Phono 1 feedback

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woodsyi

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Phono 1 feedback
« on: 9 Jul 2009, 02:47 pm »
I received a MC version yesterday.  I didn't have much time but I got to try a couple of records:  Ileana Cotrubas singing Friedrich Schiller and Rebecca Pridgeon's Restrospective.  I know these voices well and they came out beautifully without glare or undue sibilance.  The acoustic bass seemed a little bloated but I may have had too much gain on my sub amps.  Using it with a SS MBL preamp, there is no background noise.  With these pristine records, you wouldn't have known they were vinyl if you didn't see them spinning.   :thumb:

I am going to put it through its paces with different music and different preamps.  I will also compare it to Modwright SWLP, Asthetix Io (upgraded Eclipse) and Hagerman Bugle Pro to see how it fares. 

Audiovista

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #1 on: 9 Jul 2009, 06:23 pm »
Thank you Rim.  :thumb:

And it seems like an endorsement for some quality LPs - I've had some bad luck recently with noisy records.

One note regarding bass - this design does not have capacitors in the signal path (not on the input nor at the output) - in fact, the only caps are in the passive RIAA (2 of them) and power supply - therefore low frequency signals go unobstructed, down to 0 Hz, modified with RIAA characteristic, of course.

Thanks again,
Boris

toobluvr

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #2 on: 9 Jul 2009, 07:35 pm »
Boris asked me to test drive the MM version of the Vista phono stage.
Thanks Boris!    :thumb:

I have only had it for 2 days so I need more time with it before I get its full measure and can give full report, but I already know that.......

THIS THING IS SPECIAL!

 :banana piano:

Stay tuned for more details, as I see how it stacks up against internal phono sections in my JuicyMusic Blueberry Extreme and Air Tight ATC-1.

John

« Last Edit: 9 Jul 2009, 11:12 pm by toobluvr »

toobluvr

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #3 on: 9 Jul 2009, 11:13 pm »

PS:  I hear no bass anomalies whatsoever.  No bloat, no overhang....nothing.  Overall the presentation is very well proportioned with things in nice balance.  Very pure, very sweet, very musical.  Very nice!   Can't believe I'm listening to SS!!   
:scratch:    :thumb:

Audiovista

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #4 on: 10 Jul 2009, 01:49 am »
John, you're making me  :oops:

As much as I would rather not say this, there are some things that SS just does better....  :o aa

I hope I don't have to prove now that I really, really like tubes... :D

toobluvr

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #5 on: 10 Jul 2009, 01:21 pm »
John, you're making me  :oops:

As much as I would rather not say this, there are some things that SS just does better....  :o aa

I hope I don't have to prove now that I really, really like tubes... :D

I'm learning Boris, I'm learning!
 8)

But in such a critical area as phono, I never thought that SS would be satisfying. 

But I gotta say, your phono stage is more "toobey" sounding (in a good way!) than some tubed units I have heard!   I can almost always identify the SS signature when it is present.  If I were blindfolded while listening to yours, I would say the chain was all tubes.

Kudos for pulling off such a skillful deception!
 :thumb:
« Last Edit: 10 Jul 2009, 03:32 pm by toobluvr »

woodsyi

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Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #6 on: 10 Jul 2009, 02:06 pm »
Pole, pole!  :lol: :lol:

You will be changing your name here soon.  You are suppose to give Boris and his customers a calm and collected assessment here.  I empathize with you in that this little (I mean physically) $300 unit is clearly out performing it's price category.  But you have to compose yourself and present a little more "objective" front here.  :wink:

 I listen to a couple of sides of La Traviata last night.  Brindisi came through loud and clear.  :thumb:

toobluvr

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #7 on: 10 Jul 2009, 03:35 pm »


..... this little (I mean physically) $300 unit is clearly out performing it's price category.........
 

Agreed!

This tiny and unassuming looking piece of non-glitz audio jewelry performs waaaaaay beyond its price point.  Lightweight looks and price, but surely punches like a heavyweight. 

I consider my system fairly high-end , and in terms of performance, the Vista phono section is not out of place.  Shockingly good!


Audiovista

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #8 on: 11 Jul 2009, 12:59 am »
FYI:

I just posted a formal press release:

http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=69710.0

Another, more interesting one, coming shortly.  :wink:

topround

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #9 on: 11 Jul 2009, 03:16 am »
Boris,
I want one!
Using a ClearAudio Aurum Beta S.
Can you tailtor my pre for that cart?

Looking forward to "others" hearing this phono pre.

mike

lonewolfny42

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Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #10 on: 11 Jul 2009, 05:02 am »
Rim.... John....
How about a photo in your set-up...thanks ! :thumb:

Audiovista

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #11 on: 11 Jul 2009, 12:17 pm »

Mike - Thanks! Yes, the preamp can be modfied to fit just about any cartridge based on manufacturer's specifications. Although, even standard unit will fit many carts (old and new) built to the industry standard.

