I had considered resurrecting a TT in the two channel system since the beginning of the year. I have always looked at TTs whenever I visit audio establishments. Until the beginning of the year, this has always been more of a curiosity as I was not planning on unpacking all the LPs of yesterday and once again participate in the analog rituals.
I had thought of just buying a phono stage for an existing Technics DD table I have, but decided against this course of action. Several years ago, I tried the Technics table with an Audio Technica AT-122LP cartridge when I had a Rotel preamp (built in phono stage) in the main system. I was not overly impressed with the results and decided at the time to repackage everything.
Fast forward to present. I have completed many changes to the system since the previous TT trial. The system is at a level where it will be left unchanged until required. I am extremely happy with the digital sources, but have been curious about all the comments regarding analog sources. I had played several cassettes I recorded last century using dbx type II NR on a three head player. I was quite impressed with the results; holding this thought, I might unpack the player, dbx NR unit and the 600-700 90 minute Maxell cassettes I have for use in the main system. Maybe one day when the kids are older I can move all the HT stuff to another room and have the audio room dedicated to two channel music…
I had been looking at Project tables lately and was specifically interested in the Xperience table. I am in no hurry for any purchases as I will need additional equipment (phono stage, additional ICs and a table for the TT) to properly locate the table in the audio room. I had to go to a local establishment last week to purchase 8 footers for my Simaudio components. They had a VPI HRX table ready to be packaged for delivery to a customer. All I can say is that this is one fine example of a component. I started looking online and noticed several VPI TTs within budget and started inquiries.
One establishment had a used Scout for sale. For $150 more, I could get a new one and get a deal on a cartridge if purchased at the same time. I decided to go with the new Scout and a Dynavector 10x5 cartridge. The cartridge will be installed this weekend and with delivery next week.
Now that I have the TT and cartridge, I was wondering what phono stages you have used and would recommend for use and which were disappointing. The budget is about $500. I have looked at several locally these past few weeks. There is a Project Phono Box SE that looks interesting. I have also thought about the new PS Audio phono stage unit using their Gain Cell technology (used purchase).
The phono stage will be many feet away from the two channel preamp due to room placement restrictions and might require a 6 foot or longer IC. I plan on having the TT and phono stage on a solid oak ‘telephone’ table which will be leveled with spikes on a concrete floor. The oak table also has a shelf that will allow for some convenient record storage as well as provide mass loading.
The phono stage purchase will be deferred to a future date (one or more months) as I have exceeded an audio purchase budget (not mine) during these past 18 months. The two channel configuration can be found in this thread.
Thanks for taking the time to read this post.