Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Room to arrange and discuss bake-offs
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Toontrev
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by Toontrev » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:46 pm

I must begin with thanks to Paul, he is a great host and you are made to feel very welcome, was also good to meet another HFS member, Andy, another nice guy. Made for a very enjoyable day, top blokes and good company.

I went along thinking that there wasn't going to be much of a difference in the phono stages, would I be able to hear the changes however subtle etc ?, at the back of my mind I was slightly worried about it, bonkers I know. How wrong could I be, to be honest the contrast with the NVA kit and the rest was so apparent its hard to believe .

Paul has a cracking system, everything played at the beginning sounded so clear, crisp and dynamic, I was really enjoying what we were playing until we started to change the stages.

First up was an Arkless modded Cambridge, I owned one of these in stock form a few years ago and thought it was excellent value for money. When Paul swapped it over I was astonished how much the sound quality suffered. Frequency extremes shrank, sound became muffled lacking in dynamics, the soundstage was thin and narrow. Dont get me wrong it didn't sound terrible but it was so obvious it was markedly inferior. You don't need to own golden ears to hear any of this btw it is so apparent. Moving over to the MF improved little, pepped the sound up a bit but I was glad when Paul turned them off.

What came next was remarkable, the Phono 1 is the perhaps the cheapest of the bunch but I wasn't prepared for the dramatic improvement. Just about everything that was right at the start of the session came back in spades. In case you're wondering I don't own any NVA equipment however when funds allow this has to change, it was that good. Clarity, dynamics, tunefulness of the bass lines, emotional involvement in the music and the rest, Joni was brought back to life again. Tremendous.

We had a break and started up again with the Graham Slee, there was a lot to like about it. Gave the sound a nice punchy drive and a fuller bass. I enjoyed listening to it, this would have made top spot if it wasnt for the NVA stages but in my opinion it didn't beat the Phono 1 which is a third of the cost. I hear more of the music through the NVA stages, I guess extended listening time perhaps may reveal more of the subtleties in presentation but I really enjoyed what this equipment brings to the music. This is the second bake off I've attended and they are really enjoyable. Thanks once again to Paul.

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karatestu
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by karatestu » Sun Nov 19, 2017 9:25 pm

Good stuff.

I love my little phono1 :guiness;
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Dr Bunsen Honeydew
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by Dr Bunsen Honeydew » Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:02 pm

Savvy can you contact Dave at MCRU as the Arkless and the NVA Phono 1 are now going to him.

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CN211276
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by CN211276 » Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:17 pm

This is very informative and supports the findings of the Hudersfield bake off. I hope a DAC bake off can be arranged covering all price points. There is so much contradictory information about DACs on the Internet and a bake off similar to the Phono stage one would certainly shed a lot of light.
I set a course just east of Lyra
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Flew into the light of Deneb
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NVA BMU, Sonore microRendu/McRU PS, AQ J-bug, Wirewold Ultraviolet, Chord Qutest, NVA P50SA, NVA A80sMk2, NVA Cube 3s, NVA LS6, NVA TIS mk2. Rega Planar 3, Denon DL-110, NVA Phono 1, NVA SSP Mk2, Grado SR 325e, headphones, Chord Mojo.

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Arcam Miniblink Bluetooth DAC, Marantz pm 5004, Wharfdale Diamond 121, NVA LS2.

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savvypaul
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by savvypaul » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:04 am

Dr Bunsen Honeydew wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:02 pm
Savvy can you contact Dave at MCRU as the Arkless and the NVA Phono 1 are now going to him.
Cool. Will do.
"I got a cold call, on a hot summer’s day. I didn’t really, It’s just written that way"

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

MarkWoody
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by MarkWoody » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:50 am

Sounds like you all had a good day.

Just a thought... presumably this was all done through the BMU? Would have been interesting to experiment with that too, although I recognise that might have been difficult with time constraints.

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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by _D_S_J_R_ » Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:01 am

You can always buy a BMU and return if no-likey. I say this as for me anyway, the BMU wasn't an immediate 'Must Have.' the insertion benefit was subtle for me but increasingly important as time went on to the effect that I missed it when it was removed, initially to give back. I decided to keep it - and this one isn't as quiet as proper production either - and it's been in situ ever since. The 50cm TIS was similar for me and I missed it when it was removed, so it stays and remember, the workroom system which sees daily use, isn't that good by HFS standards.
...I have renounced the worldly bustle and live in peace at a quiet place,
I live alone in this my heaven, in my love (and) in my songs.

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savvypaul
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by savvypaul » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:07 pm

MarkWoody wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:50 am
Sounds like you all had a good day.

Just a thought... presumably this was all done through the BMU? Would have been interesting to experiment with that too, although I recognise that might have been difficult with time constraints.
Yes. System plugged into multi-way adaptor from BMU.

A mains products bake off could be interesting.
"I got a cold call, on a hot summer’s day. I didn’t really, It’s just written that way"

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

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Hemmo1969
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by Hemmo1969 » Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:50 pm

Paul, are you now a Phono 2 owner or still with the Graham asked?

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savvypaul
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Re: Phono Stage Bake-Off - Durham - Arkless, NVA, Graham Slee +???

Unread post by savvypaul » Mon Nov 20, 2017 2:57 pm

Hemmo1969 wrote:
Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:50 pm
Paul, are you now a Phono 2 owner or still with the Graham asked?
Hi mate,

I own the NVA Phono 2 (bought it secondhand a month or so ago from another member here who had upgraded to Phono3 and BBPSU). I still own the Graham Slee stage as it has the EQ facility for my early classical recordings.
"I got a cold call, on a hot summer’s day. I didn’t really, It’s just written that way"

NVA BMU / WTL Versalex / Transfiguration Axia /NVA Phono2 w/ 2nd PSU / GSP Revelation C / Vortexbox Appliance NAS Server / Sonore microRendu USB streamer w/ LPSU / Chord 2Qute USB dac / NVA P90sa / NVA A80MK2 (bass) / NVA A70 MK2 (tweeters) / NVA Cube 1 / NVA TIS MK1 / NVA SSPMK2 / NVA LS6 / NVA AP10H (& 1x additional PS) / Audeze LCD-2

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