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  1. #1
    Senior Member
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    Phono stage- VAC Sig Mk IIa

    Hi, writing to find out how does the internal phono stage for the VAC Sig really fare against outboard phono preamps.

    Planning on sending the preamp to get the phono stage fitted at some point next year.

    Great to have some thoughts. Thanks.

    Regards

    Bob



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Turntable: VPI Prime - Hana SL cart - VPI ADS
    Phono preamp: ASR Basis Exclusive phono stage
    Preamp: VAC Amplification Signature MkIIa SE
    Amplifier: Bryston 4B3
    Speakers: Neat Acoustics SX1
    Power conditioning- Shunyata Research Triton v1
    Power cord- Shunyata Research/Nordost
    Interconnects- Transparent Audio Super Gen 5 XLR and tonearm cable / Audio Art IC3SE XLR
    Solid Tech Reference rack

  2. #2
    Audioshark
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    Apr 2013
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    Re: Phono stage- VAC Sig Mk IIa

    Bob - the internal Phonostage in the Sig II is excellent. Unless you have 100+db efficient speakers, it’s quiet and sounds great. I asked Kevin how it compares to the Ren V SE external and he thought the external was indeed a bit better.

    My two cents: if you’re sticking primarily with one table/one arm and vinyl is one of your sources and not strictly your only source, the internal phono should fit the bill nicely.

    If you’re going to expand to multiple tables/arms, and want more flexibility and have the shelf space, than go with the Ren V SE.


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  3. #3
    Senior Member
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    May 2019
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    Re: Phono stage- VAC Sig Mk IIa

    Thanks for the reply Mike. I was considering of the Boulder 508 phonostage after selling the ASR Basis Exclusive but seems like that can wait.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Turntable: VPI Prime - Hana SL cart - VPI ADS
    Phono preamp: ASR Basis Exclusive phono stage
    Preamp: VAC Amplification Signature MkIIa SE
    Amplifier: Bryston 4B3
    Speakers: Neat Acoustics SX1
    Power conditioning- Shunyata Research Triton v1
    Power cord- Shunyata Research/Nordost
    Interconnects- Transparent Audio Super Gen 5 XLR and tonearm cable / Audio Art IC3SE XLR
    Solid Tech Reference rack

  4. #4

    Re: Phono stage- VAC Sig Mk IIa

    I had a Renaissance III with built-in MC phono. I seriously regretted selling it (to recoup funds) when I moved down to a Rogue Ares Magnum. I finally trialed a Ren V stand-alone stage and ended up buying the SE version. Night-and-day better again, of course. Night and day. The SE version gets you more neutral and more detail, but the non-SE version Ren V was totally awesome too. My Ren V SE also easily crushes the Herron VTPH-2A (got that for a 2nd system but now wish I had another VAC). I think the Sig IIa's built-in is going to be a lot closer to the Ren V SE stand-alone than the Ren III's built-in - given 6 tubes versus 3, plus other improvements.

    One note is that though I think the VAC tube MM stages are magic, their choice of Lundahl MC step-ups might not be 100% ideal for your preferences and/or cartridge. Other SUTs can give a warmer, meatier sound. I use and prefer a Koetsu SUT with my Koetsus into the Ren V's MM mode. The Lundahl LL1931 gives a more crystalline, fast, detailed sound.

    I think you're in good hands with a VAC phono stage.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Re: Phono stage- VAC Sig Mk IIa

    Quote Originally Posted by mulveling View Post
    One note is that though I think the VAC tube MM stages are magic, their choice of Lundahl MC step-ups might not be 100% ideal for your preferences and/or cartridge. Other SUTs can give a warmer, meatier sound. I use and prefer a Koetsu SUT with my Koetsus into the Ren V's MM mode. The Lundahl LL1931 gives a more crystalline, fast, detailed sound.
    I think this description is spot-on. The Lundahl SUTs in my VAC Master are not my cup of tea. I much preferred using a Bob’s Cinemag SUT into the MM input instead of the MC input. Dynamics with the Bob’s are crazy. Sound is warmer, richer and more liquid which appeals to me although it could be too much of a good thing for others.
    Analog source: AMG Viella 12; Ortofon Anna cartridge, van den Hul Crimson Stradivarius XGW
    Digital source: Totaldac d1-twelve Mk2 DAC, Totaldac d1-player, Totaldac d1-streamer, Totaldac Live Power supply
    Pre amp: VAC Master with phono
    Phonostage: ​Constellation Andromeda
    Amps: VAC 200iQ monoblocks
    Speakers: Magico M3 with MPods
    Cables: Synergistic Research Galileo SX speaker, phono, analog and digital interconnects
    Power products: Synergistic Research Power Cell 12 UEF and Transporter Ultra. Galileo power cords.

  6. #6

    Re: Phono stage- VAC Sig Mk IIa

    Quote Originally Posted by Dth31 View Post
    I think this description is spot-on. The Lundahl SUTs in my VAC Master are not my cup of tea. I much preferred using a Bob’s Cinemag SUT into the MM input instead of the MC input. Dynamics with the Bob’s are crazy. Sound is warmer, richer and more liquid which appeals to me although it could be too much of a good thing for others.
    Yep, I also have a Bob's Devices Sky 20 and enjoy it a lot! They're great SUT's that work well with a very wide range of cartridges, and the sound is exactly as you describe. Some folks swear by those amorphous core Lundahls (including Kevin H.), but I just can't get into them. I'd easily prefer a non-SE Ren V with outboard Sky 20, over using the Ren V SE with its stock built-in Lundahl SUT (being frank I think I'd be almost as happy with the non-SE Ren V overall, though the SE is more detailed).

    Thinking about this more - there's something in the top-end response of that Lundahl LL 1931 that bugs my ears after a little while. To be honest it's probably the main thing that keeps driving me back to the other SUT's I have on hand - Koetsu SUT, Sky 20, Sky 40, Hashimoto HM-7, EAR MC-3. The downside to my SUT box collection is that the cable from SUT box to phono stage is incredibly crucial and sensitive. The wrong cable here can easily make a good SUT box sound bad. The built-in Lundahls actually have the big no-cables advantage on this front, but still lose out once you get good cables. My cartridges are Koetsu stone bodies and the Shelter Accord and Harmony.

    I've heard some say the silver wire version Lundahl (LL 1931Ag) is much better, much smoother, but when I asked Kevin of VAC about it, he said they specifically chose the copper wire version for its sound. These phono pairings are simply very specific to your cartridge and preferences! And active MC stages may be much more versatile for handling a diverse collection of cartridges, but when you nail a SUT/cart pairing, it's hard to beat that sound.

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Phono stage- VAC Sig Mk IIa

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