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Thread: "A Exciting 18 Months of Research and Development has now Reached Fruition"

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 383
    I'm John.

    Default "A Exciting 18 Months of Research and Development has now Reached Fruition"

    This is a Story of my 18 Month Journey, travelling for many hours, and offering many more hours of support,
    whilst sharing in another's work, seeing their designs become prototypes and then all the way through to the fruition of Bespoke Custom Build Devices.

    I have seen how a Design Concept, can Evolve, and then, with differing requirements expressed by a individual, split to produce Twin Devices, each born from the same philosophies to become 'Tailor Made' to suit a individuals preferences.

    This has been a insight into how two individuals, with a common interest, have combined their Passion for their Hobby.
    One Individual who in my opinion, is gifted in their understanding of Electronics and Expressing the Disciplines required to extract the utmost from a Design Concept, culminating in End Devices that are Celebratory in what they can deliver.

    The other individual, 'just a Plain Old Joe' who is actually me, a individual who has had a unquenchable passion for HiFi for 30+ years.
    A individual who could only offer over the course of 18 Months, about 1500 miles of too and from travel to offer support,
    as well as a good old fashioned supply of a ear, and oodles of encouragement, with the odd reign it in for a while guidance, a individual who was happy, to send in Boutique Components just for the hell of it, and any learning experience that could be gained from the components use, some of these components stupidly expensive and to be shelved as not offering the performance to the 'Tailor Made' requirement.
    I am a individual who has avoided the mainstream route to produce a Hifi System for more than 25 years, and has actively sought out those individuals, who are highly skilled and think way outside the box, those individuals who produce Devices that Punch way above most that are available, so this experience has proved to be in keeping with a my usual methods of producing ' Proud of Achievement, End Game Devices'.
    For the record I have no Electronics Skills, or any understanding of Electronics that I would even consider valuable,
    In a nutshell it all goes straight over my head.
    My Skill Set is that I have produced a Bespoke Custom Built HiFi System over 25 years, that when auditioned by complete strangers to it, wins great favour and expression of appreciation for how it delivers a Performance.
    I take great pleasure in watching the 'Cheshire Cat Smile' slowly break out on a face a attendee at a audition as they relax into the new listening environment.

    That's the Executive Summary out of the way.

    This is a extension of the Thread I started in October 2018 'Vinyl's Trials and Tribulations', so there is a little bit of info' on that thread building up to the latest update contained in this New Thread.

    Following Six Months of Producing a Phonostage and my auditioning the evolving design, that at one point during its production, was being referred to a clear improvement over a Phonostage Model that has been discussed on AoS known as the VAS.
    It has been this Prototype, that has become the Benchmark for the next stages of the Phonostages Production.

    I was keen to encourage this model to be taken out for a Public Audition, it was not easy to get the agreement , but in the end, it went the Yorshireshire HiFi Event in Huddersfield in the earliest months of 2019.

    Phonostages at this event do not get a lot of air play time, the fact that this model at this stage of the design, was giving a much extended play time than the usual was a real boost for the Builder, and the fact that a well known HiFi Journalist
    expressed a intense interest in it, resulted in the Builder, really wanting to take the design to another level.

    As a result another upgrade to the already Newly designed Power Supply was put into action.
    This was ready for the Kegworth Show, where it was Auditioned by me, in my Room 106.
    I was to make a decision which Power Supply was to be used, during the Sundays Public Attended Event.
    It was a 'no brainer', the New version of the Power Supply, when compared to the earlier upgraded version lifted the Performance to a level, as I was hearing this version on my system for the first time, I could only assess the Power Supply differences at face value, and this was when I informed the builder I am thoroughly committed to supporting this design through to a finish, and began wondering what more could be produced, hence my support with supplying components began, in the not too distant future from this experience.

    The Vinyl experience in Kegworth's Room 106, was enjoyed by many, and the Room was full for most of the day.
    As a side note to this, the Phon' Builders redesigned CDP, with Valve Regulated Power Supply / Valve Output Stages and OCC Silver wound Transformers got a real interest going, and at one point a intense debate was going on in the room,
    about the CDP vs a Valve Regulated Power Supply/ Valve Output Stage DAC, which the Phon' Builder had sourced for me through his relationship with EE's in his Home Country.
    The fact the DAC was hooked up to a used value £40 CDP and was delivering a performance as was being heard was not easily accepted by those at the A/B Comparison, it was being compared to the performance of much more expensive Digital set up.

