Looking for alternative phono stage to Stageline N

I have an ear 912, the phono inside is globally an ear 88 pb. It sounds wonderful.
I feel that for 1k you will hardly find something better than the ear. Or at second hand, for 1k, something better would be Tom Evans the Groove or Nagra Bps.

Hi, as said earlier I do know either genuine EAR834p and their DIY clones as well as the Ampearl RE-2030. But I don´t know any of the MoFis.

Those two are following a different technical approach in circuit, with the 834p beeing a phono stage that emphazises RIAA correction actively by feedback loop and RE-2030 with a passive LCR network sitting between two amplification stages.

When it comes to audition those two concepts always sound a bit different but will meet your expectations.

The EAR 834p comes with a rocking solid performance giving the music a sort of a lively character that fit to Jazz as well as Rock; imagery and frequency bandwith is good, details are good, it´s playing not on the cold side but does not tend to be on a to warm side. in regards of rhythm it´s a bit more on the relaxed side.

The RE-2030 gives you a more detailed imagery, much more details about what instrument is played at what extend and profession (it´s about timbre). You´ll also get the detail what felt (rough or smooth) is used on a drum for instant; you´ll get more details on bass and rhythm is coped with always in absolute correct manner.

Ordering a RE_2030 let you feel kind of 007, OSS117 or maybe just as Largo Winch.

Design was made by Yevgeny Karpov from Odessa, Андрей Корчик (Andrey Korchik) from Simferopol started the business and builds the RE-2030.

Cases are made somewhere in the depth of russia, Andrey solders components in Simferopol on the Krim, but shipping is done at Krasnodar and leaded towards Moscow, where the KGB or Smersh investigates for about two weeks what products are sold to western countries. As far as I know they don´t do any physical harm to the people exporting goods to western countries anymore; but litterally they control what share of the money they should get without forcing pressure to the people.

Sounds strange, takes time and to be cautious and patiently at same time, but will work out.

You need to calculate with about 4 months between payment and delivery at your home - luckily no Новичок/ Novichok in the parcel.

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Don’t forget the TRON Convergence.

Can you say something about your thoughts on the 834p vs the MoFi?
Now, if we could get mr Kessler to review the Ampearl that would be great, especially as his reviews also contain objective measurements. Perhaps you can suggest it next time you speak to him.

I think the 912, like the Ampearl, has LCR RIAA, the Phonobox is RC based AFAIK. The 912 is hard to find 2nd hand, and even then, out of budget. So the question really is do I go for a lesser EAR (Phonobox) or the Ampearl LCR.

I will look into your other suggestions, but if they better the 912 I suspect they’ll be out of budget.

Thanks for the detailed analysis.

Another, more practical question I have, is how hot these run?

To explain my situation:

The equipment can either be:
1] on a completely open shelf below my Uniti, which would require approx. 1.75m phono lead and 0.75m RCA->(RCA/DIN).
2] on a shelf which has cutouts for ventilation in the bottom, but is otherwise behind a door. This would require a 1m phono and 1.5m RCA->(RCA/DIN). This would place it next to the TT’s PSU though.
3] on the same shelf as in [2], but the opposite side of it, away from the PSU. This would require 1.5m phono and 1m RCA->(RCA/DIN).
And of course anything in between 2 and 3.

My MoFi is currently placed as per [3], but is of course solid state, so will run cooler than the other two.

Is there any advice you or anyone else can offer here?

Not sure. Didn´t see the schematic so far, but what I´ve seen on pictures could either be LR or LCR.

Nothing to worry about when you can place them with a little space (about 2 or 3" in height) to the top; cases are cut in with holes for proper ventilation.

RE-2030 can be ordered as a version of two cases or PSU and signal part together put into one case. I would always prefer the PSU separated version because heat management is easier that way and sound is bettered.

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I understand N lot, I was not suggesting the 912, which is an all in one pre. Just sharing on ear Yoshino quality of sound.
The 834p is very musical, but not the fastest . A bit polite. But for 1k new, hard to beat.
Ear 88pb is in another league, as 912. But more expensive.
If you want something very dynamic for 1k, and musical, Tom Evans the Groove is wonderful ( second hand ).

