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 Post subject: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 5:24 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:58 pm
Posts: 313
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, CA
I want to do some research into phono preamps. I currently have a Rega Planar 3 with an Elys II MM cartridge and am using the phono stage on my McIntosh MA6500. I love vinyl and in the future want to upgrade to a higher end VPI turntable (such as the Prime) with a MC cartridge.

The path I plan to take is first get a better phono pre, try out a MC cartridge with my Rega and then move to the VPI. I am not in a rush. I have heard good things with the Manley Chinook and that is one of my choices I want to look at. I know there are many choices out there in the $2-$3K used market.

What are you using as a phono pre and what would you recommend?


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:03 am
Posts: 954
Location: Georgetown, ON, CA
I'm using the MM phono section that is built in to my tube preamp, the Triode Lab Au Pre Grande preamp. It is a very, very good sounding and very quiet phono pre. For my MC carts, I use the Choir Audio SUT-H (step up transformer) which is equipped with Hashimoto transformers. This combo sounds extremely good with the LOMC cartridge that I am presently using. This was much more economical than spending the $2k that I was looking to spend on a MM/MC phono stage. I believe I paid $625 or $650 for the used Choir Audio, and it is well worth it!


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 7:47 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:17 pm
Posts: 2602
Location: Winnipeg, MB, CA
I am currently using the built in phono on my Yamaha A-S2100; however it is a temporary situation. The PS Audio Nuwave phono I had was quite noticeably more dynamic. I am wanting a tube pre so hopefully there will be some useful insights from the posts to this thread.
I am currently awaiting a Rogue Audio RP5 which is reported to have an excellent built in phono section so my direction will depend on that as well.
I have also owned the Project RS phono twice now and found it to be excellent in filtering out surface noise on LP's.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:06 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:30 pm
Posts: 242
Location: Winnipeg, MB, CA
Blue Circle BC707 for me. It's very smooth and natural sounding just like vinyl, responds well to better quality power cables, and sounds far better than the built in phono stage of an old NAD integrated amp I was using before. The 707 is probably more than my Thorens TD-166 Mk II really needs but I'm in the same boat as you, hoping for a better analogue rig at some point. The rest of life just keeps getting in the way. :lol:

http://www.bluecircle.com/page75.html


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:16 am 
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Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2015 9:58 am
Posts: 184
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
The phono pre / cartridge combination can be a little chicken and egg. It's good to have an idea of the cartridge you have in mind to make sure the phono pre will have the right loading options.

In that price range, the three that come to mind are:
Sutherland - the higher up the range the better they become, at that budget you should have a couple of good options
Audio Research - again at $3K, you may be able to find a PH6, or better
Parasound JC3 - a hidden gem that's often overlooked, but is a very good phono pre for the price

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Audio: JMLab Mezzo Utopias, Oracle Delphi Mk 1/6, SME V, Koetsu Urushi Vermillion, AR Ref 3, AR Ref Phono2 SE, AR Ref75SE, AR CD3, MD FT101
Video: Anthem AVM60, Krell 402e, Totem Mani2 M1 ctr Mite s/b, Storm sub Rega P6/RB2K 17D3, Ph1


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 4:45 am 
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Joined: Thu Jan 26, 2012 10:34 am
Posts: 292
Location: Ardrosssan, AB, CA
I would recommend taking a look at the Goldnote PH-10.

http://www.goldnote.it/ph-10/

It is very versatile with 4 different gain and 9 load settings. Also 6 EQ curves and 2 inputs that can be configured separately.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:08 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 2:07 pm
Posts: 187
Location: Waterloo, ON, CA
I have tried a few phono preamps over the last 5 years. They have all sounded quite different with my VPI. Here's what I tried:

1. Zesto PS1 Andros. Big lush sound, especially with NOS BugleBoys installed. The transformer was a little noisy. Overall I loved this phono and can easily recommend it. They are going for about $2500 used.

2. ARC PH6. Neutral sounding, relatively quiet for a tube phono. The gain setting was a little low for the 0.5 mV cartridge I was using with it and I would have preferred a phono with a little more gain (PH6 was 58 dB, probably needed 62 dB+).

3. Whest PS30.RDT SE+. While not exactly in your price range, you might be able to pick one up used near the top end of your budget. This solid state phono is dead silent, has gobs of quiet gain, and sounds great. I guess I would summarize the sound as clear, detailed, and fast. The rest of my system is tubed ARC gear and it seems to be a great match with those components.

Good luck on your search, there are many excellent options in that price range.

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Audio: VPI Classic 3 w/Lyra Delos -> Whest 2017 PS.30 RDT SE+ -> ARC Ref2 MkII -> ARC VT100 MkIII -> Magico S1. Cables are Siltech 550/770.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:55 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 08, 2007 9:45 am
Posts: 1200
Location: Burlington, ON, CA
HiFiChoice mag recommended partnering a Nagaoka Mp150 with the Planar 3. They noted it was better than the Elys (which seems unpopular with many) and no vertical adjustments (shims) would be required (a major inconvenience with Rega arms/tables).
Still, I wonder - with a VPI planned in the future should you really be spending anything more on this setup? That VPI table and cartridge will inform your choice of phono amp. You're just getting farther from your goal with these additional purchases.
However, if you absolutely insist on trying something new, perhaps a Schitt Mani - at around $200 - can give you a fun new toy to play with. Many view it as an excellent performer for the money and resale wouldn't be much of a problem.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 08, 2018 11:32 am
Posts: 14
Location: Kitchener, ON, CA
hollinger wrote:
Still, I wonder - with a VPI planned in the future should you really be spending anything more on this setup? That VPI table and cartridge will inform your choice of phono amp.

Totally agree with this.
If you are planning to get a VPI table, I wouldn't invest any more into the Rega.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:51 am 
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Joined: Sat Jun 26, 2010 10:27 am
Posts: 6
Location: Riverview, NB, CA
I use the first gen VPI Prime with the Ortofon Cadenza Bronze which works fantastic with Simaudio's Moon 310LP phonostage with balanced outputs. Great match up that sells used between $1000 to $1500 and maybe a little more with a separate power supply. i also tried a brand new out of the box Goldnote PH-10 that sounded very nice for the half hour that it lasted until the left channel went out on it. Very nice piece though and highly recommended. Hope this helps. :)


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 10:08 am 
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Joined: Sun Apr 01, 2012 9:52 pm
Posts: 38
Location: Calgary, AB, CA
Get one of these: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/ ... ono-stage/

Or one of these and be done with phono preamps for a long time: http://www.canuckaudiomart.com/details/ ... -warranty/

This preamp shoots above and beyond it’s price point. Have compared it to phono preamps twice it’s price, and this guy holds its own no problem.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 11:32 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 15, 2004 4:58 pm
Posts: 313
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, CA
Krisztian wrote:
hollinger wrote:
Still, I wonder - with a VPI planned in the future should you really be spending anything more on this setup? That VPI table and cartridge will inform your choice of phono amp.

Totally agree with this.
If you are planning to get a VPI table, I wouldn't invest any more into the Rega.


That is probably very good advice and I will likely follow that path. For now my goal is to better my Phono Pre so I can use an MC cartridge with the VPI or possibly my Rega. I hope to get a new phono in the next 6 - 12 months. A new VPI is at least a couple of years away.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2009 8:31 pm
Posts: 1048
Location: Victoria, BC, CA
Your getting into some pretty good stages within your range. I didn't realize just how important a high quality stage was until I heard my brother's newly acquired Fosgate Signature a few years ago. I've seen the odd one for sale (although quite rare) around the $1500 mark. Superb phono stage. Me? I'm using a PJL tube stage at $300, and it's ridiculously good for the investment. A Fosgate Signature it is not however.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 12:31 pm 
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Joined: Wed Mar 18, 2009 3:59 pm
Posts: 277
Location: Ottawa, ON, CA
What are you using for speakers? A new LOMC cartridge and phono pre won't shine without the right speakers.


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 Post subject: Re: New Phono Preamp
PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 1:09 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:36 am
Posts: 642
Location: St Catharines, ON, CA
cyrus wrote:
Your getting into some pretty good stages within your range. I didn't realize just how important a high quality stage was until I heard my brother's newly acquired Fosgate Signature a few years ago. I've seen the odd one for sale (although quite rare) around the $1500 mark. Superb phono stage. Me? I'm using a PJL tube stage at $300, and it's ridiculously good for the investment. A Fosgate Signature it is not however.

That's what I use a d highly recommend it,tube rollers delight.
Aaron


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