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Doomguy

Phono pre-amp for my modest vinyl setup

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I just bought myself a new receiver, a Marantz SR7500, for my vinyl setup. It doesn't have a phono stage like my Dad's old NAD I've been using until now, so I'm after an external one. My turntable is a Technics SL-BD20 though that will likely be upgraded in the coming months. FWIW I'm just listening with headphones for now, Sennheiser HD58X, speakers will come later down the line. 

Preferably I'd like something under 200 downundeh dollars, and preferably not an import. Ones I've found include;
 

  • Schiit Mani $269 free shipping
  • Pro-ject Phono Box $180 + shipping
  • Rega Phono Mini A2D $149 free shipping
  • Pro-Ject Phono Box SE ii $200 used + shipping

 

The Schiit is a bit pricier than I'd really like but I've heard a lot of good things about it and it has by far the most information / impressions out there. Which do you think would be the best choice, is there something else I should consider? 

Any insight would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

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Hi,

 

I don't think you can go wrong with any of those phonos you are looking at. Cambridge Audio has some around that price point as do NAD and Cord.

 

JJ

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7 minutes ago, Janjuc said:

Hi,

 

I don't think you can go wrong with any of those phonos you are looking at. Cambridge Audio has some around that price point as do NAD and Cord.

 

JJ

OK, thanks :) I'm leaning towards the Phono Box SE ii as it has the most adjust-ability for different cartridges.

6 minutes ago, anandpkumar said:

Here is a fairly inexpensive one that has got good reviews on this forum. Costs around 60 bucks

https://www.jaycar.com.au/phono-stereo-preamplifier/p/AC1591

 

Check out the link below 

 

I have been very tempted to get something very cheap like that, though I think I would rather just get something that I can use longer term without feeling the need of spending more money yet again upgrading, if that makes sense? While this probably would be fine, at least for now, I imagine it would become the weak link in my chain fairly fast. Or am I maybe overestimating the importance of the phono stage a little?

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I use Pro-ject tubebox phono and find the adjustability very useful.

 

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From that list I would go with the Schiit.

 

It sounds far better than its price would suggest and well worth the extra spend over the others in your list.

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You may be able to pick up a used Vincent PHO-8 for not much more than your budget.

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9 minutes ago, rantan said:

 

From that list I would go with the Schiit.

 

It sounds far better than its price would suggest and well worth the extra spend over the others in your list.

https://youtu.be/TaARB28ZHkw This gushing review was what made me really lean towards the Mani, though I can just as easily find other people saying different things, though at least this guy has actual experience with what he's comparing to with high end gear... I do like that it has the adjust-ability factor.

6 minutes ago, Batty said:

You may be able to pick up a used Vincent PHO-8 for not much more than your budget.

I see one sold here earlier in the month, though how long I'd be waiting around for another one to pop up when my new receiver is already in the mail? Eh, I dunno. I don't think of myself as overly impatient, but something more immediately available would be preferably if I'm honest.

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23 minutes ago, Doomguy said:

OK, thanks :) I'm leaning towards the Phono Box SE ii as it has the most adjust-ability for different cartridges.

I have been very tempted to get something very cheap like that, though I think I would rather just get something that I can use longer term without feeling the need of spending more money yet again upgrading, if that makes sense? While this probably would be fine, at least for now, I imagine it would become the weak link in my chain fairly fast. Or am I maybe overestimating the importance of the phono stage a little?

 

No you're not overestimating it's importance.  The phono stage is very important because it is so early in the signal chain.   I say that, even though I was the one who bought the cheap Jaycar and pulled it apart for that review.      I have 2 of them in use for secondary systems,  and they are very nice.  The don't have the ability to adjust loading for cartridge inputs though and they don't sound as good as, say, one of my DIY valve preamps.   I have no problem listening to and enjoying music through the Jaycar phono though.