I think you need to have a listen to some of these suggestion. For example, I didn’t get on with the Groove or Groove Plus; comparing them against a Prefix K I found them very detailed but weirdly not that “groovy”. I really enjoyed my very early ISO, but a after a dalliance with Audio Research I decided to get another, but this time an ISO HR with Hera PSU. Unfortunately it was a disaster, finding it all detail but no engagement.


I had the Tom Evans microgroove plus, which replaced a Stageline / hicap olive. I enjoyed it.
But after I was searching a good tubes phono, as I feel it more magic with vinyl.
Tried a Conrad Johnson Ev1, which was very nice sounding, but a bit polite and noisy ( tubes rush).
Then a Nagra VPS, very good. But lacked a bit some magic.

As you said Richard, Tom Evans must be tried at home, may please or disappoint.
A member here went from Superline/ Supercap dr to Tom Evans Mastergroove, with a top Lp12.

I used a Stageline N with Adikt for a quite some time and this was not the experience I had. Which power supply are you using?
Mine was powered by a HC DR. ( before then was a recapped CB HC which is less dynamic, higher noise floor and darker sounding )


Same here, but I have a Stageline K/Hicap with a Lyra cartrige/Linn Ekos 2, quite happy with it actually.

I’m waiting for an open box (big saving) Rega Aura to arrive, but before I can use it, I have to have the prefix removed from the lp-12 and while I’m at it - might as well get the Karousel bearing and go from a lingo 2 to a lingo 4. Think I’ll notice a change? :laughing: I’ll blame it on covid lockup.

I only ever spoke to Ken Kessler on two occasions, when he reviewed the EAR859 SE. I had bought many records based in his reviews, then a Marantz PM4, so I had an affinity with his opinions and writing. At the time HFNRR offered the 859 as a kit there were few stand alone phono amps, especially affordable.

I am not a Naim owner and I think many of them would describe my system (as does FR of the 834P) as “polite”. I have hearing difficulty including tinnitus, so “fast”, “sharp leading edge”, “forward”, “in your face” HIFI is to me tiring and ultimately painful. I often listen for four, five or more hours at a time. So to me polite means comfortable listening. It can still be enjoyable, compare to live concerts (again limitations mean large, amplified concert halls, cinemas leave me uncomfortable).

The 834P has been with me since 1994/95 and whilst there might be a little yearning to go up the range I can clearly hear the differences in upgrades to my LP12, tinkering with playing weight, clocking the platter.

I heard both Mofi when a friend was auditioning a Mofi turntable against his Rega 3/Ortofon 2M red. So not a direct comparison. I would say there is a family resemblance to the 834P, in the HFNRR review there is a reference to the de Paravicini treatment of bass. This is probably the constant, timing, phrasing, slam etc. The easiest, as you move upwards in price a veil is removed. If I maintain my confidence in Mr Kessler, the Phonobox must be worthwhile.

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Can you offer any advise on which of the 3 described setups you think would be best?

I’m really intrigued by the RE2030 now, you should join his marketing department :wink: Just wondering if it will indeed bring the change I’m looking for. Do you happen listen to any hardrock or even metal?

And then to decide whether I want to order something from the Krim considering the policital situation.

As per AHT, the Graham Slee phono stages are very good, I chose the StageLine as it sounded great with a HiCap and my Adikt.

Might be worth a try with a HC before you move it on.

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I had a Reflex-M which I later coupled with an elevator-EXP (when I moved to MC).

I thought they were good. Maybe the Reflex-M was best on its own and I’d have been better off selling it and buying a Reflex-C but I liked the ability to change cartridge loading that the Elevator-EXP gave me.

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and around £12,000 ?

Probably. However the Tom Evans sound still…I was more suggesting The Groove second hand ( around 1k).

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The Stageline N pre-stage receives power from the NAC252 / Supercap.
At the moment I’m listening to my Cyrus aEQ7 / PSX-R again, which actually sounds great, and I’m waiting for a second-hand Graham Slee Reflex / PSU1.
Then let’s see if it’s an “improvement” or if I will look for the 4 other alternatives: Pure Sound P10, EAR 834p, Lejonklou or Trichord Dino MK3 / PSU used :wink:

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