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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Thought I would start a thread on the Fosgate. I'll post/update more info as it comes available.


From the Musical Surroundings website:


Musical Surroundings is pleased to introduce the Fosgate Signature phono preamp from world-renowned audio designer Jim Fosgate.

Most famous for his work on surround sound (Dolby Pro-Logic II, etc.) and car audio (Rockford-Fosgate car stereo), Jim listens to tubes and vinyl in his personal system. His passion for analog and tube sound has lead to the development of the Fosgate Signature phono preamp. Jim Fosgate has chosen Musical Surroundings to bring his very special design to market.


Over the past 30 years, Jim Fosgate built and tested more than 100 different designs before settling on the one that became the Fosgate Signature. This design features all tube amplification and rectification with no solid-state devices in the signal path, switchable moving magnet/moving coil gain setting and variable loading settings from 100 to 100K ohms. The industrial design of the Fosgate Signature is clean and modern, using blue LED illumination for the tubes, yet also retro, proudly displaying its 7 tubes (with no cage) and real wood end caps.


Features:

All-tube amplification and rectification

No solid-state devices in the signal path

Switchable moving magnet (42.5 dB) and moving coil (60.5 dB) gain settings

Loading: (100 ohms, 300 ohms, 500 ohms, 1k ohms, 47k ohms, 100kohms) (Selectable)

Tube complement: two 6DJ8, two 12AX7, two 12AT7, one 12X4

Blue LED illumination


WARRANTY: 90 days if you don't send back the registration page; 2 years if you send the registration page back.


Here is a link to the manual on the Musical Surroundings website: http://www.musicalsurroundings.com/M...honoManual.pdf


---------------------------------------------------------

The tubes that came with my unit are as follows:

12AT7WC JAN-Philips

12AX7 SVETLANA

6DJ8 - not sure brand has a logo that looks like 2 horseshoes interlinked with "ISON" and then Research underneath.

The rectifier tube appears to be a JAN Philips


-----------------------------------------------------------------


Any of you guys that have done any tube rolling, please post your results along with gear being used in the chain (cartridge, TT, etc..). I should point out that Musical Surroundings clearly states that any tube substitutions from unauthorized sources that does damage to the unit will VOID THE WARRANTY. So, maybe if you buy tubes from one of their distributors/dealers, you might be OK. Suggest you contact them before doing anything as this is an expensive piece of gear with a nice warranty period.


Here is what I got from Musical Surroundings/Fosgate (If anyone can explain PLATE LOAD, I am all ears.):

"I guess tube rolling is here to stay. We did quite a bit of listening before settling in on the stock tubes. Not sure anyone knows why tubes sound different (except for gain) but they do. It comes down to listener preference, and the sound of the various components used in the playback system. Tubes V1, V3, V4 provide most of the gain in the circuit. Tube V2 is the plate load for V1, tube V4 is the plate load for V3, tube V6 is the plate load for V5, these are used in the SSRP configuration. Tube gain in positions V3,V4,V5,V6 will have an effect on the bass. The more gain the more low bass.


The first tubes V1 and V2 (6922) are selected for low noise and channel balance and I do not recommend rolling these because more background noise and channel imbalance will likely be the result.


V3 makes a lot of difference, we chose one that sounds very good all around but replacing that tube with 12AT7 results in more detail, less smoothness, and slightly less bass. I like an old Telefunken 12AX7 in that position, it has more detail then the stock 12AT7. Fred prefers the old Mullard there which is close to the stock tube we use.


Different tubes in position V4 do not make much of a noticeable change.


Changing tube V5 to a recent production Russian or Chinese 12AT7 tube will likely reduce the detail a bit and sound a little smoother and rounder, and reduce low bass output.


Tube V6 will not make much of a change.


I hope I have not confused you more.


Foz"



Reviews:

Audio Beat: http://www.theaudiobeat.com/equipmen..._signature.htm

Stereophile: http://www.stereophile.com/rmaf2009/...but/index.html

The Absolute Sound: http://www.avguide.com/review/fosgat...-meter-tas-206


Photos courtesy of Audio Advisor ( www.audioadvisor.com ) and REB on the Steve Hoffman Forum



 

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looks like a lovely piece of work there willy, do indeed love a bit of valves with my vinyl as well



ah yes fosgate, when I got into car audio, rockford fosgate amps is what I got. absolute beauties. great to see the man still going on still producing very nice stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
It sounds fantastic by the way - one step closer to the sensation of the musicians being right there in the room with me. That lushness or warmth that everyone talks about is to me just their way of describing a natural sound. Lots of definition and clarity with this unit. Voices are spectacular. Notes are held out there in space instead of being sharp and stunted.


