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Thread: Phonomac AT-1010 Tonearm review

  1. #11
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,500
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RobbieGong View Post
    I was over by Angus's on Tuesday for the first time and heard his AT-1010 within the context of his system.

    Playback was simply excellent ! - Not sure what the cart was but the rest as you know being on his SP-10, through the Sansui AU D11ii, out of a pair of Monitor Audio GS-20's
    Yea it's a really detailed system. He's done a really good job of putting it all together. That mystery cartridge is coming to mine for a little listen on the 28/11. I'm looking forward to it!

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator & Krell KSA100 MK2 Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  2. #12
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,500
    I'm Oliver.

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    UPDATE :-

    "In an ideal world, I would like to hear how the standard AT-1010 and the Phonomac AT-1010 compare"

    Seeing as this has now happened, it's only fair to add the result into this post for completeness.

    Angus and I recently met up at my house for a listen to his new AT-ART7 and he brought the AT1010 as standard, for me to try.

    Once strapped to the TT and Ortofon Vienna fitted (used to compare both arms on the day) we listened to the test track I'd picked, Shine on you crazy diamond - Pink Floyd.

    I found the crescendo of the chorus too busy and mushy with the Alphason and that is what led me to get the Phonomac AT1010. How does the AT version fare? Well, better than the Alphason, but it's way off the pace of the Phonomac version.

    The output is lower, the detail is slightly smeared and the worst bit, it's lackluster. It just can't match the vibrant pace and ultimate control of the Phonomac AT. It's not really a close run thing either. The Vienna was on trial with a view to purchase and if I had only heard it in the AT standard arm, I wouldn't have been interested. As it was, I had the Phonomac version and I really was interested. There was no life, verve or passion from the AT. It had less dynamic energy and generally felt a bit..........

    I cannot recommend the upgrades Angus does to this arm, highly enough. They make such a difference to the arm and take it to stratospheric levels of performance. It's the best arm I've personally heard. Simple.

    I would sincerely love to put my Phonomac AT1010 up against some serious competition to see how good it REALLY is because anything I've heard so far hasn't competed.

    Note:

    The variable damping available on this arm works incredibly well with Decca cartridges.

    I've used the following cartridges on this arm :

    AT33PTGII
    AT-ART7
    Decca Gold
    Decca Blue
    Goldring Eroica
    ZYX Bloom
    Ortofon Vienna

    There was no issue in setting up any of these cartridges and getting an excellent result. The Deccas prefer a heaver headshell which was obtained by the Generosity of Walpurgis

    The Goldring Eroica was kindly donated by Macca to whom I owe a crate of Guinness.

    Thanks everyone.

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator & Krell KSA100 MK2 Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  3. #13
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,294
    I'm Tom.

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    Just to say yesterday I received an AT 1503 that Angus has breathed on including bearing replacement with what I believe may be the same hybrid ceramic ones as he puts in the 1010 and a general fettle, along with construction of an integral arm lift and a visually matching heavy counterweight for use with SPUs.

    Superb sonic improvement - I'm delighted with it. Pics to follow. In use on my Garrard 401 which just took a considerable leap forward.

    Incidentally I also left him my own AT 1010 and a couple of other tonearms to have a look at.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers with Tannoy ST25 supertweeters; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 9 inch and Ikeda IT-407 12 inch tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Miyajima Takumi, Ikeda 9TT, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912 + Miyajima ETR-Mono SUT; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; tube preamp - Gate Audio tube; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 Mk I tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage from Gate Audio preamp; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink.

  4. #14
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,500
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    Just to say yesterday I received an AT 1503 that Angus has breathed on including bearing replacement with what I believe may be the same hybrid ceramic ones as he puts in the 1010 and a general fettle, along with construction of an integral arm lift and a visually matching heavy counterweight for use with SPUs.

    Superb sonic improvement - I'm delighted with it. Pics to follow. In use on my Garrard 401 which just took a considerable leap forward.

    Incidentally I also left him my own AT 1010 and a couple of other tonearms to have a look at.
    A wise move Tom. The man is a magician as far as I am concerned.

    Let us know how your AT1010 turns out for you. The comparison we did of the modded v unmodded was very much favourable to Angus's work.

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator & Krell KSA100 MK2 Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  5. #15
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 3,294
    I'm Tom.

