Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

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ogg
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Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by ogg » 14 Aug 2018 01:01

My apologies if this post is a bit long winded. I recently acquired one of these phono stages, in search of an upgrade over the phono stage in my Emotiva TA-100 receiver, which was nice enough upgrade over the HK3390 phono stage it replaced. My main turntable is a Technics SL-QL5 linear tracker, carts alternate between recently acquired NOS Audio Technica AT450 and AT120ep. The StudioPono preamp has a lower input capacitance (100pf vs 200pf) than the previous two, so it seemed liked a sensible upgrade.

My initial reaction to putting the Mofi preamp inline was "wow!" :D But upon further listening, the already forward nature of the AT carts seemed more forward yet. Female vocals in particular were not being well represented. It seemed to me there might be a bit of boost in the upper mid/treble range where female vocals need justice. Or perhaps the preamp fidelity is so much of an improvement that it reveals more shortcomings of the phono cartridge or of the source material. Yet, as I took the preamp out of service and reverted back to the old one, its other sonic benefits where immediately clear. Bass, much tighter and well defined. With really busy material- brisk rock, with a lot going on within a limited frequency range- the StudioPhono excels. Fidelity is much clearer. I began some unscientific and so far inconclusive experimentation. Swapping in a Shure M92 with n9xe stylus, sounded at times very nice, at other times more boring as expected from previous use in different settings, sometimes more strident than I would expect a Shure cart to be. M92 and n104 was better, crisper, but a bit sibilant. Similar experience (less the sibilance) occurred piping an AT-LP120 with a Realistic R25xt through the preamp. More recently, a Grado Green P-mount in the Technics deck seems to be getting along much better with the preamp and producing the most balanced sound I've heard yet. Jury is still out here, I need more time with the Grado. Fortunately, the wife and kids are away tonight. I'm curious what other users of this preamp think of it.

TD 166 MKII
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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by TD 166 MKII » 14 Aug 2018 18:41

I have been looking at get the UltraPhono myself, both I seen have had great reviews. If your unit is new it will require a break in period just like a Cart. or any other piece of equipment. If you look at it as a Cart. then I would say your lookinh=g at 15 to 30 hour break in period. I think you will just have to keep playing and wait, I know in the review he stated the say as you " wow " and mentioned that later he noticed it notched up and then as he played it got better and better after each Album. So give it time.

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by patient_ot » 16 Aug 2018 15:49

I have a Studio Phono. It replaced a Schiit Mani in my system. I'm also using a Rega Fono Mini A2D on a second turntable. The Studio is better than both IMHO. The only real criticism I have is that there isn't a gain setting below 40db. I was told that they are thinking of adding a 34db setting on the next iteration, but it will be awhile. Apparently the small factory that makes the turntables, phono pres, and the rest is barely able to keep up with orders/demand right now.

TD 166 MKII
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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by TD 166 MKII » 16 Aug 2018 16:40

Ha Ha, that's funny, I am running the Schiit Mani now and I like it, has nice wide sound stage and brings the Bass back much better then what I ran before, it's the first thing noticed when I got it. I must admit though now after having it for a while I find it noisy, it adds a lot of hiss into the system. Can you adjust the input Load Capacitance for MM Carts on the MoFi?
Well with the reviews that they are getting on the TT's I think they will be going full blast for a while.

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by raphaelmabo » 16 Aug 2018 19:31

Input capacitance on the Mofi StudioPhono can't be changed, it is fixed at 100 pF. Only gain and input impedance can be changed. Perhaps the 100 pF capacitance is too low for the AT-cartridges. This may explain the difference in frequency response/treble qualities.

