Preamp advice

the thin end of the wedge
angryBits
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Preamp advice

Post by angryBits » 17 Aug 2019 22:34

I have two turntables.
1. Technics SL-1200mk6 w/ Ortofon 2M Blue
2. Audio Technica LP120 (Preamp surgically removed) w/ Ortofon 2M Blue

Speakers: Edifier S2000pro

Right now I'm using a Numark M2 mixer between them and it's built in preamp.
It works but I feel like the preamp is a little dull at the high-end.

I'm not a DJ, this is just for my home use (long story).

I like the mixer, it's simple and works for me, but I want to bypass the built in preamp and use an external one.

I'd like recommendations on either of the following:

#1: an excellent sound quality 2 channel preamp
or
#2: two excellent sound quality preamps.

I'd prefer to #1 to keep things simple, but if there is a considerable bang for buck advantage for #2 then I'll take it.
Sound quality is my highest priority, appearance is 2nd priority, cost is third.

My budget is $1k or less, a little over is fine.

Thanks, I really appreciate your help

Collux
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by Collux » 18 Aug 2019 02:05

Graham Slee product are well regarded
https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/phono-preamps/
(Select MM Sensitivity for moving magnet preamps)

Note:
With these preamps it may be worthwhile looking at some stage upgrading your 2M Blue cartridges, if you seek further improvement.

Their loaner program 'try before you buy' may well be of interest to you.
https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/ab ... u-buy.html
Last edited by Collux on 18 Aug 2019 02:25, edited 1 time in total.

Collux
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by Collux » 18 Aug 2019 02:23

Alternatively, on your local front:
https://www.schiit.com/

Schiit offers a range of pre-amps to $899

angryBits
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by angryBits » 18 Aug 2019 04:34

Collux wrote:
18 Aug 2019 02:05
Graham Slee product are well regarded
https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/phono-preamps/
(Select MM Sensitivity for moving magnet preamps)

Note:
With these preamps it may be worthwhile looking at some stage upgrading your 2M Blue cartridges, if you seek further improvement.

Their loaner program 'try before you buy' may well be of interest to you.
https://www.hifisystemcomponents.com/ab ... u-buy.html
What would you recommend as the next level up from the Ortofon 2M Blue?

Thanks!

angryBits
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by angryBits » 18 Aug 2019 04:42

Collux wrote:
18 Aug 2019 02:23
Alternatively, on your local front:
https://www.schiit.com/

Schiit offers a range of pre-amps to $899
As always I'll do my research before I buy, but these look very promising, thank you!
There are a number of models that offer 2+ channel input and varying sizes and I like the vacuum tubes on display :)

Collux
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by Collux » 18 Aug 2019 06:07

[/quote]
What would you recommend as the next level up from the Ortofon 2M Blue?
[/quote]

If you wish to stay with Ortofon, you could move up to the Bronze or Black cartridges.
- though I think these are a little expensive.

Note: Whilst Bronze or Black styli will fit the Red/Blue bodies it is not recommended, as the carts are different.

Alternatively, the Audio Technica VM95 series offers good value and an upgrade path:
from Conical/Elliptical/nude Elliptical/Microline & Shibata
https://audio-technica.com.au/vm95-movi ... ge-series/
https://www.audio-technica.com/cms/news ... index.html


The next step up in the Audio Technica MM cartridges is the VM series
https://eu.audio-technica.com/resources ... ges_EN.pdf

Colin

33na3rd
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by 33na3rd » 18 Aug 2019 16:46

Obviously, if you buy just one phono stage you will be able to buy a more expensive unit.

On the other hand, having two different phono units will allow you to have two different sonic flavors that may favor different styles of music or LP pressings.

I have a separate phono unit for each of my 2 tables, and really enjoy having that ying/yang option. I initially got my second (modest) table to play my garage sale/thrift store finds on, but it sounds so good that it sees new LP's too.

Collux
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by Collux » 18 Aug 2019 17:20

33na3rd wrote:
18 Aug 2019 16:46
On the other hand, having two different phono units will allow you to have two different sonic flavors that may favor different styles of music or LP pressings.
You can mix and match carts/TTs/preamps/amps any which way, as long as they are reasonably compatible with one another.

If you do wish to go with ONE expensive preamp: then another approach is to add a second good quality, low cost commercial or DIY option.
EG https://www.muffsy.com/

If you have the skills (& are so inclined) or know someone in an electronics or audio club, then a DIY unit could be readily constructed inexpensively.

Colin

angryBits
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by angryBits » 18 Aug 2019 19:16

Collux wrote:
18 Aug 2019 17:20
33na3rd wrote:
18 Aug 2019 16:46
On the other hand, having two different phono units will allow you to have two different sonic flavors that may favor different styles of music or LP pressings.
You can mix and match carts/TTs/preamps/amps any which way, as long as they are reasonably compatible with one another.

If you do wish to go with ONE expensive preamp: then another approach is to add a second good quality, low cost commercial or DIY option.
EG https://www.muffsy.com/

If you have the skills (& are so inclined) or know someone in an electronics or audio club, then a DIY unit could be readily constructed inexpensively.

