Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage - Magnificent

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audiojerry

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Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage - Magnificent
« on: 27 Mar 2005, 05:03 am »
I was one of the very fortunate folks to have the opportunity to sample the new Minimax phonostage. In addition, Bill O'Connnell sent along three vintage tubes to experiment with tube rolling. I don't know what his source is, but he always seems to have an ample selection of vintage used and NOS tubes.

Bill is a great resource for anyone seeking advice and recommendations for tubes. For those of us who are already familiar with Minimax components, they seem to be able to  communicate the character of the tube with great transparency. I've used other components where tube rolling doesn't seem to yield any worthwhile effects.  

That being said, I felt the stock tubes were excellent, and I initially wasn't going to experiment at all, but curiosity got the best of me. I'll discuss my impressions of the tubes in a bit, but my intention here was to provide a little more detail of my audition.

Personally, I've been getting a little tired of long winded reviews, even when they have been well written and informative. Plus I don't have the humor and whit that several of our AC members seem to dish up in their reviews. So here goes with something hopefully short and sweet.

The Minimax phonostage is magnificent. Excellent build quality. Very smooth operating volume control. Very adaptable, with MM, and high and low output MC. Very quiet. For all the technical details, visit Bill's website at www.morningstaraudio.com. I'm using a high output moving coil Dynavector on my Rega Planar 25 with stock RB600 tonearm. My phonostage is an upgraded Lehman Black Cube. It's a good setup, but not outstanding. I'd speculate that the Mini could render even more dramatic differences with a higher rez phono playback system.  

Until I inserted the Minimax, I thought the Black Cube sounded pretty good and represented good value. With good recordings, it exceeded anything I could get from my far higher quality digital playback components.

But now, the Minimax has spoiled all that. It has pretty much rendered my Black Cube unlistenable. It is better in every way. The music has so much more substance and palpability. It conveys the music with weight and authority. Highs are so clean and transparent, and the midrange is full bodied and sweet. It excells at everything, and has no weaknesses that I can hear. The only caution I would have is that it may be a bit full in the bass, but that could be more my system than the Minimax.

As for the tube rolling, Bill provided me with two 6x4's. A Haltron Blackglass CV493, which I didn't like at all. It sounded raw to me, and I let it break in for 24 hours before listening to it. The 1961 Tung-Sol was very nice. It seemed to enhance all the qualitities that were already evident with the stock 6x4. The same was true with and old RCA 5751 in the middle position. Bill really knows tubes!

All in all, I'd have to say the Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage produced the most dramatic improvement over any component I've ever replaced in my system. If I were a magazine, I'd have to nominate the Minimax as Component of the Year.            

Oh, I didn't realize that Carl had already posted his review. Well, I wholeheartedly agree with Carl!  :D

lonewolfny42

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Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage - Magnificent
« Reply #1 on: 27 Mar 2005, 05:20 pm »
OK Jerry, which is it...Phenomenal (your spelling) or Magnificent ???  :lol:
    Either way, thanks for your review....seems like EE has another winner on its hands !!!  8) [/list:u]

claud

Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage - Magnificent
« Reply #2 on: 29 Mar 2005, 02:03 pm »
I have somewhat the same vinyl system as audiojerry. My phono pre was the Black Cube, but the "SE" model with the big PWX powersupply. My TT is a P25 Rega with Dynavector 20XH cart. My TT is tweaked with Ringmat platter mat and Heavyweight custom arm weight, It sits on a Neuance shelf.
You will note that I didn't take long to decide to buy Carl's demo sample.
Neither would you if, like at least audiojerry and I, you thought your vinyl source was doing a good job. Into this vinyl source, the Minimax injects the two things you were missing, but didn't know it, life and emotion.
I agree with Carl and audiojerry's reviews. I would like to add that although it is a tubed phono stage, it is lightning fast with transients.

audiojerry

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Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage - Magnificent
« Reply #3 on: 30 Mar 2005, 01:08 am »
My Black Cube was upgraded too, but I didn't remember what it was called, and I have the PWX too, and I have the Dynavector 20XH too!!
Unbelievable!!!

Both the PWX and the SE upgrade rendered big improvements, but the result doesn't come close to Minimax!

nature boy

Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage - Magnificent
« Reply #4 on: 3 Apr 2005, 03:31 pm »
Audiojerry,

Very nice review.  Looks like Bill and Alex have another winner on their hands.

NB

audiojerry

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Eastern Electric Minimax Phonostage - Magnificent
« Reply #5 on: 4 Apr 2005, 12:09 pm »
Quote from: nature boy
Audiojerry,

Very nice review.  Looks like Bill and Alex have another winner on their hands.

NB

Thanks, nature boy, always happy to share.
We are lucky to have these resources available to us.l