Nagra VPS

I plan an upgraded on my phonostage?

does someone could eleborated his experience with NAGRA VPS?

it replaced what phonostage?

if you upgraded and replace your Nagra, what top the Nagra VPS.

thanks for your help
Would be happy to help. Am awaiting the Nagra VPS. It should arrive any day. Will replace a Phd Sutherland, an absolutely outstanding phonostage. Why am I upgrading...that is a another story. As and when I get to saviour the delights of the VPS, will share my thoughts.
All the best
look foward, to read that! thanks
I purchased the VPS. I had the Pass AlphaOno. I listened to the Steelhead & the AR7 also. The stealhead was very good but sounded better by it self than it did going into my AR Ref3, sound best with rock music. The AR7 was too on the lean side for me, not enough bottom end, sounded best with classical music. The VPS had what I wanted, very neutral and has slam when it was needed. Very open and full sound stage with lots of depth. Also it sounds great with all music types I play.
Does the cone upgraded and the aluminum plated with sorbothan worth the investment as mentionned in stereophyle?

Found a person in Mtl that have it and is willing to let me listen my lp's on his set-up, will keep you inform!

Hi jaxxbeq

does someone could eleborated his experience with NAGRA VPS?

wonderful. my toe's tap when I listen. Has a uncanny ability to make things sound more like live unampliflied music. do a search, several have posted on the VPS...

it replaced what phonostage? replaced a VERY good BAT VKp10SE superpak.

I love mine.
in fact, the only post on nagra was yours Jfrech!

did you see this thread? several comment on the VPS ...what part of the world do you live in?
"The Nagra VPS was much more forward in its presentation and treated the instruments with equal emphasis also but gave more energy to instruments when needed. There was more punch and excitement, depth and lower bass was better. It was very good with all the music I played. I found my self tapping my toes to the music with the VPS.

I have been using the Pass Alpha ONO before this"

Well it appear, i'm case sensitive word am living in! and as far as i can read and from your respond, you seem dedicated to nagra causes! ;)
Well my VPS arrived yesterday and it would be darn right stupid of me to attempt a review on 3hrs of listening but there is one observation I want to share. The tubes on my Conrad Johnson power amp are new with barely 8/10 hours of use. With my previous phonostage(Sutherland Phd - a superb phonostage) you could make out that something was amiss, the musical picture and textures were all there but the midrange was a bit on the thin side(in the context of new tubes).With the VPS in the system somehow I almost forgot the tubes have a long way to go before break in. The musical presentation was a whole lot more coherent. The VPS is straight out of the box. If this is what the VPS does before it and the power amp achieve break in, well I guess the good times are here and now.
Sunnyboy1956, it just get's better from here :). On my VPS, it to sounded great out of the box. It wasn't like my BAT gear that I thought was broke or I messed up, however after 100's of hours it transformed...and is great.

The VPS doesn't transformationally change, everything relaxes and this incredible sense of ease just flows. Now if you're also using the transistor gain section, it does take a little time (150 hrs tops) and does open/extend a little.

My preamp allows me to use either gain setting (just have to turn the volume way up). The tube section is more transparent (slightly), and adding the transistor gain, tightens things ever so slightly. I almost like both, for differnt records (tube for classical, small scale jazz), transistor for rock.

Good luck

(Jazzbeq, a few happy owners i think)
(Jazzbeq, a few happy owners i think)

Thanks, i guess, i am preparing to join the club!

i can't wait to listen up the VPS, localy on a friend!

but a bit afraid that i will like it!

It has been a while since that reply on the other thread about the VPS.
THE VPS has gotten much better over time. The all around sound has become tighter, especially in the bottom end. The timber and decay also continue to evolve over time. The most change happens after the first 300 hours or so.
Play something you really like when you first get it then try it again after about 100 hours. You will notice more ease in the sound and better emehasis in the individual instruments and their presentation.
Hi Jfrech,

