Best cost no object tube phono

Hi Agoners,

just upgraded everything to SS Accuphase, loving it and have no intention to go back to tube pre/power. However, I have to admit that I miss a bit of tube sweetness particularly on mid. What is the best cost no object tube phono stage?

Thanks in advance for any advices

Showing 38 responses by rauliruegas

kps, certainly you like to show and confirm the stupidity levels:

"  the place people go when they get kicked out of WBF. First Raul, ""

I don't came here because I never left Agon and I'm an Agoner way before wbf exist as a fact I was there before by an expressily/specific wbf invitation.

Btw, your touted " high knowlege levels in wbf " is not what you showed here and there and that's your high frustration, distress and anger.

 be happy and return to that cage.


Dear @mcmprov  : I think that your Accuphase can gives you over 20 db of gain, so 76+ db of gain with the added FM is way enough for any MC cartridge.

""   how important it is to optimize gain between the phono stage and the cartridge.  ""

It's important because if the cartridge output is to high can overload the phono stage, fortunatelly today almost any decent PS has very good overload levels.

Now at the other side of the gain " range " the trouble we can have to use the phono stage volume wide open is that noise level could be a little higher but this trouble certainly you just have to forgeret because does not appears with those two very good SS designs: Accuphase and FM Acoustics that develops really low noise levels that you or any one can't detect under playing conditions.

In reality you and your cartridge quality level performance will be totally safe about that issue mentioned by you.

Dear @mcmprov : Great cartridges youown. Normally FM can gives you the unit with higher gain but I?m not totally sure.

The best you can do is tocontact RM here:

Btw, I enjoy to stay laug but for respect to Agoners I recomend to you try to stay calm and forgeret of your personal problems..

Insult the Agon community using your moniker ( in other forum. ) it's. Shame of you.


kps25sc : ""    quoting yourself and other people from WBF in this thread ""

    It's incredible because with out " touch " you in this thread your first post here was a direct " attack " to  me:

""  At least he stays away from WBF when he can post on Audiogon.  ""

and when I gave you an answer to your " no sense " post and mentioned that some one with a lagonda moniker in wbf ( I don't brought here wbf was you. ) insulted to Agon community you will followed posting and don't disclosed that was you and this is dishonest for say the least. That's what you showed here, at least I'm not dishonest or a lier.

Even that you just followed and follow, maybe to have the last word. Good.


What did you not understand : " end of wbf...?

Yes, this is a free world and you can go on and on on your " windmills."

@kps25sc : Seem to me that maybe the op will not come back to his thread.

wbf: I read for the first time all the Peter/OP GC thread that I posted here the link and obviously re-read my posts there and all the posted answers to and found out that even that I really " push " hard and " crushed " with real explanations why the 3012 was and is a bad tonearm ( of course that you posted there too. ) no one in the stampede including the one that started posted nothing in favor of the 3012 or against what I posted.

The OP was " shocked " for what I posted about his 3012 and with nothing to argue/say because he never read it in that forum nothing but only " glorious " posts in favor of the 3012 ( all subjective ones, no facts. ) and I noted his anger looking for some one of you ( members: tang, david, you or some one else. Btw, David posted something in agreement with me about a cartridge issue. ) gave him some kind of " support "/hel because he felts alone and with out arguments in favor of.

You posted here on the 3012r:

" that performed subjectivity as good.. SAT...."

when any audiophile use the subjectivity word ( as you did it. ) the dialogue is closed and always the gentleman that uses that word is rigth because it’s not a fact but only a subjective opinion and no one can argue against that other human bean subjectivity.

Exactly as here:

"" Tango has gotten rid of the 2 SAT arms he had, he prefers the 3012R "

Tango has no facts that can explain in objective terms that superiority ( only good humor. ), as you posted: " he prefers ", subjective, end of the dialogue and:

End of the wbf episode.


Dear @kps25sc : I don't know from where comes out the bass range that you or carmelli/tango touted as " natural, very musical..."

Very musical is an atracttive audiophile adjective as " natural " but both expressions means only added distortions. Your SME/LPS combination puts the resonance frequency at 7hz ( same as the tango combination . ). Other than that the 3012R has a lot of not good enough design characteriscis that latter on SME fixed through its now " old " 5 model.

