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Step up Transformers and phono pre-amps and when to use what? And how and when?

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OK. 

 

So I'm a little bit confused or maybe just un-educated.

 

So School me!

 

When is it desirable to use a step up transformer?

 

Do you use the transformer on it lonesome?

 

Do you use it in conjunction with a phono pre?

 

How do you determine what step-up transformer to pair with your cart?

 

Are there any more pertinent questions to ask?

 

Is there anything more I should know?

 

Why is the earth floating through space and why haven't we found any sign of life outside our own planet?

 

All answers/help gratefully received.

 

Regards,

 

Chris.

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Guest Hensa

A step-up is used to elevate the output of an MC cartridge to a level that will be sufficient to drive an MM phono input. It cannot be used alone into a line level input and needs to be used with an MM phono input.

The main factors to consider when selecting an MC step-up are the MC cart's output and the preferred impedance the MC cart likes to see. So for a 0.4mV MC cart and a fairly standard 47K Ohms and 40dB gain MM stage, you'll look at a transformer that will multiply the cart's output by 8 to 10 times so the MM stage will receive 3.2mV to 4mV. A 10x transformer would be ideal and into a 47K Ohm MM input, the input impedance will drop to 470 Ohms which is suitable (though not necessarily optimum) for many MC carts.

I imagine there are calculators on line that allow you work out the ideal step-up factor based on the given characteristics of the MC cart.

Hopefully, this is of some help and others like @@andyr can offer more detail as well as the formulae that you need to use to calculate the impedance changes with step-ups.

Now, what's all this about earth floating through space...[emoji4]

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by Hensa

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Hopefully, this is of some help and others like @@andyr can offer more detail as well as the formulae that you need to use to calculate the impedance changes with step-ups.

 

Alas, Greg, I know little about SUTs as I had some Sowters once - in the Mike Kontor "Phantom Audio" phono stage I bought about 12 years ago - and rapidly replaced them with Hugh Dean's ss 'Paris' head amp.  Head amps give you much more flexibility for loading - as well as, IMO, sounding better.  :D

 

 

Andy

Edited by andyr

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Firstly we are alone.

I have tried a reasonable step up with my MC Ortofon Rondo Blue. Prior to that I have used a number of DIY electronic step ups. Most of them were based on the Le Pacific MC stage and the Boozhound Labs schematcs with my own twist. What I did find and the friend who leant me the Denon Step up transformer, was the the transformer sounded a little dull compared to my electronic step ups. Wheather we listened to my Ortofon or his better cart. I took my MC stage to his place so we could compare. I might add he didn't use the step up tranni either but an electronic one.

But you can pay $10,000 for a good step up tranni. Maybe they don't sound dull. For me my DIY electronic step ups are cheap and sound excellent. Not going to change anytime soon.

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Guest Muon

Audio transformers can be lively and dynamic............Like everything they all have different flavors, and different prices.

 

Edit: just thinking out loud about transformers, and I do not use a MC cart so nor experiences with step up types.

Edited by Muon

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But you can pay $10,000 for a good step up tranni. Maybe they don't sound dull. For me my DIY electronic step ups are cheap and sound excellent. Not going to change anytime soon.

 

no need for a $10k one. Duc's $750 trannie is as good as high ended ones. you need to get him to make it suitable for your phono and cartridge though.

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So if starting with a clean sheet, a MC phono stage with adjustable loadings is preferential to using a SUT and MM phono stage ?

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So if starting with a clean sheet, a MC phono stage with adjustable loadings is preferential to using a SUT and MM phono stage ?

 

The majority of the vinylheads that have tried both have told me that they prefer the SUT to MM phono stage, especially when it comes to tubed phono.

 

Other than some wacko like @@andyr of course :P

 

Then again, I've recently changed to a dedicated MC phono with loading options because my main cartridge has such a low output that a tubed phono would produce a little too much hum on a loud volume.

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Lol, this is giving me a headache. I am looking at a substantial outlay for my new analogue front end, and I just dont know where to start.

 

I really, really ,really need to evaluate and listen somehow.

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Lol, this is giving me a headache. I am looking at a substantial outlay for my new analogue front end, and I just dont know where to start.

 

I really, really ,really need to evaluate and listen somehow.

 

depends on your budget really.

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depends on your budget really.

 

budgeting around $25k.  Problem is there are so many different tables, arms, carts, phonos.  and of course somehow make it integrate and work, with my amp and speakers

Edited by freaky1

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budgeting around $25k.  Problem is there are so many different tables, arms, carts, phonos.  and of course somehow make it integrate and work, with my amp and speakers

 

wow that's a good sized budget. and that's for the whole vinyl rig?

 

speak to @@rossb or @@Hensa since these are the worst vinyl gear-swappers around the town ;)

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So if starting with a clean sheet, a MC phono stage with adjustable loadings is preferential to using a SUT and MM phono stage ?

 

Depends on the phono stage, and SUT!

Lol, this is giving me a headache. I am looking at a substantial outlay for my new analogue front end, and I just dont know where to start.

 

I really, really ,really need to evaluate and listen somehow.

 

Budget?

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wow that's a good sized budget. and that's for the whole vinyl rig?

 

speak to @@rossb or @@Hensa since these are the worst vinyl gear-swappers around the town ;)

 

Thanks. 

