I thought the consensus was most of his preamps are average or mediocre sounding, and WAY overpriced. I have seen that posted so often I would never consider his phono amps. In that price range, there are many options. Too many. I'd consider getting a Maxxed out, assembled, K&K for that money, but that is because I just ordered the basic kit version.
i have the evans groove + phono stage, along with his amps and pre amp. They are anything but average. do your research and listen to some of his stuff if you can. hearsay and consensus is not a good way to make a decision. btw, i found the opinions in hi-fi+ and 6moons quite accurate.
The reviews of Tom Evans products seems to be consistently very good to excellent. Although I have never heard their products, i would be curious how they sound.
I did my research on phono amps. And I noticed lackluster feedback on audio discussion boards for TE phono amps. Mostly on UK based boards, which is where I go for vinyl related topic research.
I had the Groove for 3 years. It is a superb phonostage. It is extremely tranparent and has an immediacy that very few other phonostages can match (try to have the impedance set pretty low - nowhere near 10k. I had mine set around 300). I ultimately switched to the Manley Steelhead, which had a fuller sound, but nowhere near the immediacy. I hear the Groove Plus had a fuller sound. You should at least take a listen to one.
I changed from the Audio Research PH3SE to the Tom Evans Groove about 3 years ago and have enjoyed it ever since. They usually go for under $2000 used. It is slightly on the dark side in terms of air, but the wonderful silent jet black background allows all the small nuances in the music to come forth and be noticed - this along with effortless bass production made listening to my music much more enjoyable. Otherwise you can go for a Manley Steelhead version 1 if you have $3000 to spend. I have never listened to the Manley yet.
I think you should have a look at Modwright tube phono stage before you make your purchase. I have tested it against several phono stages like SAP, and Graham Slee, and I kept the Modwright.
Take a look at the ASR Mini Basis Exclusive. I just put one into my system and I am stunned!!
I have had an Art Audio Vinyl Reference and an ARC PH7 in the past. I currently have a TE Groove plus SRX and it is by far the best phono stage I have owned and heard in any system. The loading settings are configurable and it is more expensive but worth the money in my opinion. The transparency, imaging and dynamics are really very impressive. I now also own the Tom Evans Vibe preamplifier and Linear B monoblocks which drive my Wilson MAXX 2's. I have never been happier. My previous preamp was an ARC Ref 3 and my power amps were ARC Ref 210's.
I used the Microgroove plus for 2 years. I liked it, but changed to a K&k as bmckenny suggested and I much prefer it, for similar money. The TE is good, but the K&K much better, more musical, if one is allowed to use that term anymore. Very low noise, I can use a very low output Koetsu Onyx with 63db of gain and it is still very noise free
Ive used a Tom Evens Groove Plus SRX for quite some time now and would not consider changing it for anything else. Number one is Tom Evans himself first class in communications and help. Add a super quiet phono amp with air rock solid bass and musical engagement and you have a highly recommended piece of audio gear IMO.
Good luck and enjoy the music.
I have a TE Groove Plus and had it modded to SRX. I can't really fault it and it is happily driving a BENT Audio TVC controller. I agree with Stltrains - it is very quiet and is able to create a really engaging musical experience.
Rocketiii- Hi, Just out of curiosity, from the Groove Plus to the SRX is there a huge difference in sound to warrant the price difference of almost $4000 ? Noli
My buddy has the groove and it is absolutely one of the best stages I have ever heard.The only stage I heard that may be better is the Ese Lab. The Ese is less expensive, quieter and had a deeper soundstage. Awesome details and dynamics. I was set to get the Groove until I heard the Ese. Call Hart at Audioadvancements. He sold my friend the Groove but now that he has heard the Ese, feels its better all around.
Hi Nolitan, I am in the UK and the upgrade cost me a total of about 800 GB pounds say $1300. There were two things that Tom did:
1) upgrade to SRX - this is the thing to go for, less noise and even more detail/music
2) I had the dip switches fitted so that I can load different cartridges instaed of having to return it each time.
I would recommend (1) but not sure that I'd pay an extra $4k - is it really that much more??
thanks for response.
when you go for the upgrade to SRX does it make the system more revealing ? more recordings will sound worst as they are ?
what cart are you using with the SRX ?
I am using a Dynavestor XV1-S. The upgrade certainly gives more detail and I wouldn't worry about making old/poor recordings sound worse. What seems to happen is that it gets more information off of the record, particualrly effective is retrieval of the ambience of the venue. I find that I now actually prefer my older recordings - though whether this is the cartridge or the phono stage is difficult to say.
I once had a chat with Tom Evans and he did tell me that even if one uses the SRX with cheap cart like a Denon 103r, it will still sound very good.
I borrowed a Groove X (I think) for a week or so from a local dealer. It had dip switches for adjusting loading and capacitance.
Initially I found it quite impressive. It was very quiet, detailed, black backgrounds. It had the lowest noise floor I'd ever heard in a phono stage. I was ready to buy it, but I had a nagging doubt. After going back to my other phono stage - an Exposure 13 - I identified what it was. The Groove lacked dynamics. The Groove didn't groove. A plucked guitar string or struck cymbal, while rendered with incredible tonal accuracy, just did not have the speed or impact of the real thing. My Exposure phono stage did not resolve detail quite as well, but made more musical sense. I returned the Groove and am still happily using my Exposure phono stage.