+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 26

Thread: Firebottle Vivant Phono Stage - A Review

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

    Posts: 2,068
    I'm Mike.

    Default Firebottle Vivant Phono Stage - A Review

    Firebottle Vivant - MM/MC Phono Stage


    A few weeks ago I asked Alan ( Firebottle ) if he had done any more about selling his Vivant Phono Stage, he said that it was finished but not setup up how he would like it so he asked me to give him some more time to finish it off and I could then demo it at home. It wasn't long before he got back in touch to say he was happy with it and if I wanted he could take it to MIBO, let it be heard there and then Ali could bring it up the road with him so I could collect it from his place.

    I picked it up last weekend....................







    Most of you will know that my system consists of Technics 1210 with Mission 774 Arm and a recent purchase of an AT33 PTG II Cartridge, all powered by a Paul Hynes SR7-EHD PSU and TQ Claymore Amp with PMC 21 Speakers. So I think it deserves a decent phono stage considering the investment made on the rest of the system albeit all bought second hand except the speakers.

    Spare cartridges - Ortofon MC25FL and 2M Black

    Vivant Spec



    Don't ask me what all those figures mean, I ain't got a clue, but I do know how they add up

    I have listened to the Vivant for about a week now and when I had to move the system to where it is now ( to accomodate the impending Christmas Tree purchase ), I also took the time to switch back to just the Claymore's built-in stage which in itself is excellent and saw off a Trigon Vanguard II, NVA Phono 2 and a Whest Two Dual Mono in the past so the built-in stage is pretty decent, mind you being designed by Colin Wonfor probably has something to do with that.

    Dire Straits - Dire Straits LP, now I'm not a huge fan ( and my wife and daughter hate them lol ) but the sound and production on this LP really lends itself to be used as a demo recording, on the Claymore it sounded decent, not a huge soundstage being only as wide as the speakers sat, detail was good, I could pick out all the different instruments easily and bass was good, however vocals seemed a little recessed, almost as if they were slightly behind the rest of the music if you know what I mean, I hadn't heard this before but having recently switched from using the Ortofon MC25FL to the AT33PTG II via the Claymore built-in stage, I figured that was the difference which made me wary of how it would sound on the Vivant, so the first cart I tried with the Vivant was the 2m Black as I thought for Rock music IT would be the one I would prefer going by other reviews anyway, and it was good, better than on the Claymore stage, but lacking something, it just didn't move me at all, then I tried the AT33PTG II and it was and I'll quote the text I sent to Ali ( Tait ),

    " Honestly it's a F**K me moment when I put the 33 cart on"
    Apologies to any ladies and those of a gentle nature for that outburst, but that's how it went.....

    Alan ( Firebottle ) confirmed that the Vivant would be better with the MC AT cartridge than the MM 2M Black due to the settings on the Vivant, needless to say the Black is up for sale, I dunno, I just prefer MC having tried a 2m Blue and Black, Shure 97xe all MM and then Zu Denon 103, Ortofon MC25FL, and finally the AT33PTGII which are all MC and I preferred any of those 3 to any of the MM ones, so the Vivant really fits in well to what I like to hear.

    The Vivant/AT33 combo was a whole different league all together it was a WOW feeling and it just got better and better with every LP I played, on the Dire Straits LP playing Sultans of Swing the soundstage not only grew wider but front to back too, vocals were back where they should have been, front and centre, I could see the band playing it live right in front of me and I could see where each stood, it was superb. Well you know what happens next, it was LP after LP after LP. With each one sounding better than I have ever heard them on my system.

    On each LP I played the bass was cleaner, tighter more defined, you could hear the strings being hammered/plucked and the bass guitar had the growl to it you get when playing rock, drums had power and attack, guitars just rocked, the room was much fuller with sound as it was driven more 'into' the room, vocals were clearer more real, treble was cleaner and not edgy as I sometimes get with the Claymore's stage ( especially when driven to extremes ), at the start of Robin Trowers 'Bridge of Sighs' there is a shimmering sort of sound that to me sounds like how rain/tears/snow would sound when falling ( yeah arty farty description I know ), but it felt/sounded like it was actually falling in the room in front of me, if you know the track you'll maybe 'get' what I mean. But the other thing that really impressed me was that all I wanted to do was TURN IT UP ( I'm a rocker at heart ) and it just kept giving and giving, I could push my amp way past 2/3 volume which is louder than is really comfortable and it still sounds in control, whereas using the Claymores' stage about half way was the limit before it became a mish mash and just wanted turned down again, the Vivant however gives me what I want

    Some of what I went through.....