    Moving on from Kegworth,

    There was a break from the Phonostage, mainly due to giving the Components used in the build a burn in period, and researching the Schematic to see if a further improvement could be incorporated.

    Another sidetrack from the Phonostage Build following Kegworth, was the commencement of the Phon' Builders,
    Single Ended Monoblock GM70 Project, I seen this evolve as mainly descriptions of the intention for the design, as well as a supply of images showing the procurement of the components ,
    one thing that got my attention was the expense of certain Capacitors, I know today, that where ever a voltage allows,
    Blackgate Capacitors are used.
    Where other voltage Values are required, other Boutique Capacitors with a recognised reputation are used.

    I know that after a period of Burn In and a visiting the Phonostage for assessment beginning around June/July time, I was sold on this design and could not wait for the Prototype to become a finished product.
    A few more Components were exchanged, and a further visit was made, I was at this stage more than content, but the Builder was sure he could achieve even more perception of separation, at this stage it was on par with my
    DIGNA Phonostage, for Air and Separation around the performers, but the Prototype, was now comfortably out performing my DIGNA, the DIGNA was as a description somewhere in the shadows of the Prototype.

    On one of these visits in the late Summer/ early Autumn 2019, I was introduced to the design for the casing, and some of the samples of the materials to be used, I was impressed with the material selections, but was not visualising how a Finished Design would appear.

    In early Winter, I had sent in a few different parts, Cap's and Resistors, not that I felt that they were required, but only for the purpose of being supportive and the learning to be gained.
    One of the Cap's values was questioned, and I encouraged its use, as it was declared a safe value, but was not on the Builders radar as a value to be used.

    Two weeks later the Builder had produced two working models one built to the standard I was so impressed with and one that was built to the same specification, but with the Cap's in use that had the questioned value.
    What prompted this second build was that the Builder had a experience that was beyond what he had expected, a learning had happened beyond his comprehension.

    I was encouraged to visit at short notice, and I headed down following work one evening.
    I was told on arrival that I was going to get a A/B comparison, but I had to guess which one was the new version,
    I knew immediately, the Spaciousness and Air around the Performers and the Cleanliness of the Bass Notes with the new perceived weight was immediately noticeable to my ears.
    The Builder knows my preferences to a Presentation, and he was so sure he had got it right, he needed me to hear it with a urgency.
    I knew immediately that this was a 'Tailor Made' build to my Holy Grail search for a Phonostage.
    This satisfies me in a way no other Phonostage has proved to, and I thought the DIGNA was my end game compromise Phon'. The satisfaction with this new device was immeasurable.

    Another surprise on this visit was that the other Phon' was now in its Permanent Housing and had four Inputs.
    The Housing Design is Top Drawer, and I humbly asked, if that was going to be the same as mine,
    to which I was told yes , but I could have One or More Inputs, I only need One Input and this was my choice made.

    On my parting I was told that, I could have the Phon' produced as a Personal to myself Xmas Present,
    I took up the offer, arranged for the funds to cover the cost to be sent on, and sat back in a very happy state,
    in great anticipation.

    With a small over run, it was ready on the 23-12, and I visited and picked the Phon' up on the 28-12.
    During this visit, I was treated to a day with the Monoblock Single Ended GM70 Amp's, they had been made ready for a personal Xmas Gift to the Phon' Builder.

    The experience was a assault on the senses, I was completely blown away, the GM70's were exceptional, all the qualities of the best I have heard, and this was on a assessment from the Modified CDP as a source.

    The source then moved to Vinyl, with a AT 150MLX MM Cartridge, the Cartridge that I had loaned the Builder, for making evaluations at the later stage of the Prototypes development.
    The Phon' was unveiled, and the aesthetics were mesmerising, I had no idea, it was going to get the extra trimmings, a very professional finished device with a real Hi End Look and oodles of WAF appeal.
    It definitely put the raised eyebrows I received from the wife, when I asked her to forward the monies for the build to bed.

    I own Custom Built PP 845 Mono's, the GM70's have much to offer, at a much more affordable price than the crazy world of 845's.
    My 845 Monoblocks are huge and take up a very large foot print, I was thrown out of my Living Room into a separate room , the GM70's in comparison are designed to be very living room friendly and can easily be placed in a standard size room with little intrusion, as the very careful layout of the schematic, works in the favour of the case size.