 

Any tips on getting to listen to different rigs, setups. I dont frequent here often, perphaps I should, attend afew GTG

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Guest Hensa

wow that's a good sized budget. and that's for the whole vinyl rig?

speak to @@rossb or @@Hensa since these are the worst vinyl gear-swappers around the town ;)

Haha, not much swapping with me, more a case of multiple tables, carts and phono stages! And I don't play in the same end of the pool as a $25K budget - actually I'm in the kiddies paddling pool by comparison![emoji3]

Needs to talk to @@Metamatic or @@rossb for the high end stuff!

With that kind of budget, I wouldn't be thinking about a step up at this stage. Get the TT and cart sorted first and then look at phono stage options to suit the chosen cart. I'd look at splitting the budget around 50 to 60% on the table and arm and 20 to 25% each on the cart and phono stage.

Look forward to hearing where you go on this journey!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Edited by Hensa

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Thanks. 

 

Any tips on getting to listen to different rigs, setups. I dont frequent here often, perphaps I should, attend afew GTG

 

@@Viognier does GTG every once in a while. i'm a lazy fucc so i don't really attend those.

 

i prefer listening to the stuff right in my room with my own gear.

Edited by davidro

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Haha, not much swapping with me, more a case of multiple tables, carts and phono stages! And I don't play in the same end of the pool as a $25K budget - actually I'm in the kiddies paddling pool by comparison![emoji3]

Needs to talk to @@Metamatic or @@rossb for the high end stuff!

With that kind of budget, I wouldn't be thinking about a step up at this stage. Get the TT and cart sorted first and then look at phono stage options to suit the chosen cart. I'd look at splitting the budget around 50 to 60% on the table and arm and 20 to 25% each on the cart and phono stage.

Look forward to hearing where you go on this journey!

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

 

Thanks for the info. Will start a new thread in the TT section in due course.

 

Only high end table I have listened to at this stage is a Clearaudio Innovation. Seem to get good reviews but very pricey once loaded with their better arms and carts.

 

I dont know, it all depends  on the sound I am happy with. See what happens.

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So many good TT in the 10k-15k region.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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The majority of the vinylheads that have tried both have told me that they prefer the SUT to MM phono stage, especially when it comes to tubed phono.

 

Other than some wacko like @@andyr of course :P

 

Then again, I've recently changed to a dedicated MC phono with loading options because my main cartridge has such a low output that a tubed phono would produce a little too much hum on a loud volume.

 

 

So if starting with a clean sheet, a MC phono stage with adjustable loadings is preferential to using a SUT and MM phono stage ?

 

This is a 'religious' argument, freaky.

 

Folk who like tubed MM phono stages feel they want to keep the signal chain from the cart to the phono stage free of "nasty ss artefacts"   :D  ... so they use a SUT.

 

'Wackos' like me who prefer to use a ss phono stage:

a.  want the greater loading flexibility which a head amp can offer

b.  prefer the resolution of a ss head amp over that of a transformer

c.  and suspect that transformers have their own evils!  :P

 

 

Andy

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Thanks.

Any tips on getting to listen to different rigs, setups. I dont frequent here often, perphaps I should, attend afew GTG

I see you are in Sydney. Come around and listen to my setup. I'm always happy to spin some tunes on the Spiral Groove plus I have a Wavac phono and we can play around with SUTs as well.

To the OP @@Artslap not sure where you are located but if in Sydney you are also welcome.

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I see you are in Sydney. Come around and listen to my setup. I'm always happy to spin some tunes on the Spiral Groove plus I have a Wavac phono and we can play around with SUTs as well.

To the OP @@Artslap not sure where you are located but if in Sydney you are also welcome.

 

Well worth the effort to listen to Mark's rig. It does give you an insight into what can be achieved if you get the balance right.

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Indeed a variable  can of worms the debate over SUT vs Head Amp Vs Adjustable setting Phono stages--as the learned Posters endear above the choice can and is confusing to the uninitiated .

 

Best to hear and judge for ones self the alternatives and settle for the best "compromise " to suit your taste and requirements --the offer to audition should be taken without question and the Posters here have offered some fine sonic choices

 

--Vio's system above is admirable and of superb Quality for at least benchmark to set.

 

I've tried various SUT's they all have a"flavour" you just have to learn to tell when the sonics click into place for you --the Current ones are varied you can start with say the DENON AU-320 or similar budget ones moving to say the Auditoriums A23--excellent but bit soft for my liking-- Bobs Devices are excellent also

 

My Fav amongst the current crop  is the Dave Slagle Transformers-Intact Audio--Quirky Dave really knows his stuff and his pricing factory direct is good value. Some units from the  Analog glory days pop up on the S/H market --and worth looking out for if you are not in hurry--namely the Cotter 2L or Expressive Technologies SU-1

 

Headamp-- not much to pick from out there--hate to say it the S/H older products would be my go--Klyne SK-1 --but very hard to find.

 

Then of course you can avoid all of the above with a Phono PreAmp -SS or Tube with suitable gain for the Cartridge you are intending to use--I cannot really assist in this choice- as I use a 30 year old MC Phono Stage :)! -I'll leave those Choices to more up to the minute members  with current  option opinions who will advise you.

 

Good luck with your quest

 

Willco

Edited by Willco

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@@Willco what phono is it?

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Vendetta Research 2CP-2T--One of the two MC Phono stages that I've heard over the years that I rate high enough to own--the other is the Mares Connoisseur.

 

Willco

 

VR1_0001.jpg

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