Boulder 2008

Looking in to a new phono stage. considering the BOulder 2008. Anyone have any experiance with this. Is it one of the best?


Showing 1 response by larryi

A friend has that phono stage and the Boulder line stage in his system. The rest of the electronics, including his DAC, are tube based. I have not heard either Boulder piece in my own system, so it is hard to say with certainty what aspects of the sound I hear is attributable to the Boulder pieces.

The sound of the system is quite good. But, there is some of that pervasive, artificial hardness or edge to the initial attack of notes in the music that is characteristic of solid state gear (this tends to make some music sound "mechanical" and artificial). If you are sensitive to this and don't like it, then, the Boulder is NOT a cure for what some of us don't like about solid state. I've heard solid state that delivers less of that quality (e.g., the Connoisseur linestage, Ayre gear), though none of the solid state stuff delivers the sense of real body and presence of performers like good tube gear.

I like the fact that the Boulder phono stage is adjustable in so many ways (including the use of different plug in cards for equalization). However, it does not have enough gain for extremely low output cartridges -- that friend's Allaerte cartridge is extremely low in output and phono reproduction is quite noisy. The noise did not bother me that much, but, this system is in a custom designed and built room which is totally isolated from noise (including a special HVAC system) so I bet any noise in the system is a big disappointment to the owner.

In the crazy expensive category, I personally like the Audionote (uk) and Kondo gear. In the not-quite-so-crazy price category, I like my Viva Fono stage, but it takes so work to optimize that fono stage (hard wiring loading resistors, swapping tubes, etc.).