New phonostage under $15K

Dec 17, 2015
234
7
18
Moscow
#1
Hi,

I've placed an order for Kuzma Stabi M and a standard 4Point. The cartridge is ZYX Universe II. Now I need a phonostage that would work well with my Coincident Statement Line Stage. The budget is around $10 - 15K.
So far, I have 3 contenders:
Coincident own phonostage
Aesthetix Io Signature
Grandinote Celio.

I'll have an opportunity to try these phonostages in my own system. Will I need a SUT? I know, Coincident has a SUT built in, but I am not sure about the other 2 stages.
Any other interesting phonostages in this price range?

Thanks in advance,
Aziz
 
Last edited:

bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
9,361
222
63
London
#2
Are you buying used? The aesthetix io eclipse might come at that price. Allnic 3000 is very good once you roll the recti to the same recti as your Lampi. Burmester 100 in SS phonos comes used at that price. Aesthetix is fantastic but you need to roll 26 valves to optimize it, isolate three chassis, and two power cables
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
5,062
87
48
North Shore of Boston
#3
I'm a big believer in sticking with one brand, so I just upgraded to the new Pass Labs XP27 phono stage in my all Pass system. It is a very good phono stage and considerably better than my former XP25. It costs about $11-12K. It has three gain settings, lots of loading options and two inputs. I find that it has a very neutral tonal balance, low noise, and low distortion. It looks like you are considering tube units, so you may not be interested in the solid state Pass.
 
Dec 17, 2015
234
7
18
Moscow
#4
Are you buying used? The aesthetix io eclipse might come at that price. Allnic 3000 is very good once you roll the recti to the same recti as your Lampi. Burmester 100 in SS phonos comes used at that price. Aesthetix is fantastic but you need to roll 26 valves to optimize it, isolate three chassis, and two power cables
New. How much is Allnic? I thought, they are pricey. The number of valves in Aesthetix is a little bit frightening, but it's fun, and I am prepared to live with all the consequences, if the performance is on a different level in comparison to the others, e.g. Coincident. The latter is a much simplier design though. If it is as good as the Aesthetix, I will go for the Coincident.
 
Dec 17, 2015
234
7
18
Moscow
#5
I'm a big believer in sticking with one brand, so I just upgraded to the new Pass Labs XP27 phono stage in my all Pass system. It is a very good phono stage and considerably better than my former XP25. It costs about $11-12K. It has three gain settings, lots of loading options and two inputs. I find that it has a very neutral tonal balance, low noise, and low distortion. It looks like you are considering tube units, so you may not be interested in the solid state Pass.
Thanks, I would prefer tubes for now.
 
Oct 12, 2011
266
4
18
55
Brooklyn
#6
Hi,

I've placed an order for Kuzma Stabi M and a standard 4Point. The cartridge is ZYX Universe II. Now I need a phonostage that would work well with my Coincident Statement Line Stage. The budget is around $10 - 15K.
So far, I have 3 contenders:
Coincident own phonostage
Aesthetix Io Signature
Grandinote Celio.

I'll have an opportunity to try these phonostages in my own system. Will I need a SUT? I know, Coincident has a built in SUT, but I am not sure about the other 2 stages.
Any other interesting phonostages in these price range?

Thanks in advance,
Aziz
If you want something a little less commercial Get in touch with Dave and/or Jeffery at Emia . (http://myemia.com/_LP.html) . Great sounding stuff and they can wind a step up custom to your cartridge.
 

Marcus

Member Sponsor
Oct 5, 2012
213
0
16
#7
Last edited:

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
1,530
83
48
UK
#8
The Io Signature 3 box (not Eclipse) was easily outclassed by the NVO Spa II Se in my system. Specifically the 3 x 12ax7 gain stages of the Io are quite noisy if that bothers you. It is also lower resolution, slower, and tubey in its sound - over emphasis of upper bass and mids. This was also same with nos tubes.

That said, I would look at a Mayer D3A if I were you. Not sure whether that would fit into your budget - contact Thomas and he’ll let you know.
 
Likes: bazelio

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
1,530
83
48
UK
#9
Ah I forgot: Grandinote Celio.

I had this in my system for audition for around 2 weeks so know it quite well. It is actually not too bad and retains some tonal colour without desaturating like a lot of solid state phonos do. That said it isn’t at the level you need for your system imho. The NVO thoroughly embarrassed it in every dimension. It is very quite though if that is key.
 
