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September 23, 2020, 03:13:01 PM

Author Topic: Help finding new phono stage  (Read 564 times)

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Offline aragorn723

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Help finding new phono stage
« on: March 04, 2020, 02:46:23 AM »
Hello,

I was using a 1970s Sony integrated amp to play records into my Bottlehead Quickie, and sadly it has bit the dust.  Most likely one of the power supply caps failed, though not unexpected since it is 47 years old.

Here is my current system:
Bottlehead Quickie with pjccs
Inter-m r500 amp (170w x 2)
Definitive technology BP6B tower speakers
B&W 10" sub
Rotel cd player
Audioengine d1 dac
Uturn audio turntable with Grado black cartridge

My initial thoughts are to get a simple mm phono stage to get things up and running, but I'm concerned about the sound quality of the lower prices phono preamps out there.  Don't have a defined budget for this yet, but maybe $300 is a rough number. 

Ideally, I'd like to possibly get a phono stage that can do moving coil cartridges too, and maybe put out higher resolution than my current system can handle so the phono stage doesn't have to be upgraded again down the line.

What phono stages should I be looking at?  I'm open to building something or buying off the shelf.

Any suggestions would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Dave

Online Paul Birkeland

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2020, 05:17:50 AM »
Your current setup and budget are well matched to the Reduction.

If you wanted to go MC later, then you could just pair some step-up transformers with the Reduction.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline aragorn723

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #2 on: March 04, 2020, 01:05:54 PM »
The reduction looks like a good tube option.  What is the overall tonal character of the reduction?  I tend to like the sound a little bit on the bright side of neutral, other times more of a natural sound.  Of course this could be changed by swapping tubes, right?  Just curious where the stock kit falls on this spectrum.  Then of course there's the integration kit too, is it mostly for extra gain?

Dave

Online Paul Birkeland

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #3 on: March 04, 2020, 02:03:11 PM »
The Reduction is definitely not overly bright.  If you want overly bright, there are $50 opamp based phono preamps that will do that nicely. 

Yes, the Integration increases the gain, lowers THD, and decreases the noise floor of the stock Reduction.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline aragorn723

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #4 on: March 04, 2020, 04:24:21 PM »
Maybe I should clarify that.  The sound I'm looking for is neutral, and yet detailed in the treble without being harsh.  So if I turn up the volume, it will be comfortable to listen to for a long time.  Would like the instruments and singers to sound as realistic as possible.

Offline kgoss

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2020, 03:15:18 AM »
If it were me, I’d get a really good MM phono preamp and add step up transformers if and when I got a MC cartridge. Both of the Bottlehead preamps fit that bill. And if you can swing the Eros you can add the SUT directly to the preamp later.

I think any budget phono preamp that does MM and MC will be compromised to hit a price point.  So you will end up with a piece of gear you will eventually want to get rid of. There are some good phono preamps out there that do MM and MC well, but they cost over $2,000.  I think the best bang for the buck and long term happiness is to get the best MM preamp you can afford and add SUTs later with the cartridge change.

My 2 cents anyway.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2020, 08:07:15 AM by kgoss »
Ken Goss

Offline aragorn723

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2020, 01:38:35 PM »
More than likely I won't go with a moving coil anytime soon.  Just thought it would be nice to have that ability to upgrade built into an existing unit.   So if I get a reduction a SUT won't fit ?

Dave

Online Paul Birkeland

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2020, 01:59:51 PM »
   So if I get a reduction a SUT won't fit ?
You can just use them externally, which is how most SUTs are used.
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline aragorn723

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2020, 05:44:59 PM »
Gotcha.  This is probably hard to answer, but do you think the Reduction would sound a lot better than something like a Rega fono min a2d?  In the past I have bought gear based on auditions, and I don't know anyone that has anything like this, so it is a little bit of a jump to buy another kit.

Dave

Online Paul Birkeland

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2020, 05:58:36 PM »
This is probably hard to answer, but do you think the Reduction would sound a lot better than something like a Rega fono min a2d?
That is hard to answer.  Do you need the A to D converter?
Paul "PB" Birkeland

Bottlehead Grunt & The Repro Man

Offline aragorn723

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #10 on: March 07, 2020, 02:16:11 AM »
Nope.  Just need something to play records into a Quickie.  No plans to rip records to mp3.  It might be worth building a phono stage to have the ability to customize though

Offline Deke609

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2020, 04:37:53 AM »
I was using a 1970s Sony integrated amp to play records into my Bottlehead Quickie, and sadly it has bit the dust.  Most likely one of the power supply caps failed [...]

Why not take a look under the hood and see if you can identify the cause of the problem? If it's just some old failed caps in the power supply, that might be relatively easy and inexpensive to fix.

cheers, Derek
Derek
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Roon Intel NUC ->  Yggdrasil DAC -> BeePre (w/ BeeQuiet and EML 300B)  -> Kaiju (w/ DCFil and EML 300B) or Stereomour II (2A3 [EML Mesh] and 45 Conversion [EML 45B])  -> Audeze LCD4

Offline maryc27182

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2020, 10:28:56 AM »
Gotcha.  This is probably hard to answer, but do you think the Reduction would sound a lot better than something like a Rega fono min a2d?  In the past I have bought gear based on auditions, and I don't know anyone that has anything like this, so it is a little bit of a jump to buy another kit.

Dave

I went from a Rega fono mini to Eros, and it was a HUGE difference in a positive way. I can't speak to the Reduction, though.

Mary
DIY 2-ways (TAD TD-2002, AE TD15M), Stereomour 45
Fostex TH-500RP, S.E.X. 2.1
Eros Phono

Offline aragorn723

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2020, 10:44:09 AM »
Why not take a look under the hood and see if you can identify the cause of the problem? If it's just some old failed caps in the power supply, that might be relatively easy and inexpensive to fix.

cheers, Derek

Not a bad idea.  I have the service manual.  Couldn't hurt to try.  The noise is isolated to one side.  So if I can figure out which side of the board it is, it shouldn't be too hard to track it down.  I really want a new phono stage, but the timing wasn't great.  Was just about to build a new bicycle lol.  Maybe this will buy me some time.  Will the cap physically look bad, or should I start with some voltage tests?  The only thing I have is a voltmeter, hopefully that's enough to troubleshoot this. 

Dave

Offline aragorn723

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Re: Help finding new phono stage
« Reply #14 on: March 07, 2020, 02:40:36 PM »
Not having much luck.  Can't find any bad voltages.  Probably not worth paying someone to fix.

Dave