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The Puffin DSP phono pre-amp


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2 hours ago, aussievintage said:

try adding some 2H Tube warmth.   On my home made version of the Puffin, it REALLY sounds nice.

@aussievintage sounds like a plan for tonight.  👍 

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I'm the chap to whom @Bell Ringer very kindly loaned the puffin. He is a very generous fella and I'm most grateful that the spirit of SNA is alive and well.   My thoughts on the unit are tha

The manufacturer would know best but this doesn't happen often enough. I have great respect for any manufacturer that is this open about the details and isn't vague and skirt around the issue letting

He was right IMHO.   I would expect noise from the DSP (computer) section of the circuit, which is in the box with the analogue parts, would be MUCH higher than any residual noise from a switching sup

Wow the 2H tube fx is unreal!! Definately keeping that one on. Magic setting definately works, smooths out the pops and crackles. Still cant get over how good acoustic guitar sounds..lots of air, tone.

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9 hours ago, Porkbuns69 said:

Wow the 2H tube fx is unreal!! Definately keeping that one on. Magic setting definately works, smooths out the pops and crackles. Still cant get over how good acoustic guitar sounds..lots of air, tone.

 

It's so revealing to be able to dial in the 2nd harmonics. 

 

I have always built valve phono preamps, and line preamps, and use them in all my systems.  But it isn't easy to set up a simple way to switch between and SS preamps smoothly with no delay.  When you do, the sweetness is so obvious.   

 

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On 27/06/2020 at 8:02 AM, aussievintage said:

 

It's so revealing to be able to dial in the 2nd harmonics. 

 

I have always built valve phono preamps, and line preamps, and use them in all my systems.  But it isn't easy to set up a simple way to switch between and SS preamps smoothly with no delay.  When you do, the sweetness is so obvious.   

 

Agreed! looking forward to see how your build goes..keep up the good work!

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35 minutes ago, Porkbuns69 said:

Agreed! looking forward to see how your build goes..keep up the good work!

My little project is taking a hiatus.  I am off camping and going fishing :)    I still get ideas about it.  Must write them down.

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1 minute ago, aussievintage said:

My little project is taking a hiatus.  I am off camping and going fishing :)    I still get ideas about it.  Must write them down.

Hahaha...developer's block!  Enjoy the time off and rest @aussievintage

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This thread has me interested in a Puffin.  The only thing holding me back is the DAC used in it, I'm not sure it is quite good enough.  Even if you opt for the COAX output option it downscales to Redbook, kind of defeating the purpose of high definition output.  Some people are vey happy with it, others say that it does not quite sound right and has a narrow sound stage. I guess the only way I'll know is if I pull the trigger on one.   

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1 hour ago, nkoulban said:Even if you opt for the COAX output option it downscales to Redbook, kind of defeating the purpose of high definition output.  Some people are vey happy with it, others say that it does not quite sound right and has a narrow sound stage. I guess the only way I'll know is if I pull the trigger on one.   

Says 24/96 in the manual.

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On 05/07/2020 at 11:12 AM, The_Doctor said:

Says 24/96 in the manual.

I think it is downscaled to Rebook when you use an external DAC.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 15/06/2020 at 8:47 PM, Porkbuns69 said:

When funds permit. Clay makes awesome linear psu's.

My Puffin arrived yesterday. Fun settings that make a real change. 
 

my first thought was a Clay 12v LPS.  I contacted Parks to ask if an LPS was worth it, he said it will make no difference as the noise floor is maxed with the supplied power supply. 
 

The supplied Switchmode PS is 12v 1.6A. I had a hospital biomed switchmode PS 12v 4.2A with the same plug lying around which I’m using on the Puffin. 
 

if a 12v Kraftwerk comes up in the classifieds I may be tempted tho. 

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26 minutes ago, naggots said:

My Puffin arrived yesterday. Fun settings that make a real change.

@naggots have you downloaded the beta software? The ‘magic’ and vinyl grading options are fun. Well worth doing.

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37 minutes ago, Bell Ringer said:

@naggots have you downloaded the beta software? The ‘magic’ and vinyl grading options are fun. Well worth doing.

I haven’t checked for beta firmware......It arrived with v1.2. Is there another?. The magic is really good, some of my dodgy albums are almost clear of noise. I haven’t tried the grading, will check it out. 

