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About drdarkfish

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  1. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    If it turns out that your stage doesn't produce enough gain, there are two options that I would certainly have a good look at (which wont break the bank). Dynavector (Australia) are about to release their MK-IV version of the famous P75 Phono Stage. This has a current amplification option which should sound exceptional with the Etna SL (low noise too). I'll be getting one just to hear how it sounds. Also, Michael Fremer (Analog Planet) just completed a blind listening test with 8 different combinations of MM-Phono and Head-Amps/SUTs. The clear winner of the reader's/listeners vote (by a considerable margin) was an interesting combo: Lejonklou Giao (MM Stage) + Hagerman Piccolo (Head-Amp). I gave all of the files a listen (in the blind test) and also picked this combo as being the best - it beat out the Lehmann Silver Cube by 30% of the total votes! Interested to try this combo out too.
  2. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Sadly until you've tried, you will never know. All phono-stages, due to their design will vary in their gain requirements. 64db is not enough on my AudiaFlight, but that's not to say it wouldn't be on yours. Maybe you should consider the non-SL version? It's apparently also VERY good. 64db should be more than enough for it.
  3. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Hey Hlov! You're more than welcome to drop around and have a listen to the new rig. I've moved place but PM me and we can organise a time. I played the 1step Abraxas about two weeks ago - very worth having a listen to Cheers, Fish.
  4. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Hi Rob, I use a AudiaFlight Phono stage. There are only two gain options for MCs - 64db or 74db - I use 74db. I have recorded this output (on multiple occasions) to a PC and it provides perfect amounts of gain for the SL. I have noticed no noise issues. The AudiaFlight is silent as night. Some may suggest 'current based' preamplification for such a low output - this could be considered if you're worried about s/n. Hope that helps. Tim
  5. SOLD: FS: Thor PS10 Smart Power Station [Perth]

    If you would be willing to send I am very interested. Cheers, Tim
  6. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Couldn't agree more with that last part. Case in point: why I upgraded my turntable and arm for move to the Etna.
  7. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    I will try to organise something. Maybe some action shots
  8. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Glad to hear that I'm not a lonesome Stabi owner! Will be good to share experience RossB. What did you like about the 313 over the 4Point? I chose the 11" 4Point over opting for the 9" because of the vertical and horizontal dampening - the 313 didn't hit my radar. In reality I don't use either dampening options. The sound is considerably more dynamic without.
  9. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    At the end of the day, it's each to their own. I do however appreciate the feedback. This wasn't meant to be a professional review, more a explanation of my findings among people like-minded SNA'ers. I think if I were to do this properly it could be many 1000s of words. I've also never been the one to shy away from a good a/b and I think this can be very useful. Further, I fully respect the impact of every component in the chain. I've owned many tables and many more cartridges and my viewpoint still stands. However I will say, in support of your comments, that when I was using lesser tables that upgrades to the drive mechanism, isolation, counter-weight, dampening and so forth seemed to have a bigger impact than they do at the higher end.
  10. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Thanks Metal Beat. I certainly agree in the 3d depth and 'meat' comment. I would never have described the Delos as being lean but it certainly didn't wear a singlet and a t-shirt under its jumper (if you know what I mean). I've owned a Benz Glider and heard a Rosewood Signature many times and I know what you mean. I wouldn't describe the Etna as 'romantic' in same way as I would these carts. I guess my comment about solidity has more to the consistency and focus of the mid-range - that mixed with the added 'meat', came to the word 'dense'. Cheers, Fish
  11. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Could well be! Interested in looking at my Scheu string motor? Will send you a PM.
  12. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    I described it as such for ease of explanation. I would find it difficult to describe all of the variable's independant characteristics without a thorough 'a/b' (which Im not setup to do). I also realise that everything in the chain has an effect on the end result, from tone-arm wire to drive mechanism. I also know that a cartridge's performance is inextricably linked to its mating with the arm, hence the importance of compliance/resonance control. However, in my opinion, a TT and Arm should (as much as possible) have as little of a 'sound' as possible. My experience has been that a cartridge, as the last component down the line and that which is most intimate with the record surface, has the greatest impact on the end result. For ease of explanation, using the Etna as a proxy for the 'whole sound' was a fair choice I think.
