Your Pick of Phono Preamps Between $2k and $4k?

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Cliff, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. dolsey01

    dolsey01 Active Member

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I see the additions:

    • It uses a better step up transformer, Cinemag 1254, that provides more gain (about 10dB more) and better sound.
    • The Ares Magnum uses better inner-stage coupling caps.
    • PRP resistors in critical spots
    • Improved internal wiring
    • Improved RCA jacks

    Does the Magnum still use the same JJ Tubes as the regular Ares? $1995 to $2795 is a pretty big jump. I assume most of that cost is in the Cinemags.
     
  2. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northern CA
    Has anyone heard the Liberty Audio B2B-1? I really like that you can demo it for 14 days and return it for ANY reason! It looks like a very nice unit for $2k (physically and on paper).

    B2B-1 Phono Preamp
     
  3. Try1256

    Try1256 Member

    Location:
    Winter Springs, Fl
    I picked up my BAT VK-P5 for less than $2K. It has the 6 pak plus and the output stage of the VK-P10 that was installed by BAT. It is a great sounding phono pre that is all tube in the audio signal path.
    Be aware, it has balanced outputs only and would require adapters if you have only single ended inputs on your preamp.
     
    Cliff likes this.
  4. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Italy
    As a side comment, also check for the resale value of what you are about to buy. Most small brand units are very hard to sell the day you want to.
     
    reapers and Litejazz53 like this.
  5. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    The Herron is fine if you go with tubes. Pass Labs is also fine for SS. The others mentioned are creditable components as well. If you can run the phono directly to your power amp the Ear 834P with volume control is excellent. I don't think the stock model is as good run through a preamp.
     
  6. BigGame

    BigGame Well-Known Member

    Mr Bass
    If you can run the phono directly to your power amp the Ear 834P with volume control is excellent

    Can you tell me more about it.?
     
  7. roboss38

    roboss38 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Clovis, CA U.S.A.
    During my phono pre demo year, I had both the LKV2-SB and Liberty in house. Both are excellent sounding phono stages, and really good values. A/V Solutions in Pleasanton, CA has a great selection of phono pre's in house, so this might help you narrow down the field. They are a Zesto dealer as well.
     
  8. tman53

    tman53 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pa
    I am not sure what others are perceiving as noise but I'll add that my Chinook is dead quiet. I also like that is built here in the U.S.
     
  9. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northern CA
    Wow, great tip! They have a lot of phono stages I've been considering. I may take a drive to the East Bay soon :)
     
  10. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, USA
    If you don't rip vinyl, you won't understand as simply listening to the Chinook thru speakers while spinning vinyl is basically noise-free.
     
    Cliff likes this.
  11. mreeter

    mreeter Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Columbia, MO. USA
    I can't say, but a call to Rogue Audio would put in touch with the people that would know. I pitched the JJ's when I received my "Original" Ares some time ago, and rolled in some NOS goodness....world of difference.

    I have my upgraded Magnum Ares back from Rogue, but I'm waiting on a new Linestage before I can fire things up, it should be here tomorrow:D
     
  12. Jack Flannery

    Jack Flannery Forum Resident

    Location:
    Houston, TX
    I have an Ares as well.
     
  13. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    That's in interesting point. I have an RP6 and Exact now and am wondering what would be the max you can spend on a phono preamp before you hit the limitations of the table, arm and cartridge. Any ideas?
     
  14. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    This is so true! All these little unknown companies making products that you won't see in a year or two. Go with a "solid" brand, which is why I am so positive about the Parasound JC-3+ :agree:
     
  15. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I just got my iPhono 2 last week. I grabbed it because it was the quietest phono pre I have ever heard and I liked it's tonal balance and flexibility and gain. I was playing with it today and noticed something weird when comparing it to my Fisher 500c phonostage. Crackles, ticks, and pops seem more plentiful and louder through the iFi. Anyone else experience this difference between phono sections?
     
  16. tman53

    tman53 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pa
    Yes, that is exactly what I do. The Chinook is dead quiet.
     
  17. DPC

    DPC Active Member

    Location:
    Virginia
    I use a Coda 03P, which has provided a nice quiet dynamic foundation for several vinyl upgrades the past 15 yrs ($2K at the time)...I would imagine that their updated phono pre is quite nice, based on my experience with Coda.

    That said, my next (last?) phono pre will likely be the Luminous Audio Technology Arion, which I was able to demo in my system. Oh my, I loved it...but ~ $6K, and I have too many other hobbies right now.
     
  18. avanti1960

    avanti1960 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Chicago metro, USA
    Congrats Todd! Give it some time- you definitely need some run-in time with this puppy and especially the tubes which take at least 50 hrs. if not longer.
    Give it a month or so then put the ifi back in- then you'll see how much better it really is.
    To test the micro dynamics you need to play music that has lots of micro dynamic bursts. Do you have dire straits on every street? play "calling elvis" . that first guitar note and the first drum beat, even though they aren't loud, should shoot out of your speakers with a startle.

    the tubes probably add a little to the noise floor but once the music starts rolling who cares?
     
    toddrhodes likes this.
  19. Cliff

    Cliff Magic Carpet Man Thread Starter

    Location:
    Northern CA
    As in, you listen only through speakers? Or that you rip vinyl and it's still dead quiet?
     
  20. toddrhodes

    toddrhodes Forum Resident

    Location:
    South Bend, IN
    I will say the Chinook is prone to noise from other components. Initially I put it on top of my Anthem D2 pre/pro (it has a toroidal supply I believe) and it was anything but quiet. I had read that one should keep it away from those types of gear but since I wasn't absolutely sure about the D2, it didn't hurt to try.

    I them moved it off the pre/pro and between my turntable and Odyssey amp. It's definitely quieter, but I bet if I were to isolate it even further, it would be "dead quiet."

    And @avanti1960 is right; once the music starts going, it's a non-issue. Hell, it's a non-issue once I turn my air purifier on. Fact is I'm in a very quiet basement room that makes it damn near impossible to avoid some noise. And again, it's not that the Chinook is "noisy," that's not what I meant or implied. The Chinook is quiet, the iFi is quieter. Not even remotely a deal breaker here, just mentioned it as it's something I noticed, that's all.

    Can't wait to get downstairs and spin some more records tonight, if that says anything about it :)
     
  21. Mr Bass

    Mr Bass Forum Resident

    Location:
    Mid Atlantic
    There have been many threads here about the Ear 834P plus quite a bit on the web. It is best known for tonal balance from bass to treble rather than Xray detail but it has clarity too not muddiness. Running it direct to the power amp maximizes detail with the tonal balance. Tube rolling also varies detail. There have been published mods to maximize the possibilities of the well regarded circuit.

    Search Results for Query: 834p | Steve Hoffman Music Forums
     
  22. mcbrion

    mcbrion Member

    Location:
    Connecticut
    The Parasound, a favorite of Neil Vader of The Absolute Sound, is a fantastic phono stage. You should be happy for decades to come!
     
    BrokenByAudio likes this.
  23. psulioninks

    psulioninks Forum Resident

    Location:
    Kansas City, USA
    I'm happy for you! Your "dead quiet" must be much different than my "dead quiet"...we all like different things and hear things differently. The Chinook is definitely a great phono preamp for listening to vinyl...but I have found there were better options (for me) when ripping vinyl.
     
  24. Litejazz53

    Litejazz53 Enjoying Sparkling Crystal Clear Digital

    Thanks for your input. When you pull the top off this phono stage, you really see some quality construction and beautiful engineering. This phono stage was designed by John Curl and he had complete latitude in the design. There were cartridge loading adjustments offered with highly engineered adjustments far above most phono stages. I have never had a phono stage so nice. I hope people consider this product, all of the higher end HALO products are just cutting edge electronics for less than audiophile prices, and this stuff lasts forever.

    Parasound's New JC3+ MM/MC Phono Preamplifier Offers Feature and Sound Refinement
     
  25. MattG

    MattG Active Member

    Location:
    Maryland
    I'm interested in this as well, I have the same table & cart.
     
    BrokenByAudio likes this.

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