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05-26-2007 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 1
Post ID: 4462
Reply to: 4462
The K&K SE hybrid phono stage: a report

I think I have had enough time with this phono stage now to make a few remarks about it.  In keeping with the spirit of this website I am not recommending this component, just reporting on it.

I got my unit off AudioGon after keeping my eyes peeled for a while.  Normally the designer, Kevin Carter, sells kits and finished stuff directly from his own website, and he is also the US rep for Lundahl transformers.

To my knowledge, all of the K&K phono stages are hybrid tube/ss cascode gain with ss power supplies.  My unit is mm only, 46 dB net gain and it was modified to use 6DJ8 tubes, 1 per channel, with the tubes’ internal gain pairs run in a parafeed configuration.  My unit also has switches for +/- mono or stereo, and a mute, and it has the “Cardas Cap upgrade”, although I cannot address if/how that may factor in.  My unit also uses “amorphous core” transformers throughout, which is another topic, I suppose.  There are 1 pair/each of RCA and balanced inputs and outputs.  I use the RCAs.

Since I changed my pre-amp at the same time I installed this phono stage lots of time has been spent sorting out what part of the new sound was which.

One of the main reasons I went from pure tubes to ss/hybrid was to see if I could get away from a certain “splashy” sound in the upper mids/lower treble that dogged me with all the all-tube phono stages I’ve tried.  Also, I hoped to avoid the sort of “collapse” I had gotten on loud, complex music.   Although I did escape the splash and the “collapse”, there was instead at first a somewhat reticent and slightly foggy quality that I immediately wanted to change.

I know it’s lame, and I’m sorry to say it, but changing tubes (to NOS Telefunkens in this case) and changing the stock Kimber parafeed coupling caps to Mundorf silver/golds took care of business immediately.  Initially I tried 3.3 uF in place of the stock 4 uF, but it was not enough.  I added .82 uF and I am going to go up to 4.7 uF in order to better balance the sound spectrum and also preserve ambient cues at both ends of the spectrum.

Note (again) that I use an Ortofon MC 3000 II cartridge along with its dedicated T-3000 transformer.  I also use a tweaked (basically, weighted-down) Well Tempered Reference arm on a Sota vacuum holddown ‘table.  Pre-amp is the Bent TAP TVC and amps are Lamm ML2s.  Speakers are tricked-out Diamond Edition BassZillas, which use tamed Lowther DX-4s high-passed in 2’X6’ OBs(plus folded, tapered "wings" to equal > 3' net width) over 15” Audax woofers in LEAP-derived BR bins, and I use naked Audaphon ribbons over 10k Hz.  Speakers are about 96 dB efficient, with great imaging possible.

The sound of my cartridge is as tape-like as any I have heard, and the K&K is probably more “neutral” and plainly accurate than most folks would want.  It might be slightly kind to recordings, but you can hear all the “engineering” along with the playing, for better or for worse.  Dynamics are as good as I’ve heard, apart from the Boulder 2008.  Pitch, timbre, weight and scale are as good as I’ve heard, meaning as “accurate”.  The sound was all over the place wiht 3.3 uF but with more output capacitance things have settled down along with a critical-for-me sense of “artistry” and “ensemble” that IMO makes or breaks a hi-fi system, and this sense is conveyed on quiet and loud passages, and even on “obscured” passages, with all types of music.

I need to comment on image density because this is a strong feature of the K&K.  Images are pretty damn solid, and the right sounds come from the voices and instruments themselves.  There is very little of the usual sense of “air”, since any sense of space becomes the actual listening room.  In other words, instead of the more-usual high-end "air", the K&K somehow blends HF with LF ambience and gets throughout the room.  The unit also allows music to “charge” the room, but I am not sure if the K&K “creates” this phenomenon or if it just "allows" it.

