To Mullet or Not to Mullet

…and the answer is, YES.

I have owned my LP12 since the early 1980s. Since that time it has been:

Cirkused (if it wasn’t before, memory fades);
Ittock to Aro;
Lingo 1 to 'Geddon;
Linn inner platter to Mober SSP12; and
Regularly serviced.

Linn Karma; Linn K18; Dynavector DV20 (different shades); and, Linn Troika (Goldring).

Over the last couple of years I have listened to MANY phono stages. The sound signature has, obviously, varied with the different stages, but one thing has been pretty constant, the bass has been more or less impactful, but never on the same scale as my digital front end; for this reason I did not put this down to my SBLs. My inclination was to think that further work on the LP12, a la Tangerine for instance, would deliver this for me, if I wanted to make that investment.

This weekend I took over a couple of phono stages to a friend’s where a mutual chum met us for a listening session. His system is HEAVILY modified, including:

Modded Garrard 401 + Longdog PSU;
Audio Note tonearm + OC9 II cartridge;
YBA integrated amp;
Modded Denon head amp;
Modded Puresound P10;
Modded JBL 4311 speakers;
Townshend Supertweeeters.

This is a great system and is especially good at producing the music that my friend enjoys most, late 70’s to 90’s rock and pop.

The various phono stages acquitted themselves as I expected, each had their moment and there was a range of strengths and weaknesses.

In the meanwhile over on PFM a Tron 7 GT Phono Stage had been on sale, this was £10.5k when sold in 2012; it was on sale for £2.5k which was rather more than I was thinking of spending

Over the last twenty five years my phono stages have been EAR via their 864 & 868 pre-amps. These have done a fine job but for reasons beyond this thread I decided to move on and so have been ‘making do’ with Naim cards for the past couple of years.

I valiantly tried to ignore the Tron advert, but after a couple of weeks PM’d the seller. We agreed that I could have the unit on the basis that if in the first seven days I was not satisfied I could return it. I then ignored the add for a FURTHER week and a half. Nobody stepped in to rescue me.

I picked the unit up on Monday. I knew that I would know within two hours whether it was a keeper. I had four albums in mind to check how it performed:

The Best of Bowie
This is a K-Tel special, and so should be awful by definition; but it isn’t. Although this album can trip up a fair few stages. When properly amplified it is excellent.

The Beatles Blue Album
The Beatles albums can be damned difficult to reproduce well, frequently sounding bass light and shrill.

Rickie Lees Jones, Pirates
The vocal smudger in chief. When accurately reproduced the lyrics come through with some superb backing.

The fourth one I can’t remember, it is sat at home while I am not. It is a bit obscure, 1980’s Polish Electronic Jazz. It is fast paced but needs some good micro-dynamic capability to bring it to life.

I unboxed the ten kilogram black box and fitted it onto a shelf. There are a couple of switches at the rear, one for the two phono inputs and the other for either the low or high gain transformers. Having fitted the cables I turned the unit on and left it to warm up while I made myself a cuppa.

Following the bake off on Sunday the last thing we played was a part of The Wall, when I returned home I played this on my system to compare and so this was readily to hand. On it went and my jaw hit the floor. Frankly, it made me realise that I had never really heard this album before. The Tron pulled out detail the equaled, or more likely surpassed, what I have heard before. The BASS was as deep and present as my digital front end, but with more resonance and feel. Within five minutes I had sent the seller a text thanking him and confirming that the Tron was staying.

Somehow the Tron pulls together the strengths of all the phono stages I have been listening to, but jettisons their weaknesses.

Up until now I would have said that my digital and analogue front ends were on a par but with different pros and cons. No longer.

The Tron had been serviced in 2018. The manufacturer, Graham Tricker, thinks I will need to get it back to him in about 2028, depending on the longevity of the valves. He tells me that the unit is normally used with FAR more expensive turntables, rather than my aged relic (my description).

I am now hearing WHY the LP12 / Aro / 'Geddon was so loved.


Congrats Mr U on that wonderful purchase. :+1:
The Tron phono was often tempting me. Maybe one day….You are lucky to live in UK . Such products are not common here in France and specially with such bargain prices.
There are at least 2 members here using Tron. The last I know is @Dunc .

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I’m pleased for you but yours is no mullet job.

Hi @frenchrooster ,

I suspect this will satiate my 912 desires :wink: .

The Tron IS @Dunc 's. He was a gent and made me parting with my money FAR too easy.


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Hi @Christopher_M ,

I am certainly very happy. This is one of two phono stages I have listened to recently that just demonstrated that the stages I have used to date, including the EAR864 & 868, were bottlenecks.

I did have my tongue in my cheek slightly about the mullet, especially if you were to replace my TT with its modern equivalent at new prices.

I am just so glad I took the punt.


The world is little :grin:. You connect it to your Naim pre or another pre? Is it dead silent, no hiss, no hum?

I don’t have the impression to have a bottleneck with my Ear 912 and Lyra Kleos. It’s on the same level as my Nds/555dr/Melco / Innuos PhoenixNet. But I am sure your Tron would make my impression different. I am convinced already it would sound better. Specially if the cart is not too low, which is my case.
Your problem now is probably the thinking of upgrading your Lp12. Crazy world ! :joy:

The tron seven gt is a fantastic stage like i have said many times, it will certainly show most phono stages the door.
Shame it just didn’t work on my new cartridge as well as it did with others, but there we go.
Anyway enjoy it


I am using the Icon 4 passive with autoformers. Works brilliantly with the 300DR & SBLs.

When I put my ear to the bass/mid driver there is a small amount of hum, but that is not how I generally listen to my music :rofl:

I have a couple of tweaks I will try on Friday and see if I can get it completely silent.

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Shame you are not within easy journey-time. I will be taking it round to a couple of my friends.

I am toying with the new bearing & have a tentative feeler out for a Lingo 4, but both of those will have to wait for a few months.

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Look forward to hearing about your next steps!

Enjoy it , lucky man !
As for the hiss, it’s due of a gain compatibility between phono and pre, I think. I had before a Conrad Johnson phono with a Naim pre. Too much hiss and hum. I don’t know if you can really fix that, but in your case it’s not a big problem.

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I have a Benchmark HPA4 at the moment which I will swap in, should be interesting.

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The tron will have a slight hiss due to its design and valves and never be completely silent like say a solid state phono amp can be.

But as the new owner has already found its a great bit of kit that makes most people’s jaw hit the floor when they hear it, and thats against just about any phono stage you want to bring to the party.
Plus it will just get better with most changes you make to the turntable and cartridge. It was only when i added the exquisite st cartridge that it just couldn’t cope or not compatible and thats why i sold it, as i wanted even more like you do when you hear it and didn’t want to give up on the exquisite as it is extremely good, but it ment a different phono stage is needed, i have found that stage, but for now i am back to using a superline/supercap that is coping very well with its special loading plugs i had made up

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Ahhhh so @MrUnderhill bought your Tron? @frenchrooster update your records. Its a small world this HiFi business!

My Ear 912 with tubes is dead silent. No hiss , no hum at all, even if I go very near the speakers.

It might not hiss, but i bet it would be shown the door against the tron lol

Update your records ? What does it mean ? ( thanks for correcting me, it’s small world, not little as I wrote).

Ah yes, i am sure. Just said about hiss, as you wrote that all phono tubes make hiss.
Maybe with a different pre there will be no hiss also with the Tron.

I was only messing lol

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