EE Minimax Phono Preamp Short Review

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EE Minimax Phono Preamp Short Review
« on: 22 Mar 2005, 03:31 am »
I had the pleasure of auditioning the newest of the Eastern Electric lineup, the EE Minimax phono preamp.  I have been enamored with most of EE's electronics and I had asked for some previews of the new Phonostage and Integrated when they arrived... I'd hoped they would arrive a little sooner but so far the wait has been well worth it.  I have only heard the phono preamp, the M520 integrated is on the way, though. :)

Overall, the EEMMPP (Eastern Electric Minimax Phono Preamp) has about the same footprint as the Minimax linestage preamplifier.  It has the same overall look and feel as well.... Heavy and well-built.    It has a 'play/mute' switch on the front which is handy when dropping the needle...  On the back there are high impedance/low output MC inputs, low impendance/low output MC inputs, and a high output MM input.

I used the MM input since I'm using a high output MC Dynavector 10x5 mounted to an RM9 arm on a Pro-ject RM4 table.

When I first got this phonostage, I thought it sounded pretty good, better than most I've heard but I didn't really listen critically...  I let it burn in for a while.. just left the power on and played a few records from time to time.  One weekend I had a friend over and we decided to do some critical listening.  It was a jaw-dropping, truly inspiring experience... I loved every note that poured out of my vinyl rig.  It has never sounded so good.  In fact, I don't think I've EVER heard vinyl sound so good.  I was simply in awe.  My friend and I played 20+ albums that weekend (not always in their entirety) because it was simply the most addictive and engaging sound we'd experienced in a long time.  

There was far more information on my records than I'd ever known before... The highs and lows were so extended I couldn't believe it.  I compared the vinyl rig to my Audio PC and the vinyl bested it.  Wow.  That's tough to do since the PC sounds near perfect to me.  (It's near-analog in presentation and non-fatiguing.)  

Imaging was more focused and instrument separation was not only more apparent but perfectly placed on the stage.  It was incredible to experience all this.

That was the last time I really got to critically listen to this phonostage.  I got really busy with work and some stuff around the house and couldn't dedicate a second listening session with it.  Claud (a fellow NC AC member) asked if he could borrow it for a weekend.  He liked it so much he decided to buy it from Bill within the same weekend.   So, I no longer have it... and it is missed.  However, I'm glad Claud will get to use it more than I did... I just haven't had any time to listen to anything lately.

Well, that's my short review.  Bottom line is if you're looking for a phono preamp in the 1,k to 10,k range, you owe it to yourself to at least demo this preamp.  Yes, I said 10,k.  It's that good.  I would think you could experiment with tubes to fine tune the sound but I did all my listening with the stock tubes and probably wouldn't mess with them... but a real vinyl junkie probably would... ;)

Thanks again to Bill for the demo and my hat's off to Alex Yeung for an incredibly good value in hifi.  :D



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EE Minimax Phono Preamp Short Review
« Reply #1 on: 22 Mar 2005, 06:36 pm »
Very nice review Carl. I agree that EE is one of the best bargins out there.



EE Minimax Phono Preamp Short Review
« Reply #2 on: 22 Mar 2005, 11:24 pm »
Hi Carl,

Thanks for the review of the eastern electric phonostage.

Keep them coming.




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EE Minimax Phono Preamp Short Review
« Reply #3 on: 23 Mar 2005, 08:55 am »
Thanks Carl for your review. Another good product by EE !! Can you post what other phonostage's you have owned in the past. Thanks !! :)


EE Minimax Phono Preamp Short Review
« Reply #4 on: 23 Mar 2005, 02:22 pm »
Good question, LW... I've owned mostly inexpensive but good stuff... In order of most recent to oldest: A Hagerman Bugle (taken to the Nth degree), a Channel Islands Audio, a (2-month loaner) Sonic Frontiers (can't remember model) and an Audible Illusions 2-d preamp with incredibly good phonostage built-in.  Other than that, I've heard a musical fidelity, and a few others I can't remember their names.... but were so mega expensive it didn't matter what they were called. (Maybe an 'EAR'?)  However, I didn't understand why they'd spent so much at the time.  Their 6-10,k expenditures did not translate into a musical experience for me... But the EE did.

So, most of my ownership experience has been with good but not great phono preamps.... and I've heard what should've sounded insanely awesome but to me fell short for the money.

nature boy

EE Minimax Phono Preamp Short Review
« Reply #5 on: 3 Apr 2005, 03:35 pm »
Great review, I'll guess its time to call Bill so I can do a comparison with my Dynavector P-75.  Wish I were getting some $ back from Uncle Sam this year, it would make this so much easier. :)