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  1. #1

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    Default Phono Stages for LoMC Carts

    Looking for some recommendations for use with Low output MC carts. I currently have a Dynavector P75 and do like it, but looking to try something else out too.

    I would like something that is fairly easy to adjust gain, etc on the pre without always having to pull it out, remove the top, etc. I just find that to be a PITA with how I have my set up as I try and have all connections inside my rack. I run shorter cables inside the rack so if I want to remove something I gotta pull the back off, unconnect everything pull it out etc. Just would be easier if I had control on a front or back panel to do that instead of pulling it out each time.

    Would be looking in the 1K and lower price point at this time. Was thinking once of trying out a used BAT VK-P5 however heard that is not every good at the loMC carts so just kind of stuck.

    I know I could look at step up transformers as well but not really sure where to start with those.

    The cart right now is a Denon 103R.
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
    BAT VK-31
    Wyred SX1000 monos
    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  2. #2

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    One that seems interesting Musical Fidelity - M1 ViNL. I'm willing to spend a little more if its good. :)
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
    BAT VK-31
    Wyred SX1000 monos
    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  3. #3

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    I know you like Esoteric gear so how about an E03.

    Chris if you want to get off the beaten path and stay SS with external controls, try a Ray Samuel Nighthawk F117. It is Lithium battery operated.

    http://www.raysamuelsaudio.com/products/f-117

    sixmoons review.

    http://www.sixmoons.com/audioreviews...uels/f117.html
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


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  4. #4

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    I'll be building an SUT (step up transformer) for my Denon 103R in the next couple weeks you could try as well. An SUT with phono set to MM can be better (lower noise, more open and better defined sound stage) than using an MC stage.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


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  5. #5

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    Chris, the Ray Samuel Nighthawk is the one I couldn't remember when we were talking about phono stages recently. Heard lots of good stuff about that one.

  6. #6

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    If you go with an older Krell pre amp, the add on phono cards are really impressive.




    You heard my recapped KSL w/KSL phono. There were a couple on the 'gon, but I wouldn't pay over $1K for one used with phono card, especially if it hasn't been recapped.

    The KRC-HR is another great Krell pre available with phono card option, but at a higher cost. The KRC-HR needs the right amp or IMO it can come across as fatiguing to listen to. It seemed so with my Sanders A/B amp, but not so with the Class A Krell KSA-250. The KSL is a warmer Class A pre.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


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  7. #7

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    My PS Audio GCPH is incredibly adjustable.

    Might not be to the level you are looking for, but its the best phono stage I've owned.
    2-channel
    Sources: Pro-ject 2.9 wood Grado Gold cartridge; Oppo BDP-105; Amps: Anthem Integrated 225; PS Audio GCPH Speakers: Polk - LSi15's (sub mod)


    HT
    Amps: Sony - STR-DG1000; Outlaw 200 Mono; B&K Reference 200.2; Speakers: Polk - CS2, Monitor 70's, RC80i's; Video: Optoma HD20; FAVI HD-100


    Man Cave
    Sources: Sony PS-LX410, Denon 3910; Amps: Dared sl2000a, HK 3490, Simaudio Moon LP3; Speakers: Polk - SDA 2A's

  8. #8

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    I have a SUT (Peerless 4722) running my Denon 103R into either Carver C-11/TFM-55 or Scott 272's feeding the 2.3 TL. Old school but I'm old myself.
    >
    >
    >This message has been scanned by the NSA and found to be free of harmful intent.<

  9. #9

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    The Hagerman Bugle II runs very well with my Soundsmith ruby cl retipped Denon 103r. It is very quiet and dynamic. When you build it you can set the gain. No need to set anything else. I thought about the nighthawk but saw Hagerman's new phono amp and had to try it. I am very happy with it.

    http://www.hagtech.com/bugle2.html
    D: SDTrans384 via I2S Teleporter-> Twisted Pear Audio Buffalo III DAC w Legato III I/V via XLR to Relaixed2 Preamp via XLR to Parasound A-21-> SDA-2.3 w/ RDO, Soniccrafts caps, Larry's Rings;
    A:Dynavector DV-10x5-> Nothingham Spacedeck-> TPA Retro via XLR to Relaixed2;