The K&K is not purely analytical, because it does make plenty of music.  But it also lets you hear into how the music was made, which is not something I was/am after, really. This does not usually detract from the music, but occasionally it does.  It works especially well on the old Mercurys and RCA shaded dogs, and also on many old Blue Notes, some old Vanguards, etc., etc!  Basically, it is wonderful with great recordings and where there is a great performance along with a great recording, it is Heaven!  Ah, Tosca!

As soon as someone points me to a great “massed strings” recording that is “realistic”, then I will comment on the K&K’s performance in that area.  So far, large scale works are as likely to be satisfying as smaller works, but I have to say that “fluff” has mostly been pretty boring.  OTOH, using Romy’s instructions for speaker placement has been working its own wonders, and I will go back and try some Beatles, etc. soon, to see/hear if that can still be fun with the K&K.  So far I have been enjoying "important" music too much to be playing around!

I will be keeping and using this phono stage for the foreseeable future because it does most of what I want from a phono stage.  It could be more “transparent”, but I would not give up anything it does to get that.

Best regards,
Paul S

05-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 2
Post ID: 4469
Reply to: 4462
Other possible points of interest

Perhaps I should have mentioned before that the K&K is another spin-off of the well-received Arthur Loesch RIAA network.  Also, the K&K's gain scheme is based on "classic" microphone circuits.  While I am not saying any of this amounts to a hill of beans in and of itself, I am passing on the info because these "facts" interested me over the course of my own search for a viable phono stage.

Stereo separation is very strong, indeed, which contributes to spectacular imaging with great recordiings, but it also clearly reveals poor recording techniques.  Again, fortunately, in most cases musical value tends to survive poor recordings via the K&K.

Another thing I shoud have mentioned is that the unit is quiet, just a little tube "rush" at ear/speaker-busting gain settings.  No, it's not as quiet as the Boulder...

Best regards,
Paul S

05-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,545
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 4470
Reply to: 4469
My points of interest: some extra gain.

Since the “Hunan Style” phonostage-chasses is coming to me and will host my 7788-7721 (64dB) corrector (that I love) I was wondering where I can get an extra 10-20dB to run .2mV cartridges. You mentioned the Lundahl “amorphous core” transformers… perhaps I should try them – they cost little money and small. As an alternative options Jim Hagerman just released his active moving coil pre-preamplifier:

http://www.hagtech.com/piccolo.html

if it is small enough and can to sound OK then it might be a good idea to stick it inside of the “Hunan Style” phonostage’s input.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
05-27-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 4
Post ID: 4471
Reply to: 4470
Stepping up
If you try/find an acceptable active MC step-up, please share your experience.  I think the (stupid) Boulder op amp is the only one I've heard so far that does not sound severely "compressed" to me, and it really pisses me off that I have no idea at all why this would be so.  My best luck with MC transformer step-ups has been with the "dedicated" Ortofon pairing.  Even though this may not be the "best" transformer I've tried, it does work "the best" with its "companion" cartridge.  I suppose this has mostly to do with close impedance and gain matching, although Ortofon certainly has the facilities to have "voiced" the thing, if they wanted to.  I think the Ortofon tranny uses a Mu metal core, blah, blah, blah.  I plan to re-do my arm wire (again...) to lose a few connectors, since these just suck, every time (just not as much as active gain...).

I understand that there are other core materials that are stronger than the amorphous cores.  But who cares?  I like some things I find more of with the amorphous cores, particularly a certain sonic "integrity" that keeps timbral balance constant at all levels of volume and complexity, and they also seem to keep "inter-relational" dynamics in better balance/perspective .  Might be like those clunky old Alnico magnets for speakers...

In fact, once a transformer is a given I can't really think of a downside to the amorphous core trannies, apart from the fact that "big H" ones have to be physically larger than a couple of other cores types.

But that hardly applies in this case...

And, like you say, they are cheap enough to take a flyer.

Kevin Carter may still be out of town right now, but if you can remain pleasant ;>Wink he might be able to help you when he returns...