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Just now, naggots said:

I haven’t checked for beta firmware......It arrived with v1.2. Is there another?. The magic is really good, some of my dodgy albums are almost clear of noise. I haven’t tried the grading, will check it out. 

He might have updated the beta to the latest version. Mines been out on loan      for a month so can’t check which version I’ve got. 

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7 minutes ago, naggots said:

I haven’t checked for beta firmware......It arrived with v1.2. Is there another?. The magic is really good, some of my dodgy albums are almost clear of noise. I haven’t tried the grading, will check it out. 


The beta version has been finalised is now the full version 

The latest version is V1.20 

 

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18 minutes ago, naggots said:

I haven’t checked for beta firmware......It arrived with v1.2. Is there another?. The magic is really good, some of my dodgy albums are almost clear of noise. I haven’t tried the grading, will check it out. 

He upgrades the firmware before mailing out the units.  Its the latest version -v 1.2

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@naggots - i tried mine with a borrowed lps vs my ifi 12vdc + ifi ipurifier2 vs the stock swithmode ps - i couldnt tell a difference between either of them. 

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6 minutes ago, Porkbuns69 said:

@naggots - i tried mine with a borrowed lps vs my ifi 12vdc + ifi ipurifier2 vs the stock swithmode ps - i couldnt tell a difference between either of them. 

Good to know. I’m pretty happy with it. The RCA cable strain would be my only concern but I doubt the build quality of my Aurealis cables will fail.  

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13 hours ago, naggots said:

my first thought was a Clay 12v LPS.  I contacted Parks to ask if an LPS was worth it, he said it will make no difference as the noise floor is maxed with the supplied power supply. 

He was right IMHO.   I would expect noise from the DSP (computer) section of the circuit, which is in the box with the analogue parts, would be MUCH higher than any residual noise from a switching supply.  Therefore changing to a linear supply won't make any difference.

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13 hours ago, naggots said:

I contacted Parks to ask if an LPS was worth it, he said it will make no difference as the noise floor is maxed with the supplied power supply.

The manufacturer would know best but this doesn't happen often enough. I have great respect for any manufacturer that is this open about the details and isn't vague and skirt around the issue letting audiophiles go nuts changing components uselessly.

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2 hours ago, Ittaku said:

The manufacturer would know best but this doesn't happen often enough. I have great respect for any manufacturer that is this open about the details and isn't vague and skirt around the issue letting audiophiles go nuts changing components uselessly.

Yes it is refreshing isn't it

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17 hours ago, Bell Ringer said:

He might have updated the beta to the latest version. Mines been out on loan      for a month so can’t check which version I’ve got. 

I'm the chap to whom @Bell Ringer very kindly loaned the puffin. He is a very generous fella and I'm most grateful that the spirit of SNA is alive and well.

 

My thoughts on the unit are that it's a pretty remarkable bit of gear. I'm really impressed with how transparent it is. In its basic operation there is not a hint that you are going through a digital device. I was comparing it to the built in phono stage of my Sanders preamp which has seen off (in my opinion) some pretty serious competition. 

Honestly, the puffin wasn't quite as good, but for the price it came scarily close. I would certainly not hesitate to recommend it (particular as it is so flexible - my cart is  low output Dynavector MC cart and the puffin didn't miss a beat)

 

The digital side of it is really really cool. I liked the "magic" feature on some noisier records (although it does seem to introduce some artefacts to 'replace' some of the bigger clicks. it's interesting, they aren't nearly as obvious as the clicks but they sound less natural in a way). Smaller clicks and pops just disappear and slightly noisier records are far less fatiguing to listen to - fatigue that you might not have even been aware of.

The 'tape' and 'tube' features are fun. But I wouldn't have much use for them as I dislike the idea of deliberately adding distortion. having said that, it is very well implemented and again sounds completely natural.

 

My only gripe, and this is very personal and may in fact be a positive for many people, is that it is so damn configurable. There's EQ, there's tilt, there's bass boost, there's "air". It drove me nuts trying to tweak the sound and then worrying about whether the differences were actually better or worse. As I said, some people will absolutely love this so its a very personal gripe.

 

Anyway, thanks again to @Bell Ringerfor giving me a chance to try this out 

 

 

 

Edited by sir sanders zingmore
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Hi guys,

 

Nice to see an active thread about the Puffin.  I need to get mine back out, and do both the firmware upgrade, and the SPDIF output upgrade.