I did check your post on your gears, and it will look similar to the one a friend is willing to let me try is VPS at his place, same tt but he has omega/classe instead of tube amp

the VPS is over the NAGRA DAC, film is shaky, maybe the sub were too loud ;)

here pic of his gear:
Jazzbeq: that's a great looking system. you'll get to hear the VPS in a very good setting. Be ready to order yours ;)
Hevac1 and Jfrech
A quick question : what cartridge loading are you using and with which cartridge? Am still experimenting, currently using a specially supplied 1k ohm card with a Lyra Skala. There is a difference with the 47k ohm card but hey its pretty subtle. Would appreciate any comments/advice.
I was born in 1956.
For my Keotsu 100 ohm.
For my Lyra Helikon Mono 1000 ohm.
Also You might want to try 500 ohm for the Skala.
Make sure you activate the loading. I messed that up a first on the secord input when I was setting it up.
Hi, I am using the 1k card. I never tried anything different, my dealer has a VPS and a Skala, he just set it for me and I've loved it ever since.

I do seem to flip back and forth from tube gain only to tube + SS gain. The tube only a little more transparency and beauty, with SS a little more grip. Kinda depends on the music and my mood. Both are very good. (My preamp has tons of quiet gain)

Also, if you read the manual, there is a symetrical input option. I guess it somehow floats the ground. This is something I want to try to see if it has any effect. Have either of you experiemented here?
hevac1, what are your thoughts on the 500 ohm setting with the skala? how do you think it'll change?

Hevac 1
Not only are we the same age but we both have impeccable taste in audio...Lol.
Tried the 470 ohm card (had actually asked for 500ohm ) but it sounded a wee bit closed. Actually I am a bit concerned that I should not rush to any conclusion as there is too much thats new in my vinyl chain : new tonearm(Triplanar), new tubes in the power amp (CJ LP70S) and of course the spanking new VPS. Have also changed the arm board on the TT etc
Doesn't the symmetrical option work only with a balanced (XLR) cable?
The low gain is a non starter with my preamp (CJ CT5).
Sunnyboy1956 & Jfrech

My Lyra is mono so my findings will be differant than yours.

With the 500 ohm on mine makes the sound a little tighter and the noise floor from older monos is much lower. Less surface noise and also does better if there is some groove error, the top end has less shrill.

But for mono reissues I prefer the 1000 ohm.

I have been playing with the gain and have found if the record was recorded on the hot side or to the other side, no life to the recording the no gain setting does a better job on the over all sound. Early 60's stereo albums also seem to sound better with less gain but not all, it does depend on the recording. It does cost you volume but I prefer quality of sound over volume. 45% volume for gain mode and 85% volume for no gain.

I have also found that as you change loading to a new module you should leave the module in place for few days to let it breakin and at least 1/2 an hour to warm up when swapping out. I also do this when change gain. If I shut anything off in my system I let it warmup before any critical listening is to begin.

Sunnyboy1956 you should let your system break in I would say 300+ hours before you make any final decision. As if anything is final in this hobby of ours other than spending more money. LOL
Dear friends: As you know there are two threads on almost the same subject.
I read with interest both and I can see that the Nagra owners as the people that already heard it are really satisfied ( good thing ) and reading around the Nagra ( in its website, Stereophile and other forums. ) I wonder why that " keenness ", let me to explain a little:

loking to its design and reading through JA evaluation the Nagra has some trouble with its high output impedance ( either on tube mode or SS one ) that build/produce frequency deviations ( colored the sound ) and like JA point out it needs a line stage with 100k ohms at input impedance but even with this impedance figure the Nagra is in " trouble ".
I can't understand why Nagra write in their website that the VPS is a good " mate " to the Nagra PLP where the input impedance is around 20K and where the VPS deviations/distortions will be higher: this is out of my mind and IMHO tell me between other things and with all respect to Nagra people that they don't take in count those critical quality performance subjects that are really critical in a phono stage.

Th VPS choose to use a nonbalanced design with step up transformers that add colorations/distortions and that IMHO makes more harm that help about.

But the " trouble " does not finish there but go on in the most important subject ( from my point of view ) in any phono stage: inverse RIAA eq. deviation, well the VPS is really bad on this regard and far from the recording and not only because its high RIAA frequency deviations but because ( too ) the asymetry between channels on the same subject, this means that the VPS RIAA it is not only with those high deviations but different for each channel:

Now, if you read MF review he point out the several and different colorations on the VPS, he is hearing what JA measures on it.