Likes: abeidrov

XV-1

Active Member
May 24, 2010
1,597
15
38
Sydney
#11
Accuphase C-37.
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
5,369
150
63
Beverly Hills, CA
#12
I vote for the Io! I have had an Io for 18 years.

I will be using a ZYX UNIverse Premium to drive the Io.
 
Dec 17, 2015
234
7
18
Moscow
#13
Last edited:

Marcus

Member Sponsor
Oct 5, 2012
213
0
16
#14
Do it! It might make you change your list of contenders. ;)And you don't need any step up transformers with 120 in the system because it easily drives low output cartridges plus you have a possibility to choose between different equalizations.
 
Dec 17, 2015
234
7
18
Moscow
#15
Ah I forgot: Grandinote Celio.

I had this in my system for audition for around 2 weeks so know it quite well. It is actually not too bad and retains some tonal colour without desaturating like a lot of solid state phonos do. That said it isn’t at the level you need for your system imho. The NVO thoroughly embarrassed it in every dimension. It is very quite though if that is key.
I checked the NVO. Looks good and is reasonably priced. I wonder, if I will be able to find it anywhere to audition. It will be very difficult, the same with Zanden.
 
Sep 27, 2016
353
6
18
California
#16
I'm currently auditioning the Zanden 1200 MK3 - using a Stabi M TT. Interesting phono for sure. The sound stage is simply jaw dropping. Aside from the sheer volume front to rear and side to side that is needed to contain its sound stage, the sense of shape within the stage is uncanny. I.e. this phono stage fleshes out the constituents within the stage giving each one a lifelike sense of shape. It is rather difficult to describe, but many most systems present a layered 3D stage with flat images. While the 1200 gives you a huge 3D stage with 3D images within it. Imaging precision within the stage is likewise phenomenal. I.e. the 'yuge' stage doesn't feel exaggerated, stretched, or unrealistic in scale. The ability of the listener to discern the origin of sounds, simply fantastic. For example, snare height vs cymbal height. Individual cymbal location on a drum kit. Ever so slight front to rear and side to side locations of musicians which are clearly right next to each other. Wow. Now, a few downsides. One, this phono is a bit light on attack. Leading edge transients are a bit soft. The sound doesn't bite quite like it should. The dealer said that Telefunken tubes would be better in this regard, but I'm so over tube rolling, so meh. Two, tonality is a bit dark. I'd like a bit more realism in terms of shimmer and brightness. Three, its 2500 Ohm output impedance leaves me unable to use my favorite line stage - a passive AVC (ala the Emia). I've switched over to The Truth line stage for this audition - an incredibly transparent performer nevertheless. Overall this stage does a whole heck of a lot well, but doesn't escape the usual shortcomings of the 6922 tube family with which I'm intimately familiar coming from EAR phonos. Though these areas I identify as 'shortcomings' may cater to the preferences of others.
 
Last edited:
Sep 27, 2016
353
6
18
California
#17
The Io Signature 3 box (not Eclipse) was easily outclassed by the NVO Spa II Se in my system. Specifically the 3 x 12ax7 gain stages of the Io are quite noisy if that bothers you. It is also lower resolution, slower, and tubey in its sound - over emphasis of upper bass and mids. This was also same with nos tubes.

That said, I would look at a Mayer D3A if I were you. Not sure whether that would fit into your budget - contact Thomas and he’ll let you know.
I'd love to hear actual listening impressions of the Mayer D3a or EC8020... especially impressions that can relate it to more common stages we might know. Telefunken 8020s with silver Lundahl step ups seems very interesting, but really not a viable purchase completely blind.
 
Last edited:

sfoclt

New Member
Mar 13, 2018
5
0
1
#18
I’m using my silver elmaformer with my Zanden (updated first gen) and it’s working fine. I talked to Dave beforehand about it and he thought no issue either. (And I’m using the Mayer SUT with the silver Lundahl’s).

As for tubes, I went through all the expensive options and settled on the stock sovtek’s.
 
Last edited:
Sep 27, 2016
353
6
18
California
#19
@sfoclt It works in the sense that there is enough available attenuation range, but bass does suffer. Versus The Truth, the bass when using the Elmaformer was looser. Interestingly, I've been talking to Dave Slagle about demoing his new LR phono, and it's going to have a similarly high output impedance yet he says it was designed to be used with the Elmaformer. He thinks by late November I'll be able to demo it, so I'll see.
 

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