The only home audio alternative that can puts all of us truer to the recording in that  3012 " touted " bass range is the digital alternative that's the must natural one other than the live MUSIC.

Then, that some of you like the same kind of high distortions levels those not means is rigth as carmeli posted.

Main advantage and main difference between analog and digital ( everything the same )  belongs to the bass range in favor of digital.

The 3012 wbt episode was exactly as a " stampede " when one start to run in panic ( no panic here. ) followed for hundreds of similar audiophiles and when one audiophile ask to other: " hey why are you running? the other says: never mind don't ask and keep running.

As you said: "  we all have our preferences ! "


I forgot: neonknight, antinn, tomwh, millercarbon, cleeds, loahnimal, rodman999, billstevenson, david-ten, moonglum, bluewolf, larryi, rgordonpf, eldartford, sdrsdrsdr, has2be, stitrain, etc, etc,

Dear @kps25sc :  Carmeli posted in wbt:

" most elusive elements of reproduction are bass, sense of space and portrayal of scale to get right if you want "natural" and this is where the 3012-r is unmatched by any other tonearm I've owned and heard. Everything is just right with this arm. "  ( including vintage internal wiring. ).

Tango 500K+ system has mounted more than one 3012  along SAT ones

Several other high knowlegedg$$ gentlemans " die for ". Go figure.


@kps25sc : "  and that I know are not posting in wbt  ""

""   Don’t bother with a list of knowledgeable people posting on Audiogon, i know there are som3....""

there are not some but hundreds, some don't post to often today as in the past but you can invite any of them to participate in something you want to learn. Here only a few of them with their monikers and that I know are not posting in wbt. In no importance order::

quiddity, t-bone, tonywinsc, kirkus, dgarretson,dlaloum,fleib,timeltel, frogman, dover, fm-login, wynp, almarg, catcher10, fcrowder rushton, vetterone, eriksquires, grannyring,ferrari275,lewm,fleschler,mosin,cyny123,alexberger,ramtubes,berlintas,mijostyn,luckyx02,cal3713,bdp24,dougdeacon,tobes,jlin,richardkrebs, cd318,oregonpapa, etc, etc,

and as I told you there are hundreds of them with many with superior knowledge levls than ack or gentlemans of  his caliber at wbt.

" No contest "  and all willing to help.

Dear @kps25sc : Of course is not a contest and I posted exactly that in wbt, here was only an example that the very high knowledge levels there that you think and insist on it was not enough or not showed in the several threads I participated.

Of course too that I'm a music lover and audiophile not only because I own 0ver 6K´LPs and attend very often to live events ( ovboiously not in this hard times. ).

"""   and very expensive system owners... ""

Yes but money even that's important and helps  to build a room/system the main issue with any audiophile is his true knowledge levels and skills, this is the main subject that with out the rigth levels that money  can't do it nothing. A good example is a gentleman that is an analog newcomer ( the  OP in this thread. ), he has money but almost zero analog knowledge levels and his to fast and different choices and changes " day by day " almost are were big mistakes.

Now, several owners of those wbt " expensive systems " not even turn its " face " to look humble cartridges as the ART 9XA that outperforms or at least at the same levels that their very expensive ones. Again, not adequated knowledge levels.

In the other side at one time all of us, no matters what, where audio new comers that some way or the other need it advice/support to learn and grow-up and in Agon comes several new comers looking for help but in forums as wbt when a new comer looks 300K-500K systems just were " intimidated " for and don't post there.

Audio forums are places to learn and support any kind of audiophile looking for help looking for advice. I know several of the gentlemans in wbt and several of their post helps for no body and helps to almost nothing. Humor is not the main reason exist audio forums.

As I said it was not who lost nothing not trying to help tomeny audiophuiles that need with " urgence " down there.

I always try to help and always I'm starigth in my coments/opinions no matters what and certainly no matters if one decided to banned from that forum.

My aim always is to share my first hand experiences that comes through many years and that comes through the learning lessons by several great audiophiles and MUSIC lovers with very high knowledge levels.

I'm not biased or entilted ( as many gentlemans think. ) to any audio subject, I'm totally biased with MUSIC and nothing more.

