My initial foray into an all tube phono stage has had a rather rough start. The unit was virtually brand new, (acquied it from a friend who got in then quickly out of analog) it might of had five hrs on it. Within the first three hours that I had it in use it puked out two bad 12 AX-7's, after replacing them with a couple of Electro Harmonix tubes I happened to have everything is working perfectly.
At this point I have ten hours tops on the unit and so far my impressions are that of mid-range magic, to be expected with tubes combined with really sweet and very 'airy' highs, at least to the point that these old ears can hear. I'm a little concerned with the lower registers though, the bass seems a little bloated. Now I'm not sure that is the whole perception or rather a 'cause and effect' from the very deep soundstage produced. One that was apparent over my ARC PH-5.
I expect to have my PH-5 back from ARC in couple of weeks at which point I'll have more hrs on the Fosgate and then I'll conduct my own 'shoot out'.
In so far as tube rolling is concerned I want to give this thing another twenty hrs or so and then I'll see if a replacement or two can rectify, then again maybe a little more run in time will help.
I'll keep all posted as I go along.............