Paradise.....more found than lost!

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YNWaN
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Paradise.....more found than lost!

Post by YNWaN » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:12 am

Simon (sq225917 on the forums), friend of mine, has recently been building himself a new phonostage and, now that it is pretty much finished, he has been kind enough to loan it to me. The phonostage in question is called the Paradise and is the result of a design collaboration between three members of the DIY Audio forum (http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/group-bu ... stage.html). What they have produced is a mono circuit board (so two are needed) that contains everything other than the power supply. The prospective builder has to source the components, solder them all in to place and build a suitable power supply - so this isn't a project for the first time builder. In addition, transistor phonostages (which this is) fall in to two generic types (for me) - simple circuits that use a handful of discrete components (my own phonostage is rather like this) and very elaborate circuits that have hundreds of components - the Paradise is one of the latter. Part of the reason for this complexity is that the Paradise is an entirely discrete circuit and does not use op-amps; it also (I believe) has extensive, on board, local regulation.

When I first heard of this project my response was a little ambivalent. My gut feeling is to lean towards simple circuits and there is a heck of a lot of tedious transistor matching to build it. In addition, in the last year I have tried a number of 'high end' phonostages in my own system (two valve and two transistor) and concluded that my own (modified Naim) stage did pretty much everything they did as well - if not a bit better.

In this case (no pun :)), below is what the phonostage looks like - Simon has built it into three of Andrew's Naimalike cases - one for each channel and one for the power supplies (two in fact, completely dual mono).

Image

So, despite it's elaborate design) when I first plugged in the Paradise I was fully prepared to be underwhelmed and honestly didn't expect it to stay in the system for more than an hour at most. How wrong I was - it's been in the system over a week now and I hope it never leaves. This is, by far, the best phonostage I have ever had in my system and one of the most competent bits of amplification I have ever heard! It completely annihilates the Naim Superline and the Linn Uphorik. It is as detailed as the Uphorik (in fact, more detailed) and the bass grip and extension that was so disappointingly missing from the Naim. Yet the sound is not artificially hyped. The dynamic is natural and yet, at times, startling in the speed that volume and intensity can climb. But don't think this phonostage is all about broad strokes at the expense of delicacy. Voices are strongly projected and every nuance of timing, breathing etc. is laid out before you.

Quite simply, all that remains is to acquire one for myself - it's that good I don't think I can live without it.
Mark

sq225917
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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by sq225917 » Mon Jun 10, 2013 5:43 pm

I'm glad you like it so much Mark, it's not often that something really rocks your world so I guess that's indicative of the quality of the design itself. All I did was piece it together and build a suitably OTT PSU for the whole thing. The praise should go to the designers and those who road tested the early proto boards.

As you've said it was a long slog to build it, mostly because it benefits from close matching of the transistors. The one you have is my first shot at it. it's had a few parts swapped in and out over the past 6 months and I think it's pretty damn good, there's probably little else to be gained from tweaking. That said I have a new one set on the floor 95% finished and I've been anal enough to match all the transistors to better than 1% and all the resistors and caps to 0.1%

Who knows if it will make any difference. We'll find out when my last transistors arrive tomorrow and I finish it. Fortunately it'll only take 5 minutes to plug the new boards into the cases and the PSU.
One more Paradise left to complete.

YNWaN
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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by YNWaN » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:03 pm

Si, as you say, it is rare for me to be so impressed by a piece of equipment. I don't personally suffer from the equipment envy that some enthusiasts seem to experience and I am not drawn to the latest new thing - I'm certainly no 'box swapper'.

I also agree that the designers of the circuit are to be praised and roundly congratulated on a terrific piece of design - nevertheless, you have done a nice job of putting it together :).
Mark

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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by YNWaN » Mon Jun 10, 2013 7:11 pm

DSJR wrote:It would be interesting to make one with good quality components but not necessarily as closely matched to see if there's a substantial difference or not.
Well, Si is currently building another one that will have the highest quality components; but I believe the design inherently relies on the transistor being pretty closely matched.
DSJR wrote:In the meantime, enjoy it while you can Mark :mrgreen:
All is in hand Dave ;) .
Mark

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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by flatpopely » Mon Jun 10, 2013 10:59 pm

Si.

Is this lots better than your turbo charged Prefix?

If so I need to hear it!
Flat Earth rocks with PJC!
(Porcupine Tree are the new...'insert fav prog band here')
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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by YNWaN » Mon Jun 10, 2013 11:16 pm

Yes, it really is lots better...

and yes, you do 8-)
Mark

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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by sq225917 » Sat Jun 15, 2013 2:06 pm

Andrew, it's head and shoulders above the su-Prefix.

I finished my second build yesterday and took it round to Marks. I hadn't added a loading cap so it was running a little hot, and the 4k resistor that i use isn't the best match for mark's cart, but both builds used the same resistor value so it was a fair comparisson. The new one is insanely matched. Input stage are exact value matches with all 16 trannys being identical, everything else is to better than 1%. All resistors are 0.1% and all signal path caps are 1% as well.

Here's the new loading arrangement that I added this morning.

Image

You're welcome to borrow it Andrew. I think Mark wants to build a simialrly insanely matched unit as my v2, so the v1 boards are spare at the minute. All it needs is 2 rails+/- 28v feeding each channel, so four in total.
One more Paradise left to complete.

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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by Markus S » Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:10 pm

Group buy ...

YNWaN
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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by YNWaN » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:40 am

Markus S wrote:Group buy ...
:D Not a very large group...
Mark

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Re: Paradise.....Found?

Post by YNWaN » Sun Jun 16, 2013 10:47 am

sq225917 wrote:Andrew, it's head and shoulders above the su-Prefix.
Yes, I think it is too. In comparason it sounds more open and dynamic and significantly more extended and detailed at the frequency extremes.
sq225917 wrote:I finished my second build yesterday and took it round to Marks. I hadn't added a loading cap so it was running a little hot, and the 4k resistor that i use isn't the best match for mark's cart, but both builds used the same resistor value so it was a fair comparisson. The new one is insanely matched. Input stage are exact value matches with all 16 trannys being identical, everything else is to better than 1%. All resistors are 0.1% and all signal path caps are 1% as well.
And what were your thoughts? (very nice build by the way)
sq225917 wrote:Here's the new loading arrangement that I added this morning.

Image
I don'thave any issue with that - neatly done and you couldn't ask for the circuit path to be any shorter!
sq225917 wrote:...I think Mark wants to build a simialrly insanely matched unit as my v2,...
You are absolutely correct to be thinking that :D .
Mark

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