 

I remember my initial thoughts being it is remarkably quiet (as already mentioned in this thread), and a tweaker's delight/demise.  Initially, I was only tweaking albums...but eventually, I was tweaking every song 😄 I also remember enjoying the harmonic feature and thinking, "Huh, so tubes can be applied via DSP".

 

The vertical cable orientation was a bit of a nuisance for me...in my setup...but it can be mitigated.  I think guitar players like the fact that it resembles a pedal effect.

 

Anyway, I'm inspired to put mine back into the chain!

 

EDIT:  Btw, I want to reiterate how responsive Shannon Parks is with the emails.  He seems to answer them all himself, at almost any hour, and that is quite impressive.

Edited by jdjohn
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9 minutes ago, jdjohn said:

Hi guys,

 

Nice to see an active thread about the Puffin.  I need to get mine back out, and do both the firmware upgrade, and the SPDIF output upgrade.

 

I remember my initial thoughts being it is remarkably quiet (as already mentioned in this thread), and a tweaker's delight/demise.  Initially, I was only tweaking albums...but eventually, I was tweaking every song 😄 I also remember enjoying the harmonic feature and thinking, "Huh, so tubes can be applied via DSP".

 

The vertical cable orientation was a bit of a nuisance for me...in my setup...but it can be mitigated.  I think guitar players like the fact that it resembles a pedal effect.

 

Anyway, I'm inspired to put mine back into the chain!

 

EDIT:  Btw, I want to reiterate how responsive Shannon Parks is with the emails.  He seems to answer them all himself, at almost any hour, and that is quite impressive.

I added right angle RCA adapters to mine. My input cables from the TT were OK but the outputs were heavier and the adapters work out well.

 

Agree with Shannons response time, even from Oz.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am fairly new to vinyl and am at the point where I upgrade the phono stage. 

Came across these in my search and it looks quite interesting. 

 

It seems that most of you don't have it as a main phono stage and it is more of a bit of fun every now and then. 

 

How does it stack up against something like a greham slee or ifi iphono2 as a main device? 

 

A hesitation I have is I am running a meridian digital system that converts everything to digital so adding this would go analog - digital - back to analog - back to digital 

 

Or

 

Analog - didital 24/96 - downsample to 44 as it leaves the puffin. 

 

A analog preamp like the gs will get converted to digital by the meridian anyway but it's 24/96 and does a great job of it. 

 

I guess what I am asking is would you be happy with it as a main and should I be concerned about all the a2d2a2d conversion? 

 

 

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34 minutes ago, cambam007 said:

I am fairly new to vinyl and am at the point where I upgrade the phono stage. 

Came across these in my search and it looks quite interesting. 

 

It seems that most of you don't have it as a main phono stage and it is more of a bit of fun every now and then. 

 

How does it stack up against something like a greham slee or ifi iphono2 as a main device? 

 

A hesitation I have is I am running a meridian digital system that converts everything to digital so adding this would go analog - digital - back to analog - back to digital 

 

Or

 

Analog - didital 24/96 - downsample to 44 as it leaves the puffin. 

 

A analog preamp like the gs will get converted to digital by the meridian anyway but it's 24/96 and does a great job of it. 

 

I guess what I am asking is would you be happy with it as a main and should I be concerned about all the a2d2a2d conversion? 

 

 

Good questions @cambam007. I don't own a puffin but had one on extended loan from a kind member on SNA. My opinion for what it's worth, is that this is a serious device. Yes, it has a lot of "fun' features but that shouldn't distract from the fact that it's a very capable phono stage.

The digital conversions are a separate issue. I think you'd be better off avoiding the second A2D conversion and just taking the digital out from the puffin - again my opinion is that 44 is fine and I imagine there will be less damage done by the Meridian upsampling to 24/96 than by the meridian covering analog to digital (I hav no real experience of this so it's just my gut feeling)

 

As an alternative, you might consider a phono stage that outputs 24/96 in the first place. I'm sure there are others but, something like PS Audio https://www.psaudio.com/products/nuwave-phono-converter/#tab-description

 

 

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44 minutes ago, cambam007 said:

I guess what I am asking is would you be happy with it as a main and should I be concerned about all the a2d2a2d conversion? 


