The Ares tops out at 64db gain I meant to say.
11 responses Add your response
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.
Oops, my bad, it was right there! Ok so, ART 9. I agree with tablejockey, the XA version at 0.2mV with 64dB gain will probably leave you cranking preamp volume more than you like (if, like me, you prefer to listen at a hearty volume level). 70dB gain is a better target for that model. The 0.5 mV version would be perfect at 64dB.
The Jolida JD9 has been around for a long time, and the gain "spec" of 95dB has always struck me as ridiculously way too high, like they must have printed that in error, or as a joke, and nobody has every bothered to call them out or correct it? That positively can't be right. I'm sure you'll be very happy with any of the phono stages being discussed here as an upgrade.
Well my budget was $1,500 and the dealer said the EAT would be a great buy at that price but going to a 2k Ares would be a good step up and the $2,800 Ares Magnum a really great step up.
I'd like to stay at $1500 unless the Ares is a pretty major step up over the EAT. I could do Magnum upgrade later if I chose the Rogue.
Not to make an enemy of your dealer, but Ares phono stages, in various configurations, show up frequently on the used market in the 1100 - 1800 price range. And Rogue provides such great support for their products, you don’t really need a warranty or 1st ownership to have good peace of mind.
Again, Rogue used to offer the 1254 upgrade without the other Magnum upgrades, for ~ 50% of the upgrade price ($400). And that 1254 alone will give you at least 80% of the Magnum’s full sonic benefits, plus an extra 6dB of max gain.
The EAT uses Lundahl SUT for extra MC gain, 12ax7 for RIAA stage, and FET output stage - I think this is the 1st phono stage I’ve heard of with all 3 used together. The Lundahl used is listed as LL1932 but they must have meant LL1931 (no such LL1932 is listed by Lundahl)? Personally I prefer the Cinemag 1254 over Lundahl LL 1931.
The Hagerman Trumpet MC is also a super buy at under $1500 :)
I had great luck with the E-Glo petite. It was quiet, had body, fast, and IMO a step up from the more $$$ "S" model.
For a fairly cheap but substantial upgrade try the new issue TungSol tubes. For a little more the Telefunken smooth plates or ribbed plates are great. Also down the road think about the EAT LPS power supply it takes it up another notch too.
But 3ven on it's own new the E glo petite is really good. Message me if have any other questions on it if you like. I think it's a killer phono and compared it to a few others here while I had it.