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Thread: My 2019 Update Thread - My final system I think.

  1. #41
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

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    I'm Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sq225917 View Post
    You mean you take a perfectly good analogue recording and digitize it !

    Heathen..... ;-)
    Do they still record in analogue these days or are tracks recorded digitally then put onto vinyl/cd/download etc.

    I know Fleetwood Mac record everything except the drums digitally, cos Mick told me a couple of years ago, maybe other bands are the same ?

  2. #42
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

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    The digital stuff runs in parallell to it being a ‘normal’ analogue phonostage.
    So which one do you use...?

    well, I think it ‘depends’.
    Assuming it’s a good sounding thing on both (which it is) and can be used as a baseline for comparison:

    Using it’s digital outputs it comes down to the quality of your Dac/ digital cable
    Using its analogue outputs comes down to the quality of your Pre/ interconnect.
    Really your comparing the output stage of the phono with the output stage of your Dac.

    ...and the hundreds of things that come before it.

    So really, again, ‘it depends’ would be my thoughts.
    To me, it’s whatever sounds the best in the context of the rest of the kit it’s being played with.
    I’ve not stuck in the mud regarding either method, if it sounds good it is good.
    With their Dac PS Audio got a lot of grumbles initially about how it ‘corrupted and manipulated’ the native digital stream?
    Everything you plug into it gets converted to 20x DSD then low pass filtered through an output transformer.
    Like always, its not just what you do, but the way that you do it.
    I feel the same with the Phono converter...it’s different from the norm, but implemented really well.

    Had a chat with my Dealer about which is the preferred way to hear your records, and he says its all down to the quality of your Pre.
    Can output analogue normally to your preamp, or ‘stream’ (or record) what’s coming off the LP digitally, up to 24/192 pcm or double rate DSD.
    The Digital stuffs groovy for sure, but analogue output of it is supposed to be its best output, IF your Pre is transparent enough.

    The last bit of information that made me pull the trigger on it was that every review I’d read of it talking about digitising LPs was that there was no difference between listening to the digital copy and hearing the record itself being played.

    A nice neat vinyl box of tricks, that can really do its thing with the matching dac.
    Have Hifi n stuff.

  3. #43
    Join Date: Nov 2018

    Location: Grimsby

    Posts: 103
    I'm David.

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    Quote Originally Posted by struth View Post
    Looking forward to hearing it sometime
    You can still buy one, and for anyone else who fancies going down this route. https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PS-Audio-...3FF-:rk:6:pf:0

  4. #44
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

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    Onto amps:

    Always been a solid state guy, coming from various Richer Sound specials, to the Pioneer A400 then after discovering forums in I moved on to Rega amps.
    Then something happened.
    I had a chance to hear some superb home brew valve amps at the Owston DIY weekend.
    Decided that the valve was the sound for me, and I set about replacing my then Rega Brio-R with a valve amp.

    Sold the Rega and bought this:


    Chinese brand Image Audio i65 intergrated. Bling bling!
    Was taken by the looks and it was an improvement over the Brio R.
    Good sound, but very far from what I heard at Owston.

    From memory it used 6550 power and 12AX7 signal valves.
    Had fun valve rolling, swapped out the generic 6550's with a set of Svetlana "winged C's" which were only a little bit better.
    Bit disappointing tbh, expected a big improvement from what I had read.
    Unfortunately, the amp was eating valves for breakfast and it was starting to get expensive for not a lot of return.
    Turned out it didn't like running at UK voltage and the amp was struggling.
    That and the constantly moving bias for the power tubes made me think I'd made a bad call with this amp.
    And I had.

    Eventually, the amp went pop, when one of the transformers died.
    The output transformers were small and having opened it up to take a look inside, tiny power supply and there were several resistors close to burnout...
    Ended up skipping it, it was a heavy beast and wasn't worth getting repaired and mailing out.
    So lesson learned, good valve amps don't come cheap and weren't worth the grief...

    So what to do?
    My mind kept going back to that sound I heard at Owston?
    The meet was run by Nick Gorham, and populated by the guys from his Audio Talk forum.
    Expert valve amp builders, nice guys and really knew their stuff.

    Particularly Nick.
    Had a chat with him and I ended up asking him to built me a 300B based SET power amp.
    Now were talking!


    8 watts a side, and partnered with the Densen DM20 Preamp, (The shiney black thing with big gold knobs sat underneath, which I sent back to Densen for full service) sounded like that Owston sound.
    A great match.
    Nick does make exceedingly good amps!

