New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!

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modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #60 on: 29 Aug 2018, 03:23 pm »
Thanks Dave! I will post early feedback shortly.  I just need to confirm permission from all first.  Suffice to say that it has been excellent!

Dan

jtsnead

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Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #61 on: 29 Aug 2018, 03:58 pm »
Other ones shipping soon?

modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #62 on: 29 Aug 2018, 04:31 pm »
The first 11 have shipped, and the 12th will ship tomorrow. The next shipment will be next week. We had a delay in receiving Lundahl transformers. jtsnead, you are in the next lot.

Thanks for your patience,

Dan

dminches

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #63 on: 1 Sep 2018, 08:38 pm »
I have about 25 hours on the PH 9.0 and it keeps getting better.  I rolled in a pair of Amperex PQ 7308s and it took the sound to a new level.  This phono pre is just so musical.  Detailed, but not overly so.  One can hear a lot of depth in the music.  I put on a Ray Brown LP and the bass was full but not bloated.

I am very happy with this unit.

GregC

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #64 on: 1 Sep 2018, 09:05 pm »
I have an Origin Live Sovereign deck, Origin Live Conqueror 2 arm (with upgraded wiring), and a ZYX Universe 2 cartridge.  I am using a Tribute hand-wound MC step up with Triode Wire Labs cabling.  Up until the time I received the PH 9.0, I was using my on board phono stage in my SST Ambrosia Gen 2 preamp.  I considered the on board phono stage to be reference grade (and it displaced a much more expensive dedicated phono stage).  The PH 9.0 had big shoes to fill. 

I have just a bit over 10 hours on the PH 9.0 so here are my preliminary observations. 

I am using the PH 9.0 with the stock tubes, but I intend to swap in my NOS Telefunken tubes after further break in.  I am thankful I stashed the Telefunkens away for more than the last decade and look forward to them elevating the PH 9.0 to even higher levels of performance.  I just want to allow more time for break in and hear the PH 9.0 the way Dan voiced it.

Even with stock tubes this is an amazing phono stage.  The timber of acoustic instruments really has to be heard to be appreciated.  The stage is balanced from top to bottom without bloated bass.  The one improvement I noticed right off is a wider and deeper sound stage.  Vocals are not artificially focused in the front of the stage like you hear from some phono stages.  The instruments have a place on the stage and are accurately portrayed.  The PH 9.0 seems to focus a bit further back towards mid hall presentation, but that can be a function of the tubes.

I am happy I chose the PH 9.0.  Dan really has provided a benchmark for the ratio of performance to value.

Now back to listening to some Roy Orbison on pristine vinyl...

modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #65 on: 2 Sep 2018, 03:47 am »
More PH 9.0 Feedback from other Early Customers as it comes in:

“Right out of the gate, glorious organic and tactile mid-range. As I put hours on it, the bottom got really solid and it reaches way down. I believe you have hit a home run!” R. Colburn - 8.25.18 

modwright

https://www.audionirvana.org/forum/the-audio-vault/analog-playback/phonostages/96258-modwright-ph-9-0-tube-phono-pre-a-user-report

I have the product page just about complete on our site and have updated the ModBlog.

Thanks,

Dan W.

GregC

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #67 on: 4 Sep 2018, 11:36 pm »
My user comments were a bit early.  I wanted to share some follow up observations. 

The bottom end has filled in more, and the bass remains fast and accurate with the perfect amount of overhang. 

My comment regarding the vocals not being presented up front was not applicable.  The phono stage just faithfully presents the mix cut into the grooves of the LP.  If the engineer recorded vocals up front and center that is exactly what you get. 

The presentation has moved a few rows up from mid hall and is now positioned exactly where I look to sit at a live show. 

The PH 9.0 is seriously good and just continues to improve as the caps break in.

jtsnead

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Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #68 on: 25 Sep 2018, 08:29 pm »
What is the mc transformers step up ratio?

modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #69 on: 25 Sep 2018, 08:32 pm »
1:5. If I run them at 1:10, the bandwidth suffers.  It sounds best this way.

Via the MM inputs however, a person could use a separate SUT and have two MC inputs for two MC carts.

Dan

GregC

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #70 on: 25 Sep 2018, 08:34 pm »
I have the stage set to MM/47K on the front and and my step up is loaded perfect for feeding a 47K input.  This combo is extremely quiet and sounds great.

jtsnead

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Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #71 on: 25 Sep 2018, 08:46 pm »
Thanks Dan I was wondering. I was looking at some Soundsmith MI carts. I do have a Bobs but was trying to not use it and another set of cables. My Cadenza Bronze does sound awesome


modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #72 on: 25 Sep 2018, 08:56 pm »
You should be just fine down to .3mV - .4mV. Depending on the gain of your preamp, .2mV may require a bit more volume, but it was intended to handle just about any MC.  I know that our PH 150, which maxes out at 72dB is most often used in the -6dB gain position because 72dB is simply too much gain.

