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budget phono stage bakeoff anyone?

graham67

Wammer
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May 19, 2010
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is there any interest in hosting a mini bake off on sat night of budget phono stages?

For reasons obvious only to me, I have the following to hand

Long Dog Audio MM

Graham Slee Gram 2 SE

Creek OBH -8 Mk 2

I am not exhibiting but will be there Sat might so if anyone would like to hear these stages and is prepared to offer their room and system, please holler.

Graham

 
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Lurch

Piss-taker & Gobshite Par Excelle'nce
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Sep 17, 2016
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John
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
is there any interest in hosting a mini bake off on sat night of budget phono stages?

For reasons obvious only to me, I have the following to hand

Long Dog Audio MM

Graham Slee Gram 2 SE

Creek OBH -8 Mk 2

I am not exhibiting but will be there Sat might so if anyone would like to hear these stages and is prepared to offer their room and system, please holler.

Graham
Graham. 

I have a complete spare system (my 70s system which I'm taking to sell) Pioneer PL12D/Shure M75EJ, Pioneer SA-500A, & Celestion Ditton 15s. 

You are more than welcome to borrow the whole system so you can host in your room if you want. 

 
Last edited by a moderator:

graham67

Wammer
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May 19, 2010
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hi lurch, 

That's really generous of you thanks, some oldies but goodies there!  Let me have a think about it and i will get back to you.

look forward to catching up and thanks once again, top wamming !  :^

 

audioflyer

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 12, 2010
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Northamptonshire
is there any interest in hosting a mini bake off on sat night of budget phono stages?

For reasons obvious only to me, I have the following to hand

Long Dog Audio MM

Graham Slee Gram 2 SE

Creek OBH -8 Mk 2

I am not exhibiting but will be there Sat might so if anyone would like to hear these stages and is prepared to offer their room and system, please holler.

Graham
Hi Graham

I would like to hear the three phonostages.

My system is :-

LP 12, Magik sub chassis, Lingo 1, Ittok and a Goldring E3 cartridge.

Phonostage High Octane RIAA MM

Marantz CD6006 CD player.

Electrocompaniet 25 watt class A amp and pre amp.

Speakers JBL L40's

Back up Modded Quad II's and a Quad 22 pre amp.

Sharif.

 

graham67

Wammer
Wammer
May 19, 2010
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hi Sharif, great that sounds like a plan. I have JBLs, quad amps and Electro is a sound not dissimilar to YBA, Sugden which I have owned.

i will pm you my mobile and we can catch up closer to show to arrange times .

thanks 😊

Graham

 

orangeart

KJF Audio Ltd
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Jan 21, 2014
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Stefan
HiFi Trade?
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I've got some very basic phono stages here I could bring. I've got the original project phono box and one of the new Thorens ones. 

 

orangeart

KJF Audio Ltd
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Jan 21, 2014
648
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AKA
Stefan
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I've got some very basic phono stages here I could bring. I've got the original project phono box and one of the new Thorens ones. 

 

graham67

Wammer
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May 19, 2010
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Sharif, would you be happy to extend the invite to orangeart?

The Longdog, Creek, Graham Slee, Project and Thorens would make a good comparison 😊

 

terryg1

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Feb 19, 2012
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HiFi Trade?
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Hi Graham

I would like to hear the three phonostages.

My system is :-

LP 12, Magik sub chassis, Lingo 1, Ittok and a Goldring E3 cartridge.

Phonostage High Octane RIAA MM

Marantz CD6006 CD player.

Electrocompaniet 25 watt class A amp and pre amp.

Speakers JBL L40's

Back up Modded Quad II's and a Quad 22 pre amp.

Sharif. I'm going to bring along my technics SL 7 why not and sharif has very kindly offered to let me try out my Armstrong pre main amp 
 

terryg1

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Feb 19, 2012
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58
60
Northampton
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I'm going to bring along my technics SL 7 with a few records also sharif has very kindly offered me the chance to run my Armstrong   730 pre amp and 732 power amp see you guys Saturday I'm available if anyone neads a hand just give me a shout 👍🔊🎶

 

audioflyer

Wammer
Wammer
Jan 12, 2010
114
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33
Northamptonshire
Late on Saturday night in Kegworth room 1, we had a fantastic mini phonostage bake off that Graham brought with him.

It was great to have a listen as I have been look for a little op amp base MM phonostages for ages.

In the bake off was the following Longdog, Creek, Graham Slee I’ll let Graham comment about which one was the best.

Three day before the Kegworh show I built a very simple phono stage (VSPS) with a battery supply and I was surprised how good the little TL072 op amp could sound.

Credits and thanks to the designer RJM Audio for the VSPS.

Sharif.