    Pink Floyd - Animals - Dark Side of The Moon - Wish You Were Here - The Division Bell
    Till Lindemann - Till Lindemann
    Carbon Based Lifeforms - World Of Sleepers - Hydroponic Gardens
    Frazey Ford - Indian Ocean
    Rush - 2112
    Robin Trower - Bridge of Sighs
    Thin Lizzy - Bad Reputation - Nightlife
    Agitation Free - Shibuya Nights
    ZZ Top - Fandango
    IQ - Road of Bones
    Arena - The 7th Degree Of Separation
    Tangerine Dream - Stratosfear
    Ray Wilson - Song For a Friend

    Plus loads of others, my click counter has jumped from 5 sides to 40+ from Wednesday to today alone lol.

    In fact I also use a PI setup to stream from t'internet and when I moved the system I hadn't even put it until just a couple of days ago as it was records that really took my attention more than ever and re-affirmed my love of just putting a record on and just sitting back and listening, most of the younger generation won't get it, but you oldies will know what I mean when it is the simple act of taking the LP out of the sleeve and queuing it up and listening to the whole album that just takes you right back to your youth, you can't beat it, although in truth my youth never had £8000* worth of Hi-Fi in it EVER ( mad isn't it !! ), but you know what, who cares I'm happy as a pig in s*** and I ain't taking it with me when I go.

    The Vivant can accept different loading plugs to match your cartridge, it has the 100 Ohm ones in at present and I think I also got 470 ones supplied too, not sure if those are standard as they were meant for Ali to try with his cartridge before I collected the stage from him, but he never got the chance to try it, 6 screws remove the lid and a quick swap of the plugs is all that's needed. Could I spend my money elsewhere and do better, I don't know, am I bothered, no, as trying out different phono stages is tricky where I live, I've tried a few of the ones within my budget that were available, in fact I've just remembered I also tried a Perreaux Audiant VP3 from a local shop which beat the three I mentioned earlier AND the Claymores' stage, however in my system it ain't as good as the Vivant.



    * I hope the wife never reads this


    PS: I don't actually own the Vivant, it is still officially on demo, in case you think I'm just bumming up something I've just bought to make me feel better

    PPS: Current price as of today for the Vivant is £1100 ( Firebottle can confirm if he reads this )

  2. #2
    Join Date: Feb 2013

    Location: W Lothian

    Posts: 34,594
    I'm Grant.

    Default

    Title changed as request. Nice review mike.

    ..of course she might read this
    Regards,
    Grant ....
    Sometimes incompetence is useful. It helps you keep an open mind.
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    IMUTO TAURUS X4 BATTERY SUPPLY. - RPI2B & AUDIOPHONICS DAC running MOODE 3.7- TONBRUX BATTERY SUPPLY & CHROMECAST2 AUDIO DONGLE no1 - JBE SERIES 3 SLATEDECK & EMOTIVA XPS-1 PHONO - DENON DV2900 - TWIN PRO MONOBLOCK AMPLIFIERS. - XIANG SHENG DAC\PRE\HEADPHONE AMP. -AUDIO TECHNICA ATH-MSR7 & OPPO PM-3 PLANAR HEADPHONES - WIN10 JRIVER22, SPOTIFY PREMIUM- KINPS CABLES, SMSL M6 MINIDAC, CHROMECAST2 AUDIO DONGLE no2 POWERED BY ANKER BATTERY PSU - FULL RANGE TWIN & SINGLE TELEFUNKEN's - Q ACOUSTIC BT3 actives - CANTON SUB - TANDBERG TCD310 CASS - CARTS.. ACD xlm mk1 integra, AT95SA Shibata, SHURE N55 SAS, SHURE M55E original, JVC MD1029. - RCA CABLES BY BRIAN SPKR CABLES BY MOI HAIR BY MARCO FEET BY ELECTRICBEACH - MAINS REGENERATED BY POWERINSPIRED AND FILTERED BY BELKIN PUREAV.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

    Posts: 2,068
    I'm Mike.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by struth View Post
    Title changed as request. Nice review mike.

