Phoenix Engineering Falcon and Eagle


Read a one-liner in a different forum related to Phoenix operations.  Tried to access their website without success. 

Are they still around?
bpoletti
He closed up shop.  You will find a thread about it on AudioAsylum.
There is also a thread on the VPI forum under the "General Audio" section.  It was stated there that HiFi Heaven purchased remaining stock and is selling it, albeit at an inflated price.

I recall when he started up and thought things were finally heading in a positive direction. 
Think I read retirement but haven't looked into it further.

Must admit I was surprised to hear the demise.



Could HiFi Heaven be a surrogate of VPI?

If true, it would make much more sense.
slaw - Why?  Maybe they made the smart move by just buying the remaining inventory.  What would make them a "surrogate of VPI"?  

Besides, now those warranties are all in question.  How long will those units continued to be supported under warranty by a business that has closed their doors?  No guarantees of any support, right?
My understanding is that Phoenix Engineering was not unsuccessful. Just that it was too time consuming, so Mr. Carlin decided to return to retirement.
I have an Eagle and a Roadrunner. Outstanding products in my opinion.
Recent reviews in TAS, Audio Planet and comments in Stereophile are all very positive.
Thinking of grabbing a backup for a secondary system while I still can.
Leo, there are some still available somewhere? Enlighten me!
HiFi Heaven bought out the remaining supply is my understanding...
I have heard a VPI turntable with it and with the SDS ...makes no difference to my ears.
Stringreen, When you say you've heard "it", do you refer to the Eagle plus Roadrunner, connected so that the RR feeds information about speed back to the Eagle, or do you refer to just a straight ahead comparison of the Eagle to the SDS?  Because the SDS does not have provision for feedback from the platter on speed.  For this reason the Eagle + RR ought to have an advantage in any comparison to the SDS alone.  However, there is no guarantee that you or I would easily hear it.
roscoeiii
HiFi Heaven bought out the remaining supply is my understanding...
I think Legend Audio & Video also bought out some of the inventory.

Too bad...and excellent product...great effort support...one of the few "tweaks" which actually made a difference.
Hi lewn.....I heard the Eagle and Rdrunner.....intriguing flashing numerals, however, I could hear no difference ...that doesn’t mean there is none...only that I heard none.
I bought a set of RR plus Eagle from Hi-Fi Heaven, apparently before they increased pricing.  For installation on my Lenco.  Haven't yet found the time to do the work necessary to mount the sensor on my platter.
Out of curiosity regarding the reported price increase at Hi-Fi Heaven, I just searched their website.  Apparently they sold out of Eagle, still have some Roadrunners left in stock.  So, the price increase, whatever it was, did not hurt their sales of the Eagle.  Looks like the RR is up about 20% in price from what I paid, but I don't even remember for sure what that was.
Roadrunner was $234, now $400
Falcon was $379, now $500.

Although the Falcon is "specified" for motors of 5 Watts or less it can actually run larger motors if properly heat-sinked. Do a Google search.

Whether they still remain reasonable purchases as compared to the competition (and there is none for the Roadrunner and especially the combo*) is for each one to determine for themselves.

No connections, just a very satisfied owner of the Eagle-RR combo with a VPI TT.

*VPI is said to be working on a unit that will combine speed control and speed monitoring.  No ETA or pricing as of yet.
Does anyone know if the new ADS combines speed control with speed monitoring?
Does anyone know if the new ADS combines speed control with speed monitoring?
The current ADS model does not, but VPI is working on a deluxe model which reportedly will have some form of speed monitoring and correction.
Speed monitoring is probably not necessary as long as there is sufficient motor torque.  Reduction of the voltage to the motor will reduce the pulses in the belt drive.  THAT is the real issue.  That can be addressed with a small variostat.  No speed variation even running at 70 volts. 
I think it depends upon what one thinks is necessary.  Before the Roadrunner few people monitored TT speed carefully over periods of time.  If nothing else, belts wear out or stretch.  Then there is a bit of disagreement as to whether absolute speed accuracy is important.  But I think there is consensus on the effects of table warm-up, for example.  I recall HW writing not to do serious listening until the table has been going for 30 minutes or so for the reason that, unmonitored, the turntable will not reach its long-term speed setting for a while.  Then there's stylus drag; don't know how great an issue..