My interest is almost always to be nearest to the recording and I like to share with the people this same target and IMHO the VPS goes against it more than other phono stages out there: no, nothing is perfect.

I know that almost everyone of you ( owners ) are really satisfied with this unit and nothing wrong with that but I always like to understand what happen around an audio item comments/reviews and I like to have my feets down the earth.

So I read what you posted with those facts in mind to understand what in reallity are you saying/hearing on the VPS performance.

Regards and enjoy the music.
One thing, not mention in the fact you are enumerating? did you listen to it, to verify those comment? it would be interested, to explain your Benchmark versus the stats? don't you think and also not forgotting, your impression!


Quote: Ferrari, make poor family car, but hey, that's not the point! is'n it?

Hi Raul, sorry I missed your last trip through central tx. I talked to some of my friends up in Dallas, they were impressed with your phono/pre "much better than I was expecting" That says a lot considering the state of art equipment they have...sounds like you have a great piece.

Regarding the Nagra VPS, I got a chance to audition it, in my system, side by side with my BAT VKP10SE superpak. My BAT Phono had NOS tubes in it and was being run fully balanced (xlr in and out) going in to my BAT pre and BAT amps.

The Nagra was run into the same pre and amp, same phono front end (SME 20/2, IV,Vi, Lyra Skala, Purist Venustas din to XLR) however, I used xlr to rca adpaters to connect the tonearm cable to the Nagra RCA only input. Somewhat of compromise to the Nagra. Plus given the BAT phono is fully balanced the BAT pre was seeing a single ended input (with the Nagra VPS) vs the fully balanced output on the BAT phono. So, another challenge for the Nagra VPS...

Also, having a all BAT amplication chain, no issues with impedance matching, no input transformers on the phono, and rated by a very well respected Stereophile reviewer "one of the top 3 phono stages I've heard"

All that said, I loved the VPS. Nothing against the BAT VKP1OSE Superpak, it is still great with it's strengths in a jet black noise floor and typical BAT house sound (powerful, flesh on the bones, great imaging and stage). The Nagra has a see through transparency, large expasive image and exceptional delineation and placement of the instruments, and a PRaT that is killer. My toes were tapping. That emotional connection to the music increased. It sounded more like live unamped music-if all this is your "colorations" I'll take it.

I do think it's a perfect match for my system. The BAT Pre and Amp with the 6h30 tube can be a touch cold.

If your interest in to be "nearest to the recording" the Nagra VPS is a must audition. At only 6k new, small footprint, no heat output, just 3 tubes, it's quite a offering. Next time you're in central Tx, pls stop by.

Bring your ears and leave the measurements behind on this one :), if I've learned anything with the hobby, the ears don't lie, they might get fooled a few times, but not in this case...

Anyway, as always, it's a pleasure knowing you and sincerely appreciate all your thoughts around A'gon!
Dear John: As I posted I know that you like it and there is nothing wrong with that and if your toes were tapping that's very fine for you, I'm not against that.

My point of view goes a little " deeper " or better yet is more on what I almost always try to find: something that put me nearer to the recording.

I respect your opinion not only like a person but like a VPs owner but I think that my targets are a little different from yours ( but I know that as a whole you and me like that our toes stay tapping!! ).

I don't want to go very in deep in the subject but maybe is enough to say that everything the same I prefer an audio item that is more accurate to the recording: specially on phono stages.

John as a rule I don't like to add " colorations " ( any ) to what I hear that's why I'm extremely carefully about, for me to preserve the cartridge signal integrity all over the audio chain is a must to have/worry.

I'm not saying that the Nagra sounds bad NO what I'm saying is that add to many colorations to the cartridge signal, it is a product where the designers ( again IMHO ) does not care to much on the subject to preserve the cartridge signal integrity and for me is not acceptable from a quality performance point of view.

You and me know that many " colorations " are easy to our ears but this fact does not means that is right.

