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As it stands today, my setup is:
Integrated Amp: Cayin A-88T
Speaks: Usher CP-6311; REL Stadium III
Vinyl: JA Mitchell Tecnodec/Bellari VP-530/Dynavector 20X2
I have a nagging suspicion that the weak link presently is the phono preamp. I wonder if my sound would get a bit more POW with a juicier phono stage.
I started looking into DACs (I HATE that, btw... dealing with audio formats, DRM and the like is partially responsible for my love of records) and I noticed some had built in phono stages as well. This could be a method of justifying the purchase to wife, who wants to watch movies on some apple trash that only has a digital output, which my amp does not understand.
Or, then again, I can just do whatever I want and get a sweet phono amp and buy her some records and call it a day. Any suggestions for beefy-sounding phono stages? Preference given to tubes, because mmmm... tubes.
And only $299.
"When we look into the deepest space with our most powerful telescopes, we see only the past"
I was wondering if you could be a little more specific about what you like concerning the PHO-8. Perhaps some detailed description(s).
Thanks in advance.
"If people don't want to come, nothing will stop them" - Sol Hurok
While it's not in the tube camp, I would suggest the ifi Phono 2 (or 1 if you can find one). I've compared it my Decware, Garber, Naim and other preamps and found this one to be my favorite. Very quite, very nice with the low end too.
I don't own one but I had listened to this unit few times, surprisingly good and affordable.
I've been enjoying my Budgie for almost a year. The stock 6922s are decent tubes, but NOS Matsushita National 7DJ8s from Upscale Audio take it to the next level.
Shannon Parks is great to work with, too.
Opus 33 1/3
the Cornet 2, IMHO.
Opus 33 1/3
Thanks for the Budgie recommendation. Looks like with my particular cartridge, being a high output MC, I'd be better served by the Budgie Hybrid Preamp?
Regardless, the more I read the more I realize I need to research and choose something that works well with the equipment I have.
of which were lower output than your Dyna.
Opus 33 1/3
What is your budget? Is your 20x2 high or low output?
At any rate I would look into an Avid Pellar. Gain is 48, 60 and 70 db; load using resistor plugs.
I really like mine. I have used it with a 20x2L (0.3mV), Denon DL-S1 (0.15mv) and an AT ART-7 (0.12mV). The Pellar is beefy, has a lot of drive and has a clean sound.
I have the high output version of the DV20. Is that a bad thing?
Budget isn't set in stone. I'd like to get something appropriate for the rest of the equipment, and if that leads to something $1000 or so that's fine.
Sutherland is about to release an 800 phono pre that looks like a new standard for that price range.
Are you able to assemble kits? I just put together a Vacuum Tube Audio phono stage and it sounds very good for the price. Vacuum Tube Audio makes several different kit phono stages. If you are into DIY, you can get the best bang-for-the-buck! It's also a lot of fun building kits.
Oh lord LOL. Every fiber of me wants to build something like that, and then the little voice in my head reminds me that I have too many hobbies already :D That looks like a LOT of fun.
I ran a similar VP-129 in one system for a couple of years. It's sins are largely that of omission, but much better can be had. It is also of pretty low gain (30db) which typically translates to higher noise.
And don't get fooled by the lone dual triode doing buffer duty for both channels. All the heavy lifting is done by four op amps.
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