    C: Flac with Mediamonkey4 via coax SPDIF from Juli@24/192 -> Buffalo III
    V: Vinyl rips-> ESI Juli@24/192-> SPDIF-> Buffalo III

    SACD: Sony 333es via RCA

  10. #10

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    The Just Listen to It preamp is the one I use; it's very good.
    all the best,
    mrh

  11. #11

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    GCPH is hugely underrated, you can try it for relatively little money. It will work with almost any cartridge.
    (SDA-1c with 194s, sonicaps, mills, cardas bps)
    Focal 30th Anniversary 826W
    Scoutmaster II with Classic 3 tonearm and Lyra Delos
    Manley Chinook
    PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium preamplifier
    Pass Labs x250
    VPI SDS
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    MIT Shotgun S3.3 ICs

  12. #12

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    I'm using a step up transformer (SUT) between my Denon 59L and my Audio Research PH3SE phono preamp. I have a Denon 103R cartridge. It sounds fantastic. The SUT is a homebrew version of one sold by Bob's Devices Look Here
    Carl

  13. #13

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    We don't need a Bob's SUT when you can have a Carl's SUT! This one is labeled for the poor eyesight crowd.
    Attached Images  
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  14. #14

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    I'm running a modded Jolida JD-9(caps, op-amps, dynamatted cabinet, nos tubes) with both high and low output carts ( Shelter 501MK2, Denon 103R, and Benz Glider medium) with fantastic results. It is very adjustable. The only thing is the dip switches are located on the back, but they are relatively easy to get too. They may not be as easy to get too as you are looking for however.

    I think your best solution probably would be the SUT that the others have mentioned. I've been thinking of trying one also, but the JD-9 sounds incredible by itself.
    Last edited by Dawgfish; 09-02-2013 at 11:10 AM.

  15. #15

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    The Silk SUTs from Thailand sound really good and are surprisingly affordable (FWIW).

    http://www.sacthailand.com/Transformer_MC.html
    all the best,
    mrh

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    We don't need a Bob's SUT when you can have a Carl's SUT! This one is labeled for the poor eyesight crowd.
    Looking good Rich! Larry and I have the positive terminals on one side and the negative on the other. The turntable inputs are on the inside, the outputs on the outside terminals. Otherwise, mine looks exactly the same! Sure beats the $800+ that Bob wants.
    Carl

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by schwarcw View Post
    Looking good Rich! Larry and I have the positive terminals on one side and the negative on the other. The turntable inputs are on the inside, the outputs on the outside terminals. Otherwise, mine looks exactly the same! Sure beats the $800+ that Bob wants.
    I kind of like the inny look to the outy look although it looks like nothing but a box with RCA's in it. I also have some sealed gold plated contact switches on the way to add the ground lift and second gain stage choice.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  18. #18

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    Thanks for all the info guys! I think trying a SUT might be a good way to go for now.
    2 Channel-
    Soundlab M3PX
    BAT VK-31
    Wyred SX1000 monos
    Esoteric DV50
    Dynavector p75 modded phono stage
    Rega P25 modded-Denon 103R Cart
    Squeezebox Touch
    Modded Music Hall DAC Burson op amps
    Richard Grey 600S
    MIT Shotgun IC's and SC

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by cstmar01 View Post
    Thanks for all the info guys! I think trying a SUT might be a good way to go for now.
    There is magic in those SUT coils, you won't regret it!
    Carl

  20. #20

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    I added the ground lift and made it a two speed.

    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  21. #21

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    nice work sir!
    JC approves....he told me so. (F-1 nut)

  22. #22

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    That is sweet! The temptation to try a SUT grows by the minute.....

  23. #23

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    Those switches are nice!

    A commercial version of this sells for about $800. The parts cost less than $200.
    Carl

  24. #24

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    Well, I finally broke down and bought a SUT. I found a home-made,used one made using Cinemag CM-QEE 3440A transformers. It has two settings on it; one has a 1:30 step up ratio with 37.5 ohm loading. This is perfect for the DL-103R. The other setting has a 1:15 step up ratio with 150 ohm loading. It works very well for the Shelter 501 MKII. Ideally the loading for the Shelter should be around 100 ohms, but it sounds very, very good at the 150 ohm loading.

