Rerurn to Romy the Cat's Site

In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: The K&K SE hybrid phono stage: a report
Post Subject: Are you ready for a "listening tool"?Posted by Paul S on: 8/26/2007
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

Rerurn to Romy the Cat's Site