Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby dimfer » Wed Apr 30, 2014 10:21 am

now, men will be happy to be called " A Guy with A Mini" :devil:
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Line Preamps

Postby kitaro » Thu May 01, 2014 4:21 pm

jadis wrote:MAXING OUT THE LINE...THE MINIMAX LINE STAGE


It's been a while now since I got the Minimax Line stage. Why I got it untested is because I have some faith in my guts. :lol: Ever since Pat brought his 'demo' unit here for one afternoon, I had been curious to hear what a matched brand phono and line stage would sound like. I was looking for their 'synergy', as they were cut from one hands, so to speak. Also, my Jadis JPL line stage had a gain of 35db and I was curious what the Mini's 20db gain would sound like after giving up 15 dbs. I want to see how the Mini would push itself when compared to a seasoned brand like Jadis, who's sonic signature enamored me enough not to be an 'audio infidel' for the last 15 years. :lol:

Out of the box, and into the first few days and weeks, I did not experience any 'terms of endearment' moment with it. :lol: The Jadis would be hard to match, I'd thought, specially with an all-Mullard ensemble. True enough, after initial comparison, the Max still had a long way to go, in dynamics, in lushness, and finesse. What I did next was to yank out the ICs and move back to the JPL for my day to day listening while the Minimax Line gets burned it for as many hours as I can monitor it, and I did this for several weeks.

As time passed, my order of a pair of NOS 12Au7s came in:

Image

Sticking in these tubes in place of the stock Eastern Electric tubes provided instantaneous improvements! The tonal character of course shifted to the classic Mullard sound that I know of. Female vocals specifically sounded full, luscious, and airy. It's almost Doris Day and Julie London were lying down in their beds. :lol: Bedroom voice. :inlove: Maria Mellnas in the album Cantate Domino now sung like a songbird reaching highs that makes my skin crawl. Putting on some jazz albums, I played Jazzical Class by Wayne Bedrosian, of late my pet LP, and was wow'ed by the utter dynamics given by this little preamp. It blew me down, literally, one night. I felt there was a certain 'rightness' in the combination of the Mini phono and the Mini line stage. It is just magical. And the more I crank up the volume, this combination opened up the sound stage even more. Images are stable and instruments have a rich texture and top to bottom coherence is quite excellent. The Mini line preamp's overall performance is knocking at the door of my JPL. This alone is surprising enough as cost-wise, the Mini is just a fraction of the Jadis. Ultimately, the Jadis line still has an edge as far as 'emotional content' is concerned, it gives a little more tingling sensation after listening to its vocal rendition on LPs but the Mini line is not far behind. I would like to venture a guess that the 35db gain of the Jadis line may be too much as at times, my max volume level was just at the 10 o'clock level and it felt like things were bursting already in some cuts. The Mini Line does not exhibit such phenomenon even at the 1 o'clock level. And it actually sounds deeper and more transparent than the JPL/Mini Phono combination. Overall, the Mini line stage gives me a level of satisfaction that I am not in a hurry to go back to my JPL line stage. I know when I go back to the JPL I will discover where its magic still lies as I have gotten so much used to its sonic character and loved it as well, but the Minimax Line is tempting, and taunting me to be an 'audio infidel'. :lol: Well, at this point, it has quite succeeded, actually. :D Is this the feeling of having a mistress? I mean in the audio world. :inlove: :D As they say in the commercial jingle, 'palit-palitan pag may tym'. :D


Many thanks :clap: for nice review on the Minimax pre. Have you had any experience on minimax's setup with E80cc in the buffer stage (middle tube)? Many love this kind of setup.
BTW, which one makes you more ecstatic, minimax phono or minimax pre?
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Line Preamps

Postby jadis » Fri May 02, 2014 9:14 am

kitaro wrote:
Many thanks :clap: for nice review on the Minimax pre. Have you had any experience on minimax's setup with E80cc in the buffer stage (middle tube)? Many love this kind of setup.
BTW, which one makes you more ecstatic, minimax phono or minimax pre?


Hi Kitaro,

So far I have not tried the E80CC variant on the middle tube. I have tried some American made tubes and the one that I like most is this group is the JAN GE 6189W. It's an all around performer with good balance from top to bottom. But for my taste, the best effect is still the Mullard Long Plate Square Getter as pictured. The roundness, smoothness, airiness and sweetness is pushed to another level. I'm still waiting for a Mullard 6X4 to arrive, similar to that used in my Minimax phono. So right now, the stock Eastern Electric 6X4 is used in the line stage, and I expect a little more improvements with a roll in the rectifier tube.

