Balanced Audo Technology makes two units with balanced output and one that also has balanced inputs. Check out their site balanced.com I have their best unit the VK-P10 on our summer demo sale The ad is on audioweb
15 responses Add your response
Aesthetix IO (as in moon, not ten) is balanced design and has provision for single ended output as plus or minus phase as well. Has well regulated outboard power supply, user adjustable load for phono cartridge, completely adjustable output gain for matching to your preamps inputs and the other components. And, one of the best sounding phono stages ever made. Tubes can alter the sound of this unit to be as soft or aggressive as you choose, depending on what you want.
The Atma-Sphere MP-1 MKII is the only complete preamp that I know of that is fully balanced from input to output - a fully balanced phono stage and a fully balanced line stage. And since MC cartridges are inherently balanced devices, a balanced phono stage is the only way to go - absolutely NO hum or buzz, dead quiet background and great channel separation, soundstage and imaging. Oh, yeah, and the MP-1 sounds (or doesn't sound) awesome.
Good topic. My current phono stage is the Aesthetix Io with volume controls running balanced in/out direct to Audio Note Ankoru mono amps. Got some great Mazda and Mullards tubes from Upscale Audio to egt the sound just the way I wanted it. I am using a Koetsu Onyx/Graham 2.0 deluxe/Basis 2500/Transparent phono cable. The Koetsu is very low voltage and with the Aesthetix you get upto 80dB gain, fantastic overall sound, with virtually no tube noise. Read reviews in TAS for more detailed description. I have had the Aesthetix for >15 months and it still amazes me. The Aesthetix replaced my Jadis JP-80MC, and I have never looked or longed for another. GerryG
Gerry, I agree with your choice in tubes, I purchased a similar selection for my Io. In addition, I have two outboard power supplies (custom mods required from Jim White at Aesthetix). In addition to the twin power supplies, call Kevin at Upscale again, and try the Genelex KT66 tubes instead of the EL34 tubes the Io comes with. It is a religious experience. One last thing, if you solder a correct value resistor for your phono cartridge, instead of using the jumpers, there is another big improvement. I suggest the special "nude" resistors available from Walker Audio (makes the turntable). I think your particular cartridge likes 1000 Ohms, if I remember correctly. GOOD LUCK!
Albert, Thanks for the information. Genelex KT66s! When I asked Kevin about that, he wasn't sure if circuit required a modification for these tubes. Two power supplies!!! Wow! Can you give me a rough idea on improvement as compared 1. Changing tube brands 2. The change to KT-66s 3. Going finally to 2 PS. I am very interested in your thoughts. Sen d me a direct members e-mail if you can. What about better caps in the phono section? What do you know about that? Thanks again. I love this pre-amp, but I am still the hobbyist. Cheers, Gerry Will Jim do this for other customers?
No electrical mods needed for the KT66 tubes. I have been running them in both Io power supplies for many months, and I leave my units on 24 hours a day. One warning, the KT66 tubes are too tall for the cover. Listen first, and if you agree with me on the sound, two holes must be punched in the lid to allow the Genelex to clear. I can advise you of a metal shop, or tell you the punch size. Using two power supplies does require circuit board jumpers in the main unit. The power supplies themselves require no additional changes. Jim White has a diagram and jumpers that he can send, provided that you are handy with a solder gun. If not, you can return only the main unit and get the jumpers soldered in. On improvements, I was undecided on the Io when it was stock. My Elliott Magnum Opus Phono was better. After changing out all the Sovtec tubes, I thought the Io was better. After I changed to two power supplies it was no contest, against anything I have ever heard. And when I replaced the EL34 the first round, I choose Tung Sol 5932 and then, after the twin power supplies, went instead to the KT66 Genelex. The Genelex is almost as much of an improvement over the 5932 or 6550 or 6L6, that it is like you went from the original Sovtecs to the NOS I am speaking of. One other thing, replace the input and output wire between the rear panel jacks and the main board. This is huge in reducing distortion and improving resolution. Pick the wire you like the personality of, but the best quality you can afford and can work with. I picked the conductor from Purist Audio Dominus. You can e-mail me, and I will give you my telephone number if you wish to talk. Or, we can communicate via e-mail, as you wish. Oh, almost forgot, I have no experience with replacing the caps, so I will not comment on something I have not tried.
Albert, My e-mail address is GERRY_GASSMAN@HP-Cupertino-om9.om.hp.com please send me yours and we'll exchange phone numbers. What you wrote today was all good news for me. I'll order the Genelex KT-66 today. Sounds like that's the change to make immediately. This weekend I'll look at the PS area again at the jumper area. Can't visilize the jumpers you're talking about while I'm on a business teleconferenvce and how two cables for each PS can served by one each into phono unit. I'll talk to John Barnes and or Garth on how to order the extra PS. Work has a priority right now. Thanks again! Gerry
Also the new EAR (346?) preamp with built in phono has balance inputs/outputs. I did listen to the EAR and the Roland at the Anolog Shop in San Jose. They sound quite different, but both being good. Read the reviews as Carl said. Neither sounded as good as the store's Narga preamp (not balanced) or my own Aesthetix (balanced)at home. The EAR is a good performance value/price point. cheers, Gerrym5