Anybody own Audio Experience Symphonies?

Anybody own Audio Experience SYMPHONIES preamplifier from YS-Audio? How does it sound compared to other high end preamp?
I bought the Symphonies + model. The unit came well packed and well documented. I would prefer more available inputs, and at least one extra output. A tape loop is not included. Minor quibbles though, this unit is solidly built, and has performed flawlessly. The sound stage is large, with pinpoint imaging, extended tight bass, airy highs, and an ever so slighty warmish tonal character from neuteral. The oh so important midrange is right on the money. I love mine and I highly reccomend it. It kills my Audiolab 8000C and my Dynaco PAS 3. Excellant pace and rythm. I beleive this preamp to compare favorably to units costing 4 times as much, soundwise. I also beleive we sill be hearing a lot more about Ys Audio products in the future. I am most pleased with my purchase, and I don't think you will be making a mistake in purchasing one for yourself.
I also own a Symphonies+ preamplifier and the Concerto line amplifer. These amplifiers brought forth the life in recordings that I did not know existed. I am using an Oracle Premier turntable, Meridian 507 CD player, a Bryston 4B amplifier and MG3 speakers. The highs are clear fragile, the midrange full and vibrant and the lows are limited by my speakers which are magnaplaner.
I replace a preamplifier which cost double what this pair cost me and I received twice the quality of sound.
This is the best kept secret in the audio world. I bought the Symphonies + Pre-amp from a audiogon member. I retubed it with some 5751 tubes and I was shocked at how glorious the sound was. Rich,mellow,deep-deep soundstage, beautifully detailed. The construction on Pre-amp was first rate. No skimping on the parts or build. First Class all the way. The price with their current promotion is 680.00!! Hard to believe. If you want to spend 3,000-4,000 go ahead but you wont beat out this Pre-amp!
I own one and all I can say is "It is world class pre-amp and better than any pre-amp cost 3 times the price"
Following my previous remarks I would like to add that anyone owning this Pre-Amp should replace the stock tubes with the New Groove Tube 12ax7M. Its a clone of the classic Mullard British tube. The sound will amaze you especially if you like rich,warm expansive sound.
I own an older rotel preamp rtc-970 and Dolby Digital decoder rotel rda-975 as well as the Symphonies and I can tell you I am sometimes tempted to buy two more of the Symphonies to listen to movies on and throw away the rotel rtc-970. I use the Marantz MA500's for amps(x5) which are also a great deal if you aren't going totally analog and like watching movies. All point to point. Only downside I have noticed: the clicks inbetween CD/AV/AUX1/AUX2 have a little static. Low gain so bablancing for AV output means turning it up at least to 12:00. You can almost see these idiosynchrosys as quaint at the amp's price. Never interferes with output - never unsatisfied even watching big action films, not to mention breathes some life in - I was sold after flipping back and forth while watchign a DVD of The Shield - Chickliss' growl had real *human* abrasive depth that it lacked on the rotel. Build is VERY solid. Probably worth replacing the power cord as well with something better. The guy who makes them, while he barely speaks English is really great, and double boxes everything. He also includes shipping in the price. After burn in you will not believe how airy and fresh, how lifelike everything sounds. I like this preamp better than Conrad Johnson/Jolida. Also Manley if only for price. It is similar to a preamp Cary makes, but which I haven't heard. There are two line-outs on the back if you bi-wire. Another perk. I really can't recommend this preamp enough - you wouldn't feel ripped off even if you paid $2000. for it - at $400. it's unstoppable.
Hi Rkt008

I would like to try the "New Groove Tube 12ax7M" you stated, however I can only find 12ax7 at Groove Tube 12ax7M. Are they the same as 12ax7M, this might be a stubid question, but I am new to tube equ, please help.

