Tube Phono Stage vs Solid State What do you think?

I am thinking of getting a phonostage and is looking at ASR Basis Exclusive 2010 solid state unit, BAT VK P-10SE with super pack, and Allnic H3000. I have never heard any of these units and would like to hear your opinion on solid state phono stage vs tube phonostage. And also your opinion on these units that I am looking at.
For use w what cart?

I am going to use Dynavector Moving Coil: 20XH, 20X Medium from VPI, and a Denon DL-S1. I listen to Jazz, R&B, some Rock, and Reggae music; therefore I am looking for some bsss from those phono stages I mentioned.
Any of the phonostages you mentioned would be overkill for your cartridges.
How about the Dynavector P75 phono?
What don't you like about your current Modwright tube Phono Stage?
It certainly looks like an impressive piece of kit and has some nice reviews.
If it's bass that you're not happy with, have you tried the rectifier tube swap that Greg Weaver did in his positive feedback review?

For bass tightness and impact, I expect a SS phono will have the edge over a tube unit. Personally I find tubes to reproduce musical textures more realistically. Be careful not to 'throw baby out with the bathwater' - been there, done that.
The other thing I've found with SS phono pre amps is that they are better dynamically but seem to operate in 2D more than the 3D sound that I think you get with tubes. When I've hooked up even a pretty high cost SS, I always seem to lose depth in the sound stage.
What preamp are you using? Many tube phono pre have rather high output impedance and will not drive many solid state pre amps wiht 10k input impedance all that well. There are only a handful of tube phono units that work well with solid state preamp.
On the other hand SS phono should be able to drive any solid state or tube pre quite well.
>>08-26-11: Inna
Any of the phonostages you mentioned would be overkill for your cartridges<<


The Denon DL-S1 is a killer cartridge and a great value.
Hi,Dhcod hit it right on the head.The SS phono will whip the tube unit in specs and noise but in the real world application most prefer the sound of tubes,noise and all.
The Denon DL-S1 is a killer cartridge and a great value

Agreed Bill. the better the phono stage, the better the Denon DL-S1 will perform
Tube phono pres are just as "bass tight" as solid state, that is a misconception. A preamp is not the same as an amp driving speakers. The ouput impedance characterstics are very different.
I can't imagine any phone stage as overkill in any system. I think a lot of products, including cartridges, get a bad review, rating, first impression, etc., because of compromises in the system when the system owner has decided that product X is "good enough" for product Y.

It takes a lot of trial and error to find line stages and phono stages out there that excel in the 3D as Dhcod describes. I have heard no SS products come even close to the great tube products in this regard. I have also heard tube products that have stunning dynamics. The CAT immediately comes to mind, as does the Aria WV5 that I use.
Dear Almandog: As you can read each one has its own take, this is mine.

The Denon DLS1 is IMHO a way way better cartridge quality performer than your Dyna's. To be in the same league than the DLS1 you need something like the Dyna XV-1s.

So, I think that you need a phonoline stage that can " honor " the DLS1 quality and that has very high gain ( with out SUT that degrade the cartridge signal. ) with no-noise due that the Denon is very low output.

What to choose about depends on your main audio/music targets/priorities.
If what you are looking is to hear what's in the recording then you need IMHO a phonolinestage that be: neutral/accurate, IMHO there is no other way.
If what you are looking is that " soundstage, false 3D ( that does not came in the recording. ), colored sound " then your choice must be different.

In the first case the choice is a good SS design ( not that ASR. ) and maybe one or two good tube designs that IMHO are not any one you name it.

In the second case you can choose almost anything: tube or SS.

There are several factors that could tell us that for that DLS1 a good SS design is the way to go but in the other side I know that are persons that think in a different way.
I think, as I said, that you need to choose according with your targets.
Now, an investement in an audio item like this one you want to do needs that in some way you try to hear ( the preference in your system. ) different phonolinepreamps where you can near sure what goes with what you are looking for because if you buy at " random " then maybe in six months you will be looking for a new unit.