Colin
Coincidentally, I'm an engineer and have a fair amount of digital electronics knowledge. I thought about DIY'ing my own preamp but I'm pretty sure it would look ugly and it probably wouldn't sound great ;) I'm sure audio engineers spend years figuring out exactly which components contribute to sound quality and arrangement for lowest interference. I like equipment that looks as nice as it sounds :)

I've been researching the Shiit Saga + and Shiit Freya +
I like the idea of vacuum tubes for SQ and aesthetically I love having them exposed.

I don't want to just jump on the Frey+ because it's the most $ $ but from the reviews I'm reading it sounds like it's actually worth it.

As for the cartridge, I've had this Ortofon 2M Blue for awhile. I'm not very knowledgeable of all these audio components (as you guys can probably tell), the Ortofon 2M Blue was a friend recommendation years ago. I'll look into the AT VM95.

Thanks again!

andybeau
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by andybeau » 18 Aug 2019 19:22

I've been using the VM95ML on a 1200GR and before that a Concorde 40 Anniversary with OM30 stylus, very impressed with the 95 especially for the money and I'm an Ortofon fanboy.

33na3rd
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by 33na3rd » 18 Aug 2019 20:06

angryBits wrote:
18 Aug 2019 19:16


I've been researching the Shiit Saga + and Shiit Freya +
I like the idea of vacuum tubes for SQ and aesthetically I love having them exposed.

I don't want to just jump on the Frey+ because it's the most $ $ but from the reviews I'm reading it sounds like it's actually worth it.


I have a Schiit Saga (original model), Freya S, and a single Vidar. The Schiit 2 channel gear sounds really nice, and is an amazing value. I'm sure that you would be very happy with any one of their preamps.

The one concern that I had about Freya+, was trying to find 4 NOS 6SN7's at a reasonable price. NOS 6SN7's are much harder to find than in the past, and their prices have gone up significantly. That's the beauty of Saga, only a single 6SN7, much cheaper to roll tubes with.

Freya S has no tubes, but is still amazingly transparent with just a hint of warmth.

angryBits
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by angryBits » 18 Aug 2019 21:30

andybeau wrote:
18 Aug 2019 19:22
I've been using the VM95ML on a 1200GR and before that a Concorde 40 Anniversary with OM30 stylus, very impressed with the 95 especially for the money and I'm an Ortofon fanboy.
1200GR ? Is that the new back from the dead Technics? I'm jealous, I bet its even better than the Mk6 I have.

angryBits
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by angryBits » 18 Aug 2019 21:35

33na3rd wrote:
18 Aug 2019 20:06
angryBits wrote:
18 Aug 2019 19:16


I've been researching the Shiit Saga + and Shiit Freya +
I like the idea of vacuum tubes for SQ and aesthetically I love having them exposed.

I don't want to just jump on the Frey+ because it's the most $ $ but from the reviews I'm reading it sounds like it's actually worth it.


I have a Schiit Saga (original model), Freya S, and a single Vidar. The Schiit 2 channel gear sounds really nice, and is an amazing value. I'm sure that you would be very happy with any one of their preamps.

The one concern that I had about Freya+, was trying to find 4 NOS 6SN7's at a reasonable price. NOS 6SN7's are much harder to find than in the past, and their prices have gone up significantly. That's the beauty of Saga, only a single 6SN7, much cheaper to roll tubes with.

Freya S has no tubes, but is still amazingly transparent with just a hint of warmth.
Judging from ebay, it looks like I can get a matched & balanced set of 4 NOS 6SN7s for $60 to $100.
That is a bit pricey for 4... But I suppose it's really a small cost compared to the whole.

I was watching this one on ebay but it just sold.

33na3rd
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by 33na3rd » 18 Aug 2019 23:46

angryBits wrote:
18 Aug 2019 21:35

Judging from ebay, it looks like I can get a matched & balanced set of 4 NOS 6SN7s for $60 to $100.
That is a bit pricey for 4... But I suppose it's really a small cost compared to the whole.

I was watching this one on ebay but it just sold.
Those would be a great price, if they are as advertised. I'm not saying that they are not as advertised, just that those prices are at least 50% lower than the suppliers that I have dealt with.

Just an example,

https://tubeworldexpress.com/collections/preamp/6SN7GT

Collux
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Re: Preamp advice

Post by Collux » 19 Aug 2019 00:21

6SN7s are readily available (matched) new today and that is what would be in a new Freya + anyway.
https://www.thetubestore.com/search?keywords=6sn7
AND there are quite a few choices for tube 'rolling' !

As for the carts (and I wouldn't see this as a high priority).
-you may well be happy to live with the 2M Blue.
(just make sure that your styli are in good order)

But you could consider these cart upgrades sometime:
AT-VM95EN 'nude' Elliptical https://tinyurl.com/y656czph
AT-VM95ML MicroLine https://tinyurl.com/y3e2hcx9
or
AT-VM540ML MicroLine https://tinyurl.com/yyqano23

also an engineer (lol)

Colin

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