Strictly for fans of Audio Note UK (all things Audio Note UK) PART TWO

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Apr 29, 2022.

  1. Footsurg

    Footsurg Forum Resident

    That sounds like a good plan. The TT1, even an old one with Rega arm is still pretty nice. Put a new belt on it, install an IQ3 and enjoy. That set up will sound better than a DD SL-1200 with whatever modest cartridge you choose for it.
    jonwoody, NapaBob and rappaport like this.
  2. rappaport

    rappaport Forum Resident

    Sounds very interesting finn, the stone slab (basalt?) you're referring to and what it's capable of. Alas, I doubt I'll ever make it down under.
    Thanks anyway - most kind of you!
    I've Googled bastalt stone and saw mention of the very heavy semi-gem stone "diabas" found in nearby southern Sweden.
    Is the basalt stone heavy like that?
    I believe diabas being some 7 times as heavy as granite.
    Then there's slate.
    Seeeing Shindo-san attaching a thick slate slab directly underneath his Shindo 301 TT. I had a 30mm slate slab cut for my DAS Acoustics 2-arm plinth.
    I must say it was a worthwile addition.
    Making for a cleaner, tighther more focused and much more quiet delivery. Lp playback rivalling cd-playback for quietness.
    No misprint!

    Funny thing though; I already have special platforms under everything - less my TT:

    DIY clones of the "Vertex Kinabalu", where the 3 couplers have later been replaced by a decoupled 16mm slab of bamboo making for a softer decoupling more suitable for my current tonal balance, to form the foundations I've been running till now.
    It's on top of these platforms the various Orea feet have now been positioned going under the various boxes.
    So it wasn't like coming from no kind of decopling - suddenly realizing how isolation (feet) can transform the sound of a piece of equipment it supports.
    Rather finding out the RIGHT KIND.
    The spectacular transformation wrought from the Oreas litterally comes on top of the "Kinabalu" (wheter metal couplers or bamboo on sorbothane on a slab of granite resting on a damping matrix)

    That's the most amazing thing about it all.
    Despite having already a competent decoupling "system". The addition of the Oreas once fully optimized weight wise are so laughably superior - it's insane.
    With the stress laid on OPTIMIZED

    A short spell yesterday spinning lps through my recently "Oread" very lightweight riaa comprising 3 of the smallest lightest Orea Graphite couplers resulted in a very disapointing outcome; dull, closed in and totally lifeless.
    Adding my substantial AN Japan S7 Cz SUT put on top to load it furrher was near right on the money. So will look into if it can be improved further.

    Prior to knowing/ buying the Oreas I was close to take a punt at the far less expensive Nobosound multi spring loaded couplers mentioned in another post.
    Having read a very favorable multi test, where they came out just second after a far more expensive proposition.
    But knowing the "secret sauce" of the hideously expensive and reportedly superior "Vibraplane" foundations, made for isolating electron microscopes; their decoupling not only being done to the vertical plane but to the lateral plane also - made me opt for the Oreas instead, which possess this feature.
    Glad I did. This being a mild understatement

    Getting the isolation right, NO money - however much - spent elswhere will ever be able to bring you what these ISO-Acoustic wonders bring your system.
    Seen in the light of their cost - though not exactly lunch money - are no brainers
    Cheers Henrik
    audio archon likes this.
  3. rappaport

    rappaport Forum Resident

    @Footsurg I'll second that.
    The Technics having an whole other demeanor. A tighter but "shorter" bass delivery not reaching the same depths of the AN TT1, besides being not as - for a lack of a better word - musical as the TT1 suiting an AN chain much better.
    Get a new belt for it and use the money saved on the best AN cart you can afford.
    Andy Saunders likes this.
  4. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Sorry, I don't think I ever got around to answering this. Have been on vacation. No, they were equally good in the bass as the Snell. I really think they fixed the KII's problems without any penalties in other aspects. But again, when I got an AN K/SPe home for audition, it became clear that they couldn't hold a candle to the ANs.

    Yes. I'll send a PM :)
    rappaport likes this.
  5. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    Thanks for the recommendation. Listening to it now (Qobuz). I can also recommend this album:
    Long Live Analog, finn and rappaport like this.
  6. SetANE

    SetANE Forum Resident

    Sydney NSW
    @KevC i used to use a 1210gr with a linear power supply mod and silicon bath mod. fantastic table. i still have it in fact.
  7. KevC

    KevC Active Member

    The original plan was to send it to my AN dealer and get him to have a look and update accordingly. He recommends get an IQ1 to start with and then upgrading to an IQ3 stylus later as the total cost is almost the same and plus you end up with a IQ1 stylus that you could sell on.
    However, my understanding is that the TT itself is the biggest factor and I wonder if the Technics GR which is supposed to offer great value is the way forward with an IQ1 then IQ3 stylus.
    I came across this review and the setup is AN, this has got my thinking of an alternative approach. Plus setup is easy and maintenance is easy etc.

