Wavestream Kinectics Deluxe Phono


I would like to learn more about the Wavestream Kinetics Phono Stage.  From searching the forum I have found a few comments about this piece, but mostly all dating back 10-15 years ago.

I am wondering if this piece has both MM and MC inputs?

What is the gain for each?

How does it compare sound wise / noise/tube rush, etc  to other phono stages that you've heard?

I would love to hear any thoughts that may be more recent than 10-15 years ago :)

Thank you and best wishes,
There's an old listing on usaudiomart. It has the specs.

If you find one of these, get it.
It's like a sports car after time spent at the tuner.
I don't have one.

Looks to be a little overkill but we're audiophools, so the more switches and knobs, the better! 

I suppose if I had a VERY nice setup with an extensive collection with unique LP's this is it. How about that air capacitor and the custom control shaft? Even the shipping crate is overengineered.
I have one.

Just call Scott for specs and loads


I am using his first generation Wavestream Kinetics Phono Tube. Scott still makes all his gear, and he is wrapping up the generation 3 board for the phono tube. His gear is upgradable. I skipped gen 2 but when I visited and spoke with him last month (his shop is relatively close to my house), he said he will have the gen 3 phone tube board out shortly.

Re. MM/MC...you can insert resistor packs to adjust the load.

I am using a Shelter 901 mk3 cartridge, low output moving coil.

Search my name on this site; I recently experimented and wrote my response to a person asking about tube rush.

I used to use a Audio Research SP14 preamp (hybrid) which had a 12AX7 tube for the phono section. Apples and oranges comparison; Wavestream in another orbit. I already have MFA gear and a Wavestream Kinetics tube line amp...so it was pretty much inevitable I would go the distance with the phono tube addition.

I am done upgrading to new models (except for board upgrades!)

Note:  Scott used to build a very high end RIAA tunable phono tube preamp....I don't have that one...that was not something I was interested in...he may still be building that as a one off. There are zero front knobs on my unit. 

Thank you so much for the replies!  I thought I'd give a quick update...

I've been communicating with Scott Frankland about his Wavestream Kinetics Deluxe Phono Amp.  First off, I must say that he is not only a remarkable designer, but is also quite a true gentleman!  He has been really great, answering all of my questions and helping me learn and understand a great deal about his phono amp and how it may work out in my analog system.  Although he is a very busy man, he always takes the time to correspond with me in a very timely fashion.

The current Wavestream Deluxe is actually in it's Level 5 Reference iteration.  Levels 1-3 were 5 tube configurations offering 60 dB of gain.  The upgrade to Level 4 changed from 5 tubes to a  6 tube circuit using 4 x 6DJ8 & 2 x 12AX7.  He said that there are several benefits over the previous 5-tube circuit....

1.  Reduced crosstalk between channels gives more precise localization of images in complex material.  The crosstalk was due to the shared 12AX7 in the 5 tube circuit.

2.  Increased headroom allows bigger peak inputs without compression or harshness.

3.  High-frequency bandwidth is extended to 50kHz.  This improves leading edge transients (high-frequency detail, speed and air).

4.  The output impedance has been reduced.  This helps to cancel the adverse effects of cable capacitance and amplifier impedance.  By the same means, the load presented by the RIAA network is isolated from the outside world.  

5.  Upgraded signal coupling caps provide better definition and a more natural tonal balance.

6.  Both power supply regulators have been improved to optimize transient response.

I believe he said that the previous 5 tube units can be upgraded to the Level 4, six tube circuit with an upgraded audio board, numerous parts and power supply upgrades for about $2850.  You will want to confirm this with Scott.

The current Deluxe Phono Amp is now at the Level 5 Reference.  It is a 6 tube circuit like the Level 4 and provides 62 dB of gain.  It also now has an outboard power supply for an even lower noise floor.

I am buying Scott's personal Level 5 Reference in like new condition.  It will have three outputs, (two MC outputs with 62dB of gain and one MM output with 42 dB of gain)  and will come with custom load plugs.  