Thanks and I appreciate your feedback.

Dan

jtsnead

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Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #73 on: 25 Sep 2018, 08:58 pm »
I was looking at the Star MIMC but it look like it needs more than the 470 ohms

modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #74 on: 25 Sep 2018, 09:24 pm »
You know, it is interesting.  The PH 150 had 500 and 1K as the two highest MC loads.  My HK distributor and other dealers I have spoken with said that they would prefer more values in the < 100 range and would not need anything higher than 470 ohm.

To be honest, if you want a special loading value, it is just a matter of changing two resistors, but that is the explanation.  I realize that Sound Smith has some carts with higher loadings. It can be done, but I am not sure that it is really necessary though.

Thanks,

Dan

modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #75 on: 2 Oct 2018, 07:49 pm »
A great review by one of our Beta Customers:

"I’ve been enjoying the new PH 9.0 so far.  I wanted to make sure that I gave an appropriate amount of listening time (and break in time) to give you the best feedback possible.  I’ve done a lot of listening to the unit, using both the internal SUTs in the MC mode, as well as using a quality stand-alone SUT running into the MM input. My prior set-up was this SUT (a VAS MC-One mk 2) running into a Rogue Ares “Magnum” phono preamp.  Everything downstream and upstream is exactly the same:

Turntable: VPI Ares 3D w/ Phoenix Engineering speed control and tachometer
Cartridge: VAS Nova Signature
Preamp: MW SWL 9.0 Anniversary
Power Amp: MW KWA 150 SE
Speakers: Daedalus DA-1.1v2
Speaker cables: Daedalus
Interconnects: Grover Huffman, Ortofon phono cable, VAS phono cable
Headphones: Sennheiser HD-6XX

As I’m reviewing the PH 9.0, I’m making comparisons to the Rogue Ares Magnum ($2795) and the Tavish Adagio (the standard version at $1,890 - have not heard the version with the better SUTs at $2,400).  Both of these units are very close in design to your PH 9.0, and feature separate power boxes.  The Rogue has really no controls whatsoever accessible on the unit - even the power switch is awkwardly placed on the back of the unit.  The power LED, which is on the bottom on the front faceplate, was literally an afterthought (Mark told me that) because original owners could not tel if the unit was on or not.  The Tavish is more similar to the PH 9.0, with front mounted knobs and switches - very convenient.

First impressions of the SWL 9.0 that they are solid, heavy and quite substantial in feel and appearance.  The aluminum faceplate and twin dials on the control unit give an upscale, handsome appearance to the unit, and it looks right at home near the statement piece KWA 150 SE. 

I have made a lot of changes to my rig over the past year, and this most recent lineup of components including the Rogue Ares had yielded the best sound I’ve heard in my listening room.  A good friend and fellow audiophile has heard just about every combination of speakers, components and wires that I’ve tried, and he agreed that the sound was pretty amazing.  When I told him I would be pulling the Ares for the new Modwright, he thought I was nuts to make any more changes.  “Do you really expect it to sound any better?” he asked.  I have to admit that I had my doubts as well.

Immediately after connecting the unit into my system, I could already hear some very distinct differences between the PH 9.0 and my Ares.  As you have repeatedly said, the PH 9.0 is dead quiet - amazingly so even when set to “MC” and connected through high efficiency speakers.  What’s more, there is no trace of hum.  The Ares is also quiet, but not as quiet as the 9.0.  With the Ares, though, I always had issues with hum, especially running a LOMC cartridge.  I always had to futz around with the ground wires and connections to get everything just right.  The PH 9.0, however, seems to be fairly immune to hum in my setup.  The first time, and even through several changes in connections with and without the SUT, I did not experience any hum at all.  This is a huge accomplishment!  My phono stage prior to the Ares, a PS Audio GCPH, was also plagued with hum issues.  It can be one of the most frustrating things to resolve for a part time audiophile, so the ease of connection, low noise, and lack of hum in the PH 9.0 is really outstanding.

The sound is even more impressive, especially at this price point.  My Rogue is a good sounding unit, and it took my sound to new highs when I replaced the GCPH.  The Tavish, which I briefly had in my system (it belongs to a friend) I thought had better PRAT than the Ares.  It also was a touch more quiet than the Ares.  Honestly, had I heard the Tavish before the Ares, I probably would have bought the Tavish.  The Ares or the Tavish are not really in the same league as the PH 9.0, however.  In truth, it is not even close.  This was probably the part of my listening that delayed my response to you.  I was thinking that I had to be biased in my listening to the new unit.  Perhaps I was just hearing “differences” and not necessarily “improvements” in sound?  (I think a lot of people make this mistake.)  It was surprising to me that the differences in the sound could be as profound as they are.  I started off with the unit in MM mode, with my VAS MC-One SUT in the mix.  After a couple of days of listening to that setup, I switched to the internal Lundahl SUTs with the MC setting (removing the VAS), and I immediately liked the sound better.  After a few days listening this way, my aforementioned buddy was over for the weekend and we listened to the unit in both configurations.  He also preferred the internal SUTs/MC setting.  I have not switched back since then (a couple of weeks ago) but I will go back and experiment at some point.

