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rrstesiak
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Vincent PHO-8

All:

Now that I've gotten my digital front end pretty dialed in, I find my analogue side slightly lacking in bass and soundstage.

My current analogue setup is:

Rega P1 with Ortofon Red 2M, Cambridge Audio 551p phono stage, Creek Evolution 50A, Epos Epic 2 speakers with Epos stands.

I know the creek and the speakers are good.... And I know the basic turntable is decent for my level of budget...

That leaves me with either an upgrade to the cartridge or phono stage...

Any and all suggestions welcome under $1,000.

I have so far thought about a Jolida JD-9.

Best Regards,

Ron

bierfeldt
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An improved phono preamp is only going to do so much

The knock on the RP1 is that it lacks bass and that is driven by the tonearm and to some extent your cartridge. A phono stage alone will not resolve the underlying with the table and tone arm. You need to improve both.

Personally, I would get a Vincent Audio PHO-8 for $299. This is an awesome unit for the money as it was just marked down from $399.
http://www.needledoctor.com/Vincent-Audio-PHO-8-Phono-Preamp?sc=2&category=39533

I would then look at a different table and cartridge. I would get a Music Hall MMF2.2 and get a Clearaudio Concept MM v2. Commsysman recommended this setup to me and I think that might be what you really want. I never got to hear the exact combo, but the Music Hall tables have a more balanced sound and will have a cleaner, crisper bass. The Clearaudio cartridge is very precise. The MMF-2.2 is $449 and the Concept MM v2 is $249.

What you will lose with a Music Hall table is the pace, rhythm and timing that Rega is known for. The Music Hall has the same punchy mid bass but lacks the airiness in the mids and highs that you get from a Rega.

This would be $300 for the phono stage and $700 for the table.

Alternatively, if you want to stick with Rega, you need to step up to an RP3 with a great cartridge like an Exact2, a Dynavector 10x5 or an Ortofon 2M Black. For non-Rega cartridges, you need to look into adding spacers to the tonearm. The people at Needledoctor will help with that. Alternatively, an RP6 with an Exact2 would be at the high end of this. You would be looking at $1450 to $2000. For these nicer tables, I would look at the Vincent, the Musical Fidelity M1-LPS and the Jolida you mentioned above.

The Elys2, which the RP3 ships with from the factory is a nice cartridge, but will lack bass clarity.

I have a P3-24 with an Elys2 and I have an RP3 with an Exact2. I upgraded to the RP3 and Exact2 explicitly because I was unhappy with the bass performance of the Elys2 and moved the P3-24 to my home theatre.

rrstesiak
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bierfeldt on the money as usual!

bierfeldt:

Thank you for those recommendations... I never saw the Vincent before... with its separate power supply it is highly compelling... and I've heard the Jolida tubes are not at the amplification stage and so don't have as much effect on the sound....I would say that places the Vincent in the lead....

I also agree regarding the turntable... but my budget does not allow it just yet...but I intend on eventually getting the RP3 and a decent cartridge.

bierfeldt & All:

I am also considering going OEM and getting a Creek Phono Board - anyone have any experience with Creek?

Respectfully,

Ron

rrstesiak
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I ordered the Vincent Pho - 8

All:

I have always admired Vincent Audio...and also saw over on NeedleDoctor the Pho-8 got rave reviews.. so I bit the bullet! I also am very much into the belief that power sources contribute a lot to the final sound, and the Vincent has a separate power supply...good stuff!

I should have it Friday. Review to follow!

Kind Regards,

Ron

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bierfeldt
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I am very much looking forward to your POV on this

I am considering one for my Rega P3-24 via my home theatre.

rrstesiak
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reply

bierfeldt:

I will do my best to write a non-biased, "real" review to the best of my abilities.

A year ago I would not endeavor such things, but I think I am ready now to give a worthy analysis that others will hopefully find valuable.

Thank you for your vote of confidence on my point of view. I also have it in the back of my mind that I have to be Turntable Agnostic during the view as much as possible; with also an eye on the future for myself: hopefully in the form of an RP3 or P3!

Kindly,

Ron

bierfeldt
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My interest

I am very interested in learning how your table improves in sound with the Vincent vs the Cambridge. I have heard the Vincent but not in a comparative environment. I thought it sounded amazingly good, but I didn't have a clean point of reference the way you will.

rrstesiak
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Vincent in the House

All:

I just received the Vincent PHO-8...here it is on my rack:
Image hosted by servimg.com

Some very early impressions; comparing it to my Cambridge Auido 551p... I first played an hour's worth of records to warm it up before any critical listening...and I will let it continue to "burn in" all weekend before I do an extensive review, but I wanted to get early impressions out ASAP; as I could tell a decent improvement.