    Review: Technics SL-1210GR Turntable
    jonwoody and Footsurg like this.
  8. KevC

    KevC Active Member

    how would you rate it against other AN TT's?
    I think I'm struggling to understand how a turntable that's had loads of R&D thrown at it doesn't perform better than a 20 year old TT
  9. Gjo

    Gjo Forum Resident

    Los Angeles
    I owned a Technics SL1210 c.mid 2000s. I had a few KAB mods including the fluid damper. I installed it on a wood sandbox (designed by Galibier Audio) that made the most significant difference of any tweak I applied.

    I installed several cartridges from Benz Micro to Dynavector. It sounded excellent in an accurate respect. It did not convey the “warmth” of vinyl that I remembered from my days owning a late 1970s Pioneer or early 80s Philips 312.

    Lowrider75, Footsurg and SetANE like this.
  10. R.T.Firefly

    R.T.Firefly Forum Resident

    Oh, but you're writing this at a forum full of people understanding why a tube amp with tubes from 1950s from a boutique company sounds better than a transistor amp from an international corporate behemoth with 50 years of R&D behind it :D
    jonwoody likes this.
  11. Footsurg

    Footsurg Forum Resident


    Very interesting article. I enjoyed reading it. Thank you. I agree the IQ1 is awesome. The body is the same as the IQ3 just a different stylus. The difference between a moderate torque belt drive turntable and the direct drive GR you are looking at couldn't be wider. I have never heard the GR, but I do have two Pioneer DJ turntables that appear to be very similar to the GR. I put the venerable AT-160ML on both of them. They sound great, but lack the bottom end and power of any belt drive table. Belt drive tables like the TT1 could never be used in a DJ set up because they lack the mass needed and would become resonation monsters producing LF feedback that would make them unusable in a loud DJ environment. The DJ type tables are dense, which resists resonation and feedback. The DD motors are tough, reliable and provide excellent speed stability under harsh conditions. The motors also allow for fast cuing up to speed and don't care if you reverse them over and over for scratching. The DJ tables I have sound excellent until you listen to them in comparison to any belt drive table. My old Micro Seiki MB-38 blows away the DJ tables using the same exact cartridge and head shell setup in my AN system. So you are right, the table itself is a huge factor. Using an OTO and AN speakers, I would recommend having your dealer go through your TT1 and put an IQ cartridge on it. That will cost less than buying the GR and an appropriate cartridge. The TT1 will sound really big and robust. I am afraid the GR will likely sound thin in comparison. Disclaimer, I have not heard the GR specifically but reading the article I can't see how it would differ much from a 1200, 1210 or any other high quality DJ specific turntable out there. The GR is made for a specific purpose. So is the TT1. Those purposes are very different.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2023
    rappaport likes this.
  12. SetANE

    SetANE Forum Resident

    Sydney NSW
    i have heard a tt3 and the 1210gr only. i think @Gjo and @Footsurg above make a good fist of a comparison. the modded 1210gr was great until i heard the tt3 :)
    Footsurg likes this.
  13. Radiohead99

    Radiohead99 Well-Known Member

    Yes, I've compared them in my own system over extended period. Here are my impressions:

    1. AN-E SPe HE Signature vs AN-E SPx AlNiCo:
    • AlNiCo is more refined, little more detailed, and nuanced. It clearly shows that it's the more expensive speaker between the two.
    • Driving them with 300B 8W SET, SPe HE Signature is quite a bit more dynamic than AlNiCo. Because of this, rock/post-punk type of music is more enjoyable through SPe HE Sig.
    • AlNiCo midrange is little more pushed forward and top range is more shelved down than SPe HE Sig. As a result, voices sounds a little more palpable, and real on the AlNiCo. However, the top-mind range seems tiny bit more muted for example guitar crunch tone although there, you've to pay attention to hear it compared to SPe HE Sig.
    • The biggest con of AlNiCo is that playing fast paced music (Radiohead, Joy Division, etc), it sounded discontinuous/too controlled (for lack of better words). Perhaps the fast start/stop of AlNiCo magnet is the reason, I don't know. But faster paced rock music with drums and electric guitar sounded wrong. SPe HE Sig seemed more neutral across all music genres. Even my girlfriend noticed it and made a comment that those music sounded weird on SPx AlNiCos.
    • For voices, synth pop, acoustics, etc SPx AlNiCo is the clear winner. For the rest of the music types, SPe HE Sig was significantly better (for my taste) and more versatile, and dynamic. As a result, I decided to not buy the SPx AlNiCo. It was a very easy decision at the end.
    • Note: The owner of the E SPx AlNiCo was able to drive them with AN 211 amp at the dealers place. But he noticed the above observed issue remained (with the exception of dynamics).
    2. AN-E SPe HE Signature vs AN-E SPx HE SE Signature (and extrapolation to AN-E SPx AlNiCo):

