The Ares tops out at 64db gain I meant to say.
- 11 posts total
- 11 posts total
The Ares doesn’t top out at 64dB gain. You can replace the 12au7 with 12at7 and get around a 5 - 7dB boost in gain. If you upgrade to the Blue CineMag 1254 (very worthwhile sonic upgrade over the mediocre stock Red 3440) you get another 6dB gain to boot. Rogue includes the 1254 in the magnum upgrades, but they might still do just the 1254 upgrade for half the magnum cost (it yields the biggest improvement). As far as SUT based stages go, the Ares is about as adjustable as they come.
Haha, I’ve owned an Ares four different time over the years and still have an Ares Magnum, though I’ve long since moved on to a VAC phono stage in my main system. The Ares is very good, but there are many good phono stage options in that price range. I’ve heard nice things about the EAT but haven’t heard one myself.
My favorite feature of the Ares is that (with the Blue 1254 upgrade) it combines an excellent internal SUT with much more than the usual loading options; this allows it to be matched successfully with cartridges that typically don’t match well to SUTs - like the Benz Ruby / Gullwing / LPS and Dynavector Karat. The key is that many tube phono stages are (frustratingly) fixed at 47K load in MM mode - but not the Ares (it can go up to 1 Mega ohm!). And as per my prior post, you can get GOBS of gain out of an Ares - up around a crazy 76dB with the Blue 1254 upgrade and 12at7 output tubes (personally I think it should be standard but I think they like to hit that $2000 even price point).
I also recently acquired a Hagerman Trumpet that I like a whole lot, and at only $1100 new I’ve been raving about it. It marries a balanced JFET MC stage to a balanced tube MM stage. Very configurable. Warm, open, romantic sound. The Ares is a bit more neutral but I prefer a little bit of romance in my vinyl. The VAC is also on the romantic side but with gobs of detail and dead quiet noise floor - but boy do you pay for it! I’ve also had the Herron VTPH-2A (JFET MC stage, 12ax7 / 12at7 MM stage) which is a bit better than the Ares but is frustratingly fixed at 47K MM mode and never fully carved out a niche in my systems, for my needs. I’m even still quite fond of my old Sonic Frontiers Phono 1 (JFET MC, 6922 tube MM), BUT it has fixed gain and must be closely matched to a proper cartridge output level (~ 0.5mV - 0.8mV cartridge output level for the 64dB gain version, which is really 60dB).
What cartridge are you running, or planning to run? Cartridge / arm / phono stage matching is crucial to long-term satisfaction.
"For use with an AT Art9."
If you're going to use the XA version @.2mv, 64db gain may have you cranking the volume higher=noise and not hearing the cart's potential Otherwise, you're fine with the .5mv XI model..
I used the 1st gen ART9 with 60db . A stand alone phonostage will be an upgrade, if that's what you're curious about.