I bought the symphonies (not +) 2 years ago and while it sounded great, a local tube gear builder said it leaked DC current - my classe amp kept shutting down. Having said that, it worked with a rotel receiver which did not shut down. It had the cheap EI tubes which I recommend replacing. Build quality was great for price.
I have used Symphonies (not +) with Classe CA-100 amp for almost 1 year. Its performance is excellent. Wide soundstage, deep low and mellow. I’m now considering upgrade my system to Symphonies Plus or BALANCE A1.
The website says they corrected the 'dc leak' problem...never heard this equiptment but was checking their info and thought I would mention they are aware and claim to have fixed that problem.
I just bought a Symphonies plus preamp,I am curios to know how did the new tubes (groove tube 12AX7M) work out?? anybody own the plus model? what do you think about it? J.C
Can anyone tell me what each 12Ax7 does in this unit? Is it like the Minimax ? 2 each for gain one for tone ? If so which ones
Thanks in advance
Well I found out. Center 12AX7 is input and to outer one are for gain, Good to know if you want to mix tubes
"Center 12AX7 is input and to (sic) outer one (sic) are for gain, (sic) Good to know if you want to mix tubes (sic)"

I've posted several notes in the last 6 months or so about this preamp and how it uses tubes. The 'X7 in the center of the three is the 1st gain stage for both channels, i.e. it's used in stereo. Each left and right 'X7 is used for the 2nd gain stage and cathode follower for one channel.

On your statement, don't you think the the 1st gain stages provide gain?
the side ones with JAN Phillips - very steady gain, and that Mullard tone. Groove Tubes makes the reissue. It's very easy to find but I hear they are raising their prices. All the wires in the runs are not the same gauge and can be upgraded.
There have been several threads relating the experiences of more high-end solid state guys trying this preamp and not getting it to work. There have been rumors this is b/c of a DC leak. I have talked to several people, along with the maker of the preamp and everyone agrees it is not DC leak. It is the low gain and low RMS of the preamp that has made it not compatible with high-flux solid state gear - they go into safety mode. Recently, this problem was "corrected" which means the overall performance of the preamp has gone down i.e. become more noisy as the RMS was increased via new caps in the power stage to make it more compatible. I would definitely listen to one of the new ones before making a purchase. You will be able to tell b/c it will have different caps - and probably not Black Gates (since they have quit making them) which is what mine has. The reason I say this is because it does not have output capacitors to reject noise with the higher output. I am trying to get up pic's of my virutal system and will post an interior view when I do.
I recently purchased a used Symphonies Plus on AudioGon. I'm running it with a Sonic Frontiers Power One tube amp. I believe my Symphonies was made in 2004. Are you suggesting if I don't have Black Gates caps, that I'm not getting the type of sound I would otherwise? That photo would be great to know what I'm looking for. Do you have a recommendation for a replacement cap?
M, the sound of your Symphonies preamp can be improved substantially with the replacement of 3 pairs of coupling caps and 3 PS 'lytics with Solen/SoniCap 'propylenes. I've done this to 2 and a fellow 'goNist did his. The other fellow said it improved VERY nicely and was well worth the time and trouble. If I remember correctly, the parts cost about $125, but of course that will vary depending on the quality of caps you choose.

E-mail me at jeffreybehr(at)cox(dot)net and I'll send you some pics.

My system consist of:

Power amplifier: AUDIO RESEARCH CLASSIC 60(for electrostatic panel) and JEFF ROWLAND MODEL 1(for woofer)
Phono amplifier: AUDIO RESEARCH PH 3
CD player : AMC CDM 7 (output stage -valves)-it have AC wire separeted, one for transport, and one for valve output stage;
Cartridge step-up(transformer): QUICKSILVER AUDIO TRANSFORMER
Have lot of valves(ECC88,6DJ8,6922) from various manufacturers(Tesla, Sovtek, Sylvania, Thungsram, Golden Aero, Golden Dragon, GE, RCA, Phillips , Thung Sol, to mention some), and some single triodes 6DL4(EC88-Telefunken original);
My second amplifier is an old MARANTZ RECEIVER 2330 B (American version from 1978), which I played mostly during hot summer days.
Also have SHUN MOOK Quarttet and almost 60 Mpingo Discs. All tubes are covered with SM Valve resonatores(big and small tubes), and each component have under SM Super Diamond Resonators.

I use AC line conditioners from BCD-made in Italy for:
BCD No.3 for Pre (Symhonies+ and PH 3, and AMC CDM 7 valve stage)
BCD Power One only for power amplifier)
BCD electrostatic supply one for each speaker
Specialy made AC filter for AMC CDM 7 transport section and turntable.

