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

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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!

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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.

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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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When you get down to the LLOMC e.g. my Linn Asaka at 0.1mV it is my understanding that a SUT is really the best option.  As such I am in the throws of DIYing a SUT using CineMag 1254 to give 40 x step up to fed my VTA PH16 (also DIY).  This combination will give me a total of 77dB gain to my pre amp.

 

I just hope I have all my calcs right :unsure: but pretty confident as been using a 38 x SUT that has the volume level pretty similar to my CD player on the pre amp.

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There are some good semi-technical summaries of how to choose a SUT.  The link below is worth a read.

 

Unfortunately the best outcome does require 'tuning' of the SUT output, with a snubber network usually required to ensure  minimal ringing.  Similar to an oscilloscope probe needing its compensation adjusted to get a good square wave, or a power transformer secondary winding optimally snubbed using a quasimodo type tester.  That test situation is probably the nub of why so many observe such a wide difference in performance when they simply just connect a SUT and think it should perform perfectly 'out of the box'.

 

You may also be able to find a vintage microphone transformer for a couple of dollars that also suits an MC SUT.  That may appear a little aesthetically displeasing, but the performance of some would I suggest be very good indeed, and they were very well made.  For example a commonly found mic transformer is from Zephyr (who advertised in RTV&H) with 50 and 350 ohm inputs, and 42k output - the 350 ohm input provides an excellent 11:1 turns ratio.  The PA amp manufacturers also used stock mic transformers - STC had a CL5244-2 with the same spec as that Zephyr.  Some mic transformers used a higher turns ratio - AWA used octal valve holder mounted transformers such as 1TW14012 - although its 18:1 ratio would really only suit lower output carts.

 

 

http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co.uk/html/mc_step-up_transformers_explai.html

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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 ?

 

Keep it simple for the best sound.

 

Chose a cartridge, chose a phono stage, get it hardwired with gain and loading etc to match your cartridge.

 

Adjustability is over-rated.

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Keep it simple for the best sound.

 

Chose a cartridge, chose a phono stage, get it hardwired with gain and loading etc to match your cartridge.

 

Adjustability is over-rated.

All the DIY MC stages I have built (currently I have four) all have 50/100ohm loading selection. My Ortofon is specified to sound best at 50ohms. Because most other MC carts prefer a 100ohm load and most of my gear gets sold in the end, I include the 100ohm selection. I had some golden ears around and changed, on the fly, the loading to my Ortofon. Mr. Golden Ears felt the 100ohm loading better, it appeared to allow a greater musical flow. But I went back to the specified 50ohms in the end. Really if there was a difference is was extremely suttle and if I only had 100ohm loading I could live with it.

The rule of thumb with MC cart loading is 10 X the carts resistance plus 10% or a bit more. So for a 4ohm cart -> 50ohms is the starting point but 100ohms may sound better as may 200ohms. One MC stage I have, my DIY Jean Hiraga with matched bipolar transistors, has 50/100/200ohm loading selection. My Ortofon sounded good on all of them!

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Adjustability is over-rated.

+1

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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.

 

That's not quite true....I prefer Headamps to transformers...... :)  ......and if you have the dosh....there are exotic valve headamps.... :)

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That's not quite true....I prefer Headamps to transformers...... :) ......and if you have the dosh....there are exotic valve headamps.... :)

Another wacko here :P

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