Best regards,
Paul S
05-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Wojtek
Pinckney (MI), United States
Posts 159
Joined on 09-01-2005

Post #: 5
Post ID: 4482
Reply to: 4471
A nice report
Since I occasionally listen To K &K rakk dac unit and like it quite a bit I was looking at their phono stage for a long time. This phono stage is a little scaled down (in PSU) version of ART Audio Vinyl One unit which is very well regarded. Kevin has some upgrades available for it. Ones my financial flexibility goes into + region I'm going to build one too.Looking at Paul's  system I realize there  are some similarities  .For last 3 years I've been using S&B TVC pre  (TX-103) with 45 SET on Lowther DX4 drivers in front (Azura ) horns. Recently Bud treaded them with his mysterious pattern and he says they are remarkable sounding. Paul if you can accommodate 8 Ohms driver and want to check them out I think it could  be arranged as I think they still awaiting for the shipment. Regard, Wojtek
05-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 6
Post ID: 4483
Reply to: 4482
Mysterious patterns and later thoughts
Wojtek, I do use 8 Ohm drivers, and I am mildly curious about the "pattern" thing.  As I said in posted responses to Bud, I +/- accept the science but suspect the implementation in this case; however,  I would be happy to give a listen, of course.

I am not sure at this point, but the K&K may be very sensitive to power grid problems.  In any case, it is not at all kind to poor recordings, and it exposes bad "music" for what it is, too, if that is a problem for you.  It will do "rock" music just fine, but it makes poorly recorded rock sound unbearably BAD.  For instance: Original English Parlophone and Decca monos sound great, but the later US Capitol and London re-mixes/presses are awful!  One good thing, I suppose, is that you can at least turn down the volume with bad records and wind up with something more like a radio, or something; in other words, it does "communicate" at that level, if that's your cup of tea.

I deliberately bought a K&K unit that is "fixed" with respect to input impedance and gain, specifically to avoid the usual compromises engendered by the "flexibility" that is generally built in to consumer products, including the Art offerings.  I also wanted the SS power supply, for its functional "stiffness", versus tubes, in this application.

And I think the "deluxe" K&K is actually the house version of the Art Vinyl Reference, rather than the 1, for whatever that's worth...

Best regards,
Paul S
05-28-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Wojtek
Pinckney (MI), United States
Posts 159
Joined on 09-01-2005

Post #: 7
Post ID: 4486
Reply to: 4483
Ok ,contact me
at klamfil@earthlink.net and  I'll check with Bud the shipping details.Since you have untreated pair it would be interesting to hear the difference ,also on a few  occasions I behaved like a prick so I'd like to make it up somehow Wink
Regards, Wojtek
06-02-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 8
Post ID: 4535
Reply to: 4483
On a clear day...
Great listening session today.  Nothing too demanding, but some seminal jazz performances were included.

Since the Telefunken tubes I was trying are well-used, I stuck in some 60s Amperex SQs, just to check for any possible changes.  Everything else was "the same".

It might be harder than I thought to pin down this phono stage.  Today, either the new NOS tubes or clean power from the grid made for amazingly quiet backgrounds, great clarity and excellent dynamics.  I think musicians might like the K&K because it seems to home in on "musicianship", including ensemble play. You can feel as well as hear not only subtle sounds but as it were the soul being poured into/emerging through the music.

I also played some of the music at reduced volume, just to experiment.  Oddly, the sonic balance does not change as much with volume changes as I am used to, and lowering the volume did not detract from the performances, so this remains an option.

But you want to have your arm/cartridge dialed in, including VTA, VTF, azimuth, anti-skate and damping because ALL these adjustments are quite audible, and they affect the resultant playback much more than with my previous phono stage. I have also had to re-position my speakers, mostly to cope with more bass, but also to deal with more ambient and harmonic enrgy.  Sorry, but that's how it is.

I am not willing to say just yet that the K&K is super-sensitive to power fluctuations, but there have been some indications that this may the case, as I have said in previous posts.

Anyway, when it's good, it's very, very good...

