Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby stax » Mon Dec 03, 2018 1:00 am

Yes, it's the revamp of the SS line that made the VAS Nova/HW and the S-S Zephyr MIMIC Star (prior model) available for the same price.
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby Dorian » Mon Dec 03, 2018 9:40 am

I’ve owned the MIMC Star for over a year now and have always found it to be an excellent cart. I just installed a VAS Nova Signature (0.4mv) on Saturday and have now had a few hours of listening. I plan on listening a lot more, but still feel there is value in reporting my initial impressions, which are that the Nova has fuller bass than the MIMC but that the MIMC has greater air, detail and subtlety. Overall the MIMC feels to be a more resolving and better cart than the Nova. The Nova is great though, smooth and rich. I just prefer the greater detail, delicacy and transparency of the MIMC. Of course YMMV in your system! I will continue to listen to the Nova and report back.
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby Harry » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:11 am

Some info on the Nova setup. The back should be up a few degrees at the back of the arm, not level or down, and the loading should be increased to above 500 ohms.

I have done some listening tests at the VPI house on the 40 DD using the KEF Blades with some really compelling cartridges and the Nova, letting customers decide which they like better. Over 50% of the time they choose the Nova over some really expensive cartridges due to its long term listen-ability and lack of fatigue. Of course this is all personal and very set up oriented but with the back of the arm up slightly and the loading at 1000 ohms the customers listening felt it was a very musical cartridge with no harshness or grit and absolutely no digital sound.

HW
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby Dorian » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:12 pm

Thanks Harry. I do have the arm up a touch at the rear; had it there for the MIMC and actually brought it down a little for the Nova but its still above parallel. Precise alignment was achieved using a SMARTractor and Adjust+ for azimuth+.

Both you and Jonathanb recommended to adjust the loading. I had been running the Herron unloaded, per Keith Herron's advice. But today I first tried 500 ohms and then 1000. Made a significant improvement to the sound, especially the 1000. Really opened it up, without losing the warmth and smoothness of the bass and midrange. Definitely no etch or harshness at all. Really sounds great now! I borrowed this Nova from Jonathan but I may have to convince him to sell it to me, as the more I listen the more I like it!
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby JimmyL » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:42 pm

Great timing as I just got my Nova Special today - finally!! Mail service in Canada has been a struggle....
Anyways, I'm about half done with the base setup and will spend more time on it tonight. The fine tuning make take well into tomorrow as I want to work through this carefully.
I'll take note of these suggestions - thanks Harry.
VPI HW19 mod’ed MK3 w/JMW10.5i, VAS HW Nova Special 0.4mV, Musical Paradise MP501 V2 Integrated Tube amp, MP Tube Phono Pre, MP Tube D1 DAC, Harbeth P3esr’s
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby JimmyL » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:15 pm

I have the base set-up and now need to review everything and fine tune. I have this loaded at 600 (highest setting), 1.65 VTF and aligned pretty well. I do have the back end of the tone arm (JMW 10.5i) up a few degrees - not sure exact recommended amount and plan on playing with the VTF - maybe bump to 1.75..? I managed to get the wire twist very close for near no anti-skate but may play with this a bit still.
So far, sounds really good and I think I can still get more out of this...
VPI HW19 mod’ed MK3 w/JMW10.5i, VAS HW Nova Special 0.4mV, Musical Paradise MP501 V2 Integrated Tube amp, MP Tube Phono Pre, MP Tube D1 DAC, Harbeth P3esr’s
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby Dorian » Thu Dec 06, 2018 5:29 pm

JimmyL wrote:I have the base set-up and now need to review everything and fine tune. I have this loaded at 600 (highest setting), 1.65 VTF and aligned pretty well. I do have the back end of the tone arm (JMW 10.5i) up a few degrees - not sure exact recommended amount and plan on playing with the VTF - maybe bump to 1.75..? I managed to get the wire twist very close for near no anti-skate but may play with this a bit still.
So far, sounds really good and I think I can still get more out of this...