    I am being a Grandad today, were all just about to head out for a long walk at the Nature Reserve,
    so the Home Debut for the New Phon' is on hold, but I know what is to be had, it is the don't knows I am really looking forward to.

    I have as one can work out had very little creativity put into these projects presented, but the Journey and experience as well as the End Product will be going to the Grave with me, I have got to my Phono' Holy Grail, that has been produced by a friend for a friend.

    I have had one positive influence on the Phon' Builder, when it comes to their future Tonearm, they have had to conclude that after my bringing to their property and playing on their system my PMAT-1010 Tonearm, the reaction has been the producer of the PMAT 1010 has a donor arm in their possession supplied by the Phon' Builder, to produce one.

    What a Difference 18 Months can make, slightly more than 24 Little Hours.
    Last edited by JohnG; 29-12-2019 at 14:51.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 383
    I'm John.


    I know the Thread is a marathon to get through.
    Respect to the 149 views, and even more respect to those who endured the record of the journey.
    I should have included my change of direction with my systems Vinyl Front End.
    On the weekend of the Kegworth Show 2019, on route, I called into Angus 'Phonomac' and received a fully overhauled,
    Technics SP10 Mk II, with a PMAT-1010 mounted on the Plinth, Angus very kindly set up my 'Ortofon Vienna Mimic',
    'Rebuilt Ortofon Kontrapunkt b'.
    I was then on my way to publicly exhibit the whole home system.
    The evolving experience with this TT throughout the remainder of the year has been a revelation to my ears, and just now, throughout the Xmas break, the three components working together seem to have taken on a new role, leaving a impression, I thought was not obtainable in this price range.

    For anybody else looking in this thread, Happy New Year and Wishing All a Great 2020

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2016

    Location: Brighton, UK.

    Posts: 1,595
    I'm Mike.


    I'm so glad you've found the perfect system for your tastes, I just hope your tastes don't include Barbara Dickson.
    Current system. NAS Interspace/Garrard 401/Jelco 750 or Roksan Nima /Nagaoka MP 200/Graham Slee Era V. CDP - Mission PCM 7000. Amp - Audio Innovations S500. Rega Mira/Brio. Audio Note J's/Chario syntar towers. QED XT40 speaker cable/Straight wire interconnects.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 383
    I'm John.


    Hi Mike
    If for any reason you see yourself visiting somewhere near Mildenhall, Suffolk in 2020, you are more than welcome to visit me, a few cups of coffee, cake and friendly banter on offer, to accompany the HiFi Audition.
    Bring along your Vinyl or CD, I can do both

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 4,685
    I'm jamie.


    any news on the tts-8000?
    My System
    John Wood KT88 Amp.
    Paradise Phono Stage
    Sony TTS-8000 Turntable.
    PMAT-1010 MK6 Tonearm.
    Ortofon KB with vienna upgrade
    Sony X555ES Cd Player
    Yamaha NS1000m Speakers
    KARMA Interconnects & Tonearm Cable

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 150
    I'm keith.


    Hi John,

    Good write up and Happy New Year.

    Santa has brought me a PMAT - 1010 also (the one we were both bidding on and which you let me win when we both found out)

    Really should start a thread on AoS (as i've since discovered quite a few of the Lenco Guys hang around here also)!

    I'm hoping that 12 months of R&D will pay dividends by the end of this year!


  7. #7
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 383
    I'm John.


    Hi Jamie and Keith and any others looking in Happy New Year.

    Jamie, Thank you for looking in on my rather long thread, but for me that is a great effort to edit 18 Months down into a cup of coffee and a read

    As to the TTS 8000, it is still off very much interest, the design appears to have great potential, it took quite a bit of time to source some of the required materials to be machined, as well as find materials to suit the exchange of other critical parts used in the original, if all goes well, it might be ready for a trial playback for Easter ??
    I will update on the progress as the R&D and Material Procurement is now completed.

    You've shared in this Journey with me, you even bailed me out on my little 'Gaffe' at Kegworth.
    At least I remembered to put my trousers on, and my 'moment of muddle' was restricted to forgetting a required cable.
    In the 'Spirit of Community Support' the hand was stretched out to help from London to Nottingham,
    what a 'Great Bunch' of people that are out there

    To see you get transported to a HiFi Paradise in my Room 106, was a special pleasure for me to witness such appreciation.