Chris - I'm afraid guys will need a macro lens to show the preamp, it's really packed tight into a small case  :D

toobluvr

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #12 on: 11 Jul 2009, 02:16 pm »

It really is quite small.  Think cigarette pack with RCA connectors.

Those with thick and bulky i/c's beware.  Phono stage whiplash will result!

 :lol:

ecramer

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Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #13 on: 11 Jul 2009, 04:40 pm »
Hey Guys

I received one of Vista audio Phono Pre to evaluate. Have about 6 albums on the Pre.  now so ii thought that i have enough time on it to render some first impressions . My system can bee seen listed at the bottom of my post. My Rogue Magnum 99 has the factory phono board installed and i have 2 brymar 12ax7 and a pair of mullard 12au7 from upscale audio installed in the pre the main the 4 6sn7 in the pre are Ge's i got from ltr317 / Paul. I also use a 'PARIS' MOVING COIL hEADAMP. The  Vista audio Phono Pre with the built in riaa curve replaced the head amp and the built in phono pre in the magnum 99


Albums listened to so far

Dead can Dane - Dead Can Dance
Friedemann - Indian Summer
John Martyn  - so far so god
Art Blakey - A night in In bird Land
The Knife - Silent Shout Single 12"
Bat For lashes - Two Suns
Styx - Paradise theater
The Who - Quadrophenia

I'm Liking it  :thumb: Fast, Clear and clean come to mind right off the bat. a very noticeable  lowering of the noise floor with the loss of 4 tubes in the food chain.    The electronica of "The knife" with it fast  transients and beats  comes through shining brightly. I always thought that this kind music needed Solid state to get the fast attack that as demanded.

John Martyn -guitar playing and voice just flowed out of  this album with the lower noise floor the Intricacy of Martyns playing came through. Wonderful voice. Didn't really lose anything in the vocal range by not using tubes Might not be quite as rich with out the tubes but made up for it in the clean

Art Blakey- What can you say about him Just believe me it was good.

Friedemann - Indian Summer If you have a turntable and don't own a copy of this record shame on you!!! It is one of the most dynamic recordings that I have heard.

I don't think this pre has a signature sound to it.  To my way of thinking This product simple lets what on the record come through which is a good thing. At this price point it crazy good. I Started The Who - Quadrophenia about 11pm and played all 4 sides and was simple mesmerized for over an hour. I have heard this album countless times Last night was one of those magical moments when everything in my system is just coming together. when you can put something in your system as important as a phono Pre and have have it just jell for you its great.

I will also concur that it is petite, you might need some velcro for those of  you that run amazon cables  :lol:and has a nice green led to let you know its on

The only  cravat  that i found is that in my system i could use a little more gain then the stock unit for MC. The dynavector 20xl output is lower then a lot of MC cartridges. Boris said, this  is an easy fix as the gain can be bumped up with no problem.




 
 
« Last Edit: 12 Jul 2009, 12:58 am by ecramer »

Audiovista

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #14 on: 12 Jul 2009, 12:15 am »
Thanks for taking time to write down your impressions Ed.  :D

Looks like we also have some LP recommendations in your post  :thumb:

ecramer

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Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #15 on: 20 Jul 2009, 02:17 am »
I have had the fortunate opportunity to try /evaluate the Phone one pre now being produced by Vista Audio. I would first like to thank Boris for his generosity in lending me this nice affordable   Phono pre. I thoroughly my time with Pre I spent a good amount of time listening to old and new music and never had urging to switch back to my built in Rogue tube phono pre.($500 option + tubes, another $300 on brymars and mallards)  I found the dark back round and dynamics, made up for the sweet tube mids that I was used to listening to.

I posted an initial impression earlier in the thread that still pretty much holds true. The noise floor is very dark and low, Dynamics that are never strained in any of the Lp?s that I listened to. I was worried about this especially with the moving coil version running out head room with no caps in the food chain to provide extra power but proved to be a problem that never materialized. I listened to a wide verity of music during the course of the evaluation anything from classic country to electronic.  I found myself drawn into the music  during my listening sessions  with this pre during the  time I spent with it, The presentation I never found  straining or fatiguing. 

I could use a bunch of tired audio endearments that we have all heard to describe this nice little unit that I would like to avoid. I found this unit to figuratively and physically disappearing in my system as tucked it in the back behind my DAC for the time I was using it, and the only indication that it was there was the green led indicating it was on. I felt that it let the music from the LP?s that I played come through very little or no added coloration added by this unit. Price wise, build quality, and performance all say that this unit should cost more. This more then an entry level unit and would give a lot mileage and upgrade to those people who have built in phono pres in there equipment and are looking to upgrade or those that are trying to get into vinyl without breaking the bank. I think most people who get to hear this will agree that it is a bargain.  I will be sad to have to send this back to Boris even if it?s only to wait till I can purchase one of the audio circle units. I will be able to set up 2 turntables in my system at a time with the addition of this unit to my system which would be cool.

