consider myself a tube fanatic (not that there is anything wrong with that). It is a great sounding product that offers a lot of flexibility with MC loading. And it is from a very reputable company - despite their odd fish references.


My bad...Absolutely zero disrespect here...I've just heard such a bunch of "high maintenance" stories over the years from friends with regards to tube stages - amps as far as I now recall..

My bad...

OK...I will see if I can somehow beg/borrow/[temporarily]steal a Manley from a friend.

I really appreciate your input. And I also like fish a lot...


No worries…all good! 8)

There are certainly more qualified members on CAM who can comment on tube maintenance, but as you said, the stories you have heard are most likely related to power amps. Manley has deep roots in the recording/pro audio industry, so there is a level of durability/longevity built into their products - which I personally feel shows with the excellent built Chinook. Their Steelhead phono pre has been touted as one of the best money can buy. And although I have no experience with the Steelhead, many claim the Chinook retains much of its sound characteristics in a more simpler package.

But in the end a phono pre (or any component) has to check all your boxes and not mine. If you can get over any tube maintenance concerns you may have, I feel the Chinook would be a worthy contender against the other pre’s you have mentioned. Good luck and keep this thread alive – I would be interested in hearing your experiences.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2018 3:26 pm 
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fifthbusiness wrote:
Thanks a lot, guys! I know analog front-ends are really really personal choices - so many variables here that are dependent upon ears and gear...

I think I will see if I can test the Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE II since I found the black cube so close to the iPhono 2 in my original listening...

But I would also like to move a few steps beyond this point, at least for the phono preamp section. I would love to "blame" poor audio on the Marantz...it's gotta' be the weak link here???


I would suggest you look at the Avid phono pre-amps.

I don't know if you follow Ian on HiFiVynws: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WGkOJ7WTLB0&t=5s

My Kind of Music in downtown Toronto is a dealer. He also carries a variety, including Lehmann, Project, Viterre, etc.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 04, 2018 5:28 pm 
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Not sure if OP is anxious to simply look for what to move on to that's "better" or if his iPhono2 unit is simply not feasible to send for repair. It is a 100% SMT board which can mean disposable unfortunately but you never know the supplier might do a board replacement saving you on a whole unit replacement. After all,this unit is expected to last for many years.

I have the same unit and plug it into a Panamax for power and noise protection. The wall wart is claimed to be one of the quietest in the industry. My unit is super quiet and with regular MC gain of 60 dB (from memory) for a DV20X2L cartridge I can not hear anything from the speakers at way past half volume with the stylus lifted.

It is the *quietest and *most dynamic I have ever had and exceeds a ton of much bigger units.

So, get it repaired is my suggestion for two reasons, it is a hot performer (at least by my perception) and you can divert your funds to the parts of the front end you didn't mention, where the rubber meets the road so to speak- your cartridge (unless you're good there) ect.

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