I don't have the Mofi StudioPhono yet, but I'm considering getting one as an upgrade to my Thorens MM02 phono stage. Not that something is wrong with my current phono stage, but the StudioPhono has circuits designed by Tim de Paravicini - just as my Alchemist Nexus amplifier (Tim has designed the bias sensing circuitry in the Nexus) and I like the idea of keeping things within the same family so to speak. :)

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by patient_ot » 18 Aug 2018 16:08

Load capacitance can be increased but not decreased via loading plugs. If you want to decrease the capacitance, that isn't going to happen without modding it and replacing some components inside the unit. I don't think 100pf is too little for most AT carts. If anything it may be too much depending on tonearm wiring capacitance as well as the phono cabling to the phono pre (whether captive or non-captive).

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by patient_ot » 18 Aug 2018 16:10

TD 166 MKII wrote:Ha Ha, that's funny, I am running the Schiit Mani now and I like it, has nice wide sound stage and brings the Bass back much better then what I ran before, it's the first thing noticed when I got it. I must admit though now after having it for a while I find it noisy, it adds a lot of hiss into the system.
The Mani is far noisier than the company or any hyperbolic reviewer will let on. If you listen closely without a record on and turn up the volume you may find that some of that noise and hiss is actually RFI. This is huge design flaw with the Mani. If you are close to a radio or TV station the probability of picking up RFI is very high.

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by TD 166 MKII » 18 Aug 2018 19:44

The noise I was getting on the MANI was not RF, but yes very prone to it. I am a Ham Radio operator and if you want to find out how well something is shielded, just key up the Mic.
The noise I was getting/complaining about was the hiss from the amplification stage. My NAD 1130 preamp surprised me when I added some RCA short plugs to the phono inputs and cranked the volume dead quite, great way to tell how noisy the phono amp is. I dug out a couple of over cheap units I have, the Art DJ PRE II, not bad unit noise wise was much cleaner then the MANI, but sound stage wise not much and the high extensions are not quite there so you also get a lack of detail, specially on Cymbal decay, crash and then it would just drop out. It seem to get a little better when I would turn up the amplification, even though you may be getting a solid green you really have to run the unit so the red light lights on peaks.
The other unit is a TC-750 from TCC Audio & Video, only for MM Carts, a little hiss noticeable and when fully plugged into the system I would still have to crank the volume to hear it. It preformed the best out of the three much more detail and separation is very good to excellent but just does not have that smooth sound stage affect, L - R Center but it does show a nice sense of depth not great but its there. So for now I will be running the TC-750 and if your are looking for a cheap pre that seems to play above it price I would take a look/ get the TCC unit. I know they sell other models that have both MM/MC and some even have DAC's in them. In regards to the MANI I am done, after hearing the TCC and it outperforming the MANI and others with ease. I myself am looking for that 3D affect and if the TC would have delivered that I would not be looking at the MoFi which I have heard will supply, but that is why I am looking for real world opinions on the unit.
Just my 2 cents.

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by patient_ot » 21 Aug 2018 15:31

TD 166 MKII wrote: In regards to the MANI I am done, after hearing the TCC and it outperforming the MANI and others with ease. I myself am looking for that 3D affect and if the TC would have delivered that I would not be looking at the MoFi which I have heard will supply, but that is why I am looking for real world opinions on the unit.
Just my 2 cents.
Never heard the TCC I can't really comment on that compared to the MOFI. If you want to try the MOFI, buy somewhere that has no hassle returns.

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by jmcwha » 01 Sep 2018 08:26

I have recently picked up a Mofi StudioPhono. While I wouldn't profess to being an audiophile I am very impressed with it. I agree the bass is tight and well defined. The midrange is also in an improvement too over the Schiit Mani I was previously using.
I have a nicely preserved and recap'd Linn Axis with a Nagaoka MP110 cartridge. I don't have much experience with AT carts although I did have a K9 on the Linn when I got it. I much prefer the Naga although that just could be the difference between a new and old stylus.
I have only only had the Mofi a few days and have not listened to a lot of female vocals. However I listened to The Eurythmics Touch last night and Annie sounded fine to me.
I bought the Mofi off a guy who got it with an UltraDeck. Interestly enough he preferred a Mani with a Swagman Linear power supply to the Mofi. Me I prefer the Mofi. Still I won't be getting rid of the Mani. My teenage kids are starting to show an interest in vinyl so I'm putting together a system for them.
I have never had any RF issues with my Mani although the Mofi does have a slightly lower noise floor. I have been told that the Mani with Swagman is much better noise wise but can't comment personally.

ogg
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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by ogg » 09 Sep 2018 17:13

Well, I've had a change of heart regarding the Studiophono and am enjoying it more than ever. I recently acquired an Audio Technica AT-LP1240 on clearance. Running the new deck through the Studiophono with the same interconnects and same AT122ep and AT450 cartridges (with a p-mount adapter), the overly emphatic hard S's in female and higher pitched male vocals that distracted me before is not there as it was with the Technics SL-QL5 linear tracker playing.

So, it seems that the Technics deck was really the culprit and the Mofi preamp did a better job of revealing the defect. I'm wondering what might explain this impression. One thought is that the Technics table might be spinning a bit too fast. However, it is Quartz locked. Can Quartz locked turntable speed drift over time? Another is that repairs made to the Technics tonearm may have changed its resonant frequency. I posted a thread describing the repair here: https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 8&t=102793. I don't think the repair added significantly to the tonearm mass but I could be wrong. I do believe that the plastic fixture securing the brass bushing that the tonearm slides on does not hold the bushing as securely as before. In other words, there could be a microscopic amount of play that a factory original tonearm would not have. While I did perform some standard maintenance and rehab on the Technics- cleaning and relubing the guide rails, shimming the record size detector lever, adjusting the stylus drop- I haven't delved into any other service adjustments and don't fully understand what they do. Perhaps the SL-QL5 needs a more thorough "tuneup" as far as the adjustments go. Any thoughts would be appreciated.

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by patient_ot » 10 Sep 2018 17:45

ogg wrote:Well, I've had a change of heart regarding the Studiophono and am enjoying it more than ever. I recently acquired an Audio Technica AT-LP1240 on clearance. Running the new deck through the Studiophono with the same interconnects and same AT122ep and AT450 cartridges (with a p-mount adapter), the overly emphatic hard S's in female and higher pitched male vocals that distracted me before is not there as it was with the Technics SL-QL5 linear tracker playing.

So, it seems that the Technics deck was really the culprit and the Mofi preamp did a better job of revealing the defect. I'm wondering what might explain this impression. One thought is that the Technics table might be spinning a bit too fast. However, it is Quartz locked. Can Quartz locked turntable speed drift over time? Another is that repairs made to the Technics tonearm may have changed its resonant frequency. I posted a thread describing the repair here: https://www.vinylengine.com/turntable_f ... 8&t=102793. I don't think the repair added significantly to the tonearm mass but I could be wrong. I do believe that the plastic fixture securing the brass bushing that the tonearm slides on does not hold the bushing as securely as before. In other words, there could be a microscopic amount of play that a factory original tonearm would not have. While I did perform some standard maintenance and rehab on the Technics- cleaning and relubing the guide rails, shimming the record size detector lever, adjusting the stylus drop- I haven't delved into any other service adjustments and don't fully understand what they do. Perhaps the SL-QL5 needs a more thorough "tuneup" as far as the adjustments go. Any thoughts would be appreciated.
I don't have any suggestions for you other than I know that those old linear trackers are complex machines and there is a lot that could potentially go wrong if something isn't adjusted. As far as quartz lock tables drifting, in theory, no, so long as everything is working perfectly. Parts can become worn through wear and tear and electronic components such as capacitors can go out of spec over time.

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Re: Any Mofi Electronics StudioPhono users?

Post by BMRR » 12 Jan 2019 16:05

Has anyone tried the StudioPhono with MC cartridges? I've been finding lots of great reviews for this preamp but all of them are from people with MM or MI carts.

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