djempire wrote:I currently have a Rotel RQ-970BX Phono Stage. It does a decent job in maintaining its musical integrity....most of the time. However, I enjoy listening to music loud and the music I listen to isn't exactly 'mainstream' or easy to convey without sounding overly cluttered. Progressive House is a buildup of layered sounds/instruments culminating to a peak; all without fatiguing the listener. The Rotel is an excellent 70's rock record sound producer with a bit of exaggerated bass.
I'm looking for an analog phono stage with dynamic and full treble/mid extension while remaining dark. Not overly dark where the cymbals are missed or hard to distinguish. USB support is useful as I record onto a computer during dj sessions.
Turntable: Technics 1200 MK2 with AT-ML150/OCC - TT upgrades incl. Cardas Litz cables, Fluid Dampner, new tonearm, etc.
Amp: Bryston 4B 3
Speakers: Bryston Model T Signatures
Preamp: Simaudio Moon 350P Neo
DAC: Oppo 105D
Any suggestions in the ~$1000 is welcomed.
Without being financially associated, I can strongly suggest the Lehmann 'Black Cube' SE that has it all but not the maybe for you indispensable USB !
I don't know the Lehmann per say but read and understand that if I'd have to replace my now older and cheaper deleted company similar preamp sharing pretty much all those good specs, I'd go for the Lehmann.
Both my Isem and the Lehmann preamps have big external PSU ! They are build with higher end quality components allowing ultra silent noise floor and detail. It's rather neutral but if you want a wider frequency range as I understand it's got to be without too much coloration...
To have "dynamic" in sound you need to have "clear" (NOT SHARP) high frequencies. The mids should do the "bond" (NOT MUDDY) to make it "musical" if the bass are "tight" (NOT SMALL) to allow "depth".
Both those preamps have easy adjustable impedance loads, gains and resistances that is plenty good enough for about every future MM or MC cartridge changes from low to high output. Every preamp should have that feature.
Most preamp are "pre-adjusted" for either MM and/or MC cartridges. With mine, it came pre-set and with advise on how to set it either for MM or MC. Where I did set it while listening to a record. It's nowhere close to the "advised settings" ! Many of the better cartridges have their own specific "values".
Honestly I doubt for your home use you'll ever need to upgrade from such a preamp as it will suit every evolutions, upgrades or changes in your phono set-up if ever. On the negative sides it's a tad above your price target and does not feature an USB !
Here I do not have an external USB. So I do recordings but through my amp who is also very "transparent". I'm only going through a passive volume controller and plug into the 'mike' mini jack of my computer.
I understand that through the USB you might have less loss or more DATA information. Still my results are rather good IMHO in WAV format that once it even impressed one guy working in the record industry !