 

graham67

Wammer
Wammer
May 19, 2010
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Firstly thanks to Sharif for offering his wonderful system to compare stages.  It is beautifully balanced across frequencies being revealing and completely non fatiguing.  IMO, the L40s are exceptional with a superior top end than the 431*.  I own modded 4311s and only in the lower frequencies does the extra heft give it an advantage.  It has taken a new crossover and supertweeters to get the top end competitive, but the L40 top end is better out of the box.
 
We spent an enjoyable time trialing the three stages I bought plus Sharif's own builds. The cart was a modest but very competent Goldring E3.
 
We started with the cheapest Creek OBH-8 Mk2 which proved nicely even with a full warmish balance and good rhythm.  There was some surface noise but nothing distracting.  It lacks soundstage width and detail, but these are more sins of omission.  Importantly it is highly enjoyable and would be perfect for a budget TT setup.  Yet it is good enough to support  a few upgrades down the track.  I have tried it with a high end MM AT150SA and found it excellent (and also very quiet).  At the £129 retail, it is already stupidly good VFM.  At the discounted Bristol show price of under a ton, it is a steal.
 
The Graham Slee Gram 2 SE did not gel in Sharif's system at all.  It had more surface noise,  was brighter and busier.  In my system , which is more rolled off at the top and heavier at the bottom, the balance is much better but we dismissed this one immediately and moved onto Sharif's battery powered stage.  This sounded very nice, more open than the Creek but well balanced. I think we both agreed this was the best so far.
The Long Dog Audio MM was next, and to my ears it was a considerable step up, sound  projected well beyond the speakers and the performance was more nuanced, dynamic and believable. Also surface noise vanished.  If the price tag was £500 not the £200 it costs, I would not have blinked. 
Then Sharif tried his own built transistor amp.  Wow, this was in a different league, it instantly made everything else sound lightweight.  This had richness, depth, body and scale and was good enough to compete with much more esoteric end game stages.
 
Almost two hours flew by as we were frequently too busy enjoying the music.  What was obvious was how different the stages all sounded and Sharif's system enabled the character of each to be pinpointed quickly and consistently.
 
Thanks again to Sharif for the use of his terrific system.

 
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graham67

Wammer
Wammer
May 19, 2010
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postscript

I have just finished fettling a vinyl system based around a Technics DD, Rogers LS6 and a basic Marantz PM5003 integrated.  In place of the underwhelming onboard stage, I tried the Creek and Slee MM stages. Cart was an AT Microline.

While a huge improvement over the onboard stage, in this system the Creek could sound a little grey and flat. Switching to the Graham Slee brought an instant improvement, more life, air and transparency. The system moved from being pleasant but safe to involving hi-fi.

I tried many records and the stage really brought out the best of the Rogers which can sound.a little slow with the wrong partnering equipment.

So as usual, it was a good reminder to reserve judgement until hearing the item in the intended system 😊

Graham

 
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graham67

Wammer
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May 19, 2010
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second postscript

I made some enhancements to the above Marantz/Rogers system and thought it worth providing an update.

After several.months searching I bagged a used Graham Slee PSU 1 to replace the cheap supplied plug top PSU which was also an annoying high pitched noise.

The PSU-1 needs to be positioned a foot or so away from the phono stage to avoid inducing a mild hum, so it sat at the bottom of the rack in the opposite corner to the Gram 2. Unlike the noisy plug top Psu, it emits virtually no noise in.operation.

Suffice to say it was easy to hear a significant improvement. In earlier posts I mentioned the presentation was rather bright and toppy. The PSU1 instantly rebalances the presentation giving a fuller richer mid and fuller bottom end, without losing the energy that the Rogers need.

I wasn't able to.compare to the other stages so can't say how it compares to the LDA MM-1 however it definitely brings the Gram 2 to a whole different level.

Happy with the vinyl sound I then swapped the cheap Marantz integrated for an older but well cared for Sugden Optima 80 integrated line amp.

This took about three notes to hear the difference and which allowed the Technics Q202 /AT-440Mla / Slee stage + PSU 1 to shows its potential. My dad who is no audiophile, but did dabble in student bands, commented on a Decca Tom Jones track how he could now hear the double bass rhythm and the fingers on the strings as you would playing Iive. " That's amazing" he added, so job done (at least it would be if my parents didn't keep play MFPs finest 😉).

IMO, it is certainly worth trying the PSU-1 if you already have a Slee stage and are using a plug top supply. It transformed the Gram2 from a rather flawed budget stage into a very good low priced MM stage.

 
F

forgot-my-id

Guest
May I ask - what is Sharifs better phono stage ? Is it an easy kit to build, or something altogether more involving ?

 
F

forgot-my-id

Guest
May I ask - what is Sharifs better phono stage ? Is it an easy kit to build, or something altogether more involving ?

 

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