I can't applaud to Nagra for this design because like a customer I need that Nagra do it better ( lot better ) next time.
In other way, for example, I have to applaud Ralph from Atmasphere because he really cares about that beloved cartridge signal integrity in his latest design that from my point of view and from a design point of view is the best all tube design out there, no doubt about: the Atmasphere is a unique tube design by any standard: like it or not.

John I posted 2-3 times that we need to help to the designers/manufacturers on audio to grow-up but IMHO we are not helping when we applaud something that in essence goes aginst the quality performance.
Maybe some of us have to think in a whole new way about the whys/how/where/what to look in the very near future to achieve an elevate the whole quality performance in the high end industry.

John, many people speak about the importance of SYnergy in our audio home systems but several of them IMHO have a wrong understand on what really means Synergy.
A mistmatch impedance between two audio items preclude Synergy, some people cares more about that others.

I know that it is more easy to set up/conform a system where we don't care about that one where we care about, let me tell you this: when yo hear/heard a system with true/real synergy you can't go back, the differences are of paramount importance, the quality level performance is on other level, perhaps you never had that opportunity to heard/hear it and like you say: " next time you come to Mèxico " be my guest and of course if you have time I will be with you in my next trip to USA: a pleasure!.

Regards adn enjoy the music.
Dear jazz: from the design point of view IMHO the Nagra VPS is far away from Ferrari ( Ferrari is a especialist on car design where Nagra is not on phono stages. ) and like you say that's not the point.

Regards adn enjoy the music.
IHMO meant??

and Raul, like your answer, purity vs cohesion of the system, can we achieve both?

What does stradivarius a pure violin? and other not?

And yes i enjoy the music! that's the goal!

Greating from montreal, Canada! you are welcome up here to, but i guess, i am way behind you guy with my old Rega P9 and leben 300!
Dear Jazz: ++++ " purity vs cohesion of the system, can we achieve both? " ++++

of course, this is one of the name of the game: purity it does not a fight against cohesion, ideally both subjects can live together for enhance our music enjoyment!!!!

Btw, your " old " P9 is a good one.

Regards and enjoy the music.
You make your own equipment including a phonostage and you have not said if you have listened to it yourself with your own ears your. If you have not experienced it yourself then this just sounds like a smear campaign from another manufacturer. Not everything on paper sounds good, thats why we listen.
Dear hevac1: I respect your point of view but certainly I don't agree with. My comments on the VPS have the same " decorum " that the one over the Atmasphere. If you read carefully what I posted you could understand that I " go " to a more wide level subject(s) that only quality performance in the VPS item.

First than all I'm a music lover and second an audiophile : the Essential was a happy " accident " and I'm not married with it and don't makes me close my eyes with what is happening around: for the good or bad. It happens that I like to learn in a continuous way.

+++++ " Not everything on paper sounds good, thats why we listen. " +++++

exactly and that's why you have what you have and listen what you are listening.
In the MF review he certainly heard exactly how the VPS measure , of course that he has to be polite/corteus due that the magazine needs advertizing but he write about those VPS colorations/distortions.

There is nothing wrong with what you like, this fact is part of our each audio learning curve

Now, today audio " things " are improved in some ways and are different from the old times when we readed " incredible " audio item specifications and when we heard that item the sound was terrible, IMHO today is different the item sound is better and now you really can hear " inside " those specs. I always say that I'm nt a specs lover but as part of our learning curve and as part of my quest for " perfect " synergy " I have to choose very carefully some specs to decide about, example: RIAA eq. deviation, amplifier output impedance, preamp output impedance, etc, etc., these specs are critical as critical is a cartridge/tonearm match.

Imho we need to understand at least those specs and understand why are so important and how affect the quality performance in an audio system.

At other level of " things " IMHO we need too to understand the advantages and disadvantages of different kind of designs in audio items, example: non feedback VS feedback and where, balanced vs unbalanced, direct coupled, fully differential, etc, etc,, this is not only part of our audio culture NO it is part of our audio learning curve that can help us to improve and achieve our top quality performance targets in our home audio systems.

IMHO to bring a top quality performance audio system is not only a money subject but know how in different topics and is this know how what makes " the difference ".
You and me want to learn every day sometimes with very simple things that sometimes we can think are not important till we try it.

