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pentanthropy
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pairing a preamp/amp with a pro-ject Xpression III

I have had a pro-ject Xpression III for a while now, and have paired it with some inexpensive amplification for a while, and it's finally time to upgrade. Thinking in the $100-$200 range for the pre and up to $500 or so for the amp (i know, but one step @ a time). It still has the sumiko oyster MM cartridge but I'll be upgrading fairly soon to a MC so I'd like the pre to be switchable between the two. Does anyone have any suggestions on what to get? I'd also like to go all tube, but the pre can do without