The PH 9.0 presents from a very black background, which can make some music downright startling when it “kicks in.”  One of the first tracks I played was “Be Here Now,” which is the first song on Ray LaMontagne’s album Till the Sun Turns Black.  It starts with a quiet guitar, along with some light orchestration behind.  It’s not very loud, so I turn it up a bit.  His vocal comes in and it’s airy, wispy, and fully detailed in a way I haven’t heard it before.  At the chorus, the string section swells like a gust of wind, filling the room with sound, as if I had just turned the volume pot up a notch (or three).    The dynamics between different instruments and voices all have to appropriate space, volume and shape - as if you were hearing it live.  You can have a guitar being thrashed, a vocal being belted out, and a tiny triangle being played in the background, and all are preserved in their natural space and volume.  Despite the clarity and detail, however, the unit is exceptionally smooth and well rounded, and yet not “tubey” in any way.  It’s also fast and precise, allowing the sparkle and shimmer of well-recorded cymbals to be heard, and the impact of a drumstick on drum head to he felt.   I find this quality in all of your equipment, actually.  Hugh Maskela’s Hope album (the QRP release is astonishing) is an ideal demo for this phono pre, highlighting everything it does well - high dynamic shifts, precise and well-recorded percussion, crystal clear trumpet, and a stirring live vocal performance.  “The Coal Train” is just ridiculous.

I am going back and re-listening to a lot of my favorite vocal performances with the Ph 9.0.  Vanessa Fernandez’ first album - which frankly can make a Bose Wave radio sound great - has never sounded better to my ears.  Her voice is so real, so three dimensional, and yet so non-fatiguing.  Sometimes it is these “audiophile legend” albums that tell you the most.  Can a component improve on what is already great?  In this case, the answer is yes.  I can turn the volume up until Vanessa is standing right in front of me, and the sound is still clean and smooth with no signs of that glare that I sometimes noticed in my old setup.  Jennifer Warnes version of “Famous Blue Raincoat” is just about perfect with this unit, and it’s another song that always challenged my gear of the past when listened to at any level above 65 db or so.  I went through a lot of artists, and without exception the PH 9.0 provided an improved listening experience.

The front mounted controls (and rear mono/stereo switch) are more than just convenient - I now think they are essential to get the right listening experience from all of your records.  For most of my collection, there is an abundance of gain (when paired with the SWL 9.0 into the KWA 150SE and driving the very efficient Daedalus speakers), and I run it at the -12db setting (and it’s still sometimes a bit too much).  Playing the Vanessa Fernandez “Use Me” album yesterday, though, I heard a lot of excess hiss from the analog tapes and surface noise when used in the “-12" setting.  I turned down the volume and changed to the “-6” db gain setting.  Wow, what an immediate difference!  The music was now still clear and undistorted, but the background noise went away almost entirely.   I am also pleased to have a mono switch again - something the Rogue lacks entirely.  My mono records have never sounded better than when playing them back on the mono setting.

The sound quality, lack of noise, convenience in using, overall appearance - the PH 9.0 accomplishes all of that, and to levels you don’t normally hear at price point (or even higher)."
- A. Karpinski

GregC

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #76 on: 2 Oct 2018, 08:15 pm »
Thanks for sharing Dan, that is an extremely well written review and a much deserved acknowledgement for what you achieved with the PH 9.0.

modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #77 on: 2 Oct 2018, 08:45 pm »
Thanks Greg and a big thanks to Mr. Karpinski for taking the time to write such a well thought out review. I am grateful to all of you who purchased Beta units and have shared your feedback! I am confident that we have hit a Home Run here and it is exciting!

mreeter

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Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #78 on: 3 Oct 2018, 12:55 pm »
The above review is simply "Outstanding" if the man is not already, he should be a Professional Reviewer! His comments have certainly hit home with me as I am also a Rogue Audio Ares "Magnum" owner and....have also had an Adagio in my system for a short time.

I have been quite happy with the performance of the Ares for over four years, especially after having Rogue perform the "Magnum" upgrade, thats saying something for me!

For the PH 9.0 to out perform the Ares, especially with an added external SUT, and at the price point of the PH 9.0, well you certainly have gotten my attention!


modwright

Re: New Phono stage: PH 9.0 MM/MC with on-the-fly loading!
« Reply #79 on: 3 Oct 2018, 04:30 pm »
I agree, the writing style and information are exceptional. I find that customer testimonials are the most honest and of exceptional value. Professional reviews are also in the works!

The first production run sold FAST! We are working on the second production run and are back-ordered.  If you are interested in learning more about the PH 9.0, please don't hesitate to call our office at 360.247.6688.

Thanks,

Dan Wright
President, ModWright Instruments Inc.