Anyway, the important subject is that you are happy with what you have and this is what it counts about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
I think you hit the nail on the head when you say :" are happy with what you have..and that is what counts..."
I am the newest member of the VPS tribe with my unit being barely a week old with somewhere around 25hrs on it.
I have read MF's review as also his follow up comments on the VPS while reviewing the Naim phono stage in the next issue. MF is fairly clear in his remarks that the VPS adds a veneer of coloration but goes on to add that given the number of bad recordings out there thats not necesarily a bad thing.
I will in all humility, given your formidable reputation and knowledge, take issue on one critical aspect. In my subjective opinion the end gaol of our hobby is the pursuit of musical enjoyment and not transparency or neutrality per se. For example and I suspect the analogy is not altogether misplaced, how do you like your food : tasty or entirely neutral and true to the ingredients that go into the food?
I also suspect that there is no final or absolute answer to this question.
That said I could'nt agree more with both Hevac1 and Jfrech and ALSO MF that the VPS is among the best phono stages out there.
Cheers and Happy listening.
Dear Sunnyboy1956: That's why I love democracy.

I know that is really difficult to understand in deep what I'm talking about because what you are satisfied with what you are hearing: you like it!.

I know too that there are different " taste " in each one of us but in general we like the " same food ", IMHO I think that over the time it would be a good thing to almost every one of us take in count not only the synergy on our ears but the electrical/specs ( at least ) synergy between audio items in an audio system, I can say with out doubt that in that way we can grow-up fast and more important we can achieve better quality performance of what we have.

This whole synergy subject maybe is the main target in our self audio learning curve. Of course ( I understand ) that when we take in count the " electrical-specs " synergy in our buy decisions the alternatives goes down-not so wide but IMHO the rewards could and can be worth the effort.

I'm not only looking for " perfection " per se NO I'm trying to looking in an intelligent way and of course looking the quality performance that put my " toes tapping ".
I have a lot of experiences ( like any one of you ) in the quest to be truer to the recording and between those experiences every time that made/make a change to lower distortions in a link in my audio system chain ALWAYS ( till today ) the system performance improve, not that sound only different NO the quality performance go 1-2-3 steps foreward.
Un-matched impedances between audio items ( phono stage-line stage, speaker-amplifiers, etc,, ), high RIAA deviations, asymetry ( frequency deviations ) between channels in any electronic audio item, cartridge/tonearm, etc, etc, makes/build distortions and we hear it so trying to lower those different kinds of distortions is one of my main target because as I say it: the rewards are worth the effort.

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear friends: I'm not against any of you or Nagra, what I'm trying to share with all of you is to find " roads " that permit to improve the whole quality on the high end audio industry and IMHO I think that the audio customers ( along audio magazines/reviewers. ) are the ones that can contribute the more to achieve that target.

Why ( example , nothing against it. ) Nagra makes the VPS design in that way: because its design know-how is a low one? because they really don't care about ? because they only want to make money? because....? because.... ? IMHO Nagra and many other manufacturers try to build/design at its best but they know something: that the high end audio community ( Customers ) is really whom does not care about, they know that it does not matters if its RIAA deviation is high or its output amplifier impedance is high: the customer does not question about so they don't have to be better: NO ONE ASK FOR IT!!!
I'm totally sure ( no doubt about ) that not only Nagra can do better but almost all the today manufacturers.

Please, for a moment try to imagine an " scene/stage " where we all customers before to buy an amplifier ask for a low output impedance or before to buy a phono stage ask for no step-up transformers or very low RIAA deviation, or whatever.
In this kind of " stage " several products ( lot of them ) like the ones that are on offer today ( VPS as example ) no one can/want buy them at any price so in these stage conditions/enviroment the manufacturers have to design according making better ( a lot better ) audio items in benefit/benefice of each one customer and on the whole audio industry.

What can we do about?, three very simple things:


We have to try to help to our self because no one will do it if you don't do it, remember that the " market " and the needs of that market is made/make/doing mainly by the CUSTOMERS ( you and me ) not the builders.

Friends we have to be better!!!!!, we deserve better and the best: we have to ask for it, we have the right to ask for it: we are the ones that pay for it!

