Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Sat May 25, 2013 6:02 am

carbondated wrote:Have no experience at all with the Minimax phono stage but there is always the option of using a step-up transformer of whatever quality you are willing to spend for, matched to your cartridge and then connected to the MM input, yes?


hi carbondated,

yes, you are correct. for those pre-amps without an MC input and just an MM input, like an ARC SP 3, an outboard SUT is an option. and the mimimax has an MM input so if one wants to try a set up trans of any brand, it would be interesting to find out what happens.
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The MINIMAX Goes To Laguna

Postby jadis » Sun May 26, 2013 6:52 pm

THE MINIMAX GOES TO LAGUNA :

Yesterday, a new MiniMax traveled down south to San Pablo Laguna to 'rub elbows' with a few DIY creations. :)

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MORE COVERAGE HERE
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Mon Jun 03, 2013 10:45 am

MAX THE AX... :lol:

If the Minimax is not a grinding stone, it is an ax - an instrument that chops down to size, if you will, the many different things you do to it, or even other gears in the chain. :lol: I removed a Shun Mook puck from my tonearm and placed it on top of its chassis, the sound became more shrill. I put many kinds of iso/vibration control stuffs under its chassis and the soundstage became narrower and un-involving. It wanted its own 'rubber feet'. :o May pagkasuplado pa. :lol: I moved it up and around the rack to find its lowest hum level, and it actually wanted to be closest to the Jadis line stage and not farther away as I would have thought. :lol: I tried swapping some old Mullard military ECC83s with the stock Eastern Electric stock tubes and much to my shock, these supposedly insignificant looking tubes ( I suspect either China or Russian made) stood tall and measured high up there with the Mullards in detail, bass, and mids, they even sounded 'fuller' in the mids than the military Mullards. :o :o The Mullards was just slightly ahead in soundstage open-ness. I have yet to :) put in some 'real' NOS. :devil: The thing has taken me to a grind and made me sweat these past few days. :lol: It responds instantly to VTA and VTF changes, and I imagine with azimuth too, and as I had mentioned before, speaker placement. It is a 'sharp' tool and has given me a light workout of some sorts doing a lot of adjustments since its arrival. Certainly, it is not a 'sit-back-and-relax' thing after you have sat back and relaxed. :) It tempts you to tweak your system some more in order to 'max'imize it.

And back to some reference material I haven't played for a long time, I played a D2D Almeida/Brown Moonlight Serenade and got bowled over by the bass bow strokes of Brown. The thing is, such definition in that frequency range did not even needed loud volumes to have the bass tones sound so fleshed out. It's like peeling a banana and now you actually see the texture of the inside vs the outside. Amazing. Chie Ayado's piano on Life sounded so fresh and sparkling I felt like I was in the studio itself. And lo and behold, I have 2 different pressings of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly album and now, my hot stamper copy has been beaten by the other whereas before it was the other way around. Nag balimbing! :D What accounted for that I really do not know. The Max chopped me good on that one. :lol: It is not just a 'thriller', it is a 'mystery' as well. :lol: 20 more hours to go till HOUR-100 and I am imagining that by that time, I might be into 'science-fiction'. :D
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:47 pm

NIGHT FALLS ON "MULLARD LAND"...

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The middle 12AX7 tube is the all important first gain stage of the Minimax. It's a pain to tube roll this tube because of a metal base and shield cover to reduce stray RFI as this tube is very sensitive to noise brought about by vibration. The lower metal base cannot be removed so plucking out the tube from the socket is a pain as space is very constricted. Anyhow, the battle cry here is to leave no stones unturned and since there are many ways to 'skin a cat', the middle tube was finally removed and now replaced with my newly arrived NOS Mullard 12AX7 17mm Long Plate Square Getter with copper posts, as shown in the above picture as the middle tube with the metal base shield. This 'tight removal and reinsertion' is akin to trying to penetrate a medieval 'chastity belt', now I know. :lol:

