I was just about to post this exact same question when I saw your post. Unfortunately, I have no insight into the answer. I currently use the BAT vk-p10SE w/super pack, which is a great unit, but want to switch to solid state. I have too many tubes in my system and I'm getting too much tube noise. These two phono stages are on my short list because they are both solid state, balanced differential (which I also prefer) and have good reviews.
Can anyone chime in here? Following the Fremer review of Einstein, I haven't heard much about it vs. the ASR.
I made some earlier posts asking for impressions of the Einstein, because nobody ever heard of it, and I kept reading all these great posts from others about how good all the other expensive phono pre's were.
I talked personally with some of the owners of the Einstein and others who had heard it. These were serious analog audiophiles who don't post to forums. They have enough resources to buy anything they wish and they bought the Einstein and sold their more expensive name recognition pre's.
To buy a product without hearing it first is very difficult for me to do. I did buy the Einstein and it is better than I ever could imagine. I pay little attention to reviewers in the mags other than to get some ideas. However, Fremer's comments on the Einstein are absolutly spot on. It is terrific. It's build quality is outstanding, and the electroncs are the best. They use as few components as possible to keep the circuits as straight line as possible.
My unit has been listened to and raved about by some very savy people with long experience in audio.
It draw's the listener into the music. It's not the ultimate in resolution at 100 hrs, but makes big jump in this area at around 700 hrs without losing it's relaxed tube like sound.
I do not know how Einstein was able to get this sound without any tubes, but they did.
There may be better units out there, but nothing even remotely close to this price point. One of the true bargains in analog audio,and the best purchase I ever made in 30 yrs in this hobby. I might have overdone my recomendation, but that is just how much I like it.
Sabertouch - Thanks for your comments on the Einstein, they are appreciated. Congrats, great to be so pleased with an audio purchase, isn't it!
I haven't compared the Einstein against the ASR, but it has stood up to other competition here. Dead quiet, dynamic, great weight and image density, very musical and harmonically fleshed out. Einstein has been around in Germany for at least 15 years, distributed in the US for two years or so. Fremer's review was in the July issue. Disclaimer - I am an Einstein dealer.
Glad you are enjoying the Einstein phono stage. It looks like a nice piece of gear. Have you had the opportunity to listen to any of the tube phono stages (Aesthetix, BAT, Manley). Wonder how the Einstein compares to them?
How many pairs of inputs and outputs does the einstein have? I read stereophile's list that it has 2 pairs inputs and outputs. Is this true?
The Einstein phono stage, available in either single ended or balanced version, has two pairs of input connectors, one pair of which are used for plugging in the load resistors. Four pairs of load resistors are provided: 40, 85, 150, and 300 ohms, fitted with either RCA or XLR connectors depending on which model. One pair of outputs is provided.
Any thoughts on how the Einstein compares to a tube phono? Does it have the body and solidity of tubes?
Rich, let's just say all the other Einstein components are tube based, while the phono stage isn't. I would put it up against *any* phono stage, tube or solid state, regardless of price.
All of Einstein's components contain tubes. Therefore, when they built the phono stage, a requirement was for it to have tube like sound to match the other components. The first time you hear it, you will swear it has a tube character to it's sound.
The round shape of the preamp enhances internal cooling and results in better cancellation of any sound resonances generated within the case. They are reflected back into the center of the case where they meet and are therefore cancelled out. The power supply has a much higher quality PC than one would expect.
There is a long umbilical cord connecting the two pieces, so you can keep them far apart. I found the sound improves somewhat as you move them further apart. Any potential for hum is eliminated by the separation.
The balanced unit has two power supplies and they also should be distanced from the Pre's. I have the single ended version and no listening experience with the balanced unit. If you have balanced tonearm wiring, the balanced version is supposed to be about 25% better. Makes sense since more isolation of the circuits and balanced from cartridge to amp. This judgement from those that have heard both versions.
The simplistic plug in load resistor approach makes changing values quick. I don't even have to power down. Took the sleeve off one and found a resistor soldered on a high quality rca plug with silcone fill added. You could replace the resistor with any value to customize to your own loading requirements.
I am really enjoying this component and so are the other owners I have talked to. Good example of great performance without spending obscene $.
I have the balanced version of the Einstein phono stage, while others I know have the single ended version. I haven't heard them side by side, although Sabertouch's description of the differences is in line with what I have been told. The dual power supplies of the balanced version help, as it is two completely separate mono phono stages, and yes, keeping the power supplies as far away from the units as possible reduces hum and noise. The stock power cords are pretty good, which may come as a surprise to some. That said, the unit does benefit from some aftermarket cords, although they are not compulsory.