As for phono or line stages in my system, I feel the bigger impact gear is the phono stage. Maybe it's because the phono was going up against an ARC in close to its price range and the line was going up against a Jadis pre that is costs much more. While the ultimate reason for buying a gear is still the performance and not just the price, I should note that the Jadis line is pretty tough to beat in this game, and it still costs lesser than the present day preamps costing 5 $$$ figures. When the Mullard 6X4 tube arrives for the line, it will be interesting to see how far the Minimax line pushes its performance envelope. Right now there are some points for and points against with it and the Jadis, but as far as the Minimax phono and the ARC PH3 is concerned, it was a runaway advantage for the Mini.
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby kitaro » Sat May 03, 2014 11:42 am

HI Jadis,

Thanks again for your crystal clear post and for sharing your impressions on both units. :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby jadis » Sat May 03, 2014 5:13 pm

kitaro wrote:HI Jadis,

Thanks again for your crystal clear post and for sharing your impressions on both units. :clap: :clap: :clap:


My pleasure Kitaro. When you become a member of the 'bite the max' club, pls let us know. :)
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby TheAnalogSource » Wed May 14, 2014 10:10 am

Image

The heat is so unbearable nowadays. Good thing there is not much happening at TAS so spending much of my time outdoors with the kids these past few weeks.
Last night, though, I took a break from my summer vacation to listen to a neighbor's system.

Innovation and TNT both with newer Goldfingers. Im so impressed with the Minimax Phono how it holds head high with the big guys.
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby dench » Sat May 31, 2014 4:27 pm

Hi Philip,

Not sure if you've noted it on the previous pages. I'm wondering how good does the Minimax perform with low output MC cartridges? Thank you.
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby jadis » Sat May 31, 2014 5:44 pm

dench wrote:Hi Philip,

Not sure if you've noted it on the previous pages. I'm wondering how good does the Minimax perform with low output MC cartridges? Thank you.


Hi Dench,

May I know how low is your MC cartridge? 0.2mv?
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby dench » Sun Jun 01, 2014 1:24 am

jadis wrote:
dench wrote:Hi Philip,

Not sure if you've noted it on the previous pages. I'm wondering how good does the Minimax perform with low output MC cartridges? Thank you.


Hi Dench,

May I know how low is your MC cartridge? 0.2mv?


Hi Philip, it's 0.3mV. Benz Wood L2. Kayang kaya ng Minimax?
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby TheAnalogSource » Sun Jun 01, 2014 6:22 am

Dennis, im using a Benz Ref 3 with my minimax phono. I think it is about 0.25 mv output. I usually interchange plugging it to both the mc high and mc low input because they give different character. One giving more detail whilethe other is rounder. That being without any lose in volume. With my listening level of about 92db, the minimax preamp volume level is about 10-11 o'clock
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby jadis » Sun Jun 01, 2014 8:23 am

dench wrote:
jadis wrote:
dench wrote:Hi Philip,

Not sure if you've noted it on the previous pages. I'm wondering how good does the Minimax perform with low output MC cartridges? Thank you.


Hi Dench,

May I know how low is your MC cartridge? 0.2mv?


Hi Philip, it's 0.3mV. Benz Wood L2. Kayang kaya ng Minimax?


Hi Dennis,

I guess Noly gave the best answer as he is using a Benz that has about the same output as yours. Aside from what Noly mentioned re trying out both the low and high gain MC sections (which is revealing, I believe one of them will sound better than the other) there is also a case of sensitivities of preamp, amp and speakers. My average level with the Minimax line is around 11-1 o'clock on the rotary knob. On the subject of overall gain, I personally feel that levels from 10-1 o'clock is ok, though Morita goes as far as 3 o'clock for extended dynamics. I believe the key is keeping the noise down at those levels.
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby TheAnalogSource » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:30 am

I just remembered I had experienced a demon 103r (0.25mv) with the minimax too. Plug into mc low
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby dench » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:00 pm

Thank you Noly and Philip!! I know you both have a lot of experience and skills in turntable setup.

Now time to find a Minimax :)
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby Superman » Sun Jun 01, 2014 2:14 pm

...two words: BANAT NA!!
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby TheAnalogSource » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:26 am

Image

Analog front end is a Benz Glider on a TASLenco with the mighty Minimax Phono.

Oh let me mention also the killer digital audio system that includes file stream thru a Logitech Transporter then to Minimax DAC.

sorry for the lousy pics :lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby dench » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:30 pm

TheAnalogSource wrote:Image

Analog front end is a Benz Glider on a TASLenco with the mighty Minimax Phono.

Oh let me mention also the killer digital audio system that includes file stream thru a Logitech Transporter then to Minimax DAC.

sorry for the lousy pics :lol: :lol: :lol:


:clap: :clap:
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby TheAnalogSource » Thu Jun 19, 2014 8:45 am

Image

gyro se and minimax......lenco's gone.....single malt didnt last long either hehehe
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby jlooney » Thu Jun 19, 2014 10:06 am

TheAnalogSource wrote:Image

gyro se and minimax......lenco's gone.....single malt didnt last long either hehehe


kailan kaya mauulit... :clap: :clap: :clap:
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Further thoughts...

Postby jadis » Mon Jul 28, 2014 6:52 pm

Further thoughts on the Mini and Jadis pre...