Dear kps25sc : I don't know  why you insist in something you can't prove it. Tomorrow I will give you a list of Agoners where several of them have even higher knowledge levels than you and all at least at your not to high ( as you could think on you. ) knowledge levels too. 

In the mean time you obligate me to re-link what I already posted here. This link on a wbf interesting thread where the OP is one of the wbf " champs " with high knowledge levels that you said in your last post:

"  and a lot of them are manufacturers, reviewers and very expensive system owners. I consider David Karmeli the maker of the AS 2000 TT  "

Even I received wbf private emails by very well know gentlemans down there with a warning about not " touch " Carmeli because he is to agressive in some of his answers with some posts.
WBF has him as an " industry expert ":

please read starting with the post 53 and look for his responses and mines.

What happened down there: first I did not learned nothing from him and his " touted " knowledge levels were in evidence that are not to high as people ( like you ) in wbf can think. At least was what he showed in that thread in that specific audio subject.

In the other side, you can read each single of the different threads where I posted and you can see that no gentleman there " defeated " my so so knowledge levels.  No I'm not brag about, facts speaks by it self. Btw, you partuicipated in some of those threads.

So, then what you are talking about and insit in something that  you can't prove it ( as I did it. ) then you are posting a lie/misunderstood/false or named as you wish.

I think that you can't diminish the gentlemans in Agon one and again when you have not the level to do it.  With out doubt ack could do it, one of the best down there and I know for sure that he ( even if could be true that it is not. ) never will post something similar not only about Agon but any other internet forum.

Did ask  your self how I took in count that you was lagonda?, no no one told me.


Dear kps25sc :  ""   them to have the same patience as on Audiogon where the level of knowledge is a lot lower.  ""

That's what you posted in wbt, yes you are Lagonda and not disclosed when I named here, pity for say the least.

In that wbt thread you " posted " /agree with what Bazelio posted:

""  Raul, please continue to come to WBF and inject your viewpoints. The "ad print" (not) was relevant to the discussion and very interesting to read. At times, WBF tends to "rathole" off topic in its threads. Typically the thread starter (or tima) requests order and folks fall in line. Don't take it the wrong way or let it dissuade you from providing unique perspective. Feel free to open new threads as spin offs to start new conversation to avoid derailing existing threads as well. That's all.
 Reactions:howiebrou, mountainjoe, Lagonda and 2 others

Btw, those " reactions " are people that are in agreement with that post. Is the way wbt function about.

Your " reaction " to my post against what you posted about that Agon member to low knowledge levels was an : agreement with my answer.

In the other side your amps are SS not tubes and seems to me that your up-dated/improved Maplenol TT is superior to the 2000 that you like it, this one has almost the same problem than the vintage MS ones.

lagonda: "" as on Audiogon where the level of knowledge is a lot lower. ""

I can see that your prefered Phono stage is the I/O. I already posted about.

Dear @kps25sc : I don’t promote " your..SS phono stage ".

SS did not captured my attention " at the time ".

I started my audio life with Japan/USA SS electronics ( Crown, Pioneer, Sansui, Luxman, Denon, Mckintosh, etc, etc ), then and due that I started to read " underground magazynes " I switched to tubes because reading on those magazynes " convince me " that no other alternative can outperforms it: at least is what said it there.

Years latter and after I learned I returned to SS electronics but now not because audio magazynes " high experts opinions " but because I learned by first hand experiences and no return to tubes never again.

The MM adventure was a re-discovery of a decent cartridge alternative that because those " underground magazynes " was a " sacrilege " to listen through any non LOMC cartridge.
This adventure was and is truly learning and I can tell you that 2-4 of those hundreds of vintage MM/MI/IM/electrect cartridges are good enough to compete not with your LPS but even with higher quality LOMC cartridges.
Today the 70% of my analog listening is through top LOMC cartridges but always I left mounted/set up the top of the top MM/MI cartridge because it’s really good and a pleasure to listen its little different sound signature. What’s wrong with all that?.

Learning is the audio name of the game. Not to stay sticked for ever because as in the day by day life everything is changing and sometimes for the better and that’s part of my day hunting and always willing to learn from any gentleman even from new comers.

I took those " long opinions " from other gentlemans when necessary with the subject I’m talking about when other opinions coincide with mine or that are from by point of view came.