There is not a lot to fiddle with on this unit but with the tubes being out in the open, it is easy to swap tubes if one is so inclined. The loading is changed easily by a rotary knob on the back and it can be changed while listening. The only other thing to change is the gain which is right on top but unlikely anyone would fiddle with this except when moving from MM to MC or vice versa. As noted from Jim Fosgate's comments in my initial post, there really are only 2 tubes that can be rolled which will affect the sound much anyway and it doesn't sound like he recommends it but I'd be interested in other fellow owners' experiences in that regard.


With the simplicity of my Rega P9 TT, I think I found a good comb here: I'm not one to tweak too much and I like fewer choices when it comes to setup. I am not one to fiddle with the VTA or Azimuth or all that other jazz.........I like to keep things simple. So, I might change cartridges now and then or I may roll a tube or two at some point, but on a daily basis I don't want to mess with it or HAVE to mess with it.


I had it going last night and found myself poking through my record closet and listening to albums I haven't listened to in years.
 

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You don't have your other equipment in your profile so I don't know, but you hear more differences from rolling tubes than they lead you to believe. It will depend on your ear and the resolution of your other equipment.


Those are common small signal tubes that have been produced for 60 years so there are lots of options. I find the new production Russians such as Svetlana/Sovteks to be pretty lacking in refinement of sound. They can sound dynamic, at the expense of smoothness and often sound spitty in the high end. These anomalies in the tubes are magnified in phono stages because of the huge gain, increased again in the line stage. Also depends on cartridge, i.e. lower output cartridge means more gain required and in turn tube quality is more evident.


There are lots of options for those tube types, if you are willing to spend money, but good ones are getting expensive. Watch for the scammers taking advantage of that. If you are not confident, purchase only from trusted sources.


You might first try just buying some inexpensive but different tubes to see if you are hear differences. If you do, then maybe try some more expensive options.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt /forum/post/20891383


I find the new production Russians such as Svetlana/Sovteks to be pretty lacking in refinement of sound. They can sound dynamic, at the expense of smoothness and often sound spitty in the high end.

What do you think of the Genelex Gold Lion (12AX7 & 12AT7) series? These are roughly $45-50 per tube and they are current manufacture as opposed to NOS.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyJ /forum/post/20895630


What do you think of the Genelex Gold Lion (12AX7 & 12AT7) series? These are roughly $45-50 per tube and they are current manufacture as opposed to NOS.

I'm not sure I remember specifics, but my memory is that they are better than the generic Russian tubes, but they don't really sing.


If ~$50 is about your price point and it were me, I'd go for some NOS Tung Sols. You might be able to find some late build RCA's at about that price. Some say there are some good sounding Brimars out there but I'm not sure I've ever heard one I like, but still better than the Svetlana/Sovtek.


As I said, difficult to give advice if I don't know anything about the rest of your equipment chain. Tell me what else you have.


The odds of picking a tube off a website and having it be the right choice is slim. The thing with tubes is that you try lots of them as they all sound a bit different. That can get expensive so I'd try to get your hands on some things cheaply to see the degree of difference they make in your system. The first cheap picks may not sound good, but if they change the sonic character a lot, then you know it will be worth it to spend more time and money finding the right ones.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, it sounds like it must be just personal preferences. Sounds like I am in for some 'sperimentin'. Will probably just slowly try some different tubes. It will keep me off the streets at night.



Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by twitch54
Willy , thanks for starting the Fosgate thread. I too have recently acquired one (my ARC PH-5 is away @ ARC for repairs).


Anyways I got off to somewhat of a rough start, here's my thread over on the Martin Logan forum...

http://www.martinloganowners.com/for...ono-Pre-update ........


look forward to continued dialouge on this.....
Hi there.


Yes - I too am having some growing pains with the unit.


