Shearne Phase 2 Ref ...

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi and General Audio' started by spica, Mar 12, 2009.

  1. spica

    spica

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    Hi all ...

    Just gained what seems to be an interesting amp ....JOHN SHEARNE PHASE 2 REFERENCE.
    Haven't heard one...indeed..not heard any of his amps, but after reading reviews (mainly press) i couldn't resist.
    If any have personal experience of knowledge of the amp would appreciate to hear your views.

    Thanks :)
     
    spica, Mar 12, 2009
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  2. spica

    DaveHiFi Seeking Nirvana

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    Shearn Phase 2

    I had one of these several years ago and it was a lovely sounding amp with a massive sound stage. It fed a pair of Ruark broadsword 2's.
    You wont be dissapointed, just watch the volume control they do work loose on some.
    Regards
    Dave
     
    DaveHiFi, Mar 12, 2009
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  3. spica

    spica

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    thanks dave, that was nice to see/hear, and of course,is the kind of reply i was hoping for, as much as i have to take notice of the press reviews... their few hours of listening always leaves me with suspicions, much more preferred to have the word (pos or neg) come from one who lived with and committed lengthy time to the item,.
    The shearne will arrive over the weekend..and should at least allay my addiction for a 'little while', comparisons etc, then comes the settled listening sessions...all heading toward a new itch already. You never know, could be one i keep :)

    thnx agin, regards .S.
     
    spica, Mar 13, 2009
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  4. spica

    florette69

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    I've owned a Phase 2 (not Reference) since the mid '90s. I also use a Phase 1 or Phase 6 / Phase 3 combo for my main system. Lovely sounding amps, and available nowadays at crazy giveaway prices. As Dave says above, huge soundstage, but there's so much more to them than that. Don't look inside though!
     
    florette69, Mar 25, 2009
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  5. spica

    spica

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    Hi Florette, thanks for the comment, very fine.
    As it happens after a little research i found that the amp was indeed the first Phase2 (not reference) the large heat sinks gave it away as... the reference is without them, and there was no telling from the front panel or at least not from the net picture i was sent. The amp was sold to me as the Reference model and i was given the chance of return and full refund but i wasn't too fussed as the Phase 2 had glowing reports from users and press (some prefer it to the reference) so went ahead regardless.
    Will get back with more later..(including a question) as am little busy right now.
    Thanks :)
     
    spica, Mar 25, 2009
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  6. spica

    florette69

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    Actually the 'Reference' designation merely refers to the internal spec. Later Phase 2's were all Reference, but it was possible to upgrade any earlier integrated to Reference level. The changes were centred around the PSU from memory, and the giveaway is a letter 'R' suffix on the serial number. You're quite right that the heatsinks indicate an early model though. As is often the case with a boutique manufacturer, there are numerous variants on each model - even to the extent that serial numbers do not necessarily follow a sequence. Did you buy yours from Stevenage by any chance?
     
    florette69, Mar 25, 2009
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  7. spica

    DaveHiFi Seeking Nirvana

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    Phase 2

    Hi Spica, glad you opted for the shearne. Gonna give your binatone a good run for the money :D
    Let us know your listening test
    Dave
     
    DaveHiFi, Mar 25, 2009
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  8. spica

    spica

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    thanks flo...you seem to have great knowledge of shearne, just a fan or were you more deeply involved ?.
    Well the amp came from (posted from) Hampshire did you know of another for sale elsewhere ?...am Very pleased so far, Voice especially, is Tremendous, nothing nasal or muffled but 'Extremely' realistic, at times...positively spooky !
    As to my Question, it has to do with the Phase 3 power amp, it is supposed/can be (as i read it) partnered with the Phase 2 as pre-amp,though the reference model has distinct pre-out sockets on the rear side the 'early model' phase 2 doesn't, also apparently.. using the integrated as a pre is done by switching (somehow) of the volume control, i dont see this and can only assume that the tape output is used for pre-out, again, as i read it the Phase 2 was meant for use with the phase 3, the phase 3 being designed/distributed before the Phase 2 ref.
    Hope this doesn't sound too confusing..and hope the cap fits, as i will/would perhaps add a Phase 3 if one appears.