    The amp came with Electro Harmonix 300B valves, which sounded good but I wanted to get the best out the amp.
    So I set about trying different 300Bs, all can sound quite different, but happily I've settled on the type I'll stay with and hit that magic spot for me.
    Here's how that went:

    Stock Electro Harmonix 300B

    Good sound, but holding the amps performance back, came in about 70 quid a pair I think.

    Decided to go "all in" and got a set of the new Elrog 300Bs.
    Some dubious reports about reliability on some American forums, but took a chance I'd be ok.

    Comparison with the stock EH valves:


    And in the amp:



    These sounded fantastic, a million miles away from the stock valves, and showing more of what Nick's amp was capable of...wow.
    Well, wow for 7 months at least.
    One of them popped within the warranty period of 12 months.
    Were the stories of unreliability with these new valves true?

    I arranged for a 2nd set to be shipped from Germany, great customer service from the Company.
    The new set were "improved" to give greater reliability, cool, so in the second set went.
    Sublime sound.

    For 4 months.
    Reliability issues not ironed out yet imo, and they weren't cheap either, so arranged a refund less the time I had on the valves, which was fair enough.
    Shame...as they looked gorgeous lighting up the room at night. (Other 300Bs don’t glow like the Elrogs)

    Moved on to the "next best" from what I'd read, the KR 300B "Balloon" valve.


    Not much difference in sound quality between these and the Elrogs, and they were a little bit cheaper too
    Very happy with these.
    My final valves...?

    Uhm, no.
    The next ones are.

    Still had that thought that there was more to get out of my power amp, I'd tried various smaller signal tubes but didn't find any better than the Tung Sol's I tried first so kept with them.

    By this point I was in a place where I was wanting to put my "final" system in place, had moved on from the equipment really and was now all about enjoying the music not chasing the hifi for me.
    I'd looked into so many 300B valves and even tried a few in my own amp.
    I kept reading about the "unobtanium" Western Electric 300Bs at eye watering prices as being the holy grail of these valves.

    Then I read that the valve company Psvane went back to the original materials and manufacturing methods of Western Electric and were producing an exact replica of the original 300B valve.
    Was curious, but yeah...sure...marketing's a wonderful thing isn't it?
    Then I read THIS:
    https://www.dagogo.com/psvane-we-11-replica-300b-review/


    The review (set up with Peter Qvortrup) reviews and compares the Psvane 1:1 replicas to original WE reissues from 1978, 88 and 98.
    Bottom line the Psvane replicas were closest to the 1978 western Electric originals, more so than the actual 88 and 98 ones.
    Ok, think I'm done with 300B valve rolling now!

    Bought a new set, which now have about 100odd hours on them now and already they are noticeably better than both the KR and even the Elrog.
    Wonderful sounding things, beautiful and have grabbed the amp by the scruff of the neck.
    Few pics to sign off, just to say that its been a bit of a journey for me amp wise, some bad calls and lessons learned along the way but very happy.





    But the power amp is just half the equation for a pre/power system.
    To complete my "final" amp setup, I've turned to my Densen Preamp now.
    That's now sitting in my second system, but more on that in another post, I've prattled on enough here.
    Last edited by Gazjam; 13-01-2019 at 17:36.
    Have Hifi n stuff.

  5. #45
    Join Date: Mar 2008

    Location: Dunfermline, Scotland, UK

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    I'm inthescottishmafia.

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    They must be good indeed if they’re better than the KR’s Gaz, look forward to hearing them.
    “Music has always been a matter of energy to me, a question of fuel. Sentimental people call it inspiration, but what they really mean is fuel. I have always needed fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio”

    Hunter S Thompson

  6. #46
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

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    Yup,
    they are keepers Ali.

    Troops over once everything's settled in.
    Have Hifi n stuff.

  7. #47
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,155
    I'm Geoff.

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    ..... and the price?

  8. #48
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

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    Not cheap, just under a grand with vat and delivery.
    Got mine from Hifi Collective, couple of sets cheaper on EBay but prefer to go “official” to avoid fakes.
    Have Hifi n stuff.

  9. #49
    Join Date: May 2016

    Location: Notts

    Posts: 2,155
    I'm Geoff.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Gazjam View Post
    Not cheap.
    Not telling?

  10. #50
    Join Date: Oct 2008

    Location: Glasgowshire

    Posts: 7,095
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sherwood View Post
    Not telling?
    lol, not at all.
    Edited my post.
    Have Hifi n stuff.

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