    That big heart of yours is not restricted to rescuing a individual with a cable 'faux par', a few years back,
    you did not know me in any way apart from my ramblings on Lenco Heaven,
    you offered to me a invite to your home in Nottingham for a day orientated around Vinyl, to which I accepted,

    On this day, I met a man, who has become a great influence in my life for more reasons than just their abilities to WOW the pants of a person with their Vinyl Set Up.
    As result of this day, I am now a convert to the Phonomac Philosophy, as is yourself.
    I have been as free with my introductions as you were to me, and as a result, there are converts appearing to the Phonomac Designs following my presentations.
    There are two visitors due to my home tomorrow evening, to have the experience whole experience.

    Again the network of those who care, intercepted our competition for a Auction Item, which resulted in your chance to acquire a Donor Arm, for me that makes me very happy, as I know first hand just what you are experiencing.


  8. #8
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 4,685
    I'm jamie.


    i will look forward to the progress john,are you keeping the original spindle in the new bearing or is a new one being made?
    My System
    John Wood KT88 Amp.
    Paradise Phono Stage
    Sony TTS-8000 Turntable.
    PMAT-1010 MK6 Tonearm.
    Ortofon KB with vienna upgrade
    Sony X555ES Cd Player
    Yamaha NS1000m Speakers
    KARMA Interconnects & Tonearm Cable

  9. #9
    Join Date: Nov 2011

    Location: Seaton, Devon, UK

    Posts: 6,536
    I'm Adrian.


    Great write up, sounds you had a fun time prototyping and getting to musical nirvana, enjoy listening.
    Listening is the act of aural discrimination and dissemination of sound, and accepting you get it wrong sometimes.

    Analog Inputs:
    Pro-Ject Signature 10 TT & arm
    Benz Micro LP-S, Michel Cusis MC, Goldring 2500 and Ortofon Rondo Blue cartridges
    Hitachi FT5500 mk2 Tuner

    Sony 3d blu-Ray for CDs to Caiman SEG
    RaspberryPi/HifiBerry Digi to Beresford Caiman SEG DAC
    Buffalo NAS Drive

    LFD MMC special phono stage & Rothwell MCX SUT
    ALLNIC T1500 MKII SET 300B amp
    Schiit MAGNI 3 Heresy amp

    Wilson Benesch Vector speakers
    KLH Ultimate One Headphones

    Furutech AG-12-R4 High Performance Phono Cable
    Eccose Conductor CA1
    Belden 8402 with Switchcraft 3502A Audiophile High-End RCA
    Chord Epic speaker leads, & signature links

    I think I am nearing audio nirvana, but donít tell anyone.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jun 2018

    Location: Mildenhall, Suffolk

    Posts: 383
    I'm John.


    All original parts are being saved, as the design had to take into account the need to return the TTS back to its original condition, I am keen to trial the new spindle that is a idea, supplied by a friend, and when put forward at the time of discussing the feasibility of the design concept, a method to produce the proposed spindle design was offered that made the whole concept achievable with relative ease.

    In my mind the works to be carried out on the Spindle Housing Internals, are going to be the work, that gives the TT a whole new sonic signature.

    There are devices around me now that will allow the most intricate of changes in SQ to be detected,
    in addition my new plinth design allows for easy exchange between TT's, so all trials can be done with a identical Plinth, Tonearm, and Cartridge, where a little VTA adjustment is looking like the only further consideration to come to terms with, but after recent discussions, I am being in formed of methods that will make this relatively easy.
    I am pondering the coupling between the two materials being used, as I would like a compete exchange of a TT to take close to Ten Minutes.

    There is also deck I have from the same period of Manufacture , from a Off the Radar Brand,
    that I will be keeping under wraps, as the 'Wild Card'.
    I have stripped this to a point of a preparation for a basic service.
    So far the build quality, and the Hunk of Copper discovered in the Stator, I will say has raised a mind set where I am
    ' Very Statisfied '
    It has a Build Quality to match all the DD's, I've delved into in the past.
    To give the 'Wild Card' fair lore, I will have the PCB checked over and have any parts that have lost their values replaced.

    The SP10 MkII is my Holy Grail of TT's, so I have had no desire to Desacralise the Sacred Inner Space created by the hands of the SP10 Overhaul Deity 'phonomac', I don't want to go to 'Vinyl Hell', so have not spied on this one internally, as a result, this one has not been compared to my other Models

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