Prior to this, a Telefunken Red Tipped 12AX7 was on duty in the Minimax and it has been reassigned to the Jadis Line Stage's cathode follower tube socket. In short, a swap of 12AX7s in the line and phono stages. The experiment yielded luscious results that has been making me feel excited. The edge in the horn instruments that were still too sharp for my liking before has virtually disappeared and now manifests itself as a sweeter and non edgy apparatus devoid of glare and courseness. As I had hunched before, things are going to get better as the tubes start to roll. And I was right. The Kenny G Live's 'Going Home' cut now sounds the best ever I have heard it paly in my own room. Memorex tape ad 'blown away' time. Kaboom! :lol: Goosebumps don't appear of late but they have been replaced by 'short of breath' phenomenon. :lol: The drum whacks of Going Home are now one of the most delicately timed whacks I have heard on record. Each whack is like a drop of water on a thirsty man on a desert - how one longs for it. :lol: Diin na Diin, in the vernacular. :)

And living up to its character, the Mullard long plate is the epitome of musicality and a lot more - throwing out a huge and well delineated sound stage with rock solid imaging and focus. The Nimbus Earl Klugh 'Living Inside Your Love' now sounds 'living'. :lol: Buhay na buhay. So airy and full of bloom. The guitar tones are so well defined and the decay of the instrument is very evident . And I am now beginning to think that the main strength of this phono pre amp is its fantastic definition of plucked instruments. This I have never heard before in my own system and am experiencing it now in great contrast to my past recollection of my system. I have purposely been shying away from the ladies, the huge choral ensemble and the full scale orchestral for future enrichment. A wise dog has to hide its bones for a rainy day meal. :lol: After all, this is all about 'maxing out' the 'Max. :)

Below, a closer look (in broad daylight) :lol: at the 1950s 17mm long plate square getter Mullard 12AX7, with copper posts: :) A sight to behold. 8)

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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby Mike Anderson » Wed Jun 12, 2013 12:32 am

Anybody know who the OEM is, for Eastern Electric? They have nice gear, feature wise and aesthetics.
My guess is Spark (Cayin) or perhaps Line Magnetics...
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Thu Jun 13, 2013 10:55 am

Mike Anderson wrote:Anybody know who the OEM is, for Eastern Electric? They have nice gear, feature wise and aesthetics.
My guess is Spark (Cayin) or perhaps Line Magnetics...


Hi Mike,

It is designed by Alex Leung in Hong Kong and I was told he has a factory inside China.
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby Mike Anderson » Thu Jun 13, 2013 11:28 am

jadis wrote:
Mike Anderson wrote:Anybody know who the OEM is, for Eastern Electric? They have nice gear, feature wise and aesthetics.
My guess is Spark (Cayin) or perhaps Line Magnetics...


Hi Mike,

It is designed by Alex Leung in Hong Kong and I was told he has a factory inside China.


Hi Jadis,
Thanks for the info. I've always thought that someone else manufactures for them. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I really like The EE line. I'm eyeing the mono-blocks (with meters :P ). Prices are reasonable too...
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Thu Jun 13, 2013 12:20 pm

Mike Anderson wrote:
jadis wrote:
Mike Anderson wrote:Anybody know who the OEM is, for Eastern Electric? They have nice gear, feature wise and aesthetics.
My guess is Spark (Cayin) or perhaps Line Magnetics...


Hi Mike,

It is designed by Alex Leung in Hong Kong and I was told he has a factory inside China.


Hi Jadis,
Thanks for the info. I've always thought that someone else manufactures for them. Not that there's anything wrong with that.
I really like The EE line. I'm eyeing the mono-blocks (with meters :P ). Prices are reasonable too...

Anytime Mike. I think they're value for money products and given the good performance of this phono stage, it's a brand to consider for any future plans.
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Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:19 pm

A few friends have asked me who is behind the Eastern Electric line of audio products. Morita (Robert) had met him around 2006 in HK and later on he exhibited a few of his products in the HK Hifi Show of 2010. None other than Alex Leung of Hong Kong.