Best regards,
Paul S
06-17-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 9
Post ID: 4622
Reply to: 4535
A big change for the better
I must say that I have always thought the Cardas "Golden Ratio" schtick was pretty lame.  So it was with no small measure of trepidation that I sent off a rather outlandish sum of money for two Cardas Golden Whatever 4.7 uF caps for the parafeed/output, based on Kevin Carter's rather tepid "recommendation".  Kevin only said that the Cardas sounds "less cap-like" than the (pretty-damn-good) Mundorf S&Gs, adding that the typical cap, in his opinion, "features the initial point of the event", while the Cardas caps did a better job of "putting instruments in their spaces".  Well, that's true enough, but that's not all they do differently.

Fair warning: The Cardas caps are so big that I had to start with chassis mods on my "original" style (unit with multiple boards) in order to make room for the new caps; what a PITA.

But I knew as soon as the music got under way that I was on to something very good, indeed.  And it only got better.  In fact, my wife and daughter actually came into the room to listen, including listening to La Boheme, in this case a 1974 stereo remastering of the dual-mono 1956 original Beecham/de Los Angeles/Bjorling/Merrill, etc.

With the Cardas caps bass is less "prominent" but much deeper and richer (correct), and ambiance capture is fully sufficient to get involved with it, apropos.  A soft depression that had nagged me in the upper midrange is now corrected, to my ear, and the rig now leans more to the record producers' intentions than their procedures.  It has been a long time since any La Boheme aria brought tears to my eyes, but it happened twice today, along with plenty of goosebumps and hair standing on end for the right reasons.  What a great performance, and what a great remastering job!  The revised master loses some immediacy and far-flung dynamics to the original, but the engineered sense of "stage" is good enough that it compensates for the losses, IMO, believe it or not.

I also played some Ellington with Coletrain, some Dylan, etc., and when the level of expression is high it is just captivating.

Image density remains, but it has changed a little due to the increase in ambiant info, and harmonics and subtle inflections are likewise more audible now.  Perhaps absolute "density" has decreased somewhat, but the present image seems no less "real", and it is much more "desirable", to me, in that the music now draws me more strongly.  Oddly, although the stereo separation has not changed in terms of its "strength", and although "perspective" has not changed to speak of, images are now less likely to cling to a speaker when playing hard-panned stereo.

"Timing" or "pacing" has improved, too, without mono-chromia.  This seems to come at least partly from improved "clarity".  Songs now have a clearer sense of their own thematic unity, and good ones tell their story better and they are over more quickly.

I have never heard greater "clarity" than I'm getting now without a dilution or bleaching of the sound.  If this featuure holds it will be incredible.

I have not had any issues with electricity for 3 weeks, at least as far as this phono stage is concerned, and HF is now so good it's laughable.  So maybe the unit isn't super-sensitive to the grid power, after all.

So far this change is all upside (apart from the cost...), and this change has this unit (and my system) right where I want it!

Naturally, I'm in the process of moving again!!!

Best regards,
Paul S
06-17-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,545
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 10
Post ID: 4624
Reply to: 4622
Caps? What caps?
I’m sorry, I’m not getting you. Where did you use those caps and what values/voltage do you use? I never use any Cardas caps. Their cables are notorious crap, why do you feel that this caps should be better?


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-18-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 11
Post ID: 4625
Reply to: 4624
Notorious cap

Functionally, these are the same caps I already replaced once/twice (and wrote about) before, namely the big "parafeed" couplers.  The unit came with bypassed 4 uF Kimbers, which were fuzzy and slow, so I replaced them with 3.3 uF Mundorf Silver and Golds; then I added .82 uF Mundorfs/channel  because the 3.3s weren't big enough, although they were otherwise lots better than the Kimbers.  I wanted to add still more capacitance, to go farther in the direction I had just gone, and I figured I'd just give the Cardas caps a try (600V, 4.7 uF), based solely on KC's deadpan description/comparison of the Cardas versus the Mundorf S&Gs.  But he also said the Mundorfs are "close", which is funny, sort of, because psychos like us gladly spend thousands to get this kind and level of improvements.