    Thanks.

    Phase 2 Review.

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
    spica, Mar 25, 2009
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  9. spica

    spica

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    thanks Dave ... will maybe stick a Binatone label on this one too :D, and the listening... pleasure time's been a touch scrappy of recent but i can see the light at the end of.. ... and will get round to a proper listen Sooooooon, thanks.

    though dont think i could better the review above :)
     
    spica, Mar 25, 2009
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  10. spica

    florette69

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    Hi Spica, I'm just an admirer of the Shearne sound, nothing more. I bought my Phase 2 in 1995 after some auditions and over time added a Phase 3 power amp, then a dedicated Phase 6 pre, and more recently I picked up a very early Phase 1 pre. They work beautifully for my taste in music, and for my ears.

    As you say, the midrange is quite sublime. Vocals are often portrayed with incredible presence (Solveig Slettahjell
    sounds just incredible). I listen to a lot of small group jazz and it all works beautifully.

    With regards to the Phase 2 being used with a Phase 3, most of the integrateds had pre-outs. It seems only the early Phase 2 models (with heatsinks) omitted the pre-outs. Whether you actually need a power amp or not is dependent upon your speakers and room size I guess. The integrated is quite a punchy amp by itself.

    The Phase 3 was really designed to be used with the Phase 6, although the Shearne recommended upgrade route (and contemporary reviews) certainly suggested the Phase 2/Phase 3 combo as an option.
     
    florette69, Mar 25, 2009
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  11. spica

    spica

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    thanks flo.. . i see, so seemingly (may say obviously) my early Phase 2 cannot be used as a pre-amp, the ability could have been interesting, but to as you say, the Phase 2 holds it's own as an integrated and so can survive well enough without additions.
    Then I take it your Phase 2 is a later model with Pre-out, also.. as you previously asked, 'if' i bought the amp from stevenage, i now see it that perhaps being the home of shearne audio, you meant 'from new' back when...and not the recent acquisition it is.
    I didn't know of 'Solveig Slettahjell'...but do now (y*utub*) very fine, and also, if you dont mind, a very voluptuous piece of architecture. I can imagine what heights she takes one too, not that i thought her voice(though very nearly) was stunning,but what she carries in it can perhaps.. go beyond..i believe they call it soul, would need more of a listen, most enjoyable.

    What did you see that you thought was better not to see :)

    Inside Early 'Phase 2'(no flash with wobble 'top')Later 'Phase 2 Ref' ('beneath')

    [​IMG][/IMG]
     
    spica, Mar 26, 2009
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  12. spica

    florette69

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    Nice photo. Your early Phase 2 is quite obviously radically different from the later model - Phase 2 in name only, I guess. It actually looks closer to the Phase 1 inasmuch as the componentry and hard wiring is common. Perhaps the Mk1 Phase 2 was design by de Paravicini as the Phase 1's were? Does the PCB have 'Rapport' stamped on it anywhere?

    I believe the Phase 2 was launched in '94, and I bought mine within a year of the first reviews but it has the pre-outs and no heatsinks, so looks like the lower photo.

    I mentioned Stevenage because I saw an early Phase 2 sold on eBay recently, and the seller was from Stevenage. I think John Shearne still lives in the area. As far as I know, the amps were actually built in Surrey - certainly the later models and the CD player anyway.

    Mmmm... Solveig Slettahjell. Well she's not entirely unattractive is she? But genuinely it was her voice which attracted me. Gorgeously breathy, appassionato. She brings out a whole different dimension to the Tom Waits songs she covers. When I listened to her recording of Take it with me through some ProAc D2's, it almost persuaded me to drop £2k on 'small' standmounts.
     
    florette69, Mar 26, 2009
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  13. spica

    florette69

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    Although I guess this belongs more in a music thread, it's directly related to the above.

    Solveig Slettahjell sounding better than she does on YouTube
     
    florette69, Mar 26, 2009
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  14. spica

    SMEagol Because we wants it...

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    "I'd buy her a pint." - Melvyn Bragg.

    :D
     
    SMEagol, Mar 26, 2009
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  15. spica

    spica

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    Thanks Flo.... as of 'Rapport' stamped on the PCB it's a no see, am i to assume that Rapport audio supplied parts for the early Shearne 1 pre/pwr combo ?
    Well then... the above review from HFN & Record Review Feb 93 applies to the early heatsink version of the Phase2, the Tested stamp on my Phase 2 (heatsink) being 12/93, this being before the then launch of the Phase2 (/2 ?) that you purchased 94/95 that is more akin in design to the Phase2 Reference of around 1999...interesting to find that the design of early Phase2's is different to that of the later model Phase 2's, i wonder.. to what degree this separates them in sound ?
    Also Interesting to find that T.D Paravicini designed the Phase 1, was he, do you know, independently contracted by Shearne or was he working with Shearne in the design ?
    As to the Pre-out, on the early version P2's IP and OP is written in place of tape in/out ? and so, as i read that the P2 integrated had pre-outs, i assumed this applied to all, the IP/OP led me on some.

    Solveig Slettahjell...Yes, much improved sounding through the Link you gave, the edginess, as of the beginning of You wont forget me... moves listen to feel. :)
     
    spica, Mar 26, 2009
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  16. spica

    florette69

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    Rapport did the later, post '94(?), Shearne builds which look more 'assembly line' unlike the almost bespoke appearance of the early models.

    Interesting that the heatsink version has no dedicated pre outs. Perhaps this change occurred after the Phase 6 and Phase 3 were launched? My understanding of electronics is quite basic, but looking at the componentry and architecture of your early Phase 2, I would expect there might be a slightly different sonic character, but you wouldn't be able to confirm that without a direct comparison.

    As an aside, there is a tremendous difference between my two Shearne preamps. If I ever had any doubts that preamps could impose much personality on a system, I certainly don't any more.

    My understanding of the de Paravicini connection is that Tim was enagaged by John Shearne as a consultant and that he was solely responsible for the Phase 1 pre amp and power amp designs. If he didn't personally design the early Phase 2, I would guess the Phase 1 was used as a template, if you catch my drift.

    Yep, the studio recordings of Ms Slettahjell are special sonic treats. The ambient acoustic noises (creaks and thuds, mostly) on that Waits cover were quite incredible with the ProAcs.
     
    florette69, Mar 26, 2009
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  17. spica

    florette69

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    A couple of photos for reference: Phase 3 power amp and Phase 6 pre.
     

    Attached Files:

    florette69, Mar 26, 2009
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  18. spica

    spica

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    That would be 'before' the Phase 3/6 were launched ?
    As i read it the ...
    Phase 2 Integrated Amplifier - October 1993.
    Phase 3 Power Amplifier - November of 1995
    Phase 6 Pre-Amplifier - July 1996
    but then, looking backwards... it would be after :)

    As MR Paravicini is thought to be behind the design of the Phase 1 pre/pwr and to it you have seen enough similarity in the design of the Mk 1 Phase 2 to believe Paravicinian influence, i also wonder if there is a similarity in 'sonic character' between Phase 1 Pwr and Mk 1 (heatsink) phase 2.
    As you have both the Phase 1 Pav/Shearne Pwr and Mk2 Shearne Phase 2 integrated, how would (if running the pwr without the pre) you say they differ in sound.. being that each be by different designer.. under 1 label.
    May give an idea *of a level* of difference between Mk1p2/Mk2p2, though this could be too much of an ask..as you say * there is a tremendous difference between my two 'Shearne' preamps * 'by shearne'. (a phase 6 currently running on eb*y)