 

However, as you say, your current system is modest and I would venture the opinion that the Jaycar phono preamp is quite appropriate for the Technics turntable you currently have.  Without knowing how far along the line you are going with your next turntable upgrade, I would say buy the cheap Jaycar unit, and keep it for backup and use with a secondary system later, or just onsell it when you upgrade.

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Doomguy said:

https://youtu.be/TaARB28ZHkw This gushing review was what made me really lean towards the Mani, though I can just as easily find other people saying different things, though at least this guy has actual experience with what he's comparing to with high end gear... I do like that it has the adjust-ability factor.

 

 

I heard one demonstrated and was surprised how good it was and as you say the flexibility offered is great. it alows you to get the best possible performance from any given cart with which it may conceivably be used.

It is actually at the very least, as good ( and probably a lot  better ) than the inbuilt phono stage in my Musical Fidelity M5si integrated.

I use my Luxman amplfier for vinyl though, ( superb phono) and the M5si  is for the CD part of my system but I am considering an upgrade in phono stage for the MF at some point in time.

Edited by rantan

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8 minutes ago, aussievintage said:

 

No you're not overestimating it's importance.  The phono stage is very important because it is so early in the signal chain.   I say that, even though I was the one who bought the cheap Jaycar and pulled it apart for that review.      I have 2 of them in use for secondary systems,  and they are very nice.  The don't have the ability to adjust loading for cartridge inputs though and they don't sound as good as, say, one of my DIY valve preamps.   I have no problem listening to and enjoying music through the Jaycar phono though.

 

However, as you say, your current system is modest and I would venture the opinion that the Jaycar phono preamp is quite appropriate for the Technics turntable you currently have.  Without knowing how far along the line you are going with your next turntable upgrade, I would say buy the cheap Jaycar unit, and keep it for backup and use with a secondary system later, or just onsell it when you upgrade.

This is a pretty good argument as it certainly would allow me to get off the ground with my current gear without spending much. However, for me personally there's value in putting something to bed. There's a time and effort cost to researching gear, which I would essentially just be postponing by settling for a cheaper unit now.

1 minute ago, rantan said:

 

I heard one demonstrated and was surprised how good it was and as you say the flexibility offered is great. it alows you to get the best possible performance from any given cart with which it may conceivably be used.

It is actually at the very least, as good ( and probably a lot  better ) than the inbuilt phono stage in my Musical Fidelity M5si integrated.

https://youtu.be/bG4G2xHLjTc this video and its accompanying lossless file https://drive.google.com/file/d/1HrMexI2GLEXtteL3vxOAgKZJOHy4HSMr/view had me picking the Mani in each instance, though it was very close and I thought I very slightly preferred the sense of 'width' from the other unit. 

 

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42 minutes ago, rantan said:

 

From that list I would go with the Schiit.

 

It sounds far better than its price would suggest and well worth the extra spend over the others in your list.

This.

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Thanks for the help everyone, I'm pleased to inform you that I just snagged a used Schiit Mani for $190 shipped. Very pleased. 

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1 minute ago, Doomguy said:

Thanks for the help everyone, I'm pleased to inform you that I just snagged a used Schiit Mani for $190 shipped. Very pleased. 

Wow. That is a great price. Hope you enjoy .

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15 hours ago, Doomguy said:

Thanks for the help everyone, I'm pleased to inform you that I just snagged a used Schiit Mani for $190 shipped. Very pleased. 

Excellent. Congrats! That's a very good price for the Mani. Whereabouts did you get this from?

 

Do chime in with a review once you get it up and running.

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5 minutes ago, anandpkumar said:

Excellent. Congrats! That's a very good price for the Mani. Whereabouts did you get this from?

 

Do chime in with a review once you get it up and running.

Cheers, a member who saw my thread who was about to list it in the classifieds PM'd and offered it to me. Quite fortuitous for my first day here, I must say 😁

I'll certainly give my impressions though I doubt they'll be all that valuable as I have no experience with any other dedicated phono stage.

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