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Thread: Active MC Phonostage, or MM+Steup?

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    Default Active MC Phonostage, or MM+Steup?

    Looking for your thoughts of the advantages of Phono stages.

    I currently have an all valve MC stage, the Aesthetix Rhea, i love it, it's great fun, but am considering a change.

    Should i go for an Active outboard stage, one i'm considering has Step up, Valve, and a small SS stage to get the gain i need, or would i be better using the MM stage in my valve preamp, 47kOhm and using a step up?

    My Cart is the Tarnsfiguration Orpheus L which is 0.3mv output and has 1 ohm internal impedence, they suggest loading as greater than 3 ohms.

    Tonight I'm taking home an AN-S2 H with impedances of 20 or 80 ohm and and a gain of around 25 dB, I'll also be trying an older silver wired AN step up with around 3-5 ohms.

    If i go the step up route i'll probably go for an AN S4 (once the rhea is sold, did i mention it was for sale ) but the S4 comes in many guises, so what ideal impedance should i be using, I currently like it on the rhea with 500 ohms, but it was nicer in the Mac on 50 ohms.

    anyone?

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    I wish i knew more Paul. I'm comtempating moving up in the Phono stage department but do i stay with Whest or look at at the new Avid Pulsare or maybe summat else . I'll watch this thread with interest .
    just kickin back

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    Danny, I have the new whest ps30rdt se in the shop, if you ever need a demo.....not sure about the Avid one yet, customer of mine tried it, and bought Allnic, but i haven't heard it yet, be interested in your thoughts. Also if you are interested i hope you don't mind me plugging my Rhea which is currently for sale I've been very happy with it, i just fancy a change.

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    I'd quite like a phono stage which you could alter externally rather than the internal dip switches the Whest employs but thats about the only bug bear with it.
    just kickin back

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    Go and search out a GOOD dealer. He will guide you confidently through the process and show you what is available in the market place.....

    Sorry.... you know I've got a sick SoH.......
    You can only be young once, but you can be immature for ever.....

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    The new special edition has the dip switches, but they are in a removable panle in the underside, 2 screws instead of 102

    The Rhea has remote for all settings, and can take 3 carts, has se in but can be balanced out.

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    Quote Originally Posted by WullieD20 View Post
    Go and search out a GOOD dealer. He will guide you confidently through the process and show you what is available in the market place.....

    Sorry.... you know I've got a sick SoH.......

    Do you know of any, i thought all dealers where corrupt charlatans, i'm sure I've read it on the web

    other than that are you gonna offer your thoughts?

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Professor View Post
    Do you know of any, i thought all dealers where corrupt charlatans, i'm sure I've read it on the web

    other than that are you gonna offer your thoughts?
    I was going to add that I use one that I'm very happy with and I'll let you have his number if you wish....... LOL.
    You can only be young once, but you can be immature for ever.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by WullieD20 View Post
    I was going to add that I use one that I'm very happy with and I'll let you have his number if you wish....... LOL.

    I still haven't ruled that one out.

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    Seriously tho, you used the Allnic at Whittlebury very convincingly and they stand up for themselves in so many ways against the opposition. Have you had the opportunity to try the H3000, or is that going too far, on top of the Mastersound pre / powers?

    I suspect you are keen to stick with valves, and of course the Rhea has just been updated and improved I think, so there’s a direct route to something (possibly) better, but not necessarily different. Given that the Mastersound pre already has a MM input capability, your idea of a decent step-up could be most productive, but I’m not conversant with those….

    Just like the kind of advice you’d offer yourself, get a hold of one or two prospective candidates and try them in the system to evaluate what they do in service…. It won’t take you long to determine what’s good and what’s not!!
    You can only be young once, but you can be immature for ever.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Professor View Post
    Do you know of any, i thought all dealers where corrupt charlatans, i'm sure I've read it on the web

    other than that are you gonna offer your thoughts?
    Deffo don't go to that mob in Glenrothes. They took all my money off me.
    Do to others as you would have them do to you. (Luke 6:31)

    From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.” (Matthew 4:17)

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    Quote Originally Posted by WullieD20 View Post
    Seriously tho, you used the Allnic at Whittlebury very convincingly and they stand up for themselves in so many ways against the opposition. Have you had the opportunity to try the H3000, or is that going too far, on top of the Mastersound pre / powers?

    I suspect you are keen to stick with valves, and of course the Rhea has just been updated and improved I think, so there’s a direct route to something (possibly) better, but not necessarily different. Given that the Mastersound pre already has a MM input capability, your idea of a decent step-up could be most productive, but I’m not conversant with those….

    Just like the kind of advice you’d offer yourself, get a hold of one or two prospective candidates and try them in the system to evaluate what they do in service…. It won’t take you long to determine what’s good and what’s not!!
    yeah mate you are correct, and i will still try the allnic, as i said i haven't ruled it out, the H3000 i'd love it, but i canl;t afford it, simples.

    My post was more about anyone with experience of step ups could guild me in the right direction, especially with regard to impedences etc, the stage i have my eye on has trannies in it, as do yours and most other valve preamps, but given i have the mm one in my pre, i'd be silly not to consider a step up, otherwise the mm one in the pre is wasted IYSWIM.

    Anyway going home tonight with a £750 an s2 step up, and the new allnic puritas cart, which i've to have a play with, if you are coming over this weekend I'll maybe bring the H1500 too.

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    You can only be young once, but you can be immature for ever.....

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    Isn't a Croft mm phono stage going to be "good" enough for you? I have a great fondness for Glenn's products, which measure well as well as sounding great. Most other stuff costing more is more to do with fancy casework IMO. The A23 seems to be a great general-purpose trannie for use with it and I also look forward to trying some Sowter transformers, just needing the dosh free to buy them
    Turntable bodger, freelance NVA builder, 'Dad-Taxi...'

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    The Croft maybe Dave, but I've been less than impressed with the croft stuff I've heard, which is the newer hybrid stuff from 5-6 years ago.

    If I go the mm+head amp route I'll use the inboard mm on my mastersound valve pre, either that or go active, as to the auditorium, might be worth a look, but I can get AN stuff at trade, and selling my Rhea and maybe adding a little would get me a tasty one, my deck arm and cart deserve it.

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    My experiences are of the old stuff and the latest models. Worth a look if nothing else, as the sound can be gently fine-tuned by valve-rolling. The stand alone phono stage is the same as that in the "R" preamp and for your info, IMO, the current Series 7 hybrid combines the best features of both technology - 3-D, atmospheric but with greater driving ability of the ubiquitous passive crossovers that most of us endure

    Good luck in your search anyway...
    Turntable bodger, freelance NVA builder, 'Dad-Taxi...'

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    Thanks Dave, although my passive crossovers are a bit special, 18kg of massive Jensen caps and resistors per speaker, I get plenty 3D air etc, the mastersound pre and the parallel 845 monos are way ahead of any croft I have yet heard, I guess we move in different circles.

    Anyway, update, using an Audio Note S2 step up, it's a high impedance one, 20 or 80 ohms, it has a tad too much gain for what I need, but fuck me it's awesome, at this rate I can see me have PQ build me a silver version with the right output for my cart and I'll be a happy bunny, or perhaps not, but initial impressions are more positive than I remember, on that basis the mm stage in my pre is a little peach, guess I better get selling the Rhea

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    Prof,

    Have you got Y connectors and resistors? You could try loading the transformer to find the optimal loading for the Orpheus. My guess is that the optimum will be between 20 and 80 ohm. Some crazies are loading the primary instead of the usual secondary, but I have not personally tried that, nor do I understand the rationale behind that. There are several loading calculators online if you need one.

    Another option, although there would not be much resale value, is to order custom step up transformers that are optimized for your system gain and loading requirements. Of course, that takes money out of the pocket of dealers... You probably change your gear too often for custom anything I would imagine.

    Andrew

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    I am a dealer Andrew.

    I've arrived at a setup that I'm happy with, taken me a while but I can't see me getting better within my budget, different, but not better, the phono is the final link in the chain, I had my heart set on a Swiss valve stage, but I reckon a stepup into my mm stage may be the way to go, my cart impedance is 1ohm and they suggest loading as above 3ohm, a friend has an old silver audionote step up that's around 3-5 ohms and I'm gonna try that, as for nodding it myself or getting a custom tranny, that's a but beyond my skills, I'd always worry about my soldering skills, I'd rather get a plug and play thing, PQ at Audio Note will happily sell me a custom loading and gain, so that's probably the route I'm gonna take, just haven't decided wether I want silver or copper trannies (mu metal c core iirc) when I had an Mc2300 pre I loaded the Orpheus at 25-50 ohms and liked it, but with the Aesthetix I run it at 500 ohms, although the Orpheus isn't that sensitive to loading, doesn't change that much compared to other carts, is that down to it's 1 ohm internal impedance?

    I do welcome your thoughts though, I might look into loading via y connector or such, but id want my step up to be a commercial one, even if it costs more if you know what I mean, I do have to consider kit from the brands I sell, be like a BMW salesman turning up in a kit car IYSWIM.
    Last edited by The Professor; 17th November 2010 at 22:19.

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    Quote Originally Posted by The Professor View Post
    I am a dealer Andrew.
    Yes I know, custom is sort of stealing from yourself isn't it?

    You can work out the loading you want with the y connectors into the secondary (output) of the step up transformer. Take pairs of cheapy RCA plugs and solder different value resistors into them so that you get various loading options in the range you want. Plug a pair of those RCA's into the Y portion and your ic's into the normal bit and give a listen. You should be able to sort out the best compromise or just make a few more loading plugs. I'd do that before calling PQ as that call won't be cheap.

    Actually, now I think about it, that silver AN model might be ideal since its made for the AN Io which is 1 ohm as well.

    Andrew

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