    ..of course she might read this
    Thanks for the title change, glad you liked the review, I've just remembered something else I was going to add to it but I'll keep it for a reply. That's if anyone else reads it lol
    Last edited by mikeyb; 04-12-2016 at 15:13.

  4. #4
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Dagenham Essex

    Posts: 6,947
    I'm I'mteachingmarcotheartofpishanto.

    Default

    Indeed I read it and can't understand one thing
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    .
    How can anyone not like Dire Straits
    Music , fills the gaps between silence !

    TAT Sale post Leader " Marcos Mentor "

    Also a pishanto specialist confirmed by Head Daftee

    Real name " Allen " or "Zoomer Nut”, “Numpty Napper”.

    ±± KEEP IT REEL

  5. #5
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 2,999
    I'm James.

    Default

    Good review Mike and a big for the Vivant. I also get the impression the At33ptg is rather good too?

    Pity the Vivant does not seem to do the 2M Black justice, for that you need a Croft
    VPI Scout 1.1 / JMW 9T Tonearm / 2M Black /Croft 25R+ / Croft 7 / Spendor SP2

  6. #6
    Join Date: Mar 2008

    Location: Dunfermline, Scotland, UK

    Posts: 12,182
    I'm inthescottishmafia.

    Default

    Wish I'd had the time to try it now..
    There are times when you can’t do the sensible thing, when you can’t act like a responsible adult at all; you just have to do whatever insane thing comes into your head. When bad people do it they end up murderers, when good people do it they end up heroes, and when the rest of us do it we end up looking like total idiots. But when’s that ever stopped us?

  7. #7
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 17,144
    I'm Martin.

    Default

    You tried it at MiBO I thought? it was quite a noticeable step up on whatever was in before it.
    Martin



    Current Lash Up:

    Technics SL1200 with Sumiko h/s & Nagaoka MP50 * Firebottle valve MM phono stage * Parasound CDPi1000 * NVA P90SA passive pre / Krell KSA50S Power amp * JM Lab Electra 926 loudspeakers *



    "I hate to advocate drugs, alcohol, violence, or insanity to anyone, but they've always worked for me." - Hunter S Thompson

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2008

    Location: Dunfermline, Scotland, UK

    Posts: 12,182
    I'm inthescottishmafia.

    Default

    Yes but not at home, and not against my head amp and SUT's.
    There are times when you can’t do the sensible thing, when you can’t act like a responsible adult at all; you just have to do whatever insane thing comes into your head. When bad people do it they end up murderers, when good people do it they end up heroes, and when the rest of us do it we end up looking like total idiots. But when’s that ever stopped us?

  9. #9
    Join Date: May 2012

    Location: Toulouse

    Posts: 3,732
    I'm GettingFunky.

    Default

    I was impressed with the AT33PTG/II through the Vivant. A fine pairing that just get on with playing the music.
    Will you be keeping it then?
    Kevin

    Funkified Technics SL1200 Mk2 (Funk FX-1200+, Techne-Audio modified DL-103/AT33PTG/II/, Funk Firm "Strata" platter, "Spin" bearing and BO!NG Isolation feet, MCRU/LDA PSU).
    Pioneer PD-S703.
    Battery powered Beresford Caiman II.
    Firebottle KIN fitted with NOS Telefunken Valves.
    Firebottle Monoblocks fitted with NOS Telefunken Valves.
    Electric Beach FH3 with Taket BatPure super tweeters.
    Graham Slee Solo Ultra Linear Headphone amp.
    Sennheiser HD540 Reference II & HD650.
    DIY Klotz MC5000/MS Audio interconnects.
    Talk cable 3 speaker cable.
    Neotech hybrid mains cables from MCRU
    Power Inspired AG1500

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 3,181
    I'm Justin.

    Default

    I just like the facia. Alan said he had parts of the case anodised black and then engraved. It looks great in the flesh. And in the photos come to that.
    In the cup - Indian Bibi Peaberry

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast



 

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •