Coincident Statement Phono Stage Review
I am evaluating this unit as I will eventually end up with 4 arms and need another phono stage to go along with my AMR PH77. I will start by saying all evaluations were performed using my Kuzam 4 Point arm, MC Anna Cartridge and an Artisan Fidelity SP10 MK3 NG TT fed into my AMR DP777 used as a Preamp and my Graaf Modena amp feeding some modified Axis Voice Box Speakers.
The music selection I used was Sade, Enya, Jennifer Warnes, FIM's Telarc 1812 Overture (Eric Kunzel Conducting) 1st 1000 pressings.
The unit is built nicely, not exceptionally, but nicely, the packaging is very nice in my opinion and it should arrive to any location safely.
Upon my first listen I suspected that this unit had SUT's installed (later confirmed), I recognized that tell-tell signature of a SUT in the chain. The unit was powered for about 5 days and played off and on and this unit does have some time on the clock.
The overall signature is just to the warm side of neutral offering a nicely filled soundstage with a very nice flow to the music. The soundstage is nice sized and the unit offers a nice fullness and weight to the music with a nice amount of information being conveyed along with adequate dynamics. I will note that the phono stage is very very quiet, noise is NOT an issue with this unit.
Listening to the unit compared to the PH77 was pointless as the AMR is simply altogether in a totally higher league in areas of information retrieval, speed, dynamics (micro and macro), shading, instrumental and vocal vibrato, PRAT and the ability to scale...etc. In all fairness it also costs twice the amount of the CSPS. I consider the PH77 a reference unit, to my ears the CSPS is not in the league of a DSA II or Burmester phono stage but again we are talking 11k and up-to +30K.
I used my ifi iPhono for comparisons from here on out and that was interesting. I made digital file copies to compare and they are SURPRISINGLY close. Once the iPhono is run in with over 100 hours it is very different sounding than when new. It is also quite sensitive to loading, 100 ohms sounding a little dead and 300 just too lit up and ethereal (in my system) whereas 250 ohms was perfect in weight, excitement and PRAT.
The CSPS offers a more cavernous sound, i.e. I can hear a bit more of the venue and it has a tad bit more decay in some instances and a tad (but noticeable increase in overall beauty with female vocals). Tube Magic? I have heard this before with my former Graaf GM70 and Ortofon ST80 SE SUT. It can be beguiling, but I find it not real sounding and it tends to make everything sound slightly time delayed and homogenous and thus a bit more electronic. The iPhono had the weight and fullness of the CSPS without the opaqueness I perceived in the CSPS. The ifi, however, did not quite have the decay or minutiae in low level vibrato.
Where the iPhono was clearly superior was speed, overall information retrieval and bass solidity and control especially on the 1812 piece. The ifi peace also did not suffer from the perceived rhythmic slow-down thus I found my right foot tapping and myself smiling where this really was not the case with the CSPS.
I am not knocking the unit, but I think what I am finding is that I may prefer the greater speed and (to me) realism of non SUT based phono stages be it all tube, (SOME all SS) or a hybrid.
To sum up I think it is a very pleasant sounding unit that does not offend in any area and the small things I hear were more omission than commission.
If you have a brighter sounding system or you prefer an Art Audio Diavalo to say the Reimyo PAT777 300B amp I would say check out the CSPS:)
Hope this was of help to someone. Happy listening.
Written By: audiofun on May 1, 2015
Last Updated By: angust63 on Apr 8, 2016
Comments / Replies on This Review
No replies posted for this review.
Canuck Audio Mart is FREE!