Regards and enjoy the music.
Come on Raul, say it the way it is: the Nagra is a overpriced metal box with lots of air in it. :)
I forgot: Audio dealers too have a main " voice " on the whole subject.

Actually, Raul, you made the point. This is a hobby for an overconsuming society, where look-ophilia, prestige based on price and brand-recognition is more important than the original purpose of the hobby: realistic music reproduction. The high end industry is turned to serve taste niches, and professional journalism is serving this trend instead of providing honest and critical views and reporting about cases of badge manufacturing, or technically flawed products. Most of the serious companies with real technical background have withdrawn from the industry, and small firms without real RandD capacity and technological backing dominating the market. Customers are lacking the technical background, and maybe also they have only shallow experiences as far as live music concerned. As far as me concerned, I had my own bad purchases and constant disappointment in searching something similar to live music experience withing the limits of home reproduction. Finally, I have found real value in professional products done by big professional firms to real professionals at real world price level. From this position, it is really funny to hear how many highly expensive audiophile system provides very interesting, nice, exciting, but fatally flawed and very coloured sound.
I understand where you are coming from BUT even reviewers do not judge items from other reviewers write ups it would be unprofessional. As said before if you have not listened to it YOURSELF than you cannot judge it. AJ bench checked it but also gave it a listen and that is the way to do it. All reviewers say do not go by the technical info it DOES NOT GARRENTY good sound and I myself have listened to items that looked great on paper but were real crap. I also listened to the ARC that Stereophile also reviewed and thought it was great. I felt in MY SYSTEM it was good but had no life to it. And my preamp is a REF3 go figure. So what is more important to enjoy the music or hear it as you say correctly and fall a sleep because a reviewer said it was great.
We know we must try equipment out to see how it meshes with our existing items some work and some don't.
Does what you make SOUND great with every other audio manufacturer out there?
Dear hevac1: I never say its sounds bad. Just for a moment imagine your VPS quality performance with an improved design that preclude all those " deviations ": WOW!!!!!

Btw, your peaked caps ( room treatment ) are your audio system " secret-weapon " for top quality performance?

Regards and enjoy the music.
Dear Thomasheisig: Your post really take out a big and great laugh from me, that " smile " make my day: thank you, and no that was not my attitude about.

Regards and enjoy the music.
May i politely, return the subject to the question?

Just for the record, Raul, the question was, did you listen it? yes or no? and they your answer will take a direction, don't you think? ah well don't think answer yes or no, did you listen to it? than think?

And yes, i agree, everything is overprice, and over everything, because speculation? but hey recession is regulator for those kind of thing, hope it will not hit to hard on hifi companie, caus, the only thing we will listen will be old 78!
How is the VPS sounding?
Thanks. I barely have 30hrs on it but I have the feeling this is the last phono stage I am going to buy. Female voices and voices in general are superb. I was playing a 20yr+ Gordon Lightfoot lp a couple nights back and I don't remember the soundstage being this wide or more important the music being this involving;the toe tapping description is absolutely spot on. Too much in my vinyl chain is new,even then I have no hesitation ,notwithstanding what more knowledgeable pundits might say, that this is really a superb phonostage. I guess I need to say a big thank you to JFrech and you for your prompt advice and experience sharing.
Need a minimum of a month or more to truly revert with further comments
I shall wait for your final review.
Mine is sounding better all the time.
The second input is almost broken in.
I had to swap inputs so I could break it in faster.
I play more stereo than mono. So for now the mono is all set just waiting for the stereo to catch up.
I believe the VPS will make you happy so give it a try.
Remember most reviewers and opinions say the Keotsu cartridges add color also and most do not care because they sound great.
Anyone tried the Nagra VFS with your VPS?

I spent the extra $300 or so to get the Nagra spikes, those helped quite a bit over stock feet. I also dramatically like the Nagra Spikes vs Finite Elemente Cerapucs (which are killer under all my other equipment)
My dealer brought a Nagra VFS by yesterday. Very nice improvement. More focus, more detail, just more of everything I love about my Nagra VPS.

I highly recommend it to Nagra VPS onwers.