I use the Puffin as a main phono stage 

The unit punches above its weight and is infinitely flexible 

 

Below is a mini review 

On 17/07/2020 at 1:49 PM, sir sanders zingmore said:

My thoughts on the unit are that it's a pretty remarkable bit of gear. I'm really impressed with how transparent it is. In its basic operation there is not a hint that you are going through a digital device. I was comparing it to the built in phono stage of my Sanders preamp which has seen off (in my opinion) some pretty serious competition. 

Honestly, the puffin wasn't quite as good, but for the price it came scarily close. I would certainly not hesitate to recommend it (particular as it is so flexible - my cart is  low output Dynavector MC cart and the puffin didn't miss a beat)

 

The digital side of it is really really cool. I liked the "magic" feature on some noisier records (although it does seem to introduce some artefacts to 'replace' some of the bigger clicks. it's interesting, they aren't nearly as obvious as the clicks but they sound less natural in a way). Smaller clicks and pops just disappear and slightly noisier records are far less fatiguing to listen to - fatigue that you might not have even been aware of.

The 'tape' and 'tube' features are fun. But I wouldn't have much use for them as I dislike the idea of deliberately adding distortion. having said that, it is very well implemented and again sounds completely natural.

 

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31 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

Good questions @cambam007. I don't own a puffin but had one on extended loan from a kind member on SNA. My opinion for what it's worth, is that this is a serious device. Yes, it has a lot of "fun' features but that shouldn't distract from the fact that it's a very capable phono stage.

The digital conversions are a separate issue. I think you'd be better off avoiding the second A2D conversion and just taking the digital out from the puffin - again my opinion is that 44 is fine and I imagine there will be less damage done by the Meridian upsampling to 24/96 than by the meridian covering analog to digital (I hav no real experience of this so it's just my gut feeling)

 

As an alternative, you might consider a phono stage that outputs 24/96 in the first place. I'm sure there are others but, something like PS Audio https://www.psaudio.com/products/nuwave-phono-converter/#tab-description

 

 

Thanks for chiming in, that psaudio looks fantastic and darko even bought one for himself! 

The meridian has an excellent a/d converter so I am not really in need of an external unit for this. 

Any analog pre will suffice and the meridian will spit out bit perfect 24/96

 

The puffin is attractive as it is relatively cheap and from what everyone says the fun settings are worth the ticket price. 

 

I guess I'm interested in anyone's experiences with using an external dac, being a digital guy I prefer to keep those bitrates high 

 

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I just spoke to Shannon and he has made a revision to the digital coax. 

As of last week all factory fitted units will be 24/96 spdif out. 

 

Unfortunately diy is not available at this bit rate 

 

Sealed the deal for me 

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  • 1 month later...
On 05/08/2020 at 10:22 AM, cambam007 said:

I just spoke to Shannon and he has made a revision to the digital coax. 

As of last week all factory fitted units will be 24/96 spdif out. 

 

Unfortunately diy is not available at this bit rate 

 

Sealed the deal for me 

DIY will be available at this rate when Amazon sells all its old units. Probably around mid September (as Shannon said)

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On 10/09/2020 at 3:27 PM, mike29a said:

May I ask how old is your unit? I read somewhere that new units are 24 volt


I would say it’s an early unit because it’s a low serial number ( under 300 ) 

My information was taken directly  from my actual Puffin power supply 

 

If no one answers back you should send Parkes audio an email or PM them via Facebook 

Edited by Full Range
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  • 2 weeks later...

As I have read the puffin can be interleaved in sources other than phono, for example CD, my question is, can it be interleaved between a PC loaded with FLAC, WAV and DSD files? Currently my laptop with Jriver is connected to a DAC and this to a line input of the amplifier, will it advantageously replace the DAC or does this make no sense? Every now and then I feel like listening to records on my Tangential Technics SL-QL1, in this case I would use it as a phono preamp. Sorry for my faulty English.

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14 hours ago, franlober said:

As I have read the puffin can be interleaved in sources other than phono, for example CD, my question is, can it be interleaved between a PC loaded with FLAC, WAV and DSD files? Currently my laptop with Jriver is connected to a DAC and this to a line input of the amplifier, will it advantageously replace the DAC or does this make no sense? Every now and then I feel like listening to records on my Tangential Technics SL-QL1, in this case I would use it as a phono preamp. Sorry for my faulty English.

There is no digital input, it converts analog to digital so it wouldn't replace a dac. 

You could place it after the dac but you would be going digital /analog /digital /analog so not recommended really. 

I highly recommend the minidsp shd or shd studio, it gives you a greater dsp playground 

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