  13. New Turntable, Arm + Cartridge - Review

    Phone pics are all I have.
  14. Hi All, Further to my post last week, here is some feedback I want to share regarding my new Turntable Rig. I say “Rig” because I changed my turntable, arm and cartridge all in one large 'switch-out'. New Rig Details · Turntable: Kuzma Stabi Reference 2 · Arm: Kuzma 4Point – 11” · Cart: Lyra Etna SL Rest of the System · Speakers: Kef Reference 205/2 · Amplifier: AudiaFlight FL-Two (Integrated) · Phono-Stage: AudiaFlight Phono Why change? Previously I was using a VPI Classic One (the first iteration), standard VPI 10" uni-pivot arm, external string motor by Scheu Analog and a Lyra Delos moving Coil Cartridge. This was a great setup, I had never had such a dynamic, balanced sound. It was also my first experience with a uni-pivot arm and I was very impressed, I heard little uni-pivot 'chatter' that people often speak of. I used the external String Motor by Scheu Analog (soon to be sold on SNA) because I felt that the motor in the VPI plinth was a little too loud (vibrations through bearing) and tended to smear edges. The external motor was a huge improvement. Did I need to upgrade my setup? Absolutely not. Everything about my previous combo was awesome, I was sufficiently far enough up the 'law of diminishing returns curve’ that it would have kept me happy for years. However, my Lyra Delos was coming to about the mid-point of it’s useful life and I reached a fork in the road. I was so utterly impressed by the Delos (my first Lyra cart) that It started the cogs turning about an upgrade. The thing that kept bugging me is: how is it possible that the Delos is only the entry model for Lyra? In the end, I upgraded because of pathological curiosity. What does that incremental 10% “better” sound like (albeit at 3x the cost). Note: The outlay for this upgrade was considerable and by no means within normal expenditure for me – some people have a passion for cars, mine is vinyl. Upgrading to the Lyra Etna SL meant an upgrade in everything (the car needed to match the engine and so forth). So in reality it’s really the Lyra Etna that drove the entire upgrade. Preface I will not make comparisons between my setups because its normally not useful for others and is usually accompanied with too many asterixis, despites, howevers, keep-in-minds… Besides, the minds-ear has bad tricks it plays on your memory (and visa versa), without a direct A/B under perfect conditions any comparison is fairly useless. I will also not comment on ‘build-quality’ other than to say the components are as good as you would hope. It took a good month in order to get everything setup correctly. This probably would have been quicker but I was getting used to a new arm and turntable. The Lyra design is fairly congruent across the range, so there were no big differences in the geometry between the Delos and Etna (other than the strange asymmetric design – slightly off-putting at first). Tracking The Etna + 4Point combo tracks exceedingly well. Through difficult passages of music it never seems congested or ‘strained’. Everything is retained in a cohesive image, with no harsh/distorted elements. The impressive thing about the Etna is that it retains its ‘character’ under any conditions (more about character below) – that is to say there is no discernible changes in its ‘response’ with difficult tracking. Some cartridges can sound thin or bloated in complex passages (even good ones), the Etna appears not to. On the Hi-fi News Test Record I managed to pass all torture tests except the very last (though this doesn’t mean much). For fun, I pulled out my copy of the 1812 Overture pressed by Telarc – the one with REAL(!) canons. The combo breezed through the canon sections like a hot knife through butter. Interestingly, this is the first time I had been able to clearly discern other instruments at the point of explosion when the canons hit (/shortly thereafter). Normally (at least in my experience) the cartridge/arm is so occupied wrangling the 6hz tone modulation that everything else tends to go out the window. (Note: those who are thinking of getting a copy of the 1812 Overture by Telarc, I highly recommend doing your research before playing, this vinyl is potentially damaging to your system - I DO NOT play it often, it’s a once-a-year party trick). Sonic Character (the really subjective part) I will speak of the sonic character of the Etna as a proxy for the entire Rig, this