The Hovland HP100: transparent, liquid, palpable, articulate and open. Neutral across the audio spectrum. OR the Joule Electra LA100 Mk 3...warmer, fuller midrange than the Hovland...not as neutral or open.
- 40 posts total
- 40 posts total
Nice to hear so many good comments. I think the best sonic value at there is Jim White's Aesthetic's Line stage and or Phono Satge with volume controls. OK, I've owned the Phono product for over a 1 1/2 years, but it I would strongly recommended it to others. Home demo if you can. My biggest disappintment was the Nagra, given how sexy it looks and all the great reviews. In my system it wasn't even as good as an older CAT or not the same league as the Aesthetix at all.
If you need an affordable phono stage, the Mike Yee Musical Surroundings "Phonomena" is killer! I don't know what the best linestage under 10k would be, but I would audition the CAT Ultimate, Sonic Frontiers Line 3, ARC Reference 1 or 2, Levinson 380s, Krell KCT, and even a used Conrad Johnson ART...PERHAPS ALL AT ONCE. That would be the only way to know for sure which one you like best. Probably not a realistic task, I guess. IF YOU'RE ONLY GOING TO LISTEN TO CD, THEN FORGET A LINESTAGE unless you get upsampling DACS like the dCS combo. I THINK THE WADIA "POWER DAC 790" would be interesting to hear, since it accepts a 192 kHz digital signal. That's more than $10k, though... AND IF YOU ONLY LISTEN TO VINYL, I doubt the Aesthetix "IO" can be beaten, perhaps driving the power amp directly. The Jeff Rowland "Cadence" phono is THE quietest phono stage...
Had solid state preamps, but a tubed linestage with ss amp combines the speed, tightness and bottom-end punch of ss with the mid-range liquidity and smoothness (read "lack of grain") and treble sweetness of tubes. Currently running a c-j 16LS with new MF-2500 amp in an Avalon Arcus/Harmonic Tech system. Musical, gentlemen, musical.