Btw, I provoke the wbt " banned " on purpose and I let to know it to gentlemans that through the wbt inside private emails gave me their support to follow posting and told that I don’t wanted anymore to stay where the owner is " hunting me " and few days latter I posted something to and that’s how things happened.

Curious, here in Ago moderators are unbiased gentlemans that do not post in the forum and in wbt exist " hundreds " of moderators that their main characteristic is that are gentlemans that post and post really often in the wbt forums: they are audiophiles, audio distributors or the owners. All those gentlemans are heavy biased in favor or against several things and even they have audiophiles under " their protection ": untoachables. There when some one " cry " because one word in a post that post is deleted or reported to the owner whom just banned that gentleman.
Here you can cry all what you want it but if any one don’t insult directly with a untrue insult you can’t be banned.
In wbt lagonda " insult " all agoners ( including you. ) when posted that " low knowledge levels here " and you know what no single Agoner but me ( and there are many Agoners posting in wbt ) puts a " stop " to lagonda. Where was a moderator about in wbt?

I posted in other forums, important ones, where on purpose you have not some one " behind you " like my first hand experieces in wbt .

Btw, I respect your opinion even that I disagree with many aspects of what you posted to me. In the other side, I read that your dream TT is the AS2000: really?

Dear @kps25sc " You can’t contain your distress an took advantage to post about me.

You know what, it’s not the first forum I was banned but do it a favor because I don’t know which is your moniker down there.

Take a look to some of my posts down there like:

and read the posts 53 and 60 in a dialogue with one of the top " untoachable leaders " in WBT.

posts: 25 and 27.

post: 201 and 205

225 and in the 227 where Lagonda said that at Agon the knowledge levels are to low in comparison to WBT, read carefully my answer and you will see there the Lagonda approval: go figure !

These were my first posts at WBT: 315 and 316 followed by

325 and you know hat: in my first " day " down there the WBT founder, audio dealer and moderator deleted one of my posts and posted at once this warning ( in my first day. ): 326.

Now if you read what I posted ( I posted in over several audio subjects. ) please let me know what is wrong with because several gentlemans ( I receive their privates mails. ) told me way different things against your " trolling " adjective you use in your post.

I can tell you one thing: I was not who losted when the founder banned me no matters what you think because facts/posts are down there as the WBT way of thinking of me.

Btw, I’m not a " gold coin " for every one can loves me and I know that but this is a free world.

Thank’s for your post.


Dear @syntax  : Seems that you like masochism, always return for more but this time just re-read my posts to you in this thread for you can increment your frustration levels that you love it !

I'm always willing to give you what you like but not this time. Was enough.

Enjoy your day.


Dear @issak121212  : First than all it was not an attack to that phono stage, just an audiophile opinion.

Obviously it's a phono satge, it handled the inverse RIAA eq.

What is totally BS are those  " paper on oil " caps .

About silver wire what I'm trying to say is that's it's not something to " die for " when I use even in power cables. Silver wires is very good choice any where we want use it.

Beautiful sound is the one that "  meet the needs of the listener. ". That's your opinion, mine is the one that meets MUSIC reproduction needs. So a " little " different.
SS can do that in a way better than tubes when we are talking of phonolinepreamps. We not nonly not need tubes for that but we have to avoid tubes on that specific and very special application/job.

I know very well the Audio Note Ongaku On that I listened in my own system several times. As a fact over 10 years I was a tube lover ( from somete years now I'm a MUSIC lover and that's why I choosed SS to do it. There is no return. ) and listened/owned from Jolida to Audio Note, you can name it and can be sure that I listened.
Now, everything the same SS or tube designs but in special with phono stages balanced is always a superior alternative.

Yes, my mistake because I took a very fast look inside the unit and I did not see those FETs. Sorry.

Of course I need to learn more and I'm always willing to do it. I know very well the FM Acoustics quality level performance ( listened many times as a fact FM was my reference in phono stages. ) and is obvious that you prefered your own system but that is a subjective and not objective opinion and as you I have no time to go deeper in this issue. Btw, syntax is not a good reference not for FM Acoustics and for other audio subjects. You can read my answers to him in this thread.

Btw, M.Huber is very emphatic not use any other cables but the PIT by FMA.