    I'm quite pleased with the SUT. The performance using the DL-103R is considerably better with the SUT than just using the JD-9 alone. I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that the lowest I could load the DL-103R with the Jolida was 70 ohms. With the JD-9 I get a perfect match of 37.5 Ohms. The noise floor has been lowered significantly, and the dynamics are much greater.

    I noticed an improvement with the Shelter also, but not as profound as with the DL-103R. Again noise floor and surface noise seems to have decreased significantly. Dynamics are about the same, maybe a little bit better with the SUT. The Shelter still sounds noticeably better than the DL-103R in all categories, but the gap is not quite as large when using the Denon with the SUT. All in all I am very pleased with the addition of the SUT.

    The only negative I am having with the SUT is I am getting a little bit of hum when volumes are very high. It is not noticeable during normal listening levels and not noticeable at all when the vinyl is being played. It's something most could easily live with, but me being OCD I would like to get rid of it.

    I've played around with different positions in the rack, rerouted cables, and made an extra ground wire to run between the SUT and JD-9 (the phono ground is attached to the SUT). This all helped but it is still there to a very small extent. it is housed in a small aluminum enclosure. Any ideas on shielding/getting rid of the hum? Thanks in advance.

  25. #25

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    Is the SUT shielded and grounded?
    I mean... hum happens :-P (and we are talkin' delicate signals even on the "high" side of an SUT...)
    all the best,
    mrh

  26. #26

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhardy6647 View Post
    Is the SUT shielded and grounded?
    I mean... hum happens :-P (and we are talkin' delicate signals even on the "high" side of an SUT...)
    It is grounded, but I certainly wouldn't call it shielded other than everything being mounted inside an aluminum box. The lid has vents in it however, so that may allow stray EM signals in I'm guessing? The fact that I'm running a tube phono stage, preamp, and amp doesn't help I'm sure.

    I am happy that some hum happens.....just not in this case :-). It's really not bad and may just be something I have to learn to live with.

  27. #27

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    They are sensitive to placement and cables used. I use coax which is shielded, one meter long. Best placement for me was top of the rack next to table on top of my DAC, but my DAC had to be off. Next best placement was on top right rear corner of my KSL pre amp, but not next to it. (The six toroidals in the left side of the DAC really messed with SUT). With volume low you can experiment with touching and grounding input and output RCA barrels to ground lug to see if hum lessens.

    Is your SUT wired per Cinemag's schematic? I first wired my SUT exactly as they show. I used a switch in place of Cinemags JP1 jumper. I've read Bob's Devices site and based on what he writes his grounding scheme is way different. You have to read his product description and faq. I read him saying Cinemag housing and Faraday shield to ground lug, output RCA's negative switched to ground lug. No input RCA's are switched/grounded as per Cinemag schematic. He says when his ground is lifted no RCA's are grounded.

    I tried his described method on a SUT here and find it works much better. I do get a slight equal intensity hum from each woofer if I turn volume past 1 oclock, but I get 80dB SPL by ten oclock and when I lift stylus it is quiet; no hum. As an MC phono builder once told me, 70dB gain will make a mouse fart unbearable. ;) If you choose to try this revised grounding you do need to follow his faq for grounding. A steel box may offer a little better protection than aluminum.

    http://www.bobsdevices.com/pages.php?pageid=8

    I used these DPDT On/On switches from Digikey, CKN1032-ND. Pricey, they were chosen for aesthetics, sealed and gold plated contacts. Sealed and silver plated would be good.

    http://www.digikey.com/product-detai...KN1032-ND/5559
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Click image for larger version

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    Last edited by SCompRacer; 09-23-2013 at 01:19 PM.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  28. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by SCompRacer View Post
    They are sensitive to placement and cables used. I use coax which is shielded, one meter long. Best placement for me was top of the rack next to table on top of my DAC, but my DAC had to be off. Next best placement was on top right rear corner of my KSL pre amp, but not next to it. (The six toroidals in the left side of the DAC really messed with SUT). With volume low you can experiment with touching and grounding input and output RCA barrels to ground lug to see if hum lessens.

