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  1. #1
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    Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    Jacob Heilbrunn reviews this phonostage in the Feb 2021 edition of the TAS. A very positive review - “For anyone considering a solid-state phonostage in this price level, auditioning it isn’t an option but a must.”

    The Boulder 508 retails for $5K.
    _______________

    Mike

  2. #2
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    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    I just received my copy today. I saw the article and will give it a read this weekend.
    Jim

    D'Agostino Momentum M-400's & HD Pre-amp
    Wilson Alexandria X2 Series 2 speakers
    Digital: dCS Vivaldi DAC, Clock & Upsampler
    Analog: SME 20/3 with Esoteric E-03 Phono
    Transparent Opus Speaker Cable & Interconnects & Opus Power Cords
    Power Cords on Digital: Shunyata
    Power Conditioner - Shunyata Everest

  3. #3
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    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    I perused the article last night. Given the price of the recent integrated amp, it does appear that they are really giving a lower tier product range a chance.

    Looks great, and it reviewed well. I will definitely have it on my list if I ever upgrade my phono stage.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  4. #4
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    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    I didnt read the review but I did hear the 508 in a dealer set up that also had a VTL 2.5i phono in the system, the cart was a Benz LPS. We heard the VTL first and then the 508, the contrast were pretty stark. The self noise was lower with 508 but the stage was farther behind the plane of the speakers sounding somewhat reticent, the tonal balance was a little lean IMO. I was interested in the Boulder but ultimately went another direction. One shortcoming of the 508 is limited gain settings, just two: 44 db or 70db. It would be useful for some installations to have a 50-60 db setting for med-low output carts. The other potential drawback is exclusive use of XLR input/output. The manual shows you how to re-terminate your ICs with balanced to SE connection, not a big deal if you terminate your own wire but a hassle and additional cost for many potential owners.
    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

  5. #5
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    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    _______________

    Mike

  6. #6

    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    No mention of cartridge loading options? Seems an oversight in a review. My prior Einstein “Turntable’s Choice” also only accepted balanced XLR inputs, making audition of phono cables a little difficult.

    I’d love to see a shootout between several phono stages in the, say, less than $10k category as there are many. Including the new $2500 PS Audio ‘Stellar’ that Mikey Fremer reviewed so positively. (I am not sure how it works, but apparently they offer a 30 day in-home trial.)
    —Bob V.

    My system: Etsuro MasterGold cartridge , AMG v12 turntable with ‘12JT turbo’ tonearm, bespoke LFD phono cable, CS Port C3EQ, dCS Rossini, INCOMING: Announcing pre-arrival mighty Pilium Alexander Pre & Achilles amp, Alsyvox Boticcelli X, Diesis Roma, Bayz Courante 2.0 Transparent Ref MM2 & Gen5 signal cables, Shunyata SigmaNR, AlphaNR,
    Zitron Python power cables. Shunyata Hydra Triton v3, Stillpoints. HRS. Acoustic environment optimized by Dr. Bonnie Schnitta of SoundSense.

  7. #7
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    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Bobvin View Post
    No mention of cartridge loading options? Seems an oversight in a review. My prior Einstein “Turntable’s Choice” also only accepted balanced XLR inputs, making audition of phono cables a little difficult.

    I’d love to see a shootout between several phono stages in the, say, less than $10k category as there are many. Including the new $2500 PS Audio ‘Stellar’ that Mikey Fremer reviewed so positively. (I am not sure how it works, but apparently they offer a 30 day in-home trial.)
    there's just two: 100 ohms for MC and 47k for MM. By my reckoning this is a one size fits all design, if you like to play with dif loading this is not the piece for you. Frankly, why would they stuff this unit with features thats what the 1108 and 2108 are for.

    https://boulderamp.com/wp-content/up...Manual-Web.pdf
    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

  8. #8

    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    The review mentions those numbers, but doesn’t really address the topic in any way. This is, in my opinion, something that should be covered in a review, particularly when the advice is ‘must audition.’ Given the need for XLR inputs too, this sounds only like a ‘must audition’ if you are first aware the limitations, i.e. “must audition if you are willing to accept these qualifications.”

    Sure, a SUT into the mm input could address loading for mc cartridges that need something other than 100 ohms, but I find it odd a phono at this price to be so limited. Usually at this target market mfg’s like to offer options (though not always well implemented.)

    Sorry, not really meaning to vent or rant. I don’t have a problem with the unit, more so the review which did not, to me, seem to be all that thorough. Great to mention the big ticket models in comparison, but omitting any comparison to other similar priced units, or other units recently reviewed doesn’t provide all that much relevant info.
    —Bob V.

    My system: Etsuro MasterGold cartridge , AMG v12 turntable with ‘12JT turbo’ tonearm, bespoke LFD phono cable, CS Port C3EQ, dCS Rossini, INCOMING: Announcing pre-arrival mighty Pilium Alexander Pre & Achilles amp, Alsyvox Boticcelli X, Diesis Roma, Bayz Courante 2.0 Transparent Ref MM2 & Gen5 signal cables, Shunyata SigmaNR, AlphaNR,
    Zitron Python power cables. Shunyata Hydra Triton v3, Stillpoints. HRS. Acoustic environment optimized by Dr. Bonnie Schnitta of SoundSense.

  9. #9
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    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    Boulder definitely has more expensive big brothers with all the loading options, at more than twice the price, and more. I’m sure they don’t want to poach on those sales. I see the 508 as an easy choice for someone who does not want to fiddle with impedance/loading options, and perhaps does not want to play with multiple cartilages.

    Boulder is XLR/balanced throughout the line, I would expect nothing else for even their smallest offering. (It comes with adapters for RCA cables)

    Seriously considering this phono stage, as I continue to weed out tubes for my retirement, end game, system.
    Amp : DIY FirstWatt M2x mono amps
    Digital : Bricasti M12, Oppo 203
    Analog : Technics SL1200G, DIY K&K Audio Maxxed Phono Amp
    Speakers : Daedalus Audio Muse Studio
    Headphone : BHSE + Voce

  10. #10

    Re: Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

    i had the 508 in between moving from a custom Thomas Mayer tube phono to a 4 box Ch P set up ........ i thought the 508 was simply amazing for the money ..... i didnt find it lean ... yes it has limited adjustments ..... but goodness the sound was great and taking into consideration the price i thought it was an absolute bargain

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Boulder 508 Phonostage - TAS Review

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