is because I think the job of the Arm and TT is to interfere as little as possible in the sound-reproduction process. (that is not to say the individual elements don’t have a Character – of course they do, but you need to start somewhere). If I had to pick one word to describe the sound of the Etna it would be “Solid”. It may sound simplistic but after 2 months of listening, that is the one word that I keep coming back to. The mid-range is dense. The Etna has an unwavering solidity that has the effect of sounding like tape. I think this partially relates to how well it tracks: because there is low tracking errors, there is a higher consistency in the sound, and therefore you hear less “vinyl” and more music. I’ve often heard Michael Fremer say that good vinyl systems sound like ‘tape’ and I’m starting to understand more what that means. In terms of frequency response, the Etna does not appear to exaggerate anything. Highs are open, airy and fast (like all Lyra carts), without sounding bright. The bass extends low (very low) and is well defined, without being bloated – all ticks here. But you’d expect that from this kind of product. What the Etna doesn’t do is make average records sound better (some carts do that but at the expense to too many other elements). What it also doesn’t do (which many high-end cartridges fail at miserably) is that it doesn’t make them sound worse (important if you like listening to music….). You can read many reviews of the Etna where the reviewer states “it just makes you want to listen to more vinyl” - and I couldn’t agree with that statement more. However (and this is the exciting part), when you play a truly well mastered and pressed vinyl, hold onto your pants because this is where the Etna really shines. The Etna is so utterly impressive with dynamic slam, even-handed response, solid mid-range, it is out-of-this-world. Example One: Is a German press I own of Jimi Hendrix’s posthumous live compilation album ‘Hendrix In the West’: Listening to the iconic recording of Little Wing on Side-B is so utterly real, it left both myself and a friend speechless when we first listened. I’ve listened to this recording more times than I care to remember (mostly because it’s my favorite Hendrix song), when listening with the Etna you feel like your perched in the front row and you can hear everything from the skin of the drums to the buzz of the Marshall Stack 5meters away. Without sounding cheesy, it was like listening to it for the first time. Example Two: I picked up a copy of the newly re-released ‘LeGrand Jazz’ pressed by Impex Records (Bernie Grundman Mastering). There really is no ‘good place to start’ with this record, it contains some of the best musicians to ever live and is one of the best recordings I’ve ever heard. Listening to ‘Night in Tunisia’ and ‘Blue and Sentimental’ on SIDE-A is hands-down some of the best Jazz music (from both an audio+music perspective) I’ve heard. The dynamic swings in Night in Tunisia have a scary immediacy about them, in no way does this recording sound like 1958. If you want a good example of how things have potentially ‘gone backwards’ in terms of recording techniques, ‘Night in Tunisia’ is a good place to start. Shifting gears to ‘Blue and Sentimental’, a considerably more ‘laid back’ (“Blue”) track, the instruments have tangible timbre, so intimate you find yourself looking in the direction of the speaker to confirm it’s not right there in front of you! Summary As I said, this isn’t an upgrade I needed to make, nor was there much rationality in the decision-making process. Having said that, I’m sitting here 2 months later, considerably poorer but a very happy man. Sure, a 10% improvement is still only 10%, but I can say without hesitation that what this upgrade does to vinyl in my sound-cave is worth every penny. Buyer’s guilt = zero If you’re a little unhinged and/or looking at divorcing your partner, the Lyra is a good place to start. If you are single and/or have perfect mental health, don't shy away from giving it a go.
  15. Good question, when paired with the P75 I used the Phono-enhanced mode, so not quite applicable, but when using my AudiaFlight I had it on approx. 90ohm. This seemed to provide a good balance. Enough gain is important for the XX2. Too little and it will sound cold and slightly thin. On the AudiaFlight I had it at 74db and was very happy. Loading will mostly be highly dependant on your system and sound preference.