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In Reply to: RE: I found an Aesthetix Calypso for under $600. What's a reasonable price for this line stage? posted by Ron P. Stewart on March 11, 2017 at 16:27:47
$2200 - $2600 would be my guess, if it's in good shape. I owned the Aesthetix Calypso and the Calypso Signature back around 2011 and to be honest, I didn't hear a whopping difference between the two. The non-Signature is by far the better value IMHO.
I preferred Aesthetix over my ARC LS-25mkII. The Aesthetix had more 'soul' and was little more lush compared to the ARC. The ARC could have been any solid-state preamp as far as I was concerned but one that was comparatively a little light in the bass.
You might need to do some tube rolling to 'tune' the Aesthetix to your taste. Keep in mind that this preamp can exhibit some 'hiss', more or less depending on tube selection and the sensitivity of the rest of your setup including speakers. I rolled 12AX7, Mullard CV4004, Russian 6H23P-EB (6DJ8), 5751, 6922.
I preferred the JJ/Black Sable tubes
Tried to make Brystons listenable w/tube preamps like ARC then Aesthetix. Didn't work. Sold the Brystons. That fixed it.
Edits: 03/12/17Follow Ups:
Interesting! Why do you think that the Brystons were so troublesome?
I just didn't care for the way they sound. I heard early Brystons in the 1990's and decided on Classe instead. It seemed that these two Canadian makes competed head to head back then, maybe even today. I don't know.
Back then the Brystons I auditioned were grainy and harsh sounding. The newer ones, or at least the ones I had (7BSST2) were not grainy or harsh. They were much improved but sounded too lean and clinical to me. The midrange had zero warmth, lower mids and bass lacked that robust full-bodied sound that I prefer in tubes, etc.
I tried 'fixing it' first with the ARC LS-25mkII then the Aesthethix Calypso which was much better IMHO. For me, the real 'fix' was to replace the amps. However, the Aesthetix was a very nice sounding preamp that responded well to tube rolling. Something I can't say for the ARC since there aren't any (or many) 6H30 tubes around to roll.
Nice pics! Abe.
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