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Super Wammer

I have been a very contended owner of a Tom Evans Vibe/Pulse pre amp for a while now so I was naturally intrigued to see that Tom was bringing a new model out called the Phoenix, of even more interest was the fact that he was offering upgrades to the current Vibe for £430.

As usual, I spent a few months procrastinating, telling myself that there was nothing wrong with the current Vibe, but eventually I succumbed to temptation!

Well, after nearly 3 weeks it arrived back this morning and I have spent all day rediscovering my music collection. I don't know what Tom has done to it, but it is fantastic.

The bass is huge, but tightly controlled, almost tactile and the rest of the frequency range seems to have been improved. The texture of instruments and vocals are laid open clearly in an almost holographic soundstage.

Vinyl, CD, streamed files all sound fabulous.

If any other Vibe owners are contemplating this upgrade I can heartily recommend it, it's a huge step up in performance.

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Super Wammer

That seems like very good value Pete if the upgrade is as significant as you've described. I'm soon to be the owner of a Vibe so will be sending it off to have the upgrade done.

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I was pretty impressed with the pre-upgraded Vibe. I had loved my Sugden LA-4 Masterclass and feel that the two pre-amps are quite similar in character.

Today my Vibe arrived back from Tom Evans. It now has a sticker on its bottom stating that it has been upgraded to 1.5

The problem with upgrades is that you can't go back to the original for comparison; memory has to suffice and memory is a pretty poor method of making comparisons - my memory particularly!!

So, is the 1.5 upgrade a Phoenix? I think it's brilliant. Instruments are more separated and everything seems to have taken on a new clarity. I am hearing tiny nuances that were not there before.

The piano notes on Jeremy Sassoon's "Things we've handed down" are still bell-like but now have a greater density. Yet there is somehow an overall gentle touch to the music. Percussion is drier with more "snap" as can be heard in a track such as September by Rebekka Bakken. Here there is a repeated drum sequence just before the 4th beat in each bar. It's not obtrusive but you are aware that it is there pushing the music forward.

Summing up I would say that my system retains its gentle touch on the music but has gained a precision and clarity which was not there before.

Now all I have to do is sell the Suggie!!....................

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Super Wammer

having had 3 vibes and absolutely loved them I was tempted by this upgrade but rather worried about the time it would take . good to know its fairly quick and definitely would make an amazing pre amp

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Super Wammer

Yes, since I got it back it just gets better and better, the bass is now amazing. A really worthwhile upgrade. I am now having my groove anniversary upgraded to Mk II spec so watch this space.

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Super Wammer
Yes, since I got it back it just gets better and better, the bass is now amazing. A really worthwhile upgrade. I am now having my groove anniversary upgraded to Mk II spec so watch this space.

I'll be interested in your thoughts on the Groove Anniversary Mk 2 upgrade Pete.Tom Evans is very enthusiastic about it.

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Super Wammer

I'll let you know Richard as soon as I get it back!

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Super Wammer
:^

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Can't believe that Tom can keep making something that sounds so good better. I almost did this upgrade straight after the Argo was made Vibe. I should just enjoy it a while first, or at least buy a Pulse at least!

Peter.

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Super Wammer

Any word on the Groove Anni upgrade yet Pete?

Cheers.

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Super Wammer

Hi Richard, sorry forgot all about it! The Groove is back and sounding lovely, not as dramatic a change as the vibe upgrade but still very nice. A bit more detail and bass and a slightly better soundstage, I am very happy with it. :^

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Super Wammer

Thanks Pete.:^

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Tom is probably the least well known, most underrated manufacturer of high-end hi-fi in the world. This is strange because every review I've ever read about his kit says the same thing - it's amongst the best in the world and generally about half the price of equivalent kit. I've got a Vibe and a Groove. They don't look flash, they just sit quietly, in black with a small blue LED to let me know they're working. And they do work, beautifully. Always, with everything. Without a doubt they are the beating heart of my system. Both have been upgraded by Tom, whenever upgrades are available. Relative to getting a similar improvement in sound from something else, the upgrades are cheap as chips. I was talking to Tom about the latest upgrades that I've just had done to the Groove and the Vibe asking when the Grove upgrade would be fully run in. Of course, Tom asked me what I thought and I got excited telling him and he got excited explaining why and we both ended up quiet and happy. :) The Vibe clicked in almost straight away bringing an immediate and obvious improvement to CDs - more everything (musicality, detail, soundstage and so on) but ++ for the sheer excitement and involvement of the sound (on CDs!). The Groove - not quite so much so quickly. Certainly better in every respect with it's vinyl, but not quite as open and involving as usual. Then again, after a long session with Phil Dixon of Cheshire Audio last night, the vinyl finally edged ahead for sheer brilliance! Highlights at this point were King Crimson's Epitaph, Brand X's Nuclear Burn and Renaissances's Midas Man. The groove took them all in it's stride changing the mood to exactly fit the music. Oh, and the Door's LA woman rocked with an undreamt of fervour while Love is a Stranger lifted Annie's voice up to places I didn't even know it had! and there's more to come as the running in completes. Tom Evans - Simply the best. Honestly. Truly fabulous.

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Super Wammer

I no longer have a Vibe as I use an ASR amp (integrated). But the Vibe is the best preamp I've ever heard having previously owned one, granted I haven't heard them all, but I have heard a fair number. Intrigued to learn that it can now sound even better.

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I'm having my Groove SRX upgraded at the moment so I'll report when I receive it. Unfortunately my opinion will probably be coloured since I've had to suffer digital replay to the last few weeks.

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