The first one I got (brand new, unopened box from certified Fosgate distributor) had some cosmetic blemishes on the front panel and the bottom of the unit had some paint chips.
I returned the unit and they happily shipped me another one as soon as I dropped the other one off at the UPS store.


The replacement is the one I have now and I am dealing with a hum issue from the transformer in the left rear of the unit. I have had numerous emails with Musical Surroundings about this and they are telling me this is a normal sound for the unit. Since I have never owned a totally tubed piece of gear before, I am not sure if what I am hearing is acceptable or not. They are willing for me to return the unit but I am hesitant to do so if this is normal. I can only hear the hum when I put my ear within about a foot or so of the unit. If I take my sound meter and place it almost right up against the transformer, it will measure approx. 56-58 db. Would be curious to know if yours does this too. My initial thought was: Wow! This is a serious piece of sensitive electronic gear and it is humming! Will the humming creep into the sound circuit somehow? I understand how transformers work but wouldn't expect this to be present in a sensitive piece of gear like a phono stage where miniscule sound levels are present and magnified. Let me know if yours does this too and if you can verify it to be 56-58db (at the transformer).


Regarding tube rolling, I did quite a bit of research and ordered some NOS Mullards from Upscale Audio. I got a CV4004, 12AX7 for V3 and I got a couple of CV4024, 12AT7 for V3 and V5 to play with. I just got them in today and will likely have them going tonight. I have the new 200gram Analogue Productions re-release of Tea For The Tillerman and can't wait to hear it.



As far as bass goes, I agree with the 47K loading recommended by the other poster on the Martin Logan thread. I have a Benz ACE (Medium) with a Rega P9 and use the 47K loading. I really couldn't tell much difference with any of the various loading options but I was told to keep it at 47K except for the most sensitive and lowest output MC cartridges.


I haven't noticed any bass issue but I am using my subwoofers with a filter set at 80 hz and I have a decent set of floorstanders too. If you are using an Audyssey equipped AVR or Pre/Pro, you might want to disengage it to see how it sounds without or engage it (if you have it off). In other words, you might want to play with the various Audyssey settings.


The sound from the Fosgate is VERY engaging even with the stock tubes. The soundstage is very wide and you get that "off the speakers" soundwidth. The instruments are very clearly in positions across the front of the room so much so that you can almost visualize the stage. I have a few old Beatles Parlophone LP's (60's vintage) and the clarity and soundstage are phenomenal. The voices are so natural and clear you can almost hear them breathing into the microphones.


I also have found that it makes some of my marginal sounding LPs very listenable now.
 

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Willy,


I must say I do not hear any hum what so ever from mine. As a matter of fact I was pleasently surprised as to how quiet it is. I will give a closer listen for the hum you mention tonite, I hope to be able to relax for a couple of hrs of vinyl bliss !


regards,


Dave
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyJ /forum/post/20953493


The replacement is the one I have now and I am dealing with a hum issue from the transformer in the left rear of the unit. I have had numerous emails with Musical Surroundings about this and they are telling me this is a normal sound for the unit. Since I have never owned a totally tubed piece of gear before, I am not sure if what I am hearing is acceptable or not. They are willing for me to return the unit but I am hesitant to do so if this is normal. I can only hear the hum when I put my ear within about a foot or so of the unit. If I take my sound meter and place it almost right up against the transformer, it will measure approx. 56-58 db. Would be curious to know if yours does this too. My initial thought was: Wow! This is a serious piece of sensitive electronic gear and it is humming! Will the humming creep into the sound circuit somehow? I understand how transformers work but wouldn't expect this to be present in a sensitive piece of gear like a phono stage where miniscule sound levels are present and magnified. Let me know if yours does this too and if you can verify it to be 56-58db (at the transformer).

It's really not that unusual to get a little bit of hum from higher end equipment. Much improvement in the higher end gear is derived from larger power supplies and they often hum a bit. Without hearing it I obviously can't give an opinion on what you are hearing. If you can hear it from across the room or it sounds slightly raspy, you might have a problem but slight hums only detectable from a foot or so away are not unusual and are not a worry. You should not expect it to be as quiet as a consumer grade AVR or CD player with their small transformers.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyJ /forum/post/20953493


As far as bass goes, I agree with the 47K loading recommended by the other poster on the Martin Logan thread. I have a Benz ACE (Medium) with a Rega P9 and use the 47K loading. I really couldn't tell much difference with any of the various loading options but I was told to keep it at 47K except for the most sensitive and lowest output MC cartridges.