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And ooh, he's got my favorite Proprius LP 'Kornet Har Sin Vila' as well... :inlove:

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And I heard he loves British loudspeakers, shown here from Spendor of UK.

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The clock continues to tick to 100 hours for the BI (Broken-In) Day of the Minimax. Even Morita has been asking me what's happening. I feel like a countdown to the much publicized 2012 - is this my last phono preamp? :lol:

Pictures taken from this site:

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/east ... dac_2.html
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:11 pm

HITTING THE CENTURY 'MAX'... :lol:

100 hours. The century max, er, mark. :lol: The supposed break in time for the Minimax. What has happened? Morita wants to know. He's always lurking in some office surreptitiously checking for updates of this thread. :o

Well, nothing incredibly drastic has changed past this century mark, or 100 hours of break in period. I would say it all began to stabilize around the 70 hour period. And without putting too much words into the transition, I can just sum it up in 2 words. HIGH DEFINITION. And I thought that those 2 words were trademarks of ARC. In my experience, the Minimax has more definition than my ARC Ph3, even with new arrival NOS tubes into it. The ARC has its own strong points, and soundstaging is where the Max cannot match it. But the 'definition' of the Max is so addicting that when I leave it, I keep looking for this trait. There is a 'force' that is not related to cranking up the volume. Even at average volumes, that 'forceful definition' exists. It gives instruments more body, and leaves so much air and timbre when the instrument decays into quietness. I now do not think, or listen in terms of high, mid, low. The seamless-ness of the music comes through as a single element, music as music itself without any frequency dominating or standing out. The females sound really like females :lol: - lovely and very seductive, and the males are, males. :D I never had any problems with them males. :lol: In my line of play, I do not expect anything less, or much worse, the reverse. :D

I now await to move on to the next frontier, which is rolling the 3 other tubes. So far, I have rolled only one, the middle one with steel base. No hurry in moving on to that endeavor though. I am not yet that hungry. :)
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Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:38 pm

RINGING AND ROUNDING OUT THE 'MAX...

These past 2 months have been challenging, interesting and exciting all intertwined into one. The 'max has made my life busier. :) But in audio, it seems that I get to to 'torture' myself and eventually enjoy it. :lol: Subject ourselves to challenges and try to end up victorious, like scaling Mount Everest. :) One reason why I procrastinate in changing audio gears is that I am averse to change. A little quirk of mine. :) I am stressed when my system does not sound the way I like after some changes. And more stress happens why my sound gets worse after a change. :lol: There are so many areas to look for in the audio spectrum, and we strive to have everything in order and singing sweet music in all these parameters, as much as possible. The 'max is far from perfect. But what it does well is what I personally have been looking for in this change. In other areas it may have deficiencies or exaggerations but as long as they are not a major pain, I can live with it.

A few weeks ago, I noticed there was some 'ringing' in some guitar tones and vocals, specially when set loud. I had tried to do other tweaks but to no avail, until I thought of activating some tube dampers which had been sitting around as in my old phono stage, it didn't seem to make a difference. After putting them one first in a long plate Mullard 12AU7 (as I have read the long plates could be microphonic), I noticed the ringing greatly diminished, to a very negligible level.

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Buoyed up by this, i ordered a few new rubber tube dampers and they quickly arrived. Snapping them on to all the 12AX7s of the 'max, it now has a pretty look, like rings around Saturn. :lol:

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I should say the net effect of all these rings are truly stunning in this system now. The image stability and the dynamics have been stretched to a point where I thought I had upgraded my speakers which now sounds like a higher model (in my imagination) :lol: and my thoughts were that this is the kind of sound I hope to get if ever I made a Maggie upgrade. And the stage is rock solid and huge. Why these dampers didn't matter much in my old phono stage I cannot explain. The wonders of a gear reacting to such small tweaks is indeed a joy to behold. I have learned many things from this gear. There was a time when I upgraded BOTH my power amp and phono stage at the same time. And I feel that whatever improvement sonically they had at that time was actually lesser than the improvements I am having now with the Minimax. It has been a pleasant and surprising ride so far.
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Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Fri Jul 19, 2013 2:25 pm

