Heads up!........ifi Phono 2

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by sailfish, Dec 1, 2016.

  1. sailfish

    sailfish New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Jackson,ms
    I found myself longing to spin records with my phono stage 1400 miles away. I read a review and a few comments on Mikey Fremer's site and with a 60 day return from Music Direct I thought, "why not?". $499 to the door. The thing has a ton if settings but the factory preset seemed right for the Ortofon Cadenza Blue I'm running. This thing is awesome. It improved over the first couple of days but is great. I can't recommend this more highly. It isn't just good for the money. It is just plain good.
     
  2. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I think it's hands down the best phono preamp under a grand. Blew away the Lehmann Black Cube I used to have.
     
    SandAndGlass, HiFi Guy and Dennis0675 like this.
  3. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North America
    "Blew away" how?
     
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  4. dmckean

    dmckean Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    I had one and it was good but I like what I have now more.
     
  5. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North America
    Which is??
     
  6. dmckean

    dmckean Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Tavish Design Vintage 6SL7
     
  7. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North America
    Nice! Thanks.
     
  8. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Nice. Did you build it yourself?
     
  9. dmckean

    dmckean Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    No, I bought it already built. I have red base RCA 5691 tubes in it now and it it sounds pretty fantastic.

    I originally bought it for my bedroom system but it ended up replacing the Graham Slee Reflex I had in my main system.
     
  10. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    It blew it away in every category. Compared side by side to the Lehmann it had a much bigger sound. More lively and dynamic, big lush mids, more rounded fuller base, bigger soundstage. All that while maintaining a good tonal balance and plenty of detail. When I first got the Black Cube I liked it's detail and accuracy but after owning it for a year it's leanness started to grate on me. Started to sound cold and hard. YMMV and all that but to beat the iFi I've found you have to go up to phono preamps like the EAR834 or even better ANK L3 or Leben R30. You can probably tell the sound that Im looking for in a phono pre from those examples. It really is a great little preamp.
     
  11. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North America
    Thanks for the fine detail. Much appreciated.

    Is the iPhono upgradable power supply wise? I am pretty sure the Lehmann is.
     
  12. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    Nice. That's high praise. Tavish Designs is about 4 hours from my house right on my way into NYC. I keep meaning to call and see if I can stop in and hear some of their phono preamps.
     
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  13. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I don't think so but it's dead quiet as is.
     
    HiFi Guy likes this.
  14. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I've had:

    Vincent PHO-8
    Phonomena (no outboard PSU)
    Parks Audio Budgie
    iFi iPhono v1 (actually sitting idle at the moment)
    internal phono preamp on the Aric Audio Unlimited tube preamp

    And finally the iPhono 2. The iPhono 2 is, I think I can even say "hands down" my favorite. It's... hard to describe. Frankly it just has no business being as good as it is for $500. It's dead quiet, adjustable as you will ever need, and has a sense of urgency to it, it captures fine detail, it is flipping' musical AF (technical term), it's just great FUN to listen through. Soundstage width and depth leave nothing to be desired. It's well-balanced, has fantastic bottom end and driving midrange. I wouldn't ever call it "lush" as it's not sloppy or undefined whatsoever. I am using mine with the iPower PSU. The differences between it and the iPhono v1, which I listened to for about an hour before swapping in the v2, are stark. It *literally* blows away the v1. The only one I would even consider replacing the V2 with is the Budgie from the above list.

    It's almost criminal the performance I'm getting from a middling AT-150MLX and the V2 combo (Music Hall 7.1 table).

    I kid you not, I prefer this setup to my last one which was: VPI Classic 2, DV 20X2L, Budgie SUT, Budgie phono preamp.

    And finally, for the piece de resistance - I'm running this setup with an Anthem home theater receiver. No separate preamps/amp here. I may upgrade the amp side of things but I cannot believe how well this sounds for what is, in my opinion, a very modest cash outlay.

    Edit - would help if I listed my listening preferences: Metal, Hard Rock, Classic Rock, a little jazz/instrumental, less (but more as I go) Classical.
     
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  15. Digital Vinyl Infidel

    Digital Vinyl Infidel Well-Known Member

    Location:
    North America
    Great overview.

    Has there ever been a time when their were more choices for outboard phono preamps?
     
    SandAndGlass likes this.
  16. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I've always thought lush was a good description :laugh:

    I forgot about the separate pieces iFi sells. Did you notice much of an improvement with the iPower?
     
  17. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I'm pretty new to all this, in fact I'm coming up on one year to the day here in a few days with respect to even owning a turntable. It's a fabulous time, I know that much!

    Yea, you know, as I typed that out I wondered - "lush" isn't a bad thing. That's my bad. I just wouldn't call it "shouty" in the midrange, I think I just picked the wrong word there. It's very resolving, in any event.

    I have not tried it without the iPower up to this point :)
     
  18. Squiggsy68

    Squiggsy68 Active Member

    I've had my iPhono 2 for about a month now - replacing a Heed Questar MM, which in its own right I thought was very decent for the price.

    Straight out of the box I thought it was a jaw-dropping improvement over what I already had. It's the 'classic' upgrade experience - taking favourite pieces of music that you've heard 100s of times before and hearing things that you've never heard before. Bigger soundstage in all 3 dimensions, blacker silences, more space around individual elements within a well integrated overall sound. Vocals in particular (both male and female) are incredibly lifelike.

    The Heed will be put to good use in my soon to be set up 2nd vinyl system in the living area (main system has dedicated room) with my soon-to-arrive Pro-Ject Classic (sounded great at demo, btw) Exposure 2010s integrated that is currently 'spare' and whichever of the Ruark Prelude / Ruark Templar / Tannoy DC4T Revolution Signature sound best on the end of the combo.

    But back to the ifi - I'm spending even more time spinning records than I was before, generally with feet tapping and a huge grin on my face.
     
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  19. sailfish

    sailfish New Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Jackson,ms
    It comes with a 15V SPS. I see no reason why you couldn't upgrade to a LPS.
     
  20. Mel Harris

    Mel Harris Active Member

    Location:
    Petaluma, CA
    Just in case anyone is interested in the configurability:

    [​IMG]
     
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  21. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Active Member

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Thanks for tip. What made you choose the vintage over the classic?
     
  22. dmckean

    dmckean Well-Known Member

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    Full sized industrial tubes, the 6SL7 and the 6SN7 have a reputation for being great. I've never been a fan of the 12AX7.
     
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  23. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Active Member

    Location:
    Iowa, USA
    Thanks for that. I'm in the market for a phono stage that is a relative bargain and great bang for buck and is an improvement over the MM stage in my Yamaha C-4 and C2a pre's. What did you like better about the Tavish designs over the IFI, which is still on my short list?
     
  24. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    First I've heard of this one but every reviewer seems to think you get massive amounts of improvements versus other manufacturers at this price point.

    I was considering a Graham Slee Gold V. Any idea if this is a step up, down, or sideways?
     
  25. Prism

    Prism Member

    Location:
    Miami
    I've been interested in the iPhono 2 since I saw the review on analog planet, however, I've never owned a tube-based audio product before. Does the iPhono 2 require lengthy warm-up periods and does it tend to get very hot as I've heard certain tube-based amplifiers do? Are there any other quirks a first time tube user should be aware of? Thanks in advance for any advice.
     

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