    Is your SUT wired per Cinemag's schematic? I first wired my SUT exactly as they show. I used a switch in place of Cinemags JP1 jumper. I've read Bob's Devices site and based on what he writes his grounding scheme is way different. You have to read his product description and faq. I read him saying Cinemag housing and Faraday shield to ground lug, output RCA's negative switched to ground lug. No input RCA's are switched/grounded as per Cinemag schematic. He says when his ground is lifted no RCA's are grounded.

    I tried his described method on a SUT here and find it works much better. I do get a slight equal intensity hum from each woofer if I turn volume past 1 oclock, but I get 80dB SPL by ten oclock and when I lift stylus it is quiet; no hum. As an MC phono builder once told me, 70dB gain will make a mouse fart unbearable. ;) If you choose to try this revised grounding you do need to follow his faq for grounding. A steel box may offer a little better protection than aluminum.

    http://www.bobsdevices.com/pages.php?pageid=8

    I used these DPDT On/On switches from Digikey, CKN1032-ND. Pricey, they were chosen for aesthetics, sealed and gold plated contacts. Sealed and silver plated would be good.

    http://www.digikey.com/product-detai...KN1032-ND/5559
    Awesome! Thank you! it looks like it is wired per the Cinemag wiring diagram. When I was looking at the wiring and the output rca terminals, I was wondering if the negative post should have been wired to the ground post as it was not. I thought about running jumpers and trying it, but I didn't want to damage anything without being sure. I will give that a try for sure.

    I'm using 1 meter Analysis Plus Solo Crystal Oval ICs (was using 1/2 meter AP SCOs, but rearrange to decrease hum necessitated running the longer ICS). They are shielded.

    As far as placement it is currently placed on top of my NAD M55 disc player on the next to top shelf. My turntable is on the top shelf and I don't have enough room for both of them on the top shelf. I noticed when moving the SUT around to try and find a placement with no and/or lower hum, that I did not get any hum when the SUT was completely out of and away from the rack. Since I have plenty of length on my turntable ICs, the simplest solution may just be to place a small shelf on the wall just behind and outside of the rack and place it there. Between that and the rca ground, I think I should be able to tackle this.

    Thanks again for the suggestions and wiring diagrams.
    Last edited by Dawgfish; 09-23-2013 at 01:35 PM.

  29. #29

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    You are most welcome. Hope it helps you! Main thing is volume be low when messing with grounds (even with fingers) to avoid a WTF moment. : 0 I should add a disclaimer that nobody should be touching gear like this just in case; you could get a shock. Use wire instead.

    Using a DPDT switch, the R and L output grounds are separate when lifted. When the switch is cosed, then the output grounds or negatives are joined by both connected to ground lug.

    Here is an internal shot of the one I modded. I am working with a great existing build, just trying revised grounding methods to get hum eliminated or as low as possible. I'll see how it works for the owner IF I send it back. But I'll have to send it to get mine back...lol
    Attached Images  
    Last edited by SCompRacer; 09-23-2013 at 01:58 PM.
    Make yourself necessary to someone. Ralph Waldo Emerson

    Salk SoundScape 8's
    Krell KRC-HR Class A Pre w/ Reference Phono
    Krell Class A KSA-250
    Harmonic Technology Pro 9+
    Squeezebox Touch / Welborne Labs PS / I2S Out Mod
    Denon 3910 w/I2S/DSD Out
    Twisted Pear Buffalo III Dual Mono ESS Sabre32 DAC
    Sennheiser HD650
    Heavy Plinth Lenco L75 Idler Drive
    AA MG-1 Linear Air Bearing Arm
    AT33PTG/II & Denon 103R
    Shunyata Hydra (Original)
    NHT B-12d subs
    GIK Acoustic Treatments


    CP Showcase

  30. #30

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    ^^Wow!!!^^ That is wired and laid out much prettier than the one I bought! I think I just need to completely re-do it and do it right. The price was right but it could be done so much better as per your pic above! What is the foam surrounding the transformers? Does it help in shielding in any way? Thanks again.

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