Some of the Albums that I listened to with this pre but not all are

Godspeed you black emperor f#a#oo LP
Styx - Paradise Theater
The who Quadrophenia
Bob Dylin Modern Toimes, Highway 61 revisited
Robert Gorden x/ Link Wray Fresh Fish Special
The Dead Weather  - Horehound
Lene Lovich ?Lene Lovich
The Creatures ? Anima Animus
Swans - Drainland / Sacrificial cake
Uriah Heap - Demons and wizards / magician birthday party
Bat for lashes ? two suns
Ten years after recorded live  hobbit and help me tracks
Reo spead wagon you get what you played for
Kitaro - ten years
Fever Ray ? Fever Ray
This Mortal Coil Filigree & Shadow double LP Import
JOHN MARTYN So Far So Good
Performance: Rockin' the Fillmore [LIVE] Humble Pie

toobluvr

Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #16 on: 20 Jul 2009, 02:31 am »
Very nice write-up, Ecramer!    :thumb:

I have not yet gotten around to writing a formal report, but I gotta say I hear exactly what you are hearing, and I concur 100% with your comments.

Great unit that I have absolutely no doubt will satisfy beginners shopping up to $1k and maybe even beyond for a phono section.  And it is sufficiently sophisticated and refined sounding to satisfy even the vinyl experienced, like myself.  I had a very experienced audio buddy over today, and he too thought it was excellent.

Nice job, Boris!  You've hit a home run with this one!

 :dance:

woodsyi

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Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #17 on: 20 Jul 2009, 03:48 pm »
I got a chance to listen some more and compare it to Aesthetix Io (Eclipse) and Modwright SWLP.  I listened to various types of musics to get a full workout. 

Berlioz:  Symphonie Fantastique
Beethoven: 9th Symphony
                Moonlight Sonata
                String Quartets
Verdi:  La traviata
Puccini:  Tosca
Rush:  MoFi Permanent Waves
Sonny Rollins:  Colossus
Pretenders:  Pretenders II
Rebecca Pidgeon:  Restrospective
Chico Freeman:  Spirit Sensitive
Charlie Byrd:  The Guitar Artistry Of Charlie Byrd (Analog Productions Test Pressing)
Loretta Lynn:  Coal Miner's Daughter
Van Halen:  Van Halen

The Phono 1 played all of them well in its own "characteristic" way.  Now, how would I describe this house sound?  One word is what I keep coming back to and that is CLEAN.  It's transparent and very musical to a certain point but it does have limitations.  Where it falls short is in the rarefied "Air" department.  If istening to Aesthetix Io (Eclipse) is like tasting Hagen Daz ice cream,  listening to Phono 1 is tasting Breyers -- both good but one is richer than the other.  When I listen to Callas (Tosca) and Cotrubas (Violetta) singing, I get a very good rendition of the voices but certain harmonic complexities of their voices are missing in the Phono 1. 

Now to be fair, we have to consider the fact that Io is probably the diametric antithesis of Phono 1 in both in design philosophy as well as in cost considerations.  Phono 1 is a cost conscious unit built and designed to maximize its performance to a "low" price point.  Io is no holds barred unit with 8 tubes in the PS and  10 tubes in the phono EQ and gain stage.  The Nordost Quattro Fil balanced phono cable (DIN to XLR) alone cost as much in the used market as the Phono 1. The noise floor is much higher in the Io then the Phono 1 but then the Io is also the "bloomiest" phono stage in the best sense of the word.  It's an intoxicating brew once you acquire the taste. 

Modwright SWLP comes in between the two -- It's clean and robust at the same time.  I like listening to SWLP with complex full music because it's fast, retrieves mucho details and still conveys the tonal riches of different instruments.  It does not do voices like Io though.  Phono 1 is a lot like the Modwright unit.

In conclusion, Phone 1 is an absolute "Steal" at it's price.  It conveys music like it's recorded in an accurate and clean manner.  It doesn't add anything to the source and if it falls a little short of retrieving harmonic overtones, it makes up for it in the quiet blackness of the background.  To Toobluvr's preaching, I will say Amen over and over.  This is probably the best phonostage, bar none, for anyone looking to get into analog scene at the entry level.  I would hazard to predict that it will more than hold it's own with mid level gears as well. 

Bravo Boris!

     


doug s.

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Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #18 on: 21 Jul 2009, 07:46 pm »
rim, i wonder what a tube buffer inserted between fono 1 and your preamp would do...

doug s.

woodsyi

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Re: Phono 1 feedback
« Reply #19 on: 22 Jul 2009, 07:05 pm »
I hope no one thinks I am in anyway dissing this product.  I think the world of it.  In fact, I am going to buy the demo unit and put it in my bedroom.  The size and cool running temperature makes it a perfect fit in my enclosed cabinet. 

Phono 1's performance belies the fact that it costs 1/12th of SWP and 1/50th of Io Eclipse.  It's a fantastic value and an excellent performer regardless of price. :thumb: