Croft Phono Integrated

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Art K, May 6, 2020.

  1. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Art Dudley, Stephen Mejias and Sam Tellig loved it. John Atkinson, not so much. I’ll have a go at it!

    I wanted to compare my LFD Mistral 2018 with the Croft and a new Sugden A21a. Unfortunately funds ran short as I was purchasing the Suggie. As with most folks these days we have incurred a loss of employment and so on. No bitching here just moving on.

    I’ll start by saying that I did not look for another amp because I am unsatisfied with the LFD, quite the contrary it’s lovely amp with a very good phono stage. I really wanted to hear other amps, especially with my ProAc Tab 10’s. Would love to have been able to afford the Sugden and possibly an Audio Note all tube integrated with phono.

    Let me start by saying that my initial impression of this Croft hair-shirt amp is very favorable. Nice warm presentation with real punch and detail. Very analog (forgive the term) sounding, in the best way. Great drive and tone. What’s more is that the thing I thought would be a real turn off, dual volume controls, turns out to be a real cool feature on this amp.

    Bravo, Glen Croft!
     
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  2. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
  3. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Sorry Glenn...not Glen...o_O
     
  4. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    hand built point to point wired Giant Killers
     
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  5. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    So, a couple of weeks in to this and I’m just going to say that he Croft Phono Integrated amp is pretty special. If you love analog, even more so. The phono stage is ridiculously good. Music has the just the right tonal balance and dynamics. This amp is a steal. If you don’t mind a fully manual amp with no DAC or remote handset this amp may be for you. If you have a significant record collection and are looking to upgrade from say an NAD, Rotel or Cambridge (just examples, not a complete list) you could hardly do better. So who’s right Art, Stephen and Sam or John? Well both of course! The amp measures like ass and sounds fantastic! More as I continue this journey with Glenn Croft.
     
  6. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Now for a different take. Croft and Harbeth! Just hooked this up.
     
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  7. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Croft R series 6 pack 2 box phono , pre & monos

    “If it measures good and sounds bad, — it is bad. If it sounds good and measures bad, — you’ve measured the wrong thing.”
    Hard to argue with the man’s logic.

    .[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  8. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Looking forward to hear your comparison between the LFD and the Croft on your Harbeths!
     
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  9. Daedalus

    Daedalus I haven't heard it all.....

    I have never heard one of these but the late Art Dudley’s enthusiasm was certainty contagious! Your write-up is very intriguing as well.
     
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  10. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    We are about to enter August and I can say this, I love the Croft Phono Integrated. After extensive comparisons it saw the LFD Mistral 2018 to the door. The Croft does almost everything better than the LFD. I will get an inexpensive backup amp later. The Croft is the lead dog here. What an amazing bargain it is. One caveat, I wish Glenn would not include the pitiful power cord that he does with this product. It’s a total throwaway. I bought the LFD power cord for my LFD and works wonderfully with the Croft. I tried the stock cord and it’s awful. Bottom line, I love this amp. I moved the LFD on and ordered a pair of Spendor Classic 3/1’s. That’s another thread altogether...
     
  11. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
    The Croft is a long-time favorite of my local Spendor/Harbeth/Stirling dealer. The only reason I haven't bought one is lack of remote control.
     
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  12. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I hear ya. I’m kind of in the Art Dudley camp on remotes, especially with amps. Don’t need one and usually find them more of an irritant than anything. I thought that the dual volume controls would be a pain and instead they wound up being a blessing. Better than a single balance knob for me.
     
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  13. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Never heard the LFD before Art, but I'm kind of surprised the Croft beat it. All about synergy though.

    The Croft Phono sounds like a great amp. I would be tempted to try one, but lack of a remote is a deal breaker for me. It's not such a big deal when listening to CDs or vinyl (though I still make small volume adjustments), but when listening to the radio those adjustments become a lot more frequent.

    I have been thinking about the 3/1 ever since I got my A3's. The Spendor sound is so beguiling and it would be nice to get one with an 8" driver. And the Classic series. Seemed like a great bet to get a Harbeth like speaker but hopefully one that is easier to drive so that I can use my A21 to do it.

    But, the A3 is a small tower and pretty much a perfect fit for my room. And it gives me all the tone and texture I could ever want (when paired with the A21). So I don't know. I'll be interested to see your thoughts but I think the A3 can keep my happy. Spendor and Sugden sound just incredible together. Looking forward to trying my XS2 with the A3 in the near future. And I still have the Dyn S40's. To tell you the truth, I think the system I stick with long term is one of the matches I already have. I just need to figure out which.
     
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  14. james

    james Forum Resident

    Location:
    Annapolis
    @Art K i appreciate the comment on the dual volume controls. I’ve seen it as a deal breaker personally. If you care to elaborate further on the adjustment it took to use that system I’d love to hear it.

    is there a downside to a single, high quality volume knob? I feel like it would reach a massively larger group of potential buyers that way.
     
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  15. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I thought that the fiddling with dual volume controls would drive me crazy. But to my surprise it was quite the opposite. When the balance is correct, which is easy to hear, everything just snaps in to focus, and in a way that I haven’t heard with a single column or balance control. Glenn has a reason that he prefers the dual controls and I forget all of the details of that but I’m pretty sure it’s out there. If I get a chance I will look for it.

    For me the natural tonal balance, dynamics, and timing with this amp is just splendid. Kind of kicking myself for not trying it sooner.
     
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  16. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    I meant volume not column...autocorrect...
     
  17. Helom

    Helom I'll take the monkey coffins

    Location:
    U.S.
  18. bhazen

    bhazen Magical Mystery Tourist

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    Wish I'd kept mine. I don't think I had the right speakers for it at the time (can't recall what they were, but they weren't BBC-related.)
     
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  19. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
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  20. Dream On

    Dream On Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    Oops, that should read 7", not 8".
     
  21. Shiver

    Shiver Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    With you on the duel volume pots. Had a single one on the Croft integrated but now duel on the pre. Not only is it no hassle at all, it somehow feels proper.

    Glad you're enjoying it.
     
    Art K likes this.
  22. ls35a

    ls35a Forum Resident

    Location:
    Eagle, Idaho
    It's a shame there is no U.S. importer anymore.
     
  23. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    UK dealers can ship 120/60 units
     
  24. Art K

    Art K Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Corvallis, Oregon
    Gene Rubin. I believe he is the importer now.
     
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  25. bhazen

    bhazen Magical Mystery Tourist

    Location:
    Newcastle, WA
    I read somewhere that Croft Phono is the poor man's Audio Note (sonically). Is this whimsy? ...

    I hope someone here buys that one Gene has on sale!
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2020

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