And you are right, I had no reason to "believe" that the big, expensive Cardas "Golden Something-or-Other" caps would be worth a crap.  To say I took a flyer on this is an understatement.

Since I absolutely dismiss the root Cardas "scientific premise", I have no idea why these caps would/should work so damned well in this application.  But remember that I am not as put off as you are by stupid claims and misbegotten egotism on the part of rinky-dink, stuck-on-a-trick audio parts purveyors.

In fact, I am a mindless slut, and I will as always simply accept and take this for all it's worth, thankyouverymuch.

If you or anyone else gives a rat's ass (I know I don't...), the Big Deal with these particular caps is supposed to be some sort of co-mingled dielectric (Teflon and PVC, I think) that somehow "disipates energy each at the rate of its own dielectric constant", or some such unintelligible-to-me (and presumed to be bullshit) language.  Really, I can't even be bothered to look it up.

I have to say that the Cardas House Talk puts me off rather than attracting me to their stuff, and I have never even thought to use any of their other stuff anywhere in my system before, ever, apart from various smaller Cardas caps that already inhabited the interior of my phonostage when I got it.  I've actually never given them a second thought, one way or the other, past noticing they are there.

But I would not hesitate to try these particular Cardas (coupling) caps again in a similar application, or output RC.

Best regards,
Paul S

06-18-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,545
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 12
Post ID: 4626
Reply to: 4625
Caps: I don’t know why you are frustrated.

I'am not a big fun of the entire parafeed idea as I feel that it is a way a duplicate of DC blocking but anyhow: if your preamp uses it then what are you problem with that parafeed cap? You were writing about your changing and bypassing different caps but you never said why you do it and I never heard you expressed what was wrong with Sound with the old cap and in which direction you would like to go, at least with that cap. How do you know that the atomic sonic problems that you discribed were coming from the cap that you changed but not from the rest of the circuit? In trims of sound of the parts, a circuit sounds with characteristics of the worst and the most colored element. So if you got some problem with sound while you changed the cap then are you sure that it was the cap? Also, what do you mean the 3uF were not enough? Did you actually hear LF truncation? The cut off might be calculated by:

F = 1/(2 * pi * C * R)

How much you have now?

Anyhow, if you would like then you might try the caps that I use for all my coupling. Try to found the Elecrocube 950B or 950D. Do not even touch any other Elecrocubes – they are not worthy.

http://www.electrocube.com/pdf/cap12.pdf

If you are not wiling to buy $500 then you can check leftover inventory (it supports the wild key search):

http://www.electrocube.com/stockcheck/

The Cubes 950B/D does not need any bypass. They do as good as a cap need to be and they are not large and not expensive. You might try them if you wish. I do not underwrite that you will like them but if I have the amp and if I would like to learns hot it sound I would put the 950B in there what whatever is left I would accept as the preamp’ sound.

I discover the Cubes 950B/D through Lamm – he used them in his amps as coupling caps. I got some of them tried them and like them. Then over the years I tried a large number of different, including some exotic and expensive, caps but I always went go back to the Cubes 950B/D – they have a different level of neutrality then anything else I have tried, very different from all that “immediately impressive” Hi-Fi crap…

BTW, one more thing – where the hell you found 600V in your preamp? Your 6DJ8 is a low voltage tube with probably 150-175V on plate and you have no voltage on other side. It sounds that 200V would be fine there. With 600V cap you have more dielectric in there, why do you need it?

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-18-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 13
Post ID: 4629
Reply to: 4626
The what's how's and why's
Romy, I am aware of your well-reasoned prejudice against audiophile/boutique parts, and I agree that they are by-and-large the first recourse and last refuge of Morons.

I thought I'd chronicled this phono stage stuff so far, but obviously not in your terms.