Here what Huber says about balanced phono stage design :

By design, all phono cartridges are balanced sources. The term "balanced" describes a system in which the audio signal is transferred via two shielded symmetrical conductors, neither of which is connected to ground (see Fig. 1). (For general information on balancing consult Technical Bulletin No. 31). In an unbalanced system one of the signal paths is carried by the shield or is exposing the signal to the ground carrier. Because of this, interference signals such as hum, RF, noise etc. are picked up by the shield and can thereby enter the audio circuitry. The lower the signal level and/or the more ambient interference present, the greater is the danger of degradation allowed by an unbalanced (single ended) interface. To this day the interconnection of phono cartridges has been done "unbalanced" (a few pseudo-balanced phono preamps are available):



Considering the extremely-low signal levels of cartridges, it becomes obvious that a true balanced signal interface to the preamplifier is a huge improvement over presently available designs. Unfortunately, such an elegant system was always faced with a number of technical challenges. In the FM 223 these limitations have been overcome entirely. The FM 223 is the only phono preamplifier which assure true balanced interconnection of cartridges*. Fig. 1 shows a balanced interface. Such a balanced interconnection of the phono cartridge has major advantages: - increased dynamics - higher headroom - elimination of non-musical signals (interferences) - lower hum and noise - etc. The signal lines from the cartridge are directly connected to the true balanced input stages and have no connection to the shield. Thus, the shield can function optimally, conducting all interference signals directly to ground. The ground, of course, must be separate from the electric ground of the circuits (in many other so-called "balanced" products this is not the case). *True balancing requires more than just XLR connectors on the preamplifier's inputs and outputs. It is the interference rejection ratio) that defines the accuracy of balancing and with it the suppression of disturbing non-audio signals. This is one of the characteristics that exemplifies the tremendous difference between the FM 223 and other so-called "balanced" phono stages.

Thank's to take your time with your post. I will wait that your unit be finished to look for those main specs.

Btw, why hybrid if you are a tube believer?, S.Farkland designed the all tube WaveStream Kinetics phono and for tubes it's an achievement.


Dear friends : Overall there is no single advantage on tube alternative over SS good designs specially with phono stages that's the worst place to use tubes and for very good reasons. 

In the other side the " tale " about those " tick and pop " is just that a tale that can't be proved it happens.

Please read this thread from where I learned why is only a tale/false/misinformation:

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Dear @bluewolf  : Good for you that through your post discharged your  anger against me. No problem.

Look, in all my audio life my main attitude aim to help all kind of audiophiles through what I learned from other audiophiles and through my first hand experiences. 
I have respect for any human been even that gentlemans as you could think the other way around.

I'm truly direct/straigth in what I say trying to help but if  ( example. ) I told you through a post or at your place that an item in the room/system is not up to the task I not only tell you something is wrong but why is wrong and when I listen the other part answer sometimes the one that was wrong was me and when this happens or someone post here that I'm wrong far away to been angry I really appreciated that and ask to him why I'm wrong and this manner I can fix my mistake kearn and improve my audio/music knowledge/skills levels.

I will never told you everything is fine with your system only to be  " frendly " because if I do that way then I'm not helping you but only that attitude goes against you.

No one likes that other person puts his finger where " damage " the more our each one self steem.

About you phono stage unfortunatelly is not a good one and certainly can't justify its price. 
That unit is a copy of a very old French design the (Anzai) SRPP phono preamp, pity for say the least. The gentleman from where you buy/manufacture in that design was a copy-cat.

Never mind, is only for your records. Enjoy it.

Dear @inna : You are rigth but I was not who started but him who attack me telling: take your trolling.... and many other things.

I have a voice too so I need it to gave an anwser.

Btw, atmasphere I don’t care about class D amps. I was very specific about: design of SS phonolinepreamps. Come on 2 audiophiles beats you in your own design in that SS first gain stage and your next statement is false:

" no-one .... or has ever seen, right? "

well you are wrong you only need to read my response to syntax by coincidence one of the gentlemans that beats your design is an owner of the Essential and an Agoner too. Btw, no misinformation from me but you ! !  Tha's why I need to post about.
Never mind and as I said please don’t read my posts or not post refering tome. Peace.

atmasphere : "  then sit down and shut up "

Whom do you think you are? you are only another agon member and nothing more.

