Pre-amp upgrade

the thin end of the wedge
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phesoj
Wales
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Pre-amp upgrade

Post by phesoj » 09 Jul 2019 21:32

Hello,

I am in the process of overhauling my entire hifi and need some advice as I am relatively new to all this, having come from a more dj/music tech oriented setup.

I just bought an ortofon om-20 stylus and it's sounding pretty great - now I think I just need a great pre-amp to pair it with

Current setup:

ortofon om-20
technics 1210
Onkyo tx8270
monitor audio bronze 2

Does anyone have any advice for choosing a preamp to go with the above?
£100-400 range

Thanks

P

Agrippa
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by Agrippa » 10 Jul 2019 04:29

I'll recommend what I always recommend, something from Graham Slee. His Gram Amp 2 SE fits your budget nicely and has collected many excellent reviews. If you were to stretch the budget slightly, the Era Gold V is a superb MM-only phono stage which I've listened to for many, many hours and can wholeheartedly recommend.

aardvarkash10
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by aardvarkash10 » 10 Jul 2019 07:34

not going to recommend any specific item but I will draw your attention to the technical requirements.

1. Ideally your RIAA preamp will have adjustable input loading (both capacitance and impedance), and be capable of handling both MC and MM carts.
2. It will have a VERY capable power supply - not just quiet, but with enough current capability to handle power peaks and transients without breathing hard.
3. The RIAA correction will be correct - ideally to 0.5db or less. This is the easiest and cheapest part to acheive, and the hardest to hear, so don't sweat this bit too much.
4. The output will be able to drive the signal along your interconnects and into your amp. This sounds like a laughably easy proposition, but its where a number of preamps get it wrong, with their output devices being anemic or not having a power supply capable of supporting the delivery.

patient_ot
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by patient_ot » 10 Jul 2019 18:18

Agrippa wrote:
10 Jul 2019 04:29
I'll recommend what I always recommend, something from Graham Slee. His Gram Amp 2 SE fits your budget nicely and has collected many excellent reviews. If you were to stretch the budget slightly, the Era Gold V is a superb MM-only phono stage which I've listened to for many, many hours and can wholeheartedly recommend.
Agree with trying Graham Slee. Use the loaner program if you can for an in-home audition. Borrow one in your budget and another that is a little stretch. See what sounds better to you and act accordingly.

Cloudbase
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by Cloudbase » 10 Jul 2019 19:38

Hello Mr P

Ive run an EAR (MM only) phono pre for donkeys years. Apart from experimenting with valves a couple of times ive left it bog standard. It sounds very sweet to my ears.
BUT that's not what im going to recommend on this occasion as ive no idea how much they cost second hand although there are myriad clones and kit versions available.

What id consider is a second hand Dynavector P75 MK3. These can be picked up for around £400 second hand and offer adaptability and the option of using an MC cartridge if you want to at a later date.
The MK 4 version is out now and apparently is not much different to the MK 3 from what I understand.

I have a P75 Mk 3 to give me options as well as the EAR phono pre.

Just a thought, if it was me id spend as much of that £400 as you can so "upgradeitus" is averted for years.

Hijikata
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by Hijikata » 11 Jul 2019 00:16

Since you're in the UK, you might want to consider the following £200 unit from Longdog Audio:

http://www.longdogaudio.com/project/lon ... ono-stage/

I've not heard this unit myself, but Nick Gorham (the designer) is a marvel, and seems to only make excellent stuff (I use one of his MC phonostages), so I'd expect it to be very nice. Plus it can be bought direct from LDA, so the price excludes a dealer mark-up.

sturgus
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by sturgus » 11 Jul 2019 20:33

I also would recommend the Graham Slee products. If you go to their website you can find out about their in home audition. For the price of shipping you can try several models in your system for a few weeks. If you don't like it your out maybe $15 bucks. This is the best way to audition gear. Whatever you do, the best way to evaluate gear is to just put the gear in your system and listen to it for a week or so. Then go back to your original gear and see if you liked the change. Never do quick changes this can confuse you. As always trust your ears.

Collux
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by Collux » 11 Jul 2019 23:09

Maybe DIY is not your thing.....
But I think it is a nice way to go, with there being many well performing projects/kits out there.

Here is a nice example: https://www.muffsy.com/

If you are not so inclined but have a friend who is capable, it's doable.
Alternatively, get in touch with an electronics or audio club, where you will find many helpful people who can offer assistance

jdjohn
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by jdjohn » 12 Jul 2019 03:24

Cloudbase wrote:
10 Jul 2019 19:38
What id consider is a second hand Dynavector P75 MK3. These can be picked up for around £400 second hand and offer adaptability and the option of using an MC cartridge if you want to at a later date.
The MK 4 version is out now and apparently is not much different to the MK 3 from what I understand.

I have a P75 Mk 3 to give me options as well as the EAR phono pre.

Just a thought, if it was me id spend as much of that £400 as you can so "upgradeitus" is averted for years.
^+1 on all this. I have a Dynavector P-75 MkII in my stable, and IMO you cannot beat its sound for the (used) price and diminutive size. The MM stage is not adjustable (fixed 40db of gain), but that is kind of the beauty of its simplicity and size. Simple as it is, the MM stage is excellent in the P75. The Phono Enhancer mode is great for (very) LOMC carts. The 'regular' MC settings are more-than-adequate for higher output MC carts. But for the best MC playback, I recommend an SUT feeding the MM phonostage in the P-75.

wojtekf
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by wojtekf » 12 Jul 2019 11:52

Moon 110LP v2?

mamakasou
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by mamakasou » 13 Jul 2019 09:46

aardvarkash10 wrote:
10 Jul 2019 07:34
not going to recommend any specific item but I will draw your attention to the technical requirements.

1. Ideally your RIAA preamp will have adjustable input loading (both capacitance and impedance), and be capable of handling both MC and MM carts.
2. It will have a VERY capable power supply - not just quiet, but with enough current capability to handle power peaks and transients without breathing hard.
3. The RIAA correction will be correct - ideally to 0.5db or less. This is the easiest and cheapest part to acheive, and the hardest to hear, so don't sweat this bit too much.
4. The output will be able to drive the signal along your interconnects and into your amp. This sounds like a laughably easy proposition, but its where a number of preamps get it wrong, with their output devices being anemic or not having a power supply capable of supporting the delivery.
I agree on the list.

On the the forth I would add that it helps having a low output impedance. Below 10kOhm if possible. Allows for longer interconnects (higher capacitance).

And to add a fifth: ideally it should have a high overload margin and an attenuator (potentiometer) for the output signal.

mamakasou
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Re: Pre-amp upgrade

Post by mamakasou » 13 Jul 2019 23:14

And a 6: Two outputs (one line out and one for recording purposes).

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