I have never really considered parafeed as any sort of panacia, for any gain stage.  Since the best low-level gain stage I have heard was op amps, you might think I'd go that way...

Yes, this hybrid parafeed idea is mostly about constant current and DC blocking (to help the tranny), but it's also about a reasonably simple gain path.  And since this gain circuit derives from [old] microphones, that's probably another reason to stay away from it.

But I listed my "reasons" for trying this thing early on.

I never said I bypassed a cap.  I said the unit came with a bypassed 4 uF Kimber cap that I got rid of right away, because it just sounded like crap.

I did say that the original sound was foggy and reticent, and I did say that the original 3.3 uF Mundorfs cleared things up a lot but were bass/ambiance shy.  I was not sure about the wide and quite shallow upper midrange dip until the Cardas caps "corrected" it.  And I'm such a slut that I will accept/enjoy the results even if I don't know "why", although I do tend to ponder these things through over time.

Yes, I know the mathematical formula for bass cut-off, and I usually try to get away with as little capacitance as I can, in keeping with my generally hair shirt approach.  In this case there was truncation and uneven bass with under 4.7 uF.  In fact bass was wildly uneven with 3.3 uF, the first Mundorfs I tried.  Adding  .82 uF/channel helped, obviously, and with the 4.7 uF, bass and ambiance retreval are now excellent, for my system, to the point where I just want to listen now.

It's not logical, I know, but I am also wondering now if some of my "power problems" came at least partly as a result of "the wrong capacitors", since those problems have disappeared coincidently with the addition of capacitance at that station.  Yes, I realize that it could be a coincidence.

Regarding the Electrocubes, can I actually buy one or two Bs or Ds directly from the source?  I have not found a retail source for the B or D, and no source at all that I can figure out how to order from, so it has been for me just another one of those arcane references, like the one-of-a-kind step-up you use, no use to me.

The phono parafeed caps should be [at least] 250V in my unit, so the 600V is overkill, for sure.  So ponder the Mundorfs, at 1,200V, not to mention that Mundorf's anti-inductance idea is putting two double-sized, mirror-wound caps in series!

Again, I am perhaps guilty of a sort of least approach to everything hi-fi, including and maybe especially in the case of capacitors, so this case is actually quite a departure for me.  And I am glad it turned out right despite obvious holes in the "technical argument" for the move.

Using reverse quasi-logic, right now I would have to say that something in the gain circuit of this phono stage makes this particular cap important, because of the audible results.

If it turns out I was wowed by something shiny, I will of course get back and report on that, too.  But don't count on it; I've been at this a while.

Meanwhile, I have no urge to change out the Electrocubes in the Lamms, since they have so far clearly and faithfully reproduced every other improvement to date.

Lastly, these Cardas caps absolutely do not need a bypass.  HF is just excellent, as is.

Best regards,
Paul S
06-18-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,545
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 14
Post ID: 4630
Reply to: 4629
If you use the inventory search link that I provided...

 Paul S wrote:
Regarding the Electrocubes, can I actually buy one or two Bs or Ds directly from the source?  I have not found a retail source for the B or D…
... then you will see the contact information of the resellers that sell them with no quantity limitation.


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-18-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 15
Post ID: 4636
Reply to: 4630
A comparison, perhaps?

I'm afraid I lack the savvy and/or the patience to figure out from those links how to buy just two matched Electrocube 950Ds, since all the distributors seem to be geared to industrial purchasing protocols.

But if someone wants to send me a matched pair of 4.7 uF 950-Ds, I will compare them to the Cardas "Golden Ratio", post my impressions and send back the caps.

Of course, it would only tell about use for that particular application...


Best regards,
Paul

06-22-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 16
Post ID: 4653
Reply to: 4636
Who'd'a thunk it?

An unprecedented three straight sessions now with no "power problems", including hot weekday and weekend listening. This newfound stability happens to coincide with the bigger caps.  Although I refuse to draw any conclusions about this I am secretly wondering if there is a connection.  I also made some interesting discoveries with the ML2s in conjunction with the cap-related changes, and I am also posting on this, as well.