FWIW I don't think the variostat will address inconsistencies in the power line frequency.

For me the best thing about this "monitoring and correction" is that is just one more thing I never have to think about.  As the man said, "Just set it and forget it."  So I can obsess about everything else.
After I got the Eagle and RR, I tested my setup, (1) without the Eagle and RR, (2) with only the Eagle AC regeneration, and (3) with the Eagle/RR feedback correction.

What I found was that the stock motor (VPI Scout II) was inherently stable to 33.3RPM, just not to the 0.00 precision because of fluctuations in the power coming from the wall. Adding the Eagle and its power regeneration led to a steady 33.33RPM with a narrower fluctuation in the 0.000 range, sometimes hitting 33.333RPM. So that proves the stock motor runs properly when fed proper 60Hz power from the wall and when the motor is located properly from the table. Connecting the Eagle/RR with feedback made the fluctuation much more tighter in the 0.000 range, hitting 33.333RPM for longer periods of time.  Audible?  Depends on who you ask but I noticed a difference (not night and day, but identifiable) .  YMMV.
bpoletti,

If they are "friendly", it may make sense to eliminate their competition. It was just a thought.

brf,

Your post reminds me of what kind of offends me regarding how VPI rolls out new product lines. If one sees the new ADS and sees it as superior to their SDS or any other unit they may own, then purchases it, only to find out, not much later a newer model has come out with a feature that may be one this same buyer would have liked to have in his recently purchased unit.???

All,

I had the good fortune to hear first hand K&K audio's TT power supply w/ level control last weekend. Through his Nottingham tt, I was very impressed. I mention this because there are other options.


I should say for correctness, his unit now, needs to be wired into a tt's motor, so it is not a plug n' play upgrade, at least right now.
bpoletti,

I find it ethically and morally wrong that Phoenix Engineering would leave it’s customers without any explanation? On it’s face, this is not a good thing. They were direct competition for VPI.

Until we here directly from PE's owner, I think there are unresolved questions.
 Slaw, I think the only issue would revolve around Phoenix's willingness or lack thereof to service products still in warranty.  To back out of that pledge could be said to be "unethical"; I would say it's more in the area of "unprincipled".  Some others would say there's no difference between the two.  Since rumor has it that the designer did not really retire, he only bowed out of the commercial audio business, he may still be in a position to honor any warranty on any of his products, so long as the warranty lasts.  Do you or does anyone else have information to suggest that Phoenix will not take care of units in the field?

On another note, I once owned a Notts Hyperspace that benefitted hugely from powering it via a Walker Audio Precision Motor Controller.  The difference with vs without was rather astounding to me.  Furthermore, selecting correct electrical phase, using the switch on the Walker, was an important link in achieving max benefits. Thus I don't doubt for a moment that any good motor controller would help the feeble Notts motor.  (Notts make their own power supply, as well.) This is not to dump on the Notts; the feebleness of the motor is a deliberate part of their design philosophy: massive platter/weak motor.  Walker uses the same strategy with their Proscenium.

BPoletti, I am a bit confused by your last post.  Do you mean to say that a variac or similar device that merely reduces AC voltage going to the motor would do as well as one of these power source/controllers, like the Eagle, etc?  Just wondering; I probably misunderstood you.
lewm,

I appreciate your posting on your experience with Nottingham.
slaw -

You must absolutely hate many of the electronics manufacturers.  Many put out products only to offer costly upgrades and improved products in a truncated product life-cycle.  Frustrating.  But technology along with R&D drive the improvements.  Improve and keep up with or get ahead of the competition, or go out of business.   

I have three VPI tables ranging from 20 to over 30 years old and they are still supported.  I only use the youngest of the three. 

I have said nothing negative about PE.  I just asked about their business operating status and what was going to happen with warranty coverage on their products. 

As far as the use of a variac, it seems to address what I consider the biggest issue with synchronous motors for belt drive tables.  That nasty pulse noise that gets transmitted through the belts to the platter.  Reducing the voltage to the motor after start-up decreases the magnitude of the pulses.  On my table, that results in a lower noise floor, blacker background, improved soundstage, tighter imaging and cleaner presentation.  Not subtle differences.  Is this as good as a servo speed- controlled DC motor?  I don't know.   

