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Thread: thoughts on a new phono stage

  1. #1
    Join Date: Feb 2011

    Location: Liverpool, Merseyside.

    Posts: 862
    I'm Ben.

    Default thoughts on a new phono stage

    So it looks like my Firebottle phono stage is probably now sold so I'm interested to hear people thoughts on the next step.

    I have to say I've really enjoyed the Firebottle but I've a few spare quid and for no other reason than that am looking for something new to play with.

    Given recent bake-offs I am hoping to hear one of those stages that cant be discussed here and I will say no more on that front. I'm also interested in hearing a Croft stage as well but wonder if that will be more of a sideways step than anything significantly better than the FB. Looking on Glenn's website he only offers the 1 stage but I was wondering if he offers any other upgrades or improvements to it?

    Other than that what else should I be looking at ? I'm not adverse to SS or valve, my budget new or used is about 650.00 and will really only be used with an AT150 (but it would be nice to have the ability to switch to a MC at a later date too)

    cheers,

    Ben
    SL1210
    Jelco SA-750 & AT150 MLX,
    Firebottle phono stage,
    Jungson JA-88 amp,
    JBL L40 Speakers.
    M2tech Young dac .

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,143
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Hi Ben,

    The Jolida JD9 Is easily recommendable but not easy to find one. Also two different manufacturers. One in China one in Maryland. I have the Maryland. It's very good.

    There's loads to choose from. Good luck!


    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Dalek Supreme D L; 23-09-2017 at 15:40.
    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

  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2011

    Location: Liverpool, Merseyside.

    Posts: 862
    I'm Ben.

    Default

    Thanks Oliver,

    That's my thinking but lets leave it there now.

    Looking for other suggestions as well please folks, particularly anyone with Croft experience.

    cheers,




    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    Hi Ben,

    The Jolida JD9 Is easily recommendable but not easy to find one. Also two different manufacturers. One in China one in Maryland. I have the Maryland. It's very good.

    There's loads to choose from. Good luck!


    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Last edited by Dalek Supreme D L; 23-09-2017 at 15:41.
    SL1210
    Jelco SA-750 & AT150 MLX,
    Firebottle phono stage,
    Jungson JA-88 amp,
    JBL L40 Speakers.
    M2tech Young dac .

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jul 2016

    Location: Ferndown, Dorset, UK

    Posts: 67
    I'm Brook.

    Default

    I have tried quite a few phono stages in my system & heard a lot more at bake offs & whatnot, plus I owned a Firebottle Plus for a while so I know how they sound, which is very good, I would probably have kept it longer or upgraded it had I not found some cash for a big upgrade.
    I used a Dynavector P75 mk3 for a while & really liked it until I heard the Firebottle, which was better by quite a bit, & I found moving on from the FB difficult, sometimes it is not so much that you get a better phono, just that you prefer a different presentation, & often what you gain on the roundabout you lose on the swings.
    If you can find one a Kinshaw Perception SA 2 box MM/MC is easily in budget & is the best SS phono I have heard under say 500. Really very good. The Rega Aria is very good too, 800 ish new so should be easy to find second hand. Icon Audio's PS1 mk1 is also very good but I think just outside your budget unless things have changed recently. All the what I call mainstream phono's such as Graham Slee, Trichord & Lehmann mid-priced offerings were all bested by the Firebottle IMO.
    I had a similar budget to you when I was looking & in the end I had to up it considerably to get a clear winner, but isn't that always the way!

  5. #5
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Near Saffron Walden, Essex

    Posts: 5,242
    I'm Dave.

    Default

    Croft or Rega Aria.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 558
    I'm Russell.

    Default

    I don't have a great deal of experience with phono preamps, but I got a great price used for my older Musical Surroundings Phonomena. I paid less than $500 shipped. Sold for a grand new, at that time. It's a two box unit, with a clever battery power supply. The wall pack charges the battery, and the unit runs off the batteries, actually two battery packs. It's all solid state, and I never expected a lot from it.

    But it sure has proven itself at every turn! Every upgrade I've made, it has kept up with. And every time I think I know how good it sounds, I'll upgrade something and it's even better! While it may no have the air and space that some have, it's got plenty, and also has that boogie factor, that thing that makes your toe tap. But the main reason I got it, and keep it, is the unlimited adjustability, it can match up to pretty much any cartridge made. I've run both MM and MC, even low output MC, and thought it sounded very impressive. Since then improvements in my amplification have revealed even more of its benefits, the deeper I dig, the more it shows.

    Sure I'm curious to see how it stacks up to others, I've got an eye out for a used Jolida, just to see how it compares, but for the money I've got in it, I sure can't complain.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 2,004
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    I've always had a soft spot for the Graham Slee phono stages from the Era Gold upwards. I've no idea how it compares to the Firebottle as I haven't heard one (I havent heard Jez's phono stage either which is probably worth looking at too) but for me they are very good indeed, probably my favorite non-valve phono stage (that I've heard anyway). It's worth going for the better PSU.

    You can buy a MC version of one of them (can't remember the name) but the MM ones work superbly and they do an excellent matching head amp if / when you need it.
    Speakers - 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys with custom crossovers; Amp - Radford STA100; Preamp - EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII with Ikeda IT345-CR1 and Ortofon 309 Limited tonearms; Cartridges: Miyajima Madake, Zero Mono 0.7 and Premium 1.0 retipped by Ana Mighty Sound with bamboo cantilever, Ortofon SPU Royal N and Shure M3D with Jico stylus; phono stage and SUT from EAR 912; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport.

    'Wer nicht liebt Wein, Weib und Gesang der ist ein Narr sein Leben lang.'

  8. #8
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 3,658
    I'm Alan.

    Default

    Hi Ben, here is a suggestion.
    I have a modified Tron Convergence which is really a Firebottle convergence now with the improvements and circuit changes made. It owes me 750, however it is only MC at the moment.
    I can either fit extra sockets and a switch to give MC/MM capability, or remove the SUT's and offer it as MM for 650.

    It really has an excellent holographic sound, as others will attest to.
    As it is modified the Tron warranty is no longer valid but I will give continued support for it, to my usual after sales level of good service.

    You are welcome to trial it

  9. #9
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 3,143
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Shame you are so far away, we could have done a swap test.
    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: 3,143
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    It really has an excellent holographic sound, as others will attest to.
    I attest. Its incredibly holographic. I had it for a little loan period and thought it was very good. I would have bought it but for the extra pennies required.
    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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