    After my experience with AlNiCo, I realized that upgrading to any form of AN speaker with AlNiCo model would not align with my music taste. However, I've also heard from someone that SEC Signature do not have those shortcoming. But they are much more $$. However, I scraped the idea of saving for SEC Sig because all the AlNiCo models are 2-3 dB less efficient makes it a no-go to use with my 300B 8W SET. My goal was to upgrade to the highest model non-AlNiCo AN speaker for their 98 dB. Fortunately, I came across a mint pair that I took the delivery of couple of weeks ago. On to the impressions:
    • SPx HE SE Signature sounded all around better than SPe HE Signature (and by extension from my memory, quite a bit better than SPx AlNiCo).
    • It sounded more rich, fuller, more nuanced and resolving than both the SPe HE Sig and SPx AlNiCo. I think the details and refinement from SPx HE SE Sig is possibly a tie with SPx AlNiCo.
    • Some of my average pressing, I thought was hot sounding. But less hot and more enjoyable on SPx HE SE Signature.
    • Its amazing how the SPx HE SE Signature is more transparent and yet average pressing sounds better on it relative to either models.
    In short, my ranking (for my taste and in my system) is as follows: E SPx HE SE Sig > E SPe HE Sig > SPx AlNiCo.

    Oh, and my E SPe HE Sig (in beautiful apple finish) is on sale.
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2023
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  14. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    Yeh, nah....
    Glad you found your match for your ears and system.
    What amp are you using by the way?
    audio archon and Gjo like this.
  15. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    No worries Radiohead99, I checked out your ad and the amps are clearly evident.
    Radiohead99 likes this.
  16. Radiohead99

    Radiohead99 Well-Known Member

    Thomas Mayer partial silver DHT driver 300B monoblocks with TM 300B tubes. I used Paladin SS, Conqueror SS, and Aric Audio Super SET 300B in the past with Es. Thomas Mayer is quite a bit better than those but that should be given the price difference.

    I think music taste accounts for a lot. I recall when I was mentioning to my previous dealer that I listen to alt rock, indie rock/pop, dream pop, shoegaze, goth, etc; his immediate response was to not go for SPx AlNiCo. I ended up ordering the E SPe HE Sig through him. Looking back, he was spot on.
  17. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    I’ve heard the Mayer amps before in Munich and in a previous life, I used to distribute Elrog original manufacture tubes so I know the sound you are getting. The only amplifier you mention that I haven’t heard is the Aric Audio. The Paladin and Conqueror are both small transformer models which may explain with your stated music tastes why you have changed.
    Having lived with Alnico’s for 14 years, I sort of know how they should sound and how some dealers can be intimidated by suggesting them to a client without understanding how to make them sing.
    Musicophile, Gjo and audio archon like this.
  18. Chris.p.l

    Chris.p.l Forum Resident

    concerning the x-Over of the Signature models, do you have any advice... placed on the ground, in height, support, rather in front of or behind the loudspeakers?
  19. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    I had every intention of fitting Gaia III feet to my Sig X over chassis’s and bought them and then realised the space I have for them would be fouled by the extra height of the Gaia’s. In the too hard basket at the moment. I do believe they will be of benefit, just need to rethink the setup. As to your situation, you are limited by the length of supplied cable and generally to the side of the stands is preferable.
    Chris.p.l likes this.
  20. Atle Rovik

    Atle Rovik Forum Resident

    Oslo, Norway
    How do you make them sing, then?
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  21. billb51

    billb51 Well-Known Member

    Hudson NH
    I have a pair of Alnico's , they always put a smile on my face and friends face .
    finn , enjoy reading your post and would like to know your recommendations to make the Alnico's sing .

