I recently inquired about this phono stage at a local dealer, he doesn't keep it in stock, claims there's no demand. I never see them around either, don't know if this means their overpriced or what.
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I own the PH-1 and think it is excellent. I have no experience with the Pl-1.
I have owned ASR Exclusive, Wavestream, 47 labs cube and several others so have a good reference.
If I am not mistaken Galibier Design sells these (probably a good endorsement) and that might be a good place to go...Thom is a great guy and straight shooter.
I also owned the Artemis preamp and thought this excellent as well...they guy I sold it to loves it....IMO they make very good and good value gear.
I have the Artemis Labs Ph-1 phono stage and absolutely love it. It gives you about 52db of gain without the use of step up transformers which I think is great. I use a Benz wood bodied cartridge that has .9mv output and it is a great match. This phono stage has wonderful harmonic structures, wonderful micro and macro dynamics, and is very even balanced sounding across the entire frequency range. Not one area is highlighted. It produces music very naturally in a live acoustic event sense, not hi-fi in your face at all. I say this because I listen to live jazz, blues and symphonies 3-4 times a week on a regular basis, so I feel I have a handle on this. Another thing that I love is that you have an infinite number of variability for load adjustments by simply inserting whatever value load resistor you want into the back side of the unit. Build quality seems to be excellent as well. I have not heard the Pl-1 at all so I cannot comment. I went with the Ph-1 because it works excellent with my cartridge. If I decide to use lower output cartridges I can always add outboard stepups to match that particular cartridge. I absolutely love this phono stage and do not at all consider it overprice. If you have an opportunity to hear it, I think you'd love it.
Can anyone comment on the noise level of the Artemis PL-1? Is it a very noisy phonostage?Swap out a few different 6N1P's (the input tube). This is almost always the problem.
The good news is that they're inexpensive and you need only one of them. The bad news is that you'll find some that are quieter than others.
The Artemis phono stages are not the quietest ones on the block, and this bothers some individuals more than others. In a perfect world, all components are dead silent. Given a less than perfect world, I listen for how a component conveys the musical intent of the performer above all other criteria.
My advice (as a former Artemis dealer) to those choosing between the PH-1 (52 dB gain) and the PL-1 (72 db) is to go with the PH-1. The PH-1 gives you the flexibility to match the step-up transformer to the cartridge. While the internal step-up in the PL-1 is very good, no single step-up transformer is ideal for all cartridges.
There's a misconception by some that the PL-1 is a different design. It is merely a PH-1 with an internal MC step-up transformer.
I reserved my recommendation of the PL-1 to those who absolutely hated having an extra component on their equipment shelf. With the narrow footprint of the PH-1/PL-1, this is not the issue it is with full width components.
Yes, there's a disadvantage in having an extra connection - assuming you limit it to one extra connection, by having a hard-wired output which saves you one connection). The return is flexibility to match components.
Thom @ Galibier
I haven't been able to generalize on the 6N1P's. I think they come out of only 2 factories under different labels.
On the subject of tubes (not from a noise perspective, but rather from a sonic one), I'd look into replacing the JAN Philips 5687's.
The Philips are nice tubes and I understand why they selected them. I think a manufacturer has an ethical obligation to furnish a product in a configuration that an owner can easily replicate, and the Philips tubes are in plentiful supply. Kudos to Artemis for not putting their thumb on the scale.
I'd look into something like the Raytheon 5687's as a replacement.
Interestingly, the 12AX7 position is not all that touchy, and I'd look into this pair last. I've tried a few tubes in this position, and the stock, cryo-treated ones re-branded with the distributor's logo (Aydn), are right up there with the better ones.
Thom @ Galibier