A few weeks ago, Morita made a Kamikaze landing and furnished me some 'propaganda material' which he said would reinforce my own findings on the Minimax. I could imagine him spraying down these 'papers' during the war era via some propeller driven planes. :D

It turned out to be a copy from the October 2005 issue of Stereophile. In would be Manila visitor Michael Fremer's column 'Analog Corner', the Minimax got some choice words from the analog man himself. To wit:

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As I have gotten way past the 100 hours break in period, I am very pleased to read Fremer's praise of the Minimax phono pre amp - experienced and written many years ago. "Additively sweet midrange". "Midband's performance was stellar without regard to price". These words matched with what Morita has been tooting all along from the start. And I'm very elated to be experiencing the same thing from the mini but mighty 'max. :)
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:08 pm

STILL NOT MAXED OUT... :lol:

The Mini, as encouraged by its designer Alex Leung, has so much potential to achieve in mixing and matching different brands of NOS tubes. And definitely, I have not maxed it out yet (No pun intended). Tube sniffing dogs have been sent out to nab good NOS tubes and bring them home. So, what have recently arrived are a pair of Red Tipped (low noise special selection) Telefunken ECC83 tubes fully matched and balanced to challenge the existing and factory installed Eastern Electric ECC83s which my guess would be sourced either from Russia or China. Before anything else, I should say I am greatly impressed with these stock tubes. They can hold their own against other good NOS branded tubes I have come across and to date, and the stock tubes have performed better than the Euro brands, hence I have been using them till this time, that is, until the arrival of the German 'guards', here flanking the middle Mullard ECC 83 which has two tube dampers on them.
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Morita had told me the 2 EE stock tubes can never be beaten. I agreed previously, but I told him this morning, I have to disagree as of today. :lol: The RT Teles created a more liquid and smooth sound, and where there erstwhile existed a mild edginess in the sound, the Teles have tamed them. My cup of tea exactly. :clap:
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Visit to JAA

Postby jadis » Mon Sep 09, 2013 9:54 am

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE 'MAX'...TUD TUD TUD...ANOTHER ONE BITES THE 'MAX'... :lol:

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I was told that Morita has a secret society of sorts, and one of the members actually has a Minimax Phono stage before I got one. :o So he arranged a semi-surreptitious gathering, asking me to coordinate with a 'special guest' to visit 'hidden' Max, with details such as lunch, time or arrival and departure as fuzzy as an encrypted disc. :D All told, I had to ride in 3 cars to arrive at the destination. All I missed was a black hood, not that I wished for one. :lol:

So, we now present the site of the hidden Max: JAA's music place in Las Piñas.

THE RACK: The MiniMax is tucked way way down there. :lol:

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Lo and Behold! Transfiguration Proteus. Morita has been whispering that my beloved RoseWood be transfigured into a Proteus, but I am reading about the ramifications of 'needle blasphemy' and 'wooden heresy'. :sweat: :D Or, can a greeny Boston Celtics fan turn into an orangy Lakers fan??? :o

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Luxman DD TT, with twin arms:

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With Mang Mandy's active record clamp, tuning pins under the base of the clamp is said to tame specific resonances of the record:

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FR 64 tonearm with FR 1 cartridge:

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The legendary ARC SP 3 pre amp:

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Dahlquist and DBX crossover networks:

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Pass Aleph Mono blocks and Crown bass amp:

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The ROOM:

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Our special guest is none other than Señor Sensible Lito Gelano himself, JAA on the left, and MINI-KING Pat Morita san in the middle. :lol:

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First, we'd like to thank Señor for hosting lunch after bearing heavy traffic at the Zapote Road. And of course, to JAA, and to Morita for driving me 'safely' back to my car parked in San Juan. :lol:

I was curious to hear the Max in another system, and to hear the Proteus. While I have to judge the whole thing as a total system and not being able to pinpoint what the Max or the Proteus was contributing to the sound, I must say that overall, the sound is once again, (as I have experienced previously before in JAA's system w/o the Max and Proteus) very impressive. We played a host of 'killer' tracks in John's collection - Killer Bees, Saudades, Fulton's Organ LP, and some LPs that I brought along at the risk of being de-owned by Morita, :lol: and all tracks sailed through very well in terms of dynamics, coherency, and good balance in tonal texture. Morita has always stressed to me to look at the total cost of JAA's system, modest, according to him, compared to today's out of this world audio prices. :lol: But one thing John has dearly invested is on his LP collection. According to him, he doesn't buy much in terms of quantity but he focuses more in quality even if it entails biting the bullet in terms of high LP cost. And also, he has in his Minimax Phono a tube that is widely considered the best ECC83 ever made - the Telefunken ECC803s, which he strategically put in the 1st gain stage of the Minimax Phono. The rarity of such tube is mind boggling as evidenced by its price still registered in the annals of tubedepot.com's site although it has been marked SOLD. :o

http://www.tubedepot.com/pa-ecc803s-tele.html

We spend our money where we feel it is worth spending. Mixing and matching things in the audio chain, and for me this will have to include the source itself - the LP, and I wholeheartedly agree with John in building a staggering sounding record collection. By the end of the day, hardware (constantly evolving) can still be easier to acquire than softwares which are out of print and hard to find. What good is the horse if it has no grass to eat? :lol: Congratulations to my 'max' brother in phono stage for a very well put up and sound system. :clap:
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono Pre-Amplifier

Postby jadis » Sat Jan 04, 2014 4:33 pm

MINI MINI MI-NI MO...WHO'S THE MEANEST MINI OF THEM ALL... :D :D

THE MINIMAX LINE PRE AMP:

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Once again, Morita-san surprised me with another kamikaze visit yesterday, armed with his latest baby - the Minimax Line pre amp. I was imagining it to be as tiny as its phono sibling but when I saw it, I was chuckling inside as it was so small and one of the cutest tube gear I have seen, even smaller in size than the phono stage.

He was very eager to hear it mated with my Mini phono stage and he said it's a 'balikan' trip, meaning he will come and go with it in tow, and not leaving it with me for a longer time - patikim lang. :lol: He also brought with him a few select NOS red tipped Telefunken 82s to act as substitute for the stock Eastern Electric tubes. He claims the circuit follows the footsteps of the first generation Marantz Model 1 which used the 12AU7/ECC82 tube for its input stage and the ARC SP1 in its usage of the 6X4 rectifier tube. It will be a head on comparison with my JPL line stage in my room. After a few hours, it became evident to me that this tiny little thing is a mean mini machine, and that despite its simplicity, tiny size, and light weight, can hold its own when compared to an old and tested brand like the Jadis line stage. It can recreate a palpable and 3 dimensional soundstage just like my French pre amp, and can sound sweet and tubey like the JPL too, but where it is different and deficient is in the dynamic sock that the Jadis can give. The Frenchie has more gain too, at 35 db against the Mini's 20 db, so that may be the reason for the 'soft touch'. Listening with the NOS Tele 82s proved that the Mini can still be stretched for its best performance yet, as the stage depth and width improved all the more, and the tonal quality was as good as I have heard from a tube gear costing only a little more than $1000. When it was time to pack it up, Morita was happy at his new baby's performance, even without the customary burn in, he was glad at the outcome of the Mini's sound and told me he knows it can get better. That is his way of ushering in the New Year - bring them on, Morita san! :rock:

PS: The arrival of the mean Mini allowed me to take some shots of my JPL which has been cooped up in the rack for decades without the habitual air brush cleaning of its innards, in fact, this is the first time in 20 years that I have had a close look at how it looks inside while it is in the 'outside world'. The Jadis JPL pre amp, an old horse with a good name. :)

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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby TheAnalogSource » Sun Jan 05, 2014 3:14 pm

wala pa un akin ;(
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby jadis » Sun Jan 05, 2014 7:57 pm

TheAnalogSource wrote:wala pa un akin ;(


Pag in a hurry ka, pa pa Shinkansen niya daw bukas sa yo. :lol:
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby JAA » Sun Jan 12, 2014 3:05 pm

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By the virtue that entrusted to me by Pat Morita as an official photographer of his newly launched Minimax line stage preamplifier, I can't help but to defocus the main subject and give a better snap to the lovely model of Minimax.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Well, it's time for me to retire my 40 year old ARC SP3 that served me quite well for the past 5 years. With an unadultered guts, it is still a great sounding tube preamp. No doubt that it's successor, SP3 A , earned an impressive credential from The Absolute Sound as one of the most influential audio component.