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    Pics of the Angus-tuned AT1503 ... the big differences are inside with the replacement bearings/rewire/tube damping but it looks pretty cool too ... (apologies for the thread hijack)

    The AT1503 is the broadcast version of this arm developed for/with NTT, there is also the ATP12T consumer version which I also owned at one point - this is a serious improvement over that arm. Indeed it's probably a very authentic partner for an early SP10





    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers with Tannoy ST25 supertweeters; Amp - Radford STA100; Pre EAR 912; Vinyl: Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 9 inch and Ikeda IT-407 12 inch tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Miyajima Takumi, Ikeda 9TT, SAEC/Excel C3; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage and SUT from EAR 912 + Miyajima ETR-Mono SUT; Esoteric Sound Re-Equalizer for equalisation of early mono and 78, switchable in from tape loop; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily modded AN Kit DAC + Mutec MC3+USB.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Pass Aleph 'Mini'; tube preamp - Gate Audio tube; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT1503 Mk I tonearm and vintage Ortofon SL-15e with matching Ortofon 2-15k SUT; Phono Stage from Gate Audio preamp; Digital - Trichord Genesis III CDP + Arcam rBlink.

  6. #16
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 37,162
    I'm Geoff.

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    Very nice Tom. Top quality engineering and finish on AT arms.

  7. #17
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,500
    I'm Oliver.

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    No apologies necessary, Tom. The more info on Angus's work, the better. He's a top fella with enviable skills.

    A fine looking instrument indeed. I would imagine it sounds very good !

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator & Krell KSA100 MK2 Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

  8. #18
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 3,249
    I'm Robert.

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    Lovely looking arm that Tom and as Olivers says, it will have been a good arm as standard and will now be excellent after Angus has worked his magic.

    I'm very very happy with my Angus improved Micro Seiki MA 202.

    Your AT1503 really suits the Garrard - all looking (and sounding I bet) good
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-alpha 707 DR
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Spendor D7
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  9. #19
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 70
    I'm keith.

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    Hi Big Man,

    Good write up on the 'Phonomac AT1010'.

    Thought I'd add my own comments, as I guess a few here may also ve interested.

    I also own 'Phonomac At1010' tonearm.

    The usual 'disclaimer bit':
    No i have not been paid to write this review.
    Yes I know Angus and have been lucky enough to have heard a few of his AT1010's whilst he's been improving and continually evaluating them.

    I have been able to compare Angus's Phonomac AT1010 against my own standard arm for a continued evaluation session, over a few weeks. Both on a Lenco PTP5 and an SP10 Mk2, and using a variation of cartridges: AT33PTG, Transfiguration Spirit 3 (FG retip), Ortofon Kontrapunkt and Ortofon Vienna (it's a tough life :-)

    I found that the differences between the arms were consistent, no matter which of the above turntables were being used.

    Findings as follows:
    A huge difference in performance between the two arms, so much so that they can’t really be called the same arm!

    The 'phonomac arm' sounds very spookily slower. I believe that this is because a LOT more information is now coming though, which is effecting the perception of the speed at which it is being played. Very strange! It also played noticeable louder using the new arm, yet without changing any settings, incl the amp settings, volume control, phono stage or cartridge. Maybe more of the signal from the arm is now being transmitted?

    Other changed (improvements) include:
    - bass on the ‘phonomac’ arm is deeper, tighter, voices are more subtle and seem to have more air and soul (subjective I know but no other way of explaining it), way more subtleties are evident, providing more detail, yet it also seems more musical because the flow to the music can be felt when and where it is moving. It also has a far more impressive soundstage.

    I think there was as big an improvement between the two arms, as when I moved from a Dl-103 to the Transfiguration, and yes that is saying something!

    Having heard the above, I asked Angus to take and modify my standard arm to the same specification, which he has done.

    I have since heard an AT-ART7 on this arm, which was superb and also, have now purchased a Lyra Clavis Mk1 with 100hrs on an Esco Paratrace retip (unfortunate accident with the Transfiguration). This combination I think is staggeringly impressive, and my hunt for turntable tweaks and improvements is over. Hurrah!

    Thank you to Angus for all his research and hard work in developing such an arm, and his excellent (as always) level of craftsmanship, and mentoring.

    I will happily live with this combination for a very (hopefully) long time indeed.

  10. #20
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 6,500
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Hi Keith.

    It seems your findings strongly confirm my own which is always pleasing!

    The work Angus does to this arm really takes it to a level I won't be able to better. This arm cost me around £825ish and I won't be letting it go.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

    Sent from my EVA-L09 using Tapatalk
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK5 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves)
    Digital: NONE
    Amplification: Nelson Pass DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator & Krell KSA100 MK2 Amplifier
    Cables: Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & NEW SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Pioneer CS-77A

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