Have approx. 160 CDs, and almost 3000 LPs, which I am buying almost everywhere I found them. Prefer originals, the old one, sound better then new re-issued, even if on 180 g. format.

Each component have its own AC wall connector, and made a special AC power supply in my listening room only for this room. In this days, going to make a special ground wire for conecting all sistem, because I know, from past expirience, all the benefits from making such thing.

Between CD-PRE = XLO 1
Between PH3 - = Silver Audio 6.0, Harmonic Technology Thruth Link
Between QUICKSILVER(transformet)-PH 3 =Quicksilver wire terminated by WBT 101 connectors, and so are the wires from tonearm STOGI REF. to Quicksilver trafo(Straiht Wire-the only cable which cannot be changed-it goes out right from the arm, and not specially happy with it, but everything is possible, right? One day probabbly I will cut it.)
Between Symphonies+- Classic 60= Silver Audio 6.0.
Between Classic 60 and speakers (bi -wired- for panel XLO 5.0, and for woofer Audio Researh Litzwire cable-JR Model 1)

I like to work with my ears only, thats for me a golden rule after more than 23 years involved in hi-fi. Also play a guitar(electric & acoustic)-as a background of music expirience.
Like all kind of good made music, emotional one, because is a part of my soul.

In each individual life came a moment when you need some specific change, thinking that nothing more is possible, that you done everything you are able to do. In my case, that happend with my hi-fi sistem, when knowing must be somehting more hidding in the air. Than, for the first time, I read about a company YS Audio Audio Experience. Supprise. Immediatly, know thats something for me. Alredy have a back years of expirience with a lot pre amps(Conrad Johnson, Audio Research, Audible Illusions, Counterpoint, Copland), but never find some which was emotionaly and musicaly ok. As been a visitor on many concerts, acustic-electric, start wondering if that is possible to achive that sort of "sound" and feelings from the instrument presence in your room?

So I contact a seller, and in a few days a preamp Symphonies Plus arrived. Put it in my hifi chain, and the music start to "sing". My pilgrim path come to an end. I felt a really new emotion and heart happines, those strong feelings hiden deep in your soul come up. You cant miss that feeling if You really know how to love music. This is one outstanding superb product made for the music lovers.
I love my symphonies (non + version). Excellent design and build.

Tweaks: Rolled tubes to Electroharmonix Bugle Boys (12ax7). Inexpensive and a nice improvement. Replaced output wima caps with auricaps ($5 each). A nice improvement. Replaced output wire (factory stuff is silver plated 28 gauge single strand copper in teflon) with solid silver 28 ga in teflon - this reduced some mid treble grain.

In stock form, the unit is par for the price. Out of the box and broken in, it sounded almost identical to the preamp section of my NAD 350 integrated. In tweaked form it performs better or equal to anything I've tried up to the $1200 price range. Bass is solid, deep and taught. Sound is not overly warm. Resolution and transperency is excellent. Soundstage is wide, deep and tall. This tweaked unit leans toward the AR tube sound. Clean, fast and dynamic.

The output impedance is high, so there may be a few power amps out there that will yield some hiss. You must also let the preamp warm up for a half minute before turning on the power amp. My B&K ST202+ works great with it. Dead silent background. I am using Maggies 1.6qr with homemade xovers and an Onix CD-88 CD player with OPA627 upgrade (a terrific sounding player when tweaked this way).
I use it with a Cary Rocket and never had any hiss. Used to use it with Marantz Monoblocks. The 500MA's. Also good. Had a top of the line Rotel that was not as good for a preamp and finally sold it. Currently I am engaged in an interior revamp. I will post when finished.
Hi, I am in the process of purchasing a Symphonies Plus and I have seen the posts of how the 12xa7m will improve. I was just wondering what sort of sound difference they made from the people using the 12ax7m tubes. More detailed sound, tighter bass, brighter high's, or more accurate midrange?
I have a Symphonies connected to a Perreaux PMF2150B and KEf 105,2's. In a no mod listening, I have to say that it's not up to a Copland CTA 305. The air between instruments is not there, and the sound is much compressed. Not as detailed also.
The Copland is 3000,00 cdn vs 894,00 (plus shipping) for the Symphonies +, a possible upgrade for me.

