Tom Evans Audio Design
Devotion to Sound
"One man's passion can create excellence that many other's don't reach."
Tom Evans Audio Design at Winters Audio
The audio history books already have a chapter entitled Tom Evans. But the story is far from over. When one person has the talent and dedication to become an exceptional designer, you can be sure that every now and then they will kick the established goalposts.
So at Winters Audio we've always had a passion for Tom's products, especially his phono stages. We have used the original MasterGroove as our phono stage of choice for many years and it's been superb. But damn, the new MasterGroove SR Mk 3 has now come out – and yep, goalposts well and truly kicked.
And we couldn't resist taking it on. So after some chats with Tom, our SR Mk 3 is on order, and we can't wait.
Oh, if anyone wants to buy our old 'Groove, it's available here.
MasterGroove SR Mk3
A true high-end phono stage. History talks of revolution – here's the next one in the story of vinyl replay.
Price in the order of £20,000
The MasterGroove SR Mk3 follows on from the previous MasterGrooves in its general concept. It's an ultra low noise design with high dynamic range and plenty of cartridge loading options. It benefits from a proprietary mains transformer with new EMI screening that prevents mains noise getting into the power supply. New local regulators, with lower noise and higher dynamic range, feed each element of the gain stages separately (to keep unwanted coupling to a minimum). Circuit board quality and important components such as resistors have been significantly improved too.
The real fairy dust though, the magic, comes down to the painstaking selection and matching of the tolerances of all critical components. Hours of testing and matching ensures that every stage runs exactly to Tom's requirements. No slight mismatches of gain, no slight variation in frequency response, no extra noise creeping in from a couple of out of tolerance and 'gone noisy' regulator components.
And it needs to be used in a great system of course. A top-notch turntable and quality power amplification into transparent speakers is a must. Plus a meticulous setup too – good isolation, mains conditioning and proper room layout brings further rewards, revealing the startling performance on offer with this sublime phono stage.
The Winters Audio Experience
Listening with the
MasterGroove SR Mk3
Ob has loved his original MasterGroove for many years. With phono stages, we have often tried many different ones and a few of them have been very good. The excellent Pass Labs designs spring to mind. But the MasterGroove has always been the one that has ended up back in the system. The sound of a MasterGroove just has a lovely combination of virtues that go so well with the goals of a good vinyl system. And it's not just a match in electronic terms, it's a spiritual synergy.
But then, wallop, along comes the SR Mk3.
The improvement is frankly shocking. So much more transparency and detail. Fine tonal detail that's refined and delicate or bold and rich as required by the music. Dynamics and timing are unbelievable – we're really not quite sure how it can be so much better. But it's not artificial in any way, we would soon pick up on that. No, it flows so naturally and it's propelled by the players, not the system. That's the sense you get, that this machine is releasing the intent of the musicians and singers, the great recording engineers, the venue, the event.
We could go on, but honestly words don't cut it. You just need to hear it. We'll give everyone a shout when ours arrives.