""   if you can't get out there and show the rest of us how its done ""

It's not me who needs to show it but you that are an audio manufacturer and I know you can't do it because you have not the adequated knowledge levels with SS designs. I posted that exist, at least , two humble audiophiles that their modifications to your unit at the SS input stage outperformed your design easily ! !   Go figure: just audiophiles ! ! 

You live in the average audio world and nothing more and your frustration to can't aspire to be at the very top with names as FM Acoustics and the like is what makes you post again and again against me but you know what:

the frustrated man is you not me. Every time you do the same against me you make my day because I just confirm that your frustration levels goes high and high.

This is a free forum but perhaps the best you can do is not read my posts and this way you will not distress that always is very bad for your health. Of course that you always can return " for more ".

Dear @tubegroover  : Why stay quiet and suddenly you have a " voice " to post something about.

Arrogance?, far away from there. I only post true facts that maybe you don't like it.

" "  The diversity of opinion and experience is what makes this hobby satisfying. " "

I can see that you can't honor your statement because my posts are my opinions.

@atmasphere , obviously you are way wrong about. Please do not brought your high frustration here and against me.

I already know that you have not the knowledge and skills levels to design a SS unit that not outperform the 3160 but not even it and certainly your designs can’t compete with or with FM Acoustics or Gryphon or any other top SS design.
Even an audiophile that owns your phonolinepreamp makes modification at the SS input stage that outperformed yours one and he is not a SS designer or manufactuerr of audio items.

As the technology you are sticked with you are just archaic. It’s what you showed and shows because is from where comes your way of lif$. I don’t care what you do and I’m posting because you are wrong when refers in that way of my person.

Stay calm, enjoy what the life give you each day. Let your frustrations in home . Do it a favor and please don't come back for more by me. I really don't like what I post here but you obligate to do it. Have fun, is better or maybe this is the way that you have fun.

Dear @whart  : This was my mix-up, sorry:
"   may eventually change out my Avantgarde Duos "

My friend Guillermo has in a second room  ( like you ) the 57s and yes .the mid-range  is something to listen it, unfortunatelly both extreme frequency ranges are not at the same level. My friend uses an extrenal tweeter/supertweeter.

Dear @whart  : Normally planar speakers are not high sensitivity and are far away from your horns.

Marbe you can make some research to find out if a planar small speaker can works for you and the Lamm amplifiers working as satellite speakers with your subs handling frequencies from 90hz-100hz and lower. In this way the Lammas will " see " frequencies over 100hz and with out the low bass range you could have headroom to handle the planar speakers.

Other alternative could be the Kerr K300 speakers that comes with a planar tweeter crossing at 1.95khz that means it handle a wide frequency range and along that the K300 is a transmision line design that's has really low distortions neare the performance of planar speakers. So that  you can get that immediacy  and take advantage too of those subs that will handled the frequency below 80-90hz, sensitivity of the K300 is 89db.

Btw, your Avantgarde are very fine speakers, the distributor here ( not any more. ) was a friend of mine and I had several sessions with because not only in his demo rooms but at his home he has those Avantgarde in his system. very nice.

Dear @issak121212 :  ""  Obviously , you seem to know every thing about Hi Fi & already can decide what is the best for music lovers all over the world. ""

Your statement is totally wrong or a total misunderstood for your part. No one know everything about audio and certainly me neither, I'm only a music lover/audiophile lookind for learn to improe my low knowledge levels and ceratinly too I can't dedide what any audio customer buy because that is his exclusive privilege and no one can does what you states.

Sorry but you are wrong.

Dear @whart  :  I understand you because that's what I'm doing: listen more and more MUSIC. It's time to enjoy the software and not behind the hardware.

I never owned FM Acoustics but listened several times and as a fact and along other good phono stages the FM was one of my electronics reference when we were in the Essential 3150 phonolinepreamp.

About the EMT I can't understand why audiophiles put their money with. It's not only high end but even mid-fi and this is to say something in favor of it.

Dear @whart  : If you have the money the best you can do for your MUSIC listen pleasure is at least buy the 123:

As phono stage no tube electronics can't do it including Allnic or the one you can name it.