I have found through experimentation that after a full voltage start, the platter speed remains audibly stable at voltages far below the VPI motor voltage default (IIRC, 87v).  I run the table at around 70v without audible speed variation. 

This is my opinion related to the operation of my current turntable, an original VPI Aries Extended.  YMMV, your opinion may differ. 

This will probably start the endless debate about platter speed.  IMO, that should probably continue in one of the threads that already exist related to that topic.
"Roadrunner was $234, now $400
Falcon was $379, now $500."

These current prices are via ebay.  The same seller on Amazon is charging $300 for the Roadrunner.  The Falcon is unavailable there.
bpoletti,

"put out products in a truncated life cycle"
 
What does this mean? What does this mean to decades old customers who have no prior knowledge of products in the "pipeline"? ( Except for (brf).....)... well excuse me!

Does this "life cycle" mean within several months? Does this "life cycle" mean that their chief "senior" poster, (brf,) feels the need to "buffer" what is obviously known to him, (not to the public), by "buffer", I mean to "gently" put out the info regarding new products before their long time VPI owners will have any minute form of a specific of prior knowledge? Why doesn't VPI inform their loyal (registered) customers through email? Why is that so difficult?

How does this improve their loyal customer base?

(I'm focused on VPI, not other manufactures that I have no knowledge of)

Your response makes me want to scream.

Instead, I'll go listen to music,

Happy Listening!


..by the way... I'll go back listening to music only because I have a second tt.

It took since Dec 29th until two days ago for me to get the proper return shipping info for my SDS. This is unacceptable to me.  You?




..Give me a break
"Confessions from a VPI owner for some 30 Years"

Check out this post bpoletti, you'll find not much action since.

If you want, I can provide quotes from Mat and the lack of inaction between my questions vs. his responses. 

If you require more, just let me know? I've since abandoned my 30 year relationship from their dealer that I purchased their product through.

I don't post misinformation!

Are the many manufacturers you refer to that put out products only to be replaced or upgraded in a "truncated life cycle".... ones that you personally own and have had issues with? If not, don't try to use that "scenario" as a personal reason to discredit me and my own experience.

My post is from my own experience. I'd love to hear/read your personal experience with a manufacturer of a product in which you have personally owned for 30 years, that you've registered, and NEVER received any info regarding any new products coming through their "pipeline"
..again..Give me a break!
BP....the way you describe the symptoms of varying speed on one of your VPI's sound like belt stretch to me.  Try boiling the belt/installing a new one/switching to rim drive.  Just trying to be helpful.

on the point of having manufacturers (or even stores) keep in touch with their valued customers...nope - has NEVER happened in the 50 years or so I've nuddled around with this stuff...  However, if ever I had an issue/question/comment,... any need I had was quickly addressed with VPI (Harry), Vandersteen (Richard himself, and John Rutan of Audio Connection) or Ayre (Michael Weidemeir).  No ...not even one complaint the way I've been treated.
 Reducing the voltage to the motor after start-up decreases the magnitude of the pulses. On my table, that results in a lower noise floor, blacker background, improved soundstage, tighter imaging and cleaner presentation. Not subtle differences.

That has been my experience too. One issue a variac will not address is distortion on the AC mains. Many things connected to the grid "suck off" power at the peak of the AC cycle distorting the waveform by flattening the tops. This does impact the functioning of an AC synchronous motor.

Another design aspect with AC synchronous motors with two field coils (most) is the need for the voltage to the second field coil to be shifted by 90 degrees. This is usually accomplished with a series capacitor. The other option is to use a motor controller with two outputs (requires rewiring the motor and removing the cap.), providing a separate phase shifted output for each field coil. Controllers of this type allow the user to "tweak" the phase angle to the motor to minimize vibration. My experience has been that controlling the voltage is the more important of the two. Although, tweaking the phase does provide small improvements.
Stringreen - I don't have speed variation issues.  What I notice is the pulses from the motor being transmitted through the belt to the platter.  Reducing the voltage reduces the magnitude of the pulses which reduces the noise.  The speed holds quite steady even below 70v.  I use 70v as my motor operating voltage once motor startup is complete. 

I was frustrated by a Minneapolis high-end manufacturer that has been around over 40 years.  But I have always had great support from VPI and exception support from Herron Audio.   Never a complaint about them.  There are some great people in high-end audio.  There is also a large share of turds that foul the punch bowl.