Then comes the DAVID among preamp. Despite its dimunitive size, this Minimax line stage preamp could pull your arms down as you would expect it to be light. Seriously, there's not much weight difference with my SP3!....Then comes the big surprise, after a minute of turning its power switch on and play our reference LP "The Well" - Jennifer Warnes, an immediate improvement on weight and mid clarity gives more presence to the solid voice of Ms. Warnes.... An hour passed, and we became more engulfed on its sonic performance as the soundstage pulls away from the speaker, and more low level details came out! as explained by Pat that the 12au7 tubes are low noise in character. Equally impressive is how this preamp performed in the lowest sub region. There's now a better control on my DIY JL Audio 10" stereo subs. It sounded more like a servo subwoofer, that can perform musically down to the lowest region a pipe organ could deliver!........

WELCOME HOME DAVID, :) :) :)
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Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby jadis » Sun Jan 12, 2014 5:51 pm

JAA wrote:Image

By the virtue that entrusted to me by Pat Morita as an official photographer of his newly launched Minimax line stage preamplifier, I can't help but to defocus the main subject and give a better snap to the lovely model of Minimax.
:rofl: :rofl: :rofl:

Well, it's time for me to retire my 40 year old ARC SP3 that served me quite well for the past 5 years. With an unadultered guts, it is still a great sounding tube preamp. No doubt that it's successor, SP3 A , earned an impressive credential from The Absolute Sound as one of the most influential audio component.

Then comes the DAVID among preamp. Despite its dimunitive size, this Minimax line stage preamp could pull your arms down as you would expect it to be light. Seriously, there's not much weight difference with my SP3!....Then comes the big surprise, after a minute of turning its power switch on and play our reference LP "The Well" - Jennifer Warnes, an immediate improvement on weight and mid clarity gives more presence to the solid voice of Ms. Warnes.... An hour passed, and we became more engulfed on its sonic performance as the soundstage pulls away from the speaker, and more low level details came out! as explained by Pat that the 12au7 tubes are low noise in character. Equally impressive is how this preamp performed in the lowest sub region. There's now a better control on my DIY JL Audio 10" stereo subs. It sounded more like a servo subwoofer, that can perform musically down to the lowest region a pipe organ could deliver!........

WELCOME HOME DAVID, :) :) :)


WOW!!!! John, this is the 5'8" German mestiza Morita told me about?????? :o :o :o No wonder he did not bring this 'model' to my house. And come to think of it, it's a good thing he didn't bring her to my house. Baka mapabili pa ako ng kung ano ano. :D

Congrats for your new 'movement' for this New Year. And I'm sure you heard so much improvement with this Minimax line stage as to retire your venerable SP-3. At its price level, it sounds astoundingly good to my ears. And I'm sure with more burn in time and some tube rolls, it is going to reach a great level of performance. Hopefully, as the weeks and months pass, you can give us an update or 2 as it comes along. As we speak I learned Morita is shuttling about town and busy with this Minimax 'madness'. :lol: And if you can kindly oblige us, maybe post some more pics of this Minimax Model who's got this mean 'get-down-to- business' dagger look, WITH the Minimax line stage, of course. Or even WITHOUT. :D :D
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Re: Eastern Electric MINIMAX Phono and Line Preamps

Postby JAA » Mon Jan 13, 2014 1:06 pm

Image



A better perspective that would translate the sonic performance of the MINIMAX line stage preamp as it breaks in!
:D :D :D :D
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