I rarely have this experience before, but owning 2 preamps and getting a chance to really sink in to both and know their sonic characters is yet another lesson learned from experience in my audio life. Jadis JPL and the Minimax Line. It's like a 'Solomonic Debacle', only, instead of having 2 mothers and a baby, here we have 2 babies and a 'father'. :D Well, we can't chop the 'father', for there will be no one to take care of the 'babies'. :D

One thing I've learned too from introducing new audio gears into my room, is that it creates a 'domino effect'. It started years ago when my ARC VS115 came in. It's a game of matching. Something gets in and something tumbles and while there are good things created, some good things goes missing in action. :lol: And on and on the search and further experimentation continue. This should be the reason why audio, to some, is never ending. It is a search, be it in the form of parts upgrade, ancilliary equipment matching, tweaking, or experimenting with accessories. Throughout these months, or even years, I've been baffled by this 'tug-of-war' phenomenon of getting 'improvements' in the sonic spectrum and then 'losing' some old magical sound as new things are introduced. In real life, I call this 'STRESS'. :D The old magical sound I yearn for is the sweet, lush and 'hypnotizing' sound if you will, but starting with the ARC 115 amp, things started to get clearer, cleaner, and bombastically dynamic. :o The mid became less thick and less warm. That was the change. While welcoming the influx of positive traits, I can't help but yearn for the old sonic flavor of having a warmer mid. Hmmm...What should I do? I haven't done a lot of hardware shifting or testing in a long time but now I told myself I have to put my dirty clothes on again, and dig down and find out how to get things better, ie, having the cake and eating it too. :) Along the way came 2 more 'dominoes' that were the Avid Diva Table and Minimax Phono stage. Some things again got 'better' and were to my liking but as more albums and music get played, I told myself that I was still missing something.

I stared hard the the speakers and told them that they need to be re-positioned. :lol: Yeah, blame the old speaker placement thingy. Good thing they weigh in only as featherweights and moving them in and out, side to side, front and back unfortunately produced no significant change. And mostly, it just got worse, so I knew the positioning is really set on that old pivot line. :lol: That was when I remembered the words of Morita when he told me, if your gears do not match harmonically and rightly, you will never get the proper sound no matter what you do to your speaker placement. NO MATTAH WHOT. :D Now I know. And so we go the 'meat' of system matching.

To begin with, I should say that the ARC phono PH3 and Jadis JPL matched very well, and when mated with my old ARC VS110, produced a very satisfying sound. There was synergy and there was harmony, providing me with many many years of musical bliss. As I mentioned, the entry of the ARC VS115 amp changed the course of the game. Mainly, the bass got tigher, the transients were lightning fast, and the slam was more intense, with crystal clear highs and a solid but leaner mid, like the ribeye became tenderloin. :lol: With the combination of the Jadis preamp, Minimax phono stage and the Avid/Koetsu Rose Sig, the overall performance was raised to another higher level. But with some highly modulated LPs, there seems to be an overload of sorts, a slightly gritty and grainy coloration began to intrude into the musicspecifically in the midband. That led me to suspect the 'overloading' of the Jadis pre with a gain of 35db. The Minimax line only has a 12 db gain to match the 57 or so db of its brother phono stage. I was intrigued about the lower 12db gain of the Minimax pre. For once, I wanted something lesser or lower than more. It was about the sound quality more than the loudness level, I thought. And with the Mini, my volume pot had to go to 1 o'clock whereas the Jadis can rock at 10 to 11 o' clock.

I had been using the Mini preamp for around 3 months straight and lately, I put back the Jadis again. There is a sense of razor sharp focus, definition and a sparkling clear quality immediately added to the sound that was not in the Mini. Sax and piano had a biting quality and can push me to the back of my seat. It's funny that I didn't quite feel this phenomenon when I was listening to the Jadis prior to the arrival of the Minimax pre. The Mimimax sinking music to my ears this past few months seem to have changed the perspective of how I get to appreciate music from both itself and the Jadis to the point that both are now quite diverse and even the opposite. The Mini comes in very relaxed, slow-handed, and rounded at the edges in most of the sonic spectrum. And magically, the 'overload' that I felt before disappeared, almost completely. The Jadis is now the robust one, banging hard, throwing an incredibly razor-like sharpness in most instruments. Attack is the word that comes to my mind. And it has a sledge-hammer type of low end presentation when compared to the Mini. The Mini can be a bit shy and the girl next door, and the Jadis is the extrovert and the bully. All this, in the context of the rest of my audio equipment and other accessories. In short, the kind of synergy achieved now with the all Mini phono and line with the ARC 115 back end is like a synergistic harmony prescribed by most 'feng shiu' artists - the existence of proper balance in everything that results is bliss. Fire must be doused with Rain, so to speak, remembering the James Taylor tune. :lol: And I've seen Fire (Jadis) and I've seen Rain (Minimax). And I'm seeing (and hearing) sunny days that I *hope* will never end. :)

Thanks for 'watching'. :lol:
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby TheAnalogSource » Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:36 am

nice impression Philip, i will reserve mine for the linestage to later. In the meantime....

....spent the Eid Fitr holiday with a Minimax Phono delivery. That blue light should be familiar by now.
Ofcourse, the now traditional whiskey shot after setup is a must. :lol: :lol: :lol: :drunk: it's a 5L black this time haha

Image

maraming salamat attorney ;) 8)
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