I think it is about time for me to post my impression on Silver 103. First of all, it is hard to evaluate a stepup without talking about my phono stage. My tube phono is K&K audio's kit, same as John Chapman's current phono stage except it has a beef up power supply. Dual choke and dual power supply board. For those who interest to know more about this kit, go to Audio Asylum home page and you will find K&K audio. It is a wonderful sounding phono.
I am sure many of you have read about John's initial review of the copper and silver 103. My impression is slightly different from John's.
First of all, about my system. I don't have an active preamp, I use TX102 TVC, copper version, tube power amp. The silver step-up winding is 10:1 which gives me 20db gain. K&K's mm stage has 45 db gain, so I am getting about 65 db gain. I use Denon 103, my arm is SME and TT is Orbe SE. All interconnect is 32 ga silver, speaker wire is home brew type silver foil. So you can say I have lots of silver in my system. My speaker is 88 db floor standing Royd RR2 (www.roydaudio.com
). The other preamp on hand is YBA 1 alpha, SS pre comes with its own MM phono stage.
Last weekend, me and my audio buddy had spent whole day, swapping copper and silver, in and out my tube phono and YBA. The result is quite interesting. We both find silver work extremely with all tube system; Excellent transparency and very good microdynamic. Music is simply more palpable and smoother than copper. We both feel the lower frequency from silver is just as good as copper but simply cleaner. When we have the YBA with silver, then it is a different story, it still very clean but music becomes quite fatigue to listen. It simply just too "sharp". Once we switch back to copper, well, this combination becomes magic again. Good sounding and still maintain very nice transparency. It is very similar to the K&K phono and silver combo again. this is one area that really puzzle us. We just don't understand why the sound of tube phono and silver sound so close to YBA and copper stepup. May be this is what people says synergy. Next week, I am going to try the silver stepup on a Jadis tube pre and see what happen. John, can I borrow your copper stepup one more time?
I think the application of silver stepup is very system depending (which piece of equipment doesn't??) Copper is more forgiving in term of system matching. Like John Chapman says, it is safer to use and kind of like "plug and use", it will generate very good sound. If silver work in your system, you will be rewarded with extreme clarity and smooth sound.
My take, I bought the silver.