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Cartridge/ Phono stage advice


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Hi, I’m seeking some advice as to whether I change my cartridge to better match my phono stage. 
 

I recently had a very good cart, phono stage, and turntable match being a dynavector xx2 Mk2 paired with a gold note ph10 with psu, running off a bryston blp1 turntable.  Sounded great, and as I only listening to vinyl occasionally I decided to sell the gold note phono stage and downscale my system. So I’m currently using the same cart and turntable, and using the phono input in my marantz ki ruby integrated amp. It doesn’t sound quite right and I’m thinking as the gold note had the ability to fine tune the settings to match the cart it made it all work well together. 
 

so I’d like to know if I should change my cart, or keep it and maybe swap over my phono cables or do something else to get better sound?  I’m a little hesitant to immediately jump and sell my cart as it is a good one. Your advice is appreciated. 

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I dont think change the cart would give you much improvement. It is the phono stage that makes the difference, unless you keep the GN otherwise you would expect the sound not as good as with the GN.

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As others have said, sounds like it is the removal of the GN that has made the difference, and the cartridge/ TT etal support the quality you are after.

So a left field idea that is likely less expensive than cartridge or Amp swap.  Take a look at the Parks Puffin phono stage:  http://parksaudiollc.com/

If you can get past its internals being digital, it provides a wide range of flexibility through its DSP to adjust sound profiles to compensate for cartridge matching issues.  I switch between an Ortofon 2m Black (MM - quite boisterous) and Hana ML (MC - quite balanced) and it helps shape both to what I like.  I was initially a bit worried about its potential quality with a LOMC, but in practice it is superb.  Ultimately unlikely up there with the best of the dedicated MC stages, but if you have lost something from the dynamics you liked then may be a cost effective way to get it back.

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When I bought my GN combo it was a huge jump from my previous MS Phonomena. It sucked so much more detail out of my Dynavector cart and the vinyl.

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As a recent gold note user I can see how using the integrated phono is a step down but I think the integrated phono itself is not bad but the fix loading of 100 ohm is not optimal. I think the XX2 like something around 250-300 even though the spec says 75-300ohm loading is fine.

 

My suggestion for cheapest option is to get a step up transformer or headamp that suit the cartridge. As far I know the Marantz phono is actually a standalone board not part of the preamp stage so it would be pretty decent

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55 minutes ago, patjoy said:

When I bought my GN combo it was a huge jump from my previous MS Phenomena. It sucked so much more detail out of my Dynavector cart and the vinyl.

 

To me, there's 2 ways of taking what you've written!  :)

  1. The GN brought out so much more detail from the cart (so it sounded wonderful).
  2. the GN sucked all the detail out of the cart's presentation (so it sounded bland and boring)!

 

23 minutes ago, mloutfie said:

As a recent gold note user I can see how using the integrated phono is a step down but I think the integrated phono itself is not bad but the fix loading of 100 ohm is not optimal. I think the XX2 like something around 250-300 even though the spec says 75-300ohm loading is fine.

 

I would agree!  :thumb:  The optimal load may even be as high as 600 ohms (100x coil impedance).

 

23 minutes ago, mloutfie said:

My suggestion for cheapest option is to get a step up transformer or headamp that suits the cartridge.

 

If you do this, @tommy100, you would use the MM input on your phono stage.

 

Another - probably very good - option is, as you have a DV cart, to get hold of a DV P75 phono stage ... as this has a special option which suits DV carts.

 

Andy

 

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36 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

To me, there's 2 ways of taking what you've written!  :)

  1. The GN brought out so much more detail from the cart (so it sounded wonderful).
  2. the GN sucked all the detail out of the cart's presentation (so it sounded bland and boring)!

 

 

 

 

Andy

 

I am sure you know which one it is Andy ?

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37 minutes ago, andyr said:

I would agree!  :thumb:  The optimal load may even be as high as 600 ohms (100x coil impedance

Dynavector bass tend to be one noted and mids thin on a loading above 400

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40 minutes ago, mloutfie said:

Dynavector bass tend to be one noted and mids thin on a loading above 400

 

Aah, OK Mahdie.  :thumb:

 

Andy

 

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42 minutes ago, patjoy said:

I am sure you know which one it is Andy ?

 

Sure - but only from the structure of your sentence ... not the words you wrote.  xD

 

Andy

 

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3 hours ago, andyr said:

 

 

I would agree!  :thumb:  The optimal load may even be as high as 600 ohms (100x coil impedance).

 

 

Andy

 

 

2 hours ago, mloutfie said:

Dynavector bass tend to be one noted and mids thin on a loading above 400

 

EH!!

My XV1s sings with 453R air plug into a Naim Superline....as did my TKR...

YMMV on other phono stages and tonearm cable length as i noted a palpable improvement when i had my Univectors cable shortened by half

 

Tase.

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57 minutes ago, Tasebass said:

 

 

EH!!

My XV1s sings with 453R air plug into a Naim Superline....as did my TKR...

YMMV on other phono stages and tonearm cable length as i noted a palpable improvement when i had my Univectors cable shortened by half

 

Tase.

Different cartridge I guess. The dynavector I meant in that post is xx2

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2 hours ago, Tasebass said:

 

YMMV on other phono stages and tonearm cable length as i noted a palpable improvement when i had my Univector's cable shortened by half.

 

Tase.

 

Shirley, the only thing that would've done is reduce the cable's capacitance?

 

Which is surprising that this had an effect, for an MC cart.

 

Andy

 

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I owned the original Dynavector XX2 as part of the upgrade path I undertook about 10 years ago after owning the original DV20XL. At that time I was dealing directly with Jonathan Davies from Dynavector who recommended using the phono enhancer (PE) mode on the P75 - as far as I can recall he was the chief designer of this circuit.

 

My observation after purchasing the P75 was that the DV20XL worked extremely well with the PE mode whereas the XX2 showed no improvement in PE mode over normal mode of operation. Things may have now changed with the Mk2 version being much better suited to PE mode.

 

I then approached Audio Connection and home auditioned every phono stage they had available over a 3-year period. A huge kudos to Josef who allowed this and is no longer with us. ? I settled on the Aesthetix Rhea as the best matching phono stage for the XX2 due to its flexibility in having a good selection of gain and load settings.

 

So echoing the comments shared by others above finding the right phono stage that matches the cart is the hardest part.

Edited by xlr8or
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14 hours ago, andyr said:

 

Shirley, the only thing that would've done is reduce the cable's capacitance?

 

Which is surprising that this had an effect, for an MC cart.

 

Andy

 

 

Ostensibly Andy??.....& who's Shirley??...:tongue:

 

Is having the shortest cable length ,shortest signal path whatever you want to call it not desirable in any application to phono stages.....amps...speakers ...etc....

some of the most palpable improvements i have experienced have been in this camp...

 

Tase... 

 

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24 minutes ago, Tasebass said:

 

Is having the shortest cable length ,shortest signal path whatever you want to call it not desirable in any application to phono stages.....amps...speakers ...etc....

some of the most palpable improvements i have experienced have been in this camp...

 

Tase... 

 

 

Absolutely, Tase; just proves that any cable degrades the sound - and the longer the cable ... the more it degrades it.  And there would appear to be more subtle effects at work here than simply, say, the cable's capacitance!  xD

 

Andy

 

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