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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 5:59 pm 
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mac10 wrote:
Thanks for all the responses. I'm going to take a chance and order one. I've had good luck ordering sight unseen. After talking to Ian and Rachel I bought the EL34 without auditioning it. As a mater of fact I had only owned solid state gear over the last 35 years. The EL34 opened a whole new world in regards to music and hi fi. Tube gear just sounded so right and I also changed my opinion on price vs. quality. While I still believe you get what you pay for, sometimes you're just being fleeced. Case in point, recently I was talking to the manager of an audio store and mentioned a very popular turntable that I considered a total rip off regarding it's price. I was not knocking it's sound quaity only it's price. I told him that a plastic pully, sub platter, glass platter and a presswood/mdf base should not cost anywhere near a table that is built with real wood, or plexiglass, and quality metal parts. He started to go on a tear about how the table with plastic, glass, etc. has been researched and the R&D is constantly ongoing hence the cost.


Mine runs hot with the stock grey-plate tubes, a little less hot with black-plates, so don't be surprised by the heat. Must be the Class A design? Good luck & keep us posted...
8)


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:15 pm 
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I changed my stock tubes out for these JAN5654W
Nice improvement a very low cost - $40 for 5
http://www.ebay.com/itm/5-Pcs-NOS-GE-JA ... 1224514863


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 6:25 pm 
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I've got a pair of mullards coming from BC. The amp will probably get here first HA!


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 7:16 pm 
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I had one of the New tube box DS for my spare system. Although nice sounding, the noise floor on it was intolerable for .3 mv cart.
Power supply for it was also a joke. Let us know how those sound after some run time.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 13, 2016 8:03 pm 
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magman888 wrote:
I firmly believe that in this hobby - "you don"t get what you pay for" so many thing in the Audio world are over priced and over rated.
Don't believe the myths, believe your ears. :)

Absolutely


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 3:42 am 
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What cartridges are the DOUK people using??? I noticed that the preamp only has fixed gain, and it's 38db.

That's going to be a problem with my Movin Iron cartridge.....which needs around 42-45db of gain. I have tried it with a tubes preamp at 38db.....results were not good.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:40 am 
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triathleteman wrote:
What cartridges are the DOUK people using??? I noticed that the preamp only has fixed gain, and it's 38db.

That's going to be a problem with my Movin Iron cartridge.....which needs around 42-45db of gain. I have tried it with a tubes preamp at 38db.....results were not good.


Believe it or not, most, probably in the 90 to 95+% of all the cartridges sold since the 1950s (rated in the 5 to 10mV range) will work just fine with 38dB of gain. That includes pretty much every Audio Technica (including the private house branded ones), Shure, Ortofon, Grado, Nagaoka, Stanton , Pickering, Empire, Technics, Tonar, Satin, Rega, Philips, Elac, London, Decca, Goldring, General Electric, Fidelity Research, ADC, AKG and the early B&O cartridges with the cylindrical body.

Basic and lower end phono stages cater to the largest part of the mass market; for the higher end and niche cartridges, you have to look at much higher end phono stages with adjustable gain.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 4:52 am 
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So Obi..
Would you say that an Ortofon 2m red with an output of 5.5 mv would give ample volume with 40 db gain?
Or does the volume depend on which phono stage is being used?

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:31 am 
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Chipmunk1957 wrote:
So Obi..
Would you say that an Ortofon 2m red with an output of 5.5 mv would give ample volume with 40 db gain?


Its smack in the ballpark of what "used" to be considered as normal/up to existing standards back in the day before CDs came onto the market. When CDs arrived, the new norm/standard was set at twice the output voltage, but the original standard for magnetic phonos was never updated, hence the much lower output from a TT/phono stage compared to a CD. There was no need to update the standard for phono stage output voltage when CDs arrived because CDs were supposed to completely kill off the LP, but it still survives using the old standard output voltage from the 1950s.

The nominal output voltage standard for phono stages (tuners and tape decks too BTW) has always been 500mV and the nominal output voltage for CDs was initially set at 1V and later set at 2V, so unless you have a phono stage with enough gain, you will never overcome the inherent nominal voltage output difference.

So, why aren't modern mass market phono stages designed to the same nominal output voltages as CDs and other newer sources? Well, because phono stages are basically time proven/public domain designs that are easy to copy and reuse without modifications and that work well within those standards. When you double or quadruple the nominal output voltages you increase noise by similar amounts, bump up against output overload limitations, etc ... all of which would require a major redesign of the entire phono stage circuitry; not a trivial undertaking monetarily speaking for most manufacturers.

Some manufacturers have gone ahead and done this (EAR, Rogue, Herron, Manley and Lehmann for example, but I doubt you could find one for $50), but at some pretty scary prices for buyers looking to keep the phono stage under $50. And don't even try to copy those new circuits as they are often proprietary, patented and covered by licensing agreements that would cost mass market manufacturers more then the cost of a good old fashioned phono stage.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:40 am 
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Thanks so much Obi.
Excellent overview.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:47 am 
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Low inductance cartridges from the CD-4 era might also be unsuitable as these had a lowish output of between 2.5mV and 3.5mV. These include the highly regarded Grace F9 and the well regarded and still popular AT12, 14, 15 and 20 bodies. These are the most popular makes still currently in use, but at one time CD-4 cartridges came in all shapes and sizes as the industry began to adopt low inductance generators for their exceptional frequency response and higher immunity to capacitance loads. One example is the CEC MC-20 which uses a generator similar to the Grace F9, and which also sold under the Pioneer, Jelco and Mission brands, among others (Denon, Nikko, Sharp, etc).

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:07 am 
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ripblade wrote:
Low inductance cartridges from the CD-4 era might also be unsuitable as these had a lowish output of between 2.5mV and 3.5mV. These include the highly regarded Grace F9 and the well regarded and still popular AT12, 14, 15 and 20 bodies. These are the most popular makes still currently in use, but at one time CD-4 cartridges came in all shapes and sizes as the industry began to adopt low inductance generators for their exceptional frequency response and higher immunity to capacitance loads. One example is the CEC MC-20 which uses a generator similar to the Grace F9, and which also sold under the Pioneer, Jelco and Mission brands, among others (Denon, Nikko, Sharp, etc).



My soundsmith is 2.12 so that's lower than the range you listed above.....

It's already shipped so I guess there isn't any harm in trying it when it gets here.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 1:30 pm 
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triathleteman wrote:
ripblade wrote:
Low inductance cartridges from the CD-4 era might also be unsuitable as these had a lowish output of between 2.5mV and 3.5mV. These include the highly regarded Grace F9 and the well regarded and still popular AT12, 14, 15 and 20 bodies. These are the most popular makes still currently in use, but at one time CD-4 cartridges came in all shapes and sizes as the industry began to adopt low inductance generators for their exceptional frequency response and higher immunity to capacitance loads. One example is the CEC MC-20 which uses a generator similar to the Grace F9, and which also sold under the Pioneer, Jelco and Mission brands, among others (Denon, Nikko, Sharp, etc).



My soundsmith is 2.12 so that's lower than the range you listed above.....

It's already shipped so I guess there isn't any harm in trying it when it gets here.


The worst that can happen is that you may not be able to drive your system to full power while playing LPs and that you will be boosting the noise level up by the same amount as the signal.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:53 pm 
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OBI56 wrote:
Chipmunk1957 wrote:
So Obi..
Would you say that an Ortofon 2m red with an output of 5.5 mv would give ample volume with 40 db gain?


Its smack in the ballpark of what "used" to be considered as normal/up to existing standards back in the day before CDs came onto the market. When CDs arrived, the new norm/standard was set at twice the output voltage, but the original standard for magnetic phonos was never updated, hence the much lower output from a TT/phono stage compared to a CD. There was no need to update the standard for phono stage output voltage when CDs arrived because CDs were supposed to completely kill off the LP, but it still survives using the old standard output voltage from the 1950s.

The nominal output voltage standard for phono stages (tuners and tape decks too BTW) has always been 500mV and the nominal output voltage for CDs was initially set at 1V and later set at 2V, so unless you have a phono stage with enough gain, you will never overcome the inherent nominal voltage output difference.

So, why aren't modern mass market phono stages designed to the same nominal output voltages as CDs and other newer sources? Well, because phono stages are basically time proven/public domain designs that are easy to copy and reuse without modifications and that work well within those standards. When you double or quadruple the nominal output voltages you increase noise by similar amounts, bump up against output overload limitations, etc ... all of which would require a major redesign of the entire phono stage circuitry; not a trivial undertaking monetarily speaking for most manufacturers.

Some manufacturers have gone ahead and done this (EAR, Rogue, Herron, Manley and Lehmann for example, but I doubt you could find one for $50), but at some pretty scary prices for buyers looking to keep the phono stage under $50. And don't even try to copy those new circuits as they are often proprietary, patented and covered by licensing agreements that would cost mass market manufacturers more then the cost of a good old fashioned phono stage.



It's a gain vs noise vs distortion- kinda thing. The 'gain per stage' limit, is set in stone to a degree, and then we cascade them. When the input level moves out of the 'sweet and clean' range, too low or too high for the given phono gain circuit --we hear it.

Thus, we have a gain window that is then mated to a given cartridge's output level and other aspects. Every now and then, we find a great match.

Tube phono stages have a higher linear range of amplification, for the most part, all things being equal (the inherent linearity tied to the high voltages, and the near zero mass plasma aspect). If properly executed, and all things being equal... a well executed tube phono preamp has a chance of being better sounding, to our ears -with a broader range of cartridges- as compared to a well executed solid state phono preamp. With a bajillion phono cartridges vs a bajillion different circuits, both tube and solid state... the game begins as an almost crap shoot affair...and tends to continue like a crap shoot affair. This is especially true at the lower cost end of things.

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PostPosted: Sun Sep 18, 2016 6:03 pm 
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Well put Teo Audio


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