    Ive never quite got to grips with pre-amps florette, if i run a pwr amp with a decent source through a simple passive volume control, (lesser to comlipcate) then why would i need a pre ?, on saying that, my computers sound setup uses a pre/pwr but only for the ease of the selector switch.
    Thanks .
     
    spica, Mar 27, 2009
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  19. spica

    florette69

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    Yes, I think my guess about the Phase 2 modifications is way off, looking at those dates. It seems that only the very early integrateds had the heatsinks, no preouts, and hardwiring taking preference over PCB rails. It would certainly be interesting to compare the sound of the amps.

    To my ears, the Phase 2 used with the power amp simply provides more power but an identical sonic signature. It helps fill a larger room or drive less efficient speakers.

    My Phase 6 used with the power amp gives a more airy sound. More space between instruments, wider and deeper soundstage, more textural subtlety. The Phase 1, in comparison, has a subjectively warmer sound, if rather less open. While the soundstage is wide, there is less of the 3D layered depth I hear from the Phase 6. The older preamp has more refined higher frequencies, and spectacularly good midband and bass, at the expense of the holographic image of the Phase 6. Also, the Phase 1 works much, much better at lower volumes than the later model - why should this be? Presumably the Class A design of the Phase 1, although inefficient and largely out of favour these days, does do music better. I don't know, but I find it very interesting.

    Ironically, in my younger days, when my hearing was better, I felt that most preamps were indistinguishable from each other, and indeed that such homogeneity was actually a foundation of good design - that a preamp essentially should be a passive device. My box swapping sessions have taught me otherwise. The two preamps sound 'different', while still retaining the Shearne character, and I honestly couldn't pick one over the other because each does its own thing very well.

    These observations are all very personal - my room, my speakers, my system setup, and my ears. Others may have completely different experiences.
     
    florette69, Mar 28, 2009
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  20. spica

    spica

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    Thanks Flo, also odd is that the Mk1 phase 2 review i posted from HFN&RR magazine is dated Feb 93,being that from what i've found.. the Phase 2 began production in Nov 93, my phase Mk1/2 being marked as made Dec 93 ?, would be nice to have answers,as well as why Shearne used Paravicini for only a short period ?, and what prompted the change etc etc.

    Very good on the Shearne Amps/Pre-amps flo , each having their own special individual character, though non significantly greater than the other..is very interesting, but i still think that the sound can be played with at source,why use a middle man so to speak..,c'est la vie :)
    I managed enough space to enjoy a good few hours listening to the Mk1 (heatsink) phase2 over the weekend, the first good listen in the short time i have had Phase 2 and can say that i'm Very impressed with what i heard, i wasn't sure if the magazine review i posted of the early phase 2 (it being so glowing) was perhaps fueled by the reviewer having had a few too many glasses of wine, but (imo) is spot on, or that i would hear the well developed soundstage from the Mk1/P2 that yourself and Dave had mentioned, it being a radically different design from the Mk2/P2, but it was there in spades.
    As the review noted, the amp took a few hours to liven up,though from cold my only mild irritation was the initial a lack depth, which i expected, still, no shortage of musical information . It wasn't until around an hour and 45 or so had passed that i began to feel the change coming, instruments and vocals fell into what i can best describe as individual pockets that gradually began to widen and deepen but with Much greater dimension than before.. revealing more and more information as they drifted back into their original positions, then settling into place and giving of a completely fresh listening experience, now,as each second passed, it was about where the music was going to lead from next, no need to question,or half listen with analysis, i was listening to the music, in fact, quite lost in music.This is an incredible amp and definitely one i'll keep, i may even start a Shearne collection, as you have flo ... . :)

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 30, 2009
    spica, Mar 30, 2009
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