BC Phono Stage

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ERM
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BC Phono Stage

Post by ERM » Wed Aug 06, 2014 5:09 pm

My TT is a Rega P5 with Groovetracer subplatter & delrin platter, Audiomod arm, Denon DL-S1 cart.

My current phone stage is the EAR 834P. I have had a chance to play it back to back with Rene's Fon Lo Thingee with big pipe. Also heard the same stage at Larry's last week. I found these stages to be closer to each other than expected and it was a toss up between them.

So, where to go from here. The review on the BC707 sounds like what I'm looking for. That is larger soundstage, great mid range and natural sounding music (kind of reminds me of the Habeths). But now we also have the FLT iaB and the Li'l 703. It looks like any of these can now be outfitted with similar power supplies, and share similar designs. So what is the sonic presentation difference? Has anyone had the chance to compare these?

I don't plan in changing my TT, so would moving to one of the above be overkill? I suppose the advantage of the 507 is that it is only one box.

Thanks in advance for your insight.

masluck
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Phono ramblings

Post by masluck » Fri Aug 08, 2014 9:14 am

Hi Ed,

If you could swing it, I'd go for the L'il 703 with a lesser supply and then upgrade from there (the power supply over time). I have been in touch with Gil But about upgrading my BC23-705-L2 to the 703 phono board. Seeing that I have a pretty good power supply already in my phono stage, Gil But says the improvement would be well worth the investment. Secondly, you have a wider selection range for gain on the 703 board. That may not be important to you, but when I had my BC26 upgraded, I had him adjust (lower) input gain on the amp to allow me wider range of volume control on the preamp. Well, the 703 phono board gives 6 steps of gain - so no brainer there for me. I hope that helps!!

Mark

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ERM
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Post by ERM » Sun Aug 10, 2014 6:23 pm

Hi Mark, great hearing from you. That certainly gives me something to think about. Both you and 'DD' have referred to th BC705, but I'm not familiar with it nor do I see it on the product list.
Part of my dilemma is balance. Keeping my TT as described, will a L'll 703 or even the BC707 be appreciated.
Looks like the 707 has 700,000 uF same as the new GBC 250 ? So, the real big pipe equivelant would be the GBC500?
I'm trying to get a grip on sonic difference on any the phono stages is the uF is kept the same say BC250 or BC500.
I'm currently on vacation, so not sure on access to internet. Appreciate any other thoughts. Thanks.

masluck
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Post by masluck » Mon Aug 11, 2014 12:50 pm

Hi Ed,

The 705 was a phono stage that GilBut never put into production. I think Double D and I may be the only ones that have it (dunno). So, in essence, it would be between a 707 and and 703 in terms of performance. It retains the 707/709 two step gain setting capability and RCA input loading of those two phono stages. I just chose to have mine internally wired to 100 Ohms because I have a Shelter 501 MKII and all Shelter cartridges seem to like that setting.

As for being appreciated (e.g. your current TT) and a kicking phono stage; my answer would be..."why not?" I have a very modest TT as well (Clearaudio Performance SE - Satisfy carbon tonearm) compared to others here and if you mate it with a really nice phono stage it will simply be killer!! I have this TT mated to the BC23-705-L2 and it is just awesome. I will go to the 703 board mostly for the ability to internally load the cartridge (in case I leave the Shelter family) and have more flexibility in gain settings (as I described above).

As for the GBC power supplies, I would defer to GilBut on that one. He is always evolving power supplies/supply technology. Yet, if I was you, I would go for the L'il 703 - not my wallet, so apologies in advance!! It will certainly raise the level of your current setup (if you like the BC phono stage sound) and offer a lot of variability to how much capacitance you can afford at any given time. The larger supplies, (IMHO) support both "lowering the tension" (words stolen unabashedly from Bob Neill) and extending transparency and dynamics.

I hope that helps!!

Mark

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Double D
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Post by Double D » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:18 pm

A little late to chime in here... sorry ! :oops:
Yes, I tried the 705 phono stage, and liked it a LOT, it sounded awesome playing "off the grid" powered by it's bank of batteries.

I didn't pursue buying one because my vinyl rig, is well.. much more modest, and the 705 was way out of line with the rest of the platform. :roll: and I wasn't ready to incorporate it into my main system... I still haven't gone that route as a matter of fact,.. I keep my vinyl rig much more "modest".. so I don't get too fussy about it. Analog.. as much as I love it, is a very "needy" medium, and if I keep the vinyl rig more modest, I just accept it, and play records for fun. :wink:

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ERM
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Post by ERM » Tue Aug 12, 2014 3:27 pm

David & Mark, thanks very much for your valuable input, I really appreciate it.

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Post by breadman » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:51 am

i have been keenly interested in the post and reluctant to chime in based on my lack of knowledge but here goes. i am in roughly the same point albeit a bit further along. my bc 21.1 is in to have a lil'703 installed and an external power supply added. i asked gilbert the same basic question. will the lil'703 outshine my current set-up. older denon dp-3000 turntable and a planned denon 103 cartridge, audio quest tonearm. his response to the question was, "it will make it shine". i have never had a separate phono stage and always used the one inside my 25 year preamp. i never really thought about a phono stage that much but my interest in vinyl is reviving. i want to hold albums again while listening to music. i don't want to buy air(digital music). when i buy music now i want to hold something and that started my love again for vinyl. gilbert got me on the digital road a few years ago installing a bc509 in my magnum dynalab tuner and i love the ease of it. i haven't really pursued vinyl that much with cd being my main source for years. after some research on phono stages and what they actually do it made me want to see where this will lead. i was concerned about allocating money towards a phono stage having never heard one that i can remember. i am really excited to find out what a phono stage can do my music collection, yes i still have all the vinyl from my childhood, including my first one, "saturday night" by the bay city rollers on 45 i bought when i was 11 if i had to guess. to summarize my long winded diatribe, i allocated as much as could and can in anyone one area as i explore it. next stop... amplifier and crossovers.
paul

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ERM
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Update

Post by ERM » Fri Oct 24, 2014 10:25 am

Thank you all for your suggestions. I was approached by a fellow BC owner and I'm now a happy owner a BC phono stage.

It's a 17x14x3 unit with stainless steel face and Li'l 703 board. Really Big Pipe power, plus some additional internal caps.

After plugging it in for 24 hours, did some initial listening, and I'm very pleased. Presents a much more relaxed open sound while at the same time a much better differentiation between instruments, better timber and detai. The largest improvement is a much more powerful, lower and tighter bass.

Keeping with the BLUE theme, first record was a blue vinyl 45 rpm lp of Linda Ronstatd Blue Bayou. Amazing!!

One question is regarding the selection of gain. My GY modified Copland pre has a huge amount of gain. Does a lower or higher setting on the phono side affect the sound or noise factor. I have tried a couple of settings (second highest and second lowest), but it means taking everything apart in order to change. Reviews on the 707 and 703 usually state a high setting, but I don't know why. Does anyone have a preference?

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