I'm pretty excited as I have admired Scott's work for many many years and to be able to own his personal unit in it's most current iteration will be like icing on the cake :)

I really love the idea of having a high gain and extremely low noise all tube phono amp that doesn't rely on the use of SUT's or hybrid FET front ends.  Scott Frankland is a remarkable designer and a true gentleman,

Thank you @stuogawa for your reply as well as sharing your "tube rush" experiment with me in the other thread.

Wishing you all the very best of health and happiness!

@no_regrets You will NOT be disappointed.

Black background. Warm but not overly sweet notes. Relaxed. Articulates complex notes without congestion.

I recently began practicing a piano piece from George Gershwin, The Man I Love. Lots of 6 and 7 note chords that swing. I have been practicing this on both a Yamaha UX3 upright piano and a Yamaha MO8 workstation synthesizer. Playing these 6 to 7 chords flat out sounds terrible on the MO8, and that was a pretty expensive synth when it first came out. Two and a half octaves below middle C sounds so muddy that my piano teacher via Zoom thought I was playing the wrong chords.

By contrast, hearing myself play this same song on the Yamaha upright and  separately on the Wavestream with vinyl (as a reference)...I know exactly how these complex chords should sound. The Wavestream phono tube just plays through these complex but extremely revealing fat chords in short order. No synthesized instruments or other instruments distract my hearing of what the "The Man..." should sound like.  I forget the gear and get right to business on what "I" am doing wrong in my playing, and I am doing a lot of things wrong!  I consider this one of the highest forms of compliments that I can possibly give to Scott’s gear.   Wait till you play vinyl and wire brush drum sticks...like something from Vince Guaraldi and his drummer playing rhythmic oval circles with his wire brushes....just wow. You hear wires tustling about.

Scott has excellent post purchase support and is a gentleman, as you already found. Very reasonable for post warranty work. He is the same gentleman when I visit him in person.

Have fun and congrats!

"I am buying Scott's personal Level 5 Reference in like new condition."
Congrats on your acquisition-no_regrets.

"I really love the idea of having a high gain and extremely low noise all tube phono amp that doesn't rely on the use of SUT's or hybrid FET front ends."
My all tube-including rectifier is active gain(no SUT). It however, isn't in the same  league of your new phonostage.  I don't know if this is responsible for the more convincing presentation, when side by side with a few popular tubed, but FET/SUT units.
I’m sure that there is a lot that goes into the design of a great sounding phono stage.  Much more to it than if it uses tubes or solid state or SUT’s for the gain stages.  But in general, I would agree that an all tubed phono can certainly sound more convincing to some vs one that has a FET or SUT front end.   Every device will likely impart a sonic signature to some degree... and of course everyone may hear things differently.  It’s a matter of finding the sonic signatures that are most agreeable to your taste 😊.   For me, using all tubes sound more natural and lifelike than the alternatives. 
I just feel that in this day and age, we (vinyl lovers) are truly blessed as we a lot of great phono stages, turntables, arms, cartridges, and vinyl to choose from.  Something out there for everyone and at every price point👍

Best wishes,

Hi Stu!

Thank you so much for your post.  That is quite a ringing endorsement for the Wavestream Kinetics Deluxe phono stage!  I can't wait to receive it and be able to hear it in my system :)

I love how you described the difference in sound between your two pianos in how they differentiate the complex chords and then related it the performance of the Wavestream.  That analogy made perfect sense to me :)  I love that song.  The chords are so rich and "fat" as you say.

You sound a lot like myself, Stu.  I often liked to practice my cello and play along /compare to the various recordings of Mischa Maisky, Rostropovich, Pierre Fournier, etc.  It is a great way to show what I am doing wrong technique wise, but also helps me improve on my phrasing.  Unfortunately, a couple of years ago I had suffered 5 strokes which has affected my motor skills and so now I feel like I am starting all over again.  However, the practicing is actually one of the greatest forms of rehab that I can think of :)  

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and experiences with me about this fabulous phono stage with me.  I truly appreciate it!

Best Wishes,