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January 21, 2020, 07:14:02 PM

Author Topic: Phono preamp choice and upgrade  (Read 2264 times)

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Offline eratosthenes

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Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« on: February 29, 2016, 03:35:00 AM »
Having really gotten the vinyl itch (though I've had a TT set up for ages), I have some questions.

My setup is simple: Technics SL-Q200 with Audio-Technica MM, Radio Shack preamp 42-2101a, Bottlehead SEX.

Will the Bottlehead preamps (Eros or Reduction) make much of a difference in this setup?

I don't really have a frame of reference for how good or bad the RS pre- is. It's very quiet with no hum whatsoever and seems to have pretty good detail and range. There's not much consensus online other than following Radio Shack's reputation.

I have the potential to switch to a JVC LF-41 (circa 1982) with a more universal cartridge mount, if that makes any difference.

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #1 on: February 29, 2016, 07:10:31 AM »
I'm pretty sure you would like one of our preamps better, but I must say that I have not listened to a RS phono pre in maybe 20 years.

Regarding the cartridge, Eros should easily handle the ones you mention, and Reduction would work very well too if the cartridge has a reasonably high nominal output, say 5mV. The S.E.X. amp is certainly capable of letting you hear the differences between the RS preamp and ours, as well as the differences between the Reduction and the Eros, which is more or less a matter of slightly better resolution and perhaps a bit better bass control and little more natural vocal presentation from the Eros.

If there are budget constraints (something that I am very familiar with!) I think the Reduction could be a great match with your setup. The Eros will dig a little deeper, but might inspire you to try different cartridges, cables, etc.
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline eratosthenes

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #2 on: February 29, 2016, 10:51:46 AM »
Thanks for the quick reply.

I've decided on the Reduction with Integration upgrade. Based on budget, listening habits and sources I think this will strike a good balance.

I'll keep the cart requirements in mind when upgrade/replacement time comes.

Offline eratosthenes

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2016, 03:39:41 AM »
Spent the weekend building my Reduction. After some troubleshooting, I have music!

I have very little time in on it, but it already beats the Radio Shack pre by a fair margin. The 42-2101a sounds very flat, with a midrange sibilance and rolled off highs compared to a stock Reduction. Only thing it does have is bass. Whether all of this is caused by poor design or drifted components, I don't know. I can say that I've eliminated one more weak spot in the system and can't wait to put together the Integration upgrade.

More critical listening will follow.




Offline aragorn723

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2016, 03:40:20 PM »
I like the finish, who makes the paint? 

Dave

Offline Doc B.

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2016, 05:25:58 PM »
Looks great!
Dan "Doc B." Schmalle
President For Life
Bottlehead Corp.

Offline Karl5150

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2016, 06:31:41 AM »
That red bell end makes it look fast! Did I miss system/glamour shots in the Gallery?
Karl
Downstairs: Planar3>Eros / X-12>Stereomour II>Tekton OB4.5 & DIY "S8" subs
Upstairs: DIY RP1>Reduction / CD5004>SEX 3.1.1>FH3/DT770 pro
Office: Schiit Modi Uber 2/Sirius Tuner>SEX 2.1.1>µFonken/FF85WK

Offline eratosthenes

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2017, 09:05:49 AM »
I like the finish, who makes the paint? 

Dave

Rustoleum for both colors. Plate top is hammertone, the red is glossy. A curing accident gave a wrinkled finish to the transformer bell. I kept it rather than stripping and starting over.
« Last Edit: February 16, 2017, 09:10:13 AM by eratosthenes »

Offline eratosthenes

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Re: Phono preamp choice and upgrade
« Reply #8 on: February 16, 2017, 09:07:43 AM »
That red bell end makes it look fast! Did I miss system/glamour shots in the Gallery?

I'll post some new shots. I just added the Integration upgrade about a week ago.

It's been a busy year.