Is someone had the opportunity to test the two units?
I posted a reply a while back. I have recently rolled the tubes from EH to the re-issue Tung Sols on a tip from Mr McShane at Tube Asylum (there is a specific series of re-issue Tung Sols that he recommends over others). Another full step in improvement. More bass slam and dynamics. Complex material comes off much better. Centered images are a bit more forward while the rear images stay rear. Now I understand what was meant by the TNT review saying that the music was a bit disjointed with the EH tubes. Then after about 100 hours of the new tubes, I changed out the rectifier tube to an early 1950's RCA. I never expected a rectifier tube could make more than a tiny difference, but it did. Much improved texture in the treble region. Gobs of detail yet relaxed. This one is a keeper.
hi all,

Well, also looking at the Symphony Plus. It was also suggested to go to the Grounded Grid Preamp from Transcendentsound. I was Told that it might be a better preamp. Now the Plus also appeals to me too. It does have some good stuff built in to the circuit design. Besides, you can tube roll this with maybe some 5814's or 5751. tubes. Don't know for sure on that one. For under 600 bucks, it's supposed to be a killer. So if you have gotten one lately, would be interested in your take. Just email me directly:

Would appreciate it. I'm told construction on the plus versus the non version is first rate.

if you have had some experience with the GGp too, would be interested.
Hi again,

Well I see this thread has gone by the wayside. So I would like some newer users who are now using or have used the Symphony plus chime in with there information.

I'm also looking at the Grounded Grid Preamplifier from Transcendent sound. So any comments would be most appreciated.
I bought a Symphonies+R about 2 1/2 years ago & tried it very briefly. The try-out was brief because the unit seems to be extremely susceptible to RFI & my place in Seattle is RFI Hell. Also, I suspect a lack of synergy between my power amp at the time, an Odyssey Stratos. Even if it hadn't been picking up the local FM station, I just wasn't particularly impressed with the sound: it seemed too bright & just not musical, for lack of a better word. A couple of days ago I put it into another system here in Bangkok driving a pair Omega Super 3 v2s via ASL SET monoblocks & the sound is simply splendid.
I have been using the Symphonies (not the Plus) for about 3 years with a Canary CA-301 MkII. Wonderful bliss.

I replaced it (put in closet as backup) as I wanted a remote and phono section. I bought a Jolida Music Envoy. I rolled a LOT OF TUBES, got the Envoy to sound like I wanted. Then the Envoy broke and went to the shop. Out came the Symphonies, rolled tubes, got to the Mullard 10M's (lot of $$ for tubes for a Symphonies), but it beat the Envoy by a lot, and now the Symphonies is back as my main preamp.

The Mullard 10M's are wonderful in this preamp and beat everything else I tried. Here are the best combinations that I found:
1. 12AX7 10M Mullard (w/ 7025 GE in center)
(detailed, warm)
2. ECC83 Telefunken (w/ 7025 RCA in center)
(less detailed, more warm)
3. 7025A RCA (w/ EH-Gold in center)
4. EI-Gold (w/ EH-Gold in center)
EH-Gold (w/ EI-Gold in center)
EI-Silver (w/ EH)

Interesting note, the Mullard 10M's did not sound the best in the Jolida... I guess there is a synergy with other parts.
Update: I had Underwood mod the Envoy (spent $1600 on upgrade of preamp and phone sections), and it came back sounding much better than the Symphonies... so the Symphonies is going in the closet as backup.
I'm wondering what others are using for tubes. I have the symphonies v2. I am using 3 Mullard reissue 12ax7 tubes. They are nice, sweet and warm, with really nice highs but lack dynamics and drive and are a bit thin in the midrange. I also have Chinese 12ax7b which have a lot of drive and punch but are also dark sounding, lacking a bit in transparency, and have rolled off highs. I'm wondering what other options are available. I am thinking of the reissue tung sol 12ax7 or seeking out NOS tubes. I would love to try GT Mullard 10M or Chinese 12ax7C 9th gen, as I have heard these are really nice tubes, but no longer available.