  22. finn

    finn Forum Resident

    The Standard and HE models are very forgiving of system setup if something isn’t quite right and reward with music and presence of performance if the attention to detail isn’t quite there, either in equipment or experience.
    Alnico’s are much less forgiving, much more revealing and give a far greater insight into recordings. The higher quality source and amplification you feed them and the better the wiring loom, the bigger the soundstage becomes and more holographic, the tonality changes, much like going from a small box of colouring pencil of 12 to a collection of 200, 20 different colours of red compared to one red and one pink.
    Details of notes are not just what you hear but also the construction of the note, the varying levels of energy, the rise, peak and decay of the note. It’s really just the relationship between the voice coil and the magnet material and it’s all down to control of the voice coil. The surround is the same, the cone material is the same, the voice coils are silver wound, the box is the same, the tolerance matching between drivers is considerably tighter but the level of detail and intelligence in the recording is so much more. That’s why the setup has to be meticulous otherwise they sound like they are overdressed at a party.
    I play my SEC’s very infrequently these days and a pair of SPe HE’s almost every day so I’m not a great advert for spending lots of money on Alnico speakers, but, when I do listen to them in customers systems, it’s an “Ah, yes” moment, “that’s what they sound like”.
    As for practicalities, I have used My own personal Oto SE Sig, single 300b, either AN4300 or Takatsuki tubed amps at Silver levels and higher, parallel 300b’s at P4 balanced along with Kegon Balanced and Ongaku Kensei with 4242 tubes into Alnico’s and the 300bs have been large output transformer versions. I’ve used leadshot and crushed garnet filled stands and now I just use the Gaia feet for all AN speakers. I still use the close proximity to rear wall and corners and hard toe in, pretty much the same as any other AN speaker. The main difference in setting up the Alnico’s is in the attention to the system that comes before them. I wouldn’t recommend a speaker cable less than SPx to feed them and so on and so on....
    Hope that gives you something to ponder.
    Jhardy, Atle Rovik, Footsurg and 4 others like this.
  23. billb51

    billb51 Well-Known Member

    Hudson NH
    Finn, Totally agree about positioning the speaker .
    My Alnico speakers are 1.25" from side and 3.25" from rear , I was 3.5" from rear and last week I moved speakers to 3.25" and I couldn't believe the improvement .
    Each month I move the speaker position , been moving closer to rear wall and play with toe in .
    I thought they sounded good away from walls but they are better in every way closer to walls .
    I'm looking for a used pair of spx cables but hard to find , currently using Auditorium 23 cables with spx jumpers , highly recommend the A23 cables .
    I'm curious have you heard the Paladin 45 amp with the Alnico's ?
    My room is 11 ft wide x 18 ft long , wondering if the Paladins have enough power , always liked the low level detail of 45 amp.
    Most of my listening (vinyl) is around 70-74db with peaks to low 80's.
    audio archon and finn like this.
  24. Radiohead99

    Radiohead99 Well-Known Member

    My system has been setup with meticulous details, countless positioning trials, room treatments, furniture rearrangments, all kinds of cabling, power supply hygiene, isolation and what not. Even with pretty decent front end (Primary Control Kinea TT with field coil loaded tonearm, Thomas Mayer D3A phono, 10Y preamp, big transformer 300B mono), I couldn't make SPx AlNiCo sing. I know SEC and above is a different ballgame. Perhaps the 3.5 weeks I've had them wasn't enough or I didn't try hard enough. Ultimately, I think 8W is not enough power for the AlNiCos. And playing non-audiophile friendly music genre (read average quality source) doesn't help either.

    My friend who used to own the SPx AlNiCo, borrowed my SPx speaker cable, full Sogon interconnect loom to drive the SPx AlNiCo with his AN Baransu and Lampizator Pacific, but couldn't make it sing. Although, he's missing the sidewall reinforcements in his apartment.

    All though, my friend was able to hear his SPx AlNiCo driven by AN Ankoru (parallel 211) at a long time AN dealers place, he wasn't satisfied and thought the midrange was too pushed forward and top mid range shelved down too much. I do think that I'd have been satisfied with a higher level AN 211 amps. The extra watt would have really helped SPx AlNiCo sing. What's crazy in this hobby is that he "downgraded" to highest non-AlNiCo model AN-Js. He showed me the measurements he took that the Js are the most neutral and midrange is not pushed forward like E's in his opinion.
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2023
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  25. Encore

    Encore Forum Resident

    To me, it's simply the drive and musicality that distinguishes the Alnico. I know I have told this story before, but when I first heard Alnicos, I was so captivated by the music--in a I couldn't sit still kinda way. I thought yo myself "I want these speakers!" A couple of weeks later, I heard what I thought were the same speakers and was not nearly as moved by the music and thought that maybe I had just been more in the mood the first. Well, it turned out, the host had replaced them with the HE-SPe version in an identical finish.

    So after that, it was Alnicos only for me. I drive them with a 300B amp, and I think it does a pretty good job. I do recognize, however, that they are very critical of what comes before them. Even one interconnect in the chain that has a character that works against the Alnicos can spoil the party.

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