I too use Benz, you definitely want 47k. When listening for differences at other settings, you might hear more sloppiness in the bass but try listening more for openness in the midrange and differences in the high end, and the ultra high end that affect the air, image and ambiance in the recording.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyJ /forum/post/20953493


I haven't noticed any bass issue but I am using my subwoofers with a filter set at 80 hz and I have a decent set of floorstanders too. If you are using an Audyssey equipped AVR or Pre/Pro, you might want to disengage it to see how it sounds without or engage it (if you have it off). In other words, you might want to play with the various Audyssey settings.

If you have floorstanders that extend lower, you might try lowering your subwoofer crossover when listening to 2-channel to see if you get a better stereo presentation.

Quote:
Originally Posted by WillyJ /forum/post/20953493


I also have found that it makes some of my marginal sounding LPs very listenable now.

Interesting how that happens eh? As I've kept moving to better gear, I find you can still hear that some recordings aren't good, and yet you can hear more clearly through the bad recording to somehow give the impression of a more accurate picture of the original recorded event.


[EDIT]

Also, definitely make sure you do some serious comparisons using stereo direct mode so the signal never gets digitized.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Well, my foray into tube rolling was a waste of time and money.


I tried about every combo with the Mullard 12ax7 (CV4004) and 12at7 (CV4024) in V3 and V5 combining stock tubes with the Mullards and Mullards by themselves and I wound up right where I began with the stock tubes. The Mullard CV4024 in V5 was too bass heavy. The CV4004 and the CV4024 in V3, unbelievably, accentuated the highs too much. The stock tubes are a much more balanced overall sound - not too much bass nor too much on the high end. At least for my system, maybe I already have just the right combination; I guess they knew what they were doing when they selected the tubes. Who am I to second guess them in the first place?



I may experiment some more in the future but for now I think I will just enjoy my rig as it is.



Right now, listening to the MCA Audiophile pressing of Steely Dan's Gaucho - incredible.


Edit: Maybe some other owners will find this thread and post their own tube rolling results. Mmmm?
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by twitch54 /forum/post/20957472


Interesting......whereas Benz says 100 ohms or less, I'll give 47k a try and report back....

The info sheet that came with my medium output ACE cartridge from Benz says 200 -47K. Not sure if that would apply to yours or all Benz cartridges but I gather that it pays to experiment with loading a bit to see how it sounds in your environment.
 

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Willy, Good morning..........I posted an update over on the Logan forum so if you want click on the previous link for it.


in a nut shell I wasn't thrilled with the loading change to 47k, I'm actually starting to wonder if the output of my Glider (0.8) is not matching up well with the Fosgate (too much gain perhaps ??)


I'm going to next load @ 200 ohms and make a 'input gain' selection change on my pre-amp (Audio Research LS-26)
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I just looked at the specs for the AR LS26.........It looks like you have quite a bit to play with there! Wow........Lots of adjustments.


Just a thought: Since the LS26 is a pre-amp and the Fosgate is also a pre-amp, something might be going on with the gain (as you point out). You might need to just make sure you are not ADDING more load and gain when it passes through the LS26 and/or influencing the signal as it passes through the LS26.


I am running my Fosgate through a Denon AVP-A1HDCI pre/pro which is basically acting as a volume control. I run it in pure direct analog mode. I have external amps for power. The Denon does nothing to the signal.


If you can somehow setup the LS26 to be as neutral as possible without affecting the gain or loading somehow, I think this would be the ticket. You might be duplicating gain or impedence somewhere? Just a thought.
 

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Hello, I found this site and thread while looking for info on the Benz Glider. I also own the Fosgate Signature Phono Stage, and currently use a Lyra Lydian Beta. I am planing to buy the Benz Glider, which brings me to a question I hope some of you may be able to help me with, will the low output .4 mv or the high .8 mv, be the better match?

Any advice or thoughts would be very much appreciated
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eaganite /forum/post/21023011


Hello, I found this site and thread while looking for info on the Benz Glider. I also own the Fosgate Signature Phono Stage, and currently use a Lyra Lydian Beta. I am planing to buy the Benz Glider, which brings me to a question I hope some of you may be able to help me with, will the low output .4 mv or the high .8 mv, be the better match?

Any advice or thoughts would be very much appreciated

I'm sort of new to the "high-end" tube stage myself but from what I have learned, the lower the output is generally better if you have the appropriate pre-amp that can handle the gain. With 60db of gain, the Fosgate should be OK but you may want to contact Musical Surroundings (Distributor of the Glider and the Fosgate) to make sure. By the way, they call .8mv high output but it really is medium.


How do you like the Fosgate so far? I'm looking at the Gullwing as my next cartridge so I would be interested to know what you think of the Glider with the Fosgate. What kind of turntable to you have?
 

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Hi Willy, Thank you for responding to my post, I do know that .8 mv is the medium output (brain fade) and I actually have spoke with musical Surroundings about this, the short answer is that the low output is on the low side for the Fosgate and the medium output is on the high side, but ether one should work. I see you have the medium output Benz Ace and apparently it works in your system, and I am leaning towards the .8 mv Glider.


I have a Rega Planar 25 turntable that I had my local Hi-Fi shop modify with both adding a separate ground wire and VTA adjustment. I had some hum issues with an Clear Audio Aurum Beta cartridge that I owned a while back and the addition of the ground wire made it as quite as a church mouse.


I do like the Fosgate Signature phono stage and have owned it well over a year, mine apparently came with different 6922 tubes than yours did, the supplied ones with mine only say 6DJ8 in red ink written vertically, no other markings. I discovered by putting them in my conrad-johnson preamp that they are both very detailed and bright sounding. The supplied 12AX7 tubes were Svetlana and are both quiet but soft sounding (not very detailed), I think these tubes were chosen mostly because they are inexpensive and the Svetlana tubes help tame the brittle sound of supplied 6DJ8 tubes. Then the supplied Philips JAN 12AT7WC are also on the warm side.


One of my 6DJ8 tubes went bad and I contacted Musical Surroundings and was told they don't have replacement tubes for the Fosgate, so I decided to do some tube rolling. I tried several different 6922 brands and have settled on a wonderful sounding Russian Military tube 6H23nEB, I am using this in both the Fosgate V1 and V2 and my c-j preamp in the first tube position. In the Fosgate these are followed by one Tung-sol 12AX7 ECC803S in V3 then in V4 a JJ ECC803S, V5 is the Philips 12AT7WC, V6 is Mullard CV4024, it seems to me that if you switch the Mullard to V5 it is less warm. This is my current tube compliment. I am also using Nordost Red Dawn IC's between the Fosgate and the C-J Preamp, those IC's seem to work very well in that position in my system.


I have run out of time for now, but will write more at a latter date.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eaganite /forum/post/21029006


I do like the Fosgate Signature phono stage and have owned it well over a year, mine apparently came with different 6922 tubes than yours did, the supplied ones with mine only say 6DJ8 in red ink written vertically, no other markings. I discovered by putting them in my conrad-johnson preamp that they are both very detailed and bright sounding. The supplied 12AX7 tubes were Svetlana and are both quiet but soft sounding (not very detailed), I think these tubes were chosen mostly because they are inexpensive and the Svetlana tubes help tame the brittle sound of supplied 6DJ8 tubes. Then the supplied Philips JAN 12AT7WC are also on the warm side.


One of my 6DJ8 tubes went bad and I contacted Musical Surroundings and was told they don't have replacement tubes for the Fosgate, so I decided to do some tube rolling. I tried several different 6922 brands and have settled on a wonderful sounding Russian Military tube 6H23nEB, I am using this in both the Fosgate V1 and V2 and my c-j preamp in the first tube position. In the Fosgate these are followed by one Tung-sol 12AX7 ECC803S in V3 then in V4 a JJ ECC803S, V5 is the Philips 12AT7WC, V6 is Mullard CV4024, it seems to me that if you switch the Mullard to V5 it is less warm.

So you actually noticed some difference when rolling V1 and V2? Makes for a complex (and potentially expensive) tube rolling experience if one decides to start experimenting with all 6 tubes.
Thanks for the details. I may get back around to rolling some more next year after I get the new cartridge in place. Sounds like you had a similar result as I did with the Mullard in V5.
 
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