The main areas of improvement are as follows:

1. Bass extends lower and is cleaner
2. Slightly more air around instruments at the ever so slight expense of clarify; it is "warmer"
3. It seems to be louder. I'll have to check this with SPL meter.
4. Record noise is noticeably reduced. Must be some subtle but good noise filters in the German unit.
5. There is a button on the from of the RIAA circuitry box to choose MM or MC. Nice. Old unit was only capable of MM.

I played various Led Zeppelin, Peter Garbirel, Beatles, Miles Davis, and Jimi Hendrix...

So the early word is: It reminds me very much of when I upgraded from my Musical Fidelity V90 DAC to the PS Audio NuWave DAC: The main difference being extended and cleaner Bass and the Vincent and PS Audio both have beefy power supplies.

If the Vincent breaks in as anticipated, my analogue will be back to spec again approaching and occasionally bettering my digital chain again. My remaining task is to get the better Rega Turntable. The Vincent should grow with it.

More to come when I do my official review.

If anyone has any particular questions, ask away!

Overall, if things continue in the right direction, I will be selling my Cambridge 551p; still a very capable unit for under $200.

Best Regards,

Ron

rrstesiak
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More pictures

All:

Here are internal pics of the Vincent PHO-8; which I believe have never been published..until now!

1. Internal of POWER supply...I am guessing way better than a Wal-Wart, and nice and isolated with a thick metal chassis
Image hosted by servimg.com
Nice sized transformer,,

2. Closeup of power supply:
Image hosted by servimg.com

3. RIAA circuits in the other half of this audio BARGAIN:
Image hosted by servimg.com

rrstesiak
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Question for bierfeldt

You had mentioned the desire to gain my impression of the Vincent.....due to two big audio projects I was not expecting, regrettably I have not been able to invest the time in a thorough review of the unit. However, I can simply say I am definitely keeping it and selling of the Cambridge.

In all respect, did you have any specific concerns or questions about the Vincent? That's the least I can do after all of the useful feedback I have seen you give not only myself, but others on this forum.

Kind Regards,

Ron

bierfeldt
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nothing specific

I am certain I want to get a better phono stage. The fact that your initial reaction was that it was a decisive and obvious that the Vincent was superior to your Cambridge tells me I probably want to get this. Though, the PHO-700 just cam down in price to $499 and I might get that instead.

rrstesiak
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Tough Decision

It would be a tough decision between the PHO-8 and it's tubed bigger brother...

I would GUESS the PHO-700 to be warmer, at the slight expense of treble, but with a slightly again warmer but less taught Bass (all of this assuming the tube does affect the sound)...

It's a question of tubes vs. solid state at similar price point and same power supply.

bierfeldt
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Fair point

In general I want to maximize the quality of my bass output as this is the system with my P3-24 and an Elys2. I am thinking I will get the PHO-8. Maybe I will have my wife get it for me for my birthday in the fall.

bierfeldt
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I got a PHO-8

I am going to see how it compares to both the internal phono stage on the Rega Brio R and my Marantz pre/pro.

bierfeldt
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This should make us both feel good

Here is The Absolute Sounds sub $2000 phono stage recco's. I am feeling good about this choice.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/2015-editors-choice-phonostages-under-2000/

rrstesiak
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Reply

Great minds think alike.

Cheers,

Ron

bac2vinyl
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just ordered one

After giving myself headaches reviewing pre amps the last two weeks I decided on this phono stage,,,,I will be running through a Marantz v7701 with a Project Debut which has a good sounding built in stage, for me anyway, so I hope I this extra cost benefits me…Too many choices, back and forth I went…What I didn't want to do is spend $$$ for a phono stage with bells and whistles that would give me little improvement…

bac2vinyl
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just ordered one

After giving myself headaches reviewing pre amps the last two weeks I decided on this phono stage,,,,I will be running through a Marantz v7701 with a Project Debut which has a good sounding built in stage, for me anyway, so I hope I this extra cost benefits me…Too many choices, back and forth I went…What I didn't want to do is spend $$$ for a phono stage with bells and whistles that would give me little improvement…

bierfeldt
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Bac2vinyl

I think you are gonna be really happy with this unit. It is far better than the internal on my Rega Brio R integrated amp. The noise filter is amazing and the overall sound is neutral and refined without being rounded.

bac2vinyl
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Looking forward to it…Don't

Looking forward to it…Don't have high end stuff, just can't afford it but what I do have we really enjoy. a couple hundred now and then doesn't break the bank and it keeps it fun. I purchased a Ortofon Bronze MM2 to replace the red which does sound good. So I am hoping between the new cart and Pho-8 I will get impressive results…That's almost $800 in upgrades so I really, really hope so…Then I will be done unless something breaks or I win the lotto..I would really like the Scout 1.1 but the wife said absolutely not. Not sure with my system I would get much improvement anyway…i will post once I get to listen.

bierfeldt
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You will

You will squeeze every drop of performance out of your system with those two upgrades. Good luck to you

bac2vinyl
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Lets hope!!

Lets hope!!

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