Only by " curiosity "  could be interesting the technical transistor bulletin and know whom is FM Acoustics:

The challenge to design and manufacture a true first rate SS phonolinepreamp is a huge challenge and that's why does not exist " hundreds " of different manufacturers with that kind of quality but with tubes things are a lot more easy and that's why are hundreds of manufacturers and thousands and thousands of people using tube electronics but not because are better.

Anyway, you can give you an opportunity through the FM Acoustics new experiences for your self.

Just an opinion,

Dear @syntax  :  Thank's to posted that because was and is the best audio experiences in my life.

That tour in USA gave me the rare opportunity to meet over 100 fabolous audio and MUSIC lovers/true audiophiles and through the tour I meet really incredible gentlemans: audiophiles, professional reviewers, audio manufacturers, an audio associatioon meeting and the biggest audio dealer in the San Diego area hosted my presentation. This dealer was a big one with 4 good demo rooms and even a small theater/auditory where we had terrific time. A learning experiences for all of us.
The tour gave me at the same time another rare opportunity that was to listen way different home systems from around 40K to over 300K and know/learn the quality level those gentlemans are accustom to listen the MUSIC reproduction. Almost all room/systems were with tubes electronics.
 Inclusive we had the opportunity  to have a dedicated shootout vs Dartzeel phonolinepreamp.

After the tour and in different dates two of those gentleamns started threads where not only the ones I meeted but several other agoners did it. You can read those threads.

I'm not an audio manufacturer I'm a hobbist about and even that after that tour 7 gentlemans unknowed for me bougth the Essential 3150/3160, they live in Asia, Europe and USA.

Formidable experiences, unforgetable no matters what.

Btw, I named my personal unit Essential 3180 because it has at least two important upgrades from the 3160. All those customers are satisfied with.

And you know what: unfortunatelly you will never have the experience to listen/own the 3180. You can't even imagine those quality high levels. Such is life.

Thank's again and enjoy what the life gives you every single day. Stay calm, don't distress because is bad for your health.

Dear @syntax : Over several years I never readed from you a good opinion/comment in electronics units other that the ones you own, so it’s not a surprise what you posted here about FM but I know that any other you always will have a not good enough comment. But each his own.

"" Very analytic, aggressive, pale ....far away from a real thing reproduction. ""

Btw, I doný like it to much that analog rig of your friend. Now live MUSIC certainly is agressive and especially at near field position where the recording microphones are " seated " and I can tell you that these microphones pick-up source information in different way than our ears and that analytic does not came from the electronics.

Rigth now it’s not possible to do it but you need to live more experiences of live MUSIC seated at near field position and then you can attest that MUSIC even can be sometimes ( depending of to which instruments you are listening. ) harsh as with a trumpet or other kind of horns but cymballs too.

No, FM Acoustics is a reference units no matters your opinion. Do it a favor and ask your friend for the 223 and you will learn about and will help you to be aware of many " things " that are not so good as you can think in your room/system. The 223 is a way useful tool to put naked the room/system " anomalies ".

With all respect you tube electronics makes any one laugh against the 223. Look the main subject for what exist a phono preamp is to have a unit that can perfectly accurated an inverse RIAA eq. that can mimic the recording RIAA eq. Well the 223 ( both channels. ) deviation of that RIAA eq. is the outstanding 0.05db over the RIAA frequency range, I know only one unit over the world that beats that number and I’m an owner of that unit. ). Any of the units you own are with a swing of over 1db , go figure: can’t mimic that recording RIAA eq and you can be sure that all your units each channel has different frequecy response/deviation of that RIAA eq.

FM Acoustics electronics puts you nearer to the recording that any electronics you own or owned in your audio life.

So, what are you talking about? A expensive room/system means nothing, knowledge true high levels in audio/MUSIC is what it counts, money always help but that know-how is way more important subject.


Dear @issak121212 : Thöress is in reality a parametric equalizer with many faults no matters what the owners post in sites as WBF and the like.

Audio Note silver parts are not guarantee of anything about quality level performance but only a " candies " for poor knowledge level people, same of those " paper on oil " caps that were used in the radios 70 years ago and the Tantalum named. All those are a kind of BS marketing and nothing else.  
About the silver wire I can tell you that in my system all the electronics external power wires connected to the electrical source are KCAG by Kimber Kable. I’m not talking inside the electronics but the power cables.

