Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Seafinch, May 5, 2018.
Let us know what you think once you receive it!
I basically did the same thing. I wasn't even really in the market, but something inside me just had to buy a Puffin. I don't get regret it one bit! I did A/B tests with my previous tube phono stage, and the Puffin running through my basic Schiit Modius DAC was noticeably more clear and smooth sounding. I sometimes think of the Puffin as the bridge between two worlds: it retains many benefits of playing vinyl, while infusing modern digital technology.
Just bit with one on eBay. Guy had about 35 hours on it or so and I ended up buying it. Will be very curious. I am also auditioning a Vincent Pho 300 right now which I imagine this will beat.
For what it's worth, my current system is a Rega Planar 6 with a Hana EL cartridge. It is running through the Vincent Pho 300 right now and out to half-decent Yumi Kanto powered bookshelf speakers.
So, I am basically going turntable out in terms of upgrading (had to upgrade my old Technics 1600 since it finally gave up the ghost). Got the Rega and Hana the other day and next up doing the phono stage.
I finally downloaded the latest firmware update and can attest that the Magic setting does a great job at reducing pops and crackles while not harming the music.
I need to do that but the instructions scare me. All that computer lingo. Command this..... Utilities that! Argh! It's like I'm working with a computer! Oh wait.....
One of these days I'll get up the nerve and give it a go.
It took about 15-20 minutes. Well worth the time and effort!
Are you using the Puffin as your Phono stage and running it to a pre-amp? Or are you using it as your pre-amp as well?
For those of you that just ordered the Puffin, I'm looking forward to your thoughts!
I received an email back from Shannon, and I think the Puffin will serve my system well. My intention is to use it only as my phono preamp. I'm not looking to run my CD deck or anything else through it. But... Who knows what the future might hold.
I’m still waiting for an update on my order status from Amazon. Expected delivery is Wednesday but it hasn’t shipped yet.
Just as phono stage
He has a sweet integrated amp so the question I will ask is if he is connected to an auxiliary input or a tape loop?
One note for anyone using this in a tape loop as I’m doing:
If your Puffin is turned OFF, there may be distortion on your preamp out if there’s a common connection between your tape output and preamp output.
I powered on my system without any plans to use the Puffin as I was listening to CDs that didn’t need any EQ help from the Puffin. My system sounded bad and I couldn’t understand why. Eventually, during troubleshooting, I turned on the Puffin and everything sounded good again.
Found out if the Puffin is powered down, the power rails aren’t powered up and some of the devices aren’t biased (as they would be in the on state) and the signal gets clipped above a certain level.
So the bottom line is to turn on your Puffin even if not using it. It may be, if your tape loop is completely independent of your preamp out, that this is not necessary, but if you’re getting distorted sound, this is likely the reason.
Some tape loops are buffered to avoid this very problem.
I’m going straight into aux input.
How do you use it as a phono preamp in the tape loop, or do you only use it as a signal processor?
Question for other Puffin users, who have been using it for grading - What grade level do you consider acceptable for keeping vs searching a better quality version? I've set my threshold at C- which still sounds good with Magic on, but I also have 2 other record players that don't have Puffins. So unless it's rare, or I want the cover, the C- and below are going to goodwill. Now I hope the goodwill users don't buy them, find them too noisy, then donate them to the library, and I end up buying them at a library sale again
I have two nice phono preamps I’m happy with: Jasmine LP2.0SE and a Graham Slee Reflex M w/PSU1. If I didn’t have those, I’d be open to using the Puffin as a phono pre.
But I bought it mainly as a click/pop suppresses and EQ/signal processor. In the tape loop, I can use it on CDs as well and to mimic pre-emphasis processing since I have a couple of early CDs with pre-emphasis that my CD player doesn’t handle.
It’s hard to generalize for me. A C grade with semi-frequent but low level noise can be fine for me, while another C record with a terrible section that averages out to a C over the whole side can be too bad to play for me.
And the Puffin handles some noise types better than others. I’ve had records below C- that the Puffin makes very enjoyable and some grades above that that for whatever reason the Puffin doesn’t noise-suppress very well, so even with Magic on, it’s not tolerable for me.
I had been toying with the idea of putting together one of those DIY Sugarcubes but Magic is more than doing the job.
One of the first LPs I played through it is a first press of The Beach Boys SURF’S UP. Very little surface noise but quite a few clicks and pops. They’re pretty much nonexistent now and I can’t detect any degradation in sound quality.
It is really difficult just going by grades for me. There are some D grades that sound enjoyable enough. I gotta go by if it sounds enjoyable enough. If the LP doesn’t sound enjoyable with the Puffin in the chain nor out of the chain, I consider getting rid of it. If I toggle my digital copy with my LP and the digital copy is more enjoyable, I consider getting rid of the LP.
I think I am generally done purchasing LPs, so if I get rid of the LP, it will be replaced by a digital copy if available...and after lots of research on masterings.
The grading is fun, but I think it being tied to the Magic algorithm makes it less useful for me (partly because of how good the Magic algorithm is). Groove wear or general surface noise/noisy vinyl formulation are the two most common reasons I part with an old record, rather than the stray pops and clicks that Magic and Grade track.
If anything, running Magic makes those C- grade records with pops and ticks perfectly listenable, more like a B in my book. But a C- record with audible groove wear distortion is kind of really an F record for me.
This makes sense. In my limited sample of D and F records (< 12 sides), they have irregular scratches that Magic doesn't filter out. If I listened carefully, I'd probably hear surface noise or other noise on them too. I clean using one those manual spin rotation cleaners with distilled water and a wetting agent.
the grading still seems strange to me, a record that looks super clean and glossy maybe a stray scuff from the sleeve will grade at a C,C- or D just from a really small amount of noise between tracks. a single pop seems to really drop the grade.
i'm only able to consistently hit A with brand new records
I’m getting a little twitchy. Amazon still says my Puffin will arrive by 8pm tomorrow but it hasn’t shipped yet. Supposedly there was one in stock when I placed my order a few days ago but I’m starting to have doubts.
For what it's worth, I remember receiving my Puffin two days after it was shipped. Shannon used flat rate priority mail, if I recall correctly. I remember being impressed that a package travelled from WA to MA that quickly in the COVID era. Also, post office scanning has been known to be slow lately. I'm sure it will come tomorrow, or the next day!
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