I set anti-skate using the Peter Ledermann/SoundSmith method (i.e. using the mechanical anti-skate device) and it sounds great to me. YMMV.
VPI Prime #959 & Outer Ring| SoundSmith MIMC Star | Herron VTPH-2A | Primaluna DiaLogue Premium HP Integrated | KEF LS-50s | Phoenix Eagle & Roadrunner | Audio Sensibility Cables | Symposium Ultra | AQ Niagara 1000 | Stillpoints LPI | Focal Clear
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby JimmyL » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:12 pm

Dorian wrote:
JimmyL wrote:I have the base set-up and now need to review everything and fine tune. I have this loaded at 600 (highest setting), 1.65 VTF and aligned pretty well. I do have the back end of the tone arm (JMW 10.5i) up a few degrees - not sure exact recommended amount and plan on playing with the VTF - maybe bump to 1.75..? I managed to get the wire twist very close for near no anti-skate but may play with this a bit still.
So far, sounds really good and I think I can still get more out of this...

I set anti-skate using the Peter Ledermann/SoundSmith method (i.e. using the mechanical anti-skate device) and it sounds great to me. YMMV.


Thanks Dorian,
Are you or someone able to send me a picture of how the mechanical AS should be set up? It might save me a bunch of guess work. I've read Peter's notes on AS setup but not sure how the mechanical part of the JMW system should be set.

Thanks,
Jim
VPI HW19 mod’ed MK3 w/JMW10.5i, VAS HW Nova Special 0.4mV, Musical Paradise MP501 V2 Integrated Tube amp, MP Tube Phono Pre, MP Tube D1 DAC, Harbeth P3esr’s
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby JimmyL » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:08 pm

JimmyL wrote:
Dorian wrote:
JimmyL wrote:I have the base set-up and now need to review everything and fine tune. I have this loaded at 600 (highest setting), 1.65 VTF and aligned pretty well. I do have the back end of the tone arm (JMW 10.5i) up a few degrees - not sure exact recommended amount and plan on playing with the VTF - maybe bump to 1.75..? I managed to get the wire twist very close for near no anti-skate but may play with this a bit still.
So far, sounds really good and I think I can still get more out of this...

I set anti-skate using the Peter Ledermann/SoundSmith method (i.e. using the mechanical anti-skate device) and it sounds great to me. YMMV.


Thanks Dorian,
Are you or someone able to send me a picture of how the mechanical AS should be set up? It might save me a bunch of guess work. I've read Peter's notes on AS setup but not sure how the mechanical part of the JMW system should be set.

Thanks,
Jim


I just saw a long posting from Golear regarding anti-skate set up. (good article) But, I seem to have a good balance already with the small amount of twist in the wire where I have almost no skate inwards or outwards on any part of the LP. Isn't this the ultimate goal? Otherwise, it seems to me I'm trying to dial in inward skate and then slow that skate to a crawl with the mechanical.
In experimentation, I can't seem to get this balanced to my comfort and think I should just leave it as it was... Maybe I'm missing something??
VPI HW19 mod’ed MK3 w/JMW10.5i, VAS HW Nova Special 0.4mV, Musical Paradise MP501 V2 Integrated Tube amp, MP Tube Phono Pre, MP Tube D1 DAC, Harbeth P3esr’s
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Re: Vas Nova/HW reviews and comparison

Postby Dorian » Thu Dec 06, 2018 10:48 pm

Hey Jimmy

There are multiple schools of thought on anti-skate, discussed ad nausaeum on this forum and elsewhere. I won’t dive into that debate, but will simply describe what I did. I followed the SoundSmith method, which is to apply just enough anti-skate that the arm moves very slowly inwards on the smooth surface in the runout section (not in the groove). I was lucky that one of my test records has a large smooth grooveleess run out area so I use that. You need to experiment to get it to not move in at all, then reduce AS a tiny bit until it very slowly moves in. Using this method, my AS mechanism ended up looking like in the photo below. Hope that helps.

Dorian

BAF912E2-FEC0-4C35-9AF1-236BB247628F.jpeg
BAF912E2-FEC0-4C35-9AF1-236BB247628F.jpeg (89.1 KiB) Viewed 185 times
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