Best regards,
Paul S

06-23-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 17
Post ID: 4660
Reply to: 4653
That'll teach me!
Yes, well...

VERY hot today and power was changing from good to stinking bad and back over a span of minutes, sound pumping away like a ghoulish accordian.

I used the opportunity to re-set my arm damping for the 16 Ohm taps on the ML2s, assuming I could leave it like that, and indeed, that is it, for now.  I had it like that when I got my AI dialed in, but I had gone back to 4 ohms while futzing with the K&K.  Now that it is dialed in, too, or close enough, I will stick with 16 Ohms long enough to get a handle on it and enjoy the music while I'm at it.

By evening power was cleaner and the sound and the music were wonderful; I hated to turn it off.

But the big-capped K&K is NOT immune to power problems, by any means!

That's what I get for piping up...

Dammit...

Now to find a "conditioner" that works with phono stages...

Best regards,
Paul S
06-23-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,545
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 18
Post ID: 4662
Reply to: 4660
With a certain experiences of doing it...
 Paul S wrote:
But the big-capped K&K is NOT immune to power problems, by any means!
It is very simple to test how much a given audio component is immured to power problems, in case if it has “big-caps”. If your K&K does have a LOT of capacitance in PS (that I doubt as no on put a lot of caps in line-level units operating) then disconnect the power while, the unit is working. During the next few seconds you will be able to hear the unit’s sound that sucks power from own caps - it will be completely free from many power problems (primary noise and compression). With a certain experiences of doing it and interring the heard and with a rudimental understanding of the given circuit of PS you might get a very clear picture how much a given unit is vulnerable to power problems. I have been using these assessment techniques for years. BTW, if someone read carefully and thoughtful then he might read much more in this post then it is written

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-24-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 19
Post ID: 4663
Reply to: 4662
Point taken (balloon already popped)
PS caps, of course...

I'm guessing I'll have about .25/second to make my assessment...

Any luck with the APS on the phono stages?

Best regards,
Paul

 
08-26-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 2,157
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 20
Post ID: 5129
Reply to: 4663
Are you ready for a "listening tool"?
In a post at his K&K Forum, designer/builder Kevin Carter referred to this phono stage as a "listening tool", and I basically agree with that terse assessment.

I think I have messed around with this unit enough now to get it "strategically".

So far, in my system, this thing has been about as good or as bad as what it is fed and what it feeds.  I have gotten some truly soul-stirring music through this unit; not every piece, every time, but I am pretty sure the problems so far are not the fault of this phono stage.

Again, I use the "hair shirt", totally-inflexible, MM-only version of the SE (although it is otherwise hotrodded).

The biggest problem I have had with this unit so far has been bad electricity.

The first thing to go when the electricity goes bad is the part of the music that makes it Music, if you know what I mean.  It just slips away.  After that, you can futz with the sound all you want, but forget about getting the most from the piece.

I went through my tube stash and was pleased to find quite a few options for the 6DJ8s.  Differences between the tubes were obvious.  I wound up preferring one generally regarded as "less-than" some others I have.  I was actually surprised, but I like the way it "pitches" and the way it seems to best facilitate the unit's strategy.  And while the tube I settled on is also less "clear" than one other tube, yet the clarity proffered by my choice seems to me more "natural" (in my system).

In my system, apart from the electrical issues, I am pleased that it appears I can start taking this unit for granted, +/- forget about it, like I have done with my TT for so many years.

Note that this unit neither gives nor takes away "life" in the sense that no "sense of magic" seems to derive from the unit itself, ever, but such traits either do or do not acrue to the music.  Sure, that may mean that this unit "sublimates" itself to the music, but I am not willing to get into that, and at at this point it sounds like crap-ola.

Using the best I have gotten so far as a gauge for what this unit CAN do, it is "right enough", and I have turned my attention elsewhere.

Digital, anyone?

Paul S
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