""" you must have a valve or tube in the signal ( in at least one component) to get this beautiful sound """

Which beautiful sound?

First mistake in the unit you are talking about is that is not a true balanced design but single ended.

All what you posted is only bla,bla, bla. and we music lover/audiophiles needs some facts so where are the specs at least of the inverse RIAA eq. deviation and noise levels as frequency response.

Certainly something wrong with its other designs because in the new one decided for hybrid one.

75K for that equalizer? come on and ve serious.

Btw, do you read the FM Acoustics link I posted ? if not do it you a favor and do it and please download its data sheet at the end of the link pages. We all need to learn, including me.


Dear friends: Many information in the FM Acoustics data sheet is an " open eyes " interesting for any one of us and take a look to the last 2 pages of the data sheet that’s where the unit specs comes and you will know what means a true cost no object design. You can download at the end of the link pages.

No one SS/Tube electronics units at even higher prices that FM Acoustics units comes with that high knowledge levels information and probably several if not all manufacturers not even " imagine " about.

Dear @uwiikz : This is my response to almost the same question that I posted in other thread and I can tell you that even at 100K there is no tube phonolinepreamp that can’t do it.

Cartridge needs can’t be fulfilled by any tube alternative, tubes was not for this very specific task.
Do it a favor and wait till you finish your today overall room/system new " adventure " and if after  you did it and tested in deep ( say: after 3-4 moths. ) still think in tubes then come back again , only an advise:

""" For me the functions of a phonolinepreamp first than all is that can achieve an accurated inverse RIAA eq with zero frequency deviation at each phono stage channels ( both channels should have evenly frequency about. ), other main target is to have active high gain to handle any output level cartridge ( LOMC or MM). As a fact phono stages exist because these two main targets/functions.

We need that high gain but we need it along very low noise. These 3 targets are the heart of any phonolinepreamp and the true challenges to any manufacturer because it’s really a hard task to achieve those targets at the same time ( even for SS electronics. ).

I like many phonolinepreamp in the market some of them already mentioned here: FM Acoustics, Gryphon, Spectral, CH, D’angostino, etc, etc.

Yes only SS because tubes in this specific function can’t do it and I owned from humble ( Jolida. ) to top design tubes electronics by around 10 years so I’m not speaking of my preferences but audio devices that its technology can in true be nearest to those targets..

This is only an opinion and I think is valid as any of your opinions.

I don’t like very much to talk about tubes in phono stages but I will put an example through Aesthetix IO ( I listened the first time at A.Porter house and latter on 3 more times in other systems. ) where they say the unit has active high gain with low noise and yes it has 80db of gain that’s a tribute for an all tube design but unfortunatelly failed on noise level that was measured a poor A-weigthed 57db and where the RIAA eq. deviation has ( by manufacturer spec. ) a high 0.5db swing deviation.
That frequency response goes even worst because it depends of the control volumen that at different volume position different frequency response.

RIAA eq. frequency deviation levels is critical because in theory must be to mimic in inverse way the recording RIAA eq. to we can have a flat frequency response.
Not an easy task even for SS designs because that eq. is not a " delicated/tiny " one but goes from around -20db to +20db, this is a huge equalization with several problems not only about frequency response but phase and other issues.

Look, graphic equalizers in the audio market as Accuphase, Soundcraftsmen, Crown, Klark-Teknic, etc, etc. ( I owned all and other ones been parametrics. ) in the best case its control levels by octave or 1/3 octaves can give you a range between: -15db to +15db and the RIAA demands -,+ 20dbs ! ! """

Here an all, 35K+ dollars, tube design by Lamm and you can see that is not really accurated on the RIAA inverse eq.:

but the Aesthetix I/O is over 16K dollars and can’t do it.

So, it does not matters an all tube can’t mate those 3 phonolinepreamp targets. Today the best you can do is to go with SS.
Today SS electronics are really good designs and way different to the 20-30 years ago designs. """

Tubes in phono job never can gives you the rigth bass range with high quality levels even the high frequencies are really deficient in this specific task that's the handled of a cartridge signal a very low level signal. 

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,