TEAD Groove Plus SRX, Herron Audio VPTH-2, Graham Slee Revelation Phonostages

Graham Slee Revelation Phonostage and Elevator EXP Moving-Coil Head Amplifier,
Herron Audio VTPH-2 Vacuum Tube Phono Preamplifier,
TEAD Groove Plus SRX
TEAD Groove Plus SRX, Herron Audio VPTH-2, Graham Slee Revelation Phonostages

The short answer is, maybe not as much as you might think. The long answer takes a bit more explaining but goes something along the lines of, not so much better or worse as different. Moving from the Titan i to the MusicMaker there’s no disguising the loss of transparency and dynamic range, the missing detail and texture. But making the same transition from the Dorian, and near price parity with the MusicMaker, is more a case of swings and roundabouts. The moving-coil still offers greater detail and transparency, but the MusicMaker delivers a sense of power and majestic orchestral sweep that the Dorian can’t get close to. Add to that an unforced evenness and natural tonality, the easy momentum of the EQ adjusted Revelation and the ghostly quiet phonostage and you’ve got a recipe for real dynamic power and intensity coupled to a complete absence of strain. The sound of the MusicMaker fed straight into the revelation is sumptuously smooth and lush, powerful and solid. Yes, it lacks the level of insight and detail, the sheer immediacy of a really top-flight coil – but it also lacks the price tag that goes with it. Will I be giving up on the Titan, Koetsu et al? Sorry, the answer is an emphatic no. But if I was on a budget I’d seriously consider the moving-iron option. Indeed, I did. My first Linn carried a Syrinx PU3 and a Grado Signature 8 – first cousin to the MusicMaker. What goes round comes around and I still remember the power and vivid colours of that combination, the more so given recent experience! The Revelation/MusicMaker combination will give moving-coils (and associated paraphernalia) at twice the price a serious run for their money. If you really value natural tonality and perspectives, top to bottom linearity and power devoid of strain, you can push that bar higher still. Unless you are seriously set on the analogue summit you’d do well to treat this route as more than just a viable alternative. Your wallet will certainly thank you for it – and your ears too.

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