Regards and enjoy the music,
As usual Raul is very positive and as usual I disagree with him. I just sold my Denon DL-S1 as I found my AT 33 EV to be better. My phono stage, the same ASR Exclusive that he warns you not to buy. I have a 2006 version which is the best I have had ; it is well liked by my friends who have chosen tube units. One has the Tron, for example. My version of THE TRUTH is this: both tubes and SS can sound great but they are unlikely to sound the same; the choice is yours to make. Your system and taste should determine which you buy, no one else can get inside your head and hear they way you do. Of course, it is difficult if not impossibe to hear things these days so we are all dependent to a large degree on what we hear from others. What I try to do is find reviewers or posters who like the same type of sound as I do and place some faith in their views. For instance when I was considering Gamut speakers I noticed a positive review on Dagogo about them. I ended up getting the L5s and really like them. A few months later I had a chance to get an Audia Flight line stage at a good price; the fact that the same revewer also used it in his system was part of the reason I decided to get it. I have also been happy with it. So try to identify revewers/posters who share your taste if possible; knowing your own taste is the begining of wisdom in audio,
If you get the BAT be aware that you can't always believe what you read, the older units can not be upgraded to be the same as the newer units (different mother board). I've got an older VK P-10 that I'm happy with, except that occasional channel balance adjustments are required and these are a pain in the southern regions (remove cover, warm up 1 - 2 hours, connect meter, tweak, repeat). Newer versions have an auto balance feature.
Dear Stanwal, Wouldn't you think that "great" phono stages should tend to sound the same on a given system. The "great"-er they are, the more they should begin to resemble each other, IMO. I recently had that experience comparing my Atma MP1 phono section to an Ayre P5Xe. While I gave the edge to the Atma-sphere (which I had tweaked to use a hybrid cascode phono input, rather than an all tube cascode as per OEM, so admittedly not "pure" tubes all the way), the Ayre at times could be indistinguishable from the MP1, just a bit more "dry" sounding.
Lewm- If you think about it, it makes sense. For any single individual, the best sounding [insert component here] will tend to converge, because they are closest to that person's "absolute sound" (irony intended; we each have our own absolute).
Dear Stanwal: That you like op-amps it only means that but that that's the best way to go.

As I said: all depends of what you are looking for. If the ASR op-amps fill your gap good for you: that's your quality level " you die for ", mine is different.

Regards and enjoy the music,
" but not ".

Swampwalker, Oh yes. Without a doubt. "Great" = the sound I seek. But give or take a few details, I don't think we are all so different from one another in what we seek. Anyway, one's own absolute sound and the difference between two phono stages that both sound "great" to the same guy might or might not be the same thing.
"But not" is exactly my response to most of Raul's posts. It is facinating to me that after years of recomending obsolete MM cartridges he is now singing the virtues of a moving coil. Does that mean his earlier posts are no longer valid? Unlike him I judge componets by the way they sound and not what is inside; some very good equeptment uses opamps, some junky ones do too. Ditto tubes, ditto mosfets and so on. While we are slinging mud let me say if he had better speakers he might have different opinions.
Dear Stanwal: I never deny the MC cartridge quality, I own several top LOMC ones and I heard in my system the latest tops.
That some MM/MI cartridges can even or ouperform LOMC cartridges does not means that I can't recognize the MC quality level as the DLS1 that I own.

I don't know which is your point or what you are trying to say.

+++++ " recomending obsolete MM cartridges " +++++

obsolete?, well today there are hundreds/thousands of persons that in this moment are enjoying/hearing one of those " obsolete " MM cartridges you are refering and IMHO any one of them can tell you that are cartridges that has everything you want but OBSOLETE, they as me are hearing it right now: could you imagine why?

In the other side, always I can I judge any audio item for how it sounds and what is " inside " or how it measures: what's wrong with that?. What is inside/measures IMHO is a good complement for what I hear, can give me a better " history " of what I'm hearing.
I normally prefer to hear what is right along what likes me, I don't like to hear what is wrong even if could be " acceptable " like it is for you: well my targets are different as is my training that's not only in focus inside my audio system but through my experiences with several a lot of other audio systems.

Btw, about my speakers you have no single idea and I mean NO SINGLE IDEA how it performs, useless to argue about.

Regards and enjoy the music,
A used Pass XONO is a great value.
Both sound cool to me.
I've heard both sound very good. The biggest difference I hear is that tube units might have more hiss, while transistor units tend to play more surface noise. This has nothing to do with the bandwidth of either BTW. Beyond that a transistor unit often sounds brighter as well, although with the best, this is well-tamed.
I also had a Modwright phono stage, and I had sellers remorse when I let it go. I never had the chance to compare it one and one to a solid-state unit. But so far the Modwright is the best one I heard in my system that deliver the sound stage that I really like. A friend lent me his ASR Basis Exclusive 2010, which I am listening to now as I write this posting; but I just can't get it. It has good top and bottom but It does not have the sound stage the I like. It sound thin to me. I tried many records old and new. I don't know it it's the price that's affecting me.
I try to hit a happy medium by having a tube phono stage (Fosgate Signature) running into a tube preamp (Joule Electra LA-150 Mk 2) and out to a solid state amp (Belles 350A). Have tried in that fashion to get the soundstage depth and width plus real body to instruments while having good dynamics and bass--have mostly succeeded.
If you are using a medium output cartridge, such as .7mV and above, you should try the Artemis Labs Ph-1. It is an all tube design that gives you about 52dB of gain without the use of any stepup transformers.

It has great body, harmonics, dynamics, resolution, soundstaging, etc. I listen to a lot of classical and jazz and this phonostage being fed by wood bodied Benz MC's is outstandingly musical. Artemis Labs products have been very highly rated in the past at RMAF as well.

You don't see them come up used very often, but it is definately worth checking out in my humble opinion.