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Thread: Firebottle OTP Vs Angle Audio Ref phono stage

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2014

    Location: london se6

    Posts: 103
    I'm Andy.

    Cool Firebottle OTP Vs Angle Audio Ref phono stage

    Well now

    I got an OTP just yesterday and have had a chance to have a very brief listen in fact 2 whole albums... woooo!

    The ones in question are Neil Young's Harvest and Kate Bush's Sensual World. So I thought I'd give a few 1st impressions for the AoS peeps to chew on .

    Both chosen as I know them very well but still; only about 75 mins of vinyl action to test it.

    So some caveats 1st ,

    1. I've had the Angle Audio Ref stage (320 ish) for about 4 years now so have got very used to it's sound and presentation, its sounds very fine to me but having said that I haven't heard very many more so my experience is limited in this area.

    2. The OTP (225) has a function for loading plugs and Alan has sent some 100 and 220 ohm ones with it, I've decided to use it Vanilla without any so that I can get used to the sound before trying them out and seeing what effect they have on my cart (ZYX Yatra).

    3. I haven't had a chance to listen through headphones yet, mine (HiFi man 400's) are more detailed in presentation than my speakers so that I'll have to comment on this in the future.

    4. These are VERY initial first impressions, it might be a bit unfair on the OTP to document/compare it through the burn in process with a fully used unit, but I thought it an interesting exercise.

    5. No interconnects were harming during the making of this programme.

    Due to the above I'll post updates as and when I play with it more so that any changes in bedding in or use of the loading plugs will be presented. I don't have any links with the manufacturers and will purely give my honest opinion based on Mark 1 lug holes and no measurement!.

    I will also say that Alan was very good to deal with, answering my queries promptly and having the OTP unit ready according to the timescale he suggested when I 1st contacted him with no delays etc. He suggested the use of 220 ohm plugs with my cart and included them in the package, thanks to him for a good transaction.

    As you can see from the pics they are very different styles , the OTP is quite black and sleek looking with sockets for the loading plugs at the back. The Angle Audio is more compact but it does have a substantial off board power supply whereas the OTP jus needs a kettle lead for mains attachment.

    The Angle also has a battery inside which kicks in when turned on, comparing with the OTP there was no noise that I could hear , the OTP seemed just as quiet when no music was playing so no discernible difference there.

    The OTP is heavier and there is a sense of quality about the black brushed casing, I do prefer the look to the Angle unit very sleek. In terms of functionality the sockets look to be the same in quality but the Angle unit has a more substantial earthing post.

    The last picture shows it in place strutting it's stuff.

    Enough you say "How does it sound!"

    Harvest

    1st album on and off we go, not knowing what to expect I sat down and started to earwig Mr Young. Things I picked up on -

    Out on the Weekend-

    1st track played, my impression was that it felt "far away " if that makes sense, the bass felt a bit muted and not as deep as I am used to , it wasn't a question of volume.

    By the time I got to track 3

    A Man Needs A maid -

    Bass was starting to come through more prominently, mid bass seemed quite taut and tuneful, some more detail also on the higher end with the sound coming together more. Not so far away.

    By the time I got to the end of the 1st side I was starting to hear the music flow and it was getting quite enjoyable!

    I finished the second side and by then there was more deep bass but this was never flabby and the notes were well separated and there seemed to be more detail coming though where it had struggled to present it before. It has great mid bass as well.

    Bring on lady Bush

    Listening more the character of the stage started to emerge, it felt smooth and gave the music more of a whole synergistic feel to it. The Angle has more emphasis on separation in comparison (so far!) and the OTP at 1st didn't seem to give this so much emphasis, this was not all at the expense of detail though as it is there just sometimes a little muted. Sometimes the highs aren't as sharp but the decay is still there and little licks and bits are slightly set back in the mix further than I am used to. This is improving though even over the 70 or so minutes of use.This is a bit nick picky probably and seems more apparent on some of the Sensual Worlds busier tracks where there is a lot going on. I do like the overall presentation though, it's very nice and after only 2 albums it probably has more to give as it burns in.

    I expect after some more use it will develop in tone etc, I do like what I hear though and it's and interesting exercise personally as I don't hear much different kit in comparison

    Cheers

    to be continued!
    Last edited by smangus; 07-05-2017 at 18:28. Reason: prices added!

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2014

    Location: london se6

    Posts: 103
    I'm Andy.

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    Didn't attach photos for some reason




    phono front.jpgphono back.jpgeh place.jpg

  3. #3
    Join Date: Aug 2011

    Location: Coventry, England UK

    Posts: 419
    I'm Simon.

    Default

    Will be interested to hear more of your thoughts as you get on. I've got an Angle Audio Ref2 myself (although mine doesn't have the battery inside but is powered by a separate LPS).

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2014

    Location: london se6

    Posts: 103
    I'm Andy.

    Smile Customer service alert!

    A slight (good) twist in the tale.

    Shortly after my last post Mr Bigman contacted me to say that from my description it sounded that I had some underspec caps in the unit I had been sent. Something that was confirmed after I had taken a look inside and id'd them for him.

    Apparently Alan had identified these after the unit had been sent out but was keen to rectify in any units that they appeared in. He contacted me and offered a replacement for swap. Needless to say I took him up on the offer and with the help of Bigman arranged a swap.

    As I understand it Alan has tracked down all the recalcitrant units and replaced or offered to replace them for his customers.

    As he said, sometimes new products have teething troubles but the important thing is that they are sorted out asap. Something I agree with wholeheartedly, thanks to Alan and Oliver for sorting this out so promptly and with a minimum of fuss

    Now this means as far as the review is concerned what I have written above isn't necessarily a fair reflection of the stages capability. Unfortunately it means I'll have to listen to some more music

    I had a very quick listen last night and can say that initial impressions are good, more bass, detail and better overall presentation. More after Friday evenings listening session.

    Cheers all.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Jan 2017

    Location: Any options due to mod intervention

    Posts: 138
    I'm Unabletoaccess.

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    Good news. It sounds like Bigman is either a guardian angel or an employee of Firebottle! I can't make my mind up yet.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2014

    Location: london se6

    Posts: 103
    I'm Andy.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by blackstar View Post
    Good news. It sounds like Bigman is either a guardian angel or an employee of Firebottle! I can't make my mind up yet.
    Lol yes , he certainly lives up to his name too, very big fella. Not in a fat way either.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 28,529
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackstar View Post
    Good news. It sounds like Bigman is either a guardian angel or an employee of Firebottle! I can't make my mind up yet.
    He's Alan's pet. Keeps him in a kennel out back!
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

  8. #8
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,134
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackstar View Post
    Good news. It sounds like Bigman is either a guardian angel or an employee of Firebottle! I can't make my mind up yet.
    Lol if i was an employee id get a discount surely!!!!
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Jolida JD9 MKII > Firebottle Monoblocks > Creek OBH-11SE Headphone Amp > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  9. #9
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,134
    I'm Oliver.

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    It was no problem mate, I had to get some hours in on the train anyway so it gave me a good excuse to get down to London. The free breakfast on the train there and back helped too lol
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Jolida JD9 MKII > Firebottle Monoblocks > Creek OBH-11SE Headphone Amp > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,134
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Expensive mortgage on this kennel Geoff lol
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > ZYX R50 Bloom cartridge > Jolida JD9 MKII > Firebottle Monoblocks > Creek OBH-11SE Headphone Amp > IXOS Speaker Cables > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers

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