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Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Communicator Review (Phono Preamp)

Rate this Phono Stage:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 67 48.2%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 64 46.0%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 4 2.9%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 4 2.9%

  • Total voters
    139

laudio

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For $50 more you can get the Cambridge Audio Alva Duo (assuming its as good as the Solo Amir already tested) and you get built in power transformer, it can handle MC as well as MM, has grounding for your TT, and if necessary can even L/R balance any issues you may have.

I think for $180 less you can get a refurb'ed Cambridge Solo on the auction site and it has the highest SINAD on the review chart.
 

Dzhaughn

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A relic from the 1980s flat earth subjectivism.

earth_in_space_vinyl_lp_record_photo_print-r8d5aca1191724495a85a0428504a8b48_a0ib_8byvr_704.webp
 

restorer-john

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I hate it when the power plug is held only by the PCB.

Yep, can't get any more cheap and nasty than that. Three solder tabs and you can guarantee after a few years, they will be cracked off the PCB.
 

charleski

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WhatHifi: "... A sweet spot for dynamics in the upper registers."

How does that work?
You just need to choose the right seed words: ‘dynamics’, ‘timing’, ‘soundstage’, etc. Once the AI is set up it’s a good idea to keep an eye on a couple of forums to watch for any new buzzwords that become fashionable.
 

bYOndo

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Conclusions
Hard to get excited over either the mechanicals of the unit or objective performance. While noting is terribly broken, for $300 I expect much better.
Did I spotted a typo? "nothing" would be the right word... or no? :D

Massimo
 

digicidal

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Oh another common strategy is to run with code name of products which was invented by engineers or program managers. This routinely ran into trademark issues so not practiced as much.
Likely why Apple goes with national parks, mountains, or animals when code naming releases. Still sad about them abandoning big game cats for parks though... but I'm a cat person so the bias is strong. Luckily Ubuntu hooks me up every few years with "Lucid Lynx" or "Oneric Ocelot" and more recently the "Focal Fossa" (though that's just cat-ish I suppose, being of the Eupleridae rather than the Felidae family).
 

Foxenfurter

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I had one of the early gram amp 2 it came in a plastic case for about half this price. I never really liked it as the sound signature was off, everything sounded like 80's pop - all tizz and no boom. I have one record that I digitised with it and it is BRIGHT.

Interesting to see that the objective data supports my subjective experience.
 

Robbo99999

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Lol, thanks the review, "brilliant timing" remark made me chortle!
 

phoenixdogfan

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If it's "timing" is so brilliant, maybe someone ought to take onstage for Open Mic Night at Zanies.
 

sarumbear

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To me the main issue with this amplifier is the very small headroom. It’s common knowledge that clipping is the main cause of loud clicks. It’s simply not acceptable not to take that into consideration on a device that is not competing on price.
 

dananski

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Here we have something that we can use to see if the WhatHIFI rating system is a good one.

View attachment 199256
The data collected was a study done on the WhatHIFI rating system on the 3rd of 2019 until recently from ninety data samples. We can see that the system is flawed as 74.44% of the products are on the two possible gradable ratings four stars and five stars. IMO it is a useless performance rating system.
This is very informative. I knew they barely ever give anything under 3 but didn't know the proportions. They're in the very warm and fluffy, "It's all subjective so why can't everyone be a winner?" side of the audiophile world, and they're definitely not alone. Perhaps there should be a thread here reviewing and contrasting different review publications to give metrics like this and other known biases in their ratings.

But I've rather liked WhatHiFi in the past, not so much for their dubious reviews, but their giveaways. I naively read a few WHF magazines when I began looking for equipment and got an idea of the kind of poetic language they use, and by auditioning some things they'd reviewed I figured out what some of it means in practice. I then put this language to great use by writing a similarly poetic user review on their site, specifically so I could win a giveaway of something I wanted to try out. So they've given me equipment worth about 20 times what I've actually spent on their mags. ;)
 

Mochamoon

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So, pardon my ignorant questions but here ya go. I'm seriously considering this amp. Will the Vault streamer hook up to this without issues? Also recommend a complimentary pre-amp. Stating from ZERO!
 

restorer-john

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So, pardon my ignorant questions but here ya go. I'm seriously considering this amp. Will the Vault streamer hook up to this without issues? Also recommend a complimentary pre-amp. Stating from ZERO!

It's an overpriced phono stage in a can. It's not a proper preamplifier nor an amplifier. No streamers can attach to it.
 

restorer-john

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Nit-picky I'm sure, but for $300 I feel like they could have a DC barrel plug that fits the case rather than board soldered and shoved up to a much larger hole.

The larger hole is for the 12 cent socket. They decided to use the 6 cent socket instead.

2.1mm chassis.JPG



2.1mm pcb.JPG



Maybe on Graham Slee's top of the line model, you might get one of these fancy 54 cent 2.1mm jacks:

1649809124000.png
 

don'ttrustauthority

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Verry good performace!
The Sinad of 69 (nice) is actually misleading.
most of it is do to noise and most of the noise is at low frequency. so it would not be as audible.
This is why it is industry standard to also give noise in dB(A)

So if the noise would be A weighted the performance would look even better (as always)

and all this with an real chap and nasty looking class 2 power suppl...
just imagine how good it must sound with an isolation transformer.*


*just kidding in case this is not obvious
I try to explain to people around here that measurements are not objective. People think because it is repeatable it is objective.
 

sarumbear

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@restorer-john They could have used a PCB mount and screw on connector as any quality manufacturer would...

screw-on.png
 

Lambda

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I try to explain to people around here that measurements are not objective. People think because it is repeatable it is objective.
Of cause they are not. "lying with statistics" is very common technically it is not lying but what data you have, how you convert and adjust it and how you present it can tell/sell completely different story.
It is similar with audio measurements.
There you can do also a lot of twerking and cherry picking.
I’m not claiming this is done with malicious intend!
but no human is save/ free from subconscious estimation bias / confirmation bias.
 
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