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Thread: Preamps: Crayon CFA-1/1.2 - Hovland PH100/200 - Croft Micro 25 RS?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Aug 2014

    Location: Aarhus, Denmark

    Posts: 287
    I'm Peter.

    Default Preamps: Crayon CFA-1/1.2 - Hovland PH100/200 - Croft Micro 25 RS?

    I know that a few members here own one of the above preamps. I would like to know what they upgraded from and why (if they know). Of course I would like to know if anyone has compared any of the above to my current unit, a Herron VTSP-2a line stage.

    I am familiar with another contender an EAR 868PL as I have owned two of them (+ a line version only). I did not run them with my EAR 516 and Quad ESL 57s, however.

    Can I get the sort of musicality that I have with my Herron VTSP-2A + an onboard MM/MC-stage with a Crayon, Hovland or Croft preamp?

    I recently had an EAR 802 (onboard MM) in my system but it did nothing good in my set-up and receiving the Herron was something of a revelation.

    I would like the luxury of a one box solution. So what do they sound like?
    DIY DCB1 buffer (Rod Elliott MM stage) / EAR 516 power / Quad ESL 57 (One Thing bass panels)
    Vinyl: SME 10 - The Wand(+) or Mørch DP6 or SME 309 or ? / Paradise phono stage (perhaps coming in February/March 2020) / Ortofon 2M Silver (mm) / Benz Micro Gullwing SLR or ?
    Digital: Synology NAS / JRiver on Win 10 PC / Nuforce S192U USB to spdif/ Line Magnetic 502CA DAC
    Tuner: Leak Stereo 70 / Leak Stereofetic FM Tuner / Dynaudio Contour 1 mk. ii

  2. #2
    Join Date: Aug 2014

    Location: Aarhus, Denmark

    Posts: 287
    I'm Peter.

    Default

    The Crayon CFA-1 really got my attention when I read a review of it where a Yamamoto amp was referenced. A Yamamoto CA-04 was among the contenders when I bought the Herron VTSP-2A.
    DIY DCB1 buffer (Rod Elliott MM stage) / EAR 516 power / Quad ESL 57 (One Thing bass panels)
    Vinyl: SME 10 - The Wand(+) or Mørch DP6 or SME 309 or ? / Paradise phono stage (perhaps coming in February/March 2020) / Ortofon 2M Silver (mm) / Benz Micro Gullwing SLR or ?
    Digital: Synology NAS / JRiver on Win 10 PC / Nuforce S192U USB to spdif/ Line Magnetic 502CA DAC
    Tuner: Leak Stereo 70 / Leak Stereofetic FM Tuner / Dynaudio Contour 1 mk. ii

  3. #3
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Posts: 4,173
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    Jake was running a Crayon at some stage worth contacting him. Rated it highly not sure what he had though, power or pre.

    One off the wall suggestion - after much chasing around trying different preamps (tube and solid state) to replace the EAR 912 I recently placed an order for an Audiopax Model 5, which is being built for me in Brazil as I write. Worth reading up about. I managed to to audition an earlier version from 2004 which was a bit flaky (frequent left channel drop out plus a noisy PSU) so, sadly, it had to go back, but I was extremely impressed by it and it made an impact on me for weeks afterwards.

    I later managed to audition its big brother, the Audopax L50, which has been the best preamp ever to visit here bar none. Out of reach price-wise though, so in the end I went for a new Model 5 which is in its fourth iteration (A4) with all the former 'SE' enhancements now included as standard. Allnic H7000V is now taking up phono duty from the 912.
    Last edited by montesquieu; 21-07-2019 at 19:38.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Aug 2014

    Location: Aarhus, Denmark

    Posts: 287
    I'm Peter.

    Default

    Thanks Tom. I was wondering which amp you were going to get instead of the EAR 912. I think the Audiopax is out of my league. But will investigate.

    The Allnic 7000 must be a good mm stage to oust the EAR 912. I see that you run it with Miyajima SUTs, too.
    DIY DCB1 buffer (Rod Elliott MM stage) / EAR 516 power / Quad ESL 57 (One Thing bass panels)
    Vinyl: SME 10 - The Wand(+) or Mørch DP6 or SME 309 or ? / Paradise phono stage (perhaps coming in February/March 2020) / Ortofon 2M Silver (mm) / Benz Micro Gullwing SLR or ?
    Digital: Synology NAS / JRiver on Win 10 PC / Nuforce S192U USB to spdif/ Line Magnetic 502CA DAC
    Tuner: Leak Stereo 70 / Leak Stereofetic FM Tuner / Dynaudio Contour 1 mk. ii

  5. #5
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Posts: 4,173
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    There are four inputs on the Allnic, two MM, one MC with internal SUT (four gain settings like the EAR) - the internal SUT is pretty good but I prefer the Miyajima externals into MM - and one MC with head amp. The head amp shows promise but isn’t a great match with my very low output / low impedance cartridges. Should be decent with something mainstream though.

  6. #6
    Join Date: Aug 2014

    Location: Aarhus, Denmark

    Posts: 287
    I'm Peter.

    Default

    Sounds like a really versatile phono stage. I am a one cart man, so my phono stage only needs to have one input. I would still like it to be switchable between MM and MC.

    I looked at the Audiopax and s/h prices vary quite a bit.
    DIY DCB1 buffer (Rod Elliott MM stage) / EAR 516 power / Quad ESL 57 (One Thing bass panels)
    Vinyl: SME 10 - The Wand(+) or Mørch DP6 or SME 309 or ? / Paradise phono stage (perhaps coming in February/March 2020) / Ortofon 2M Silver (mm) / Benz Micro Gullwing SLR or ?
    Digital: Synology NAS / JRiver on Win 10 PC / Nuforce S192U USB to spdif/ Line Magnetic 502CA DAC
    Tuner: Leak Stereo 70 / Leak Stereofetic FM Tuner / Dynaudio Contour 1 mk. ii

  7. #7
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Posts: 4,173
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Rosewind View Post
    Sounds like a really versatile phono stage. I am a one cart man, so my phono stage only needs to have one input. I would still like it to be switchable between MM and MC.

    I looked at the Audiopax and s/h prices vary quite a bit.
    The only s/h Model 5 I’ve seen available in UK is the one I trialled which seems to have been offered at different prices at different times but always from the same seller. But a few are available from Brazil or the US. Later models had a lot of refinements compared to early ones as well as much nicer cases! The former SE version comes as standard now, the only option available currently is balanced input/output which I’ve ordered for mine.

    So many options for good phono stages. I heard an NVO recently that I was impressed by. 22 tubes!

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 6,168
    I'm Justin.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    Jake was running a Crayon at some stage worth contacting him. Rated it highly not sure what he had though, power or pre.

    One off the wall suggestion - after much chasing around trying different preamps (tube and solid state) to replace the EAR 912 I recently placed an order for an Audiopax Model 5, which is being built for me in Brazil as I write. Worth reading up about. I managed to to audition an earlier version from 2004 which was a bit flaky (frequent left channel drop out plus a noisy PSU) so, sadly, it had to go back, but I was extremely impressed by it and it made an impact on me for weeks afterwards.

    I later managed to audition its big brother, the Audopax L50, which has been the best preamp ever to visit here bar none. Out of reach price-wise though, so in the end I went for a new Model 5 which is in its fourth iteration (A4) with all the former 'SE' enhancements now included as standard. Allnic H7000V is now taking up phono duty from the 912.
    There's an Audiopax showroom in Rio.

    I'm going there in the not too distant future and will try and check it out.

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: gone

    Posts: 11,567
    I'm gone.

    Default

    I've now got Jake's Crayon CFA-1 integrated amp.
    As you'll recall, I had and loved a Herron VTSP-2 preamp for quite a while.

    Impossible of course to directly compare a preamp and an integrated amp, but the Crayon is the best sounding amp I've so far owned. Limited power though at 28wpc. Obviously power limitation concerns don't apply to a Crayon preamp!
    .

  10. #10
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Posts: 4,173
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jandl100 View Post
    Crayon is the best sounding amp I've so far owned.
    Wow - that's a big statement from the man who's had everything.


    Quote Originally Posted by User211 View Post
    There's an Audiopax showroom in Rio.

    I'm going there in the not too distant future and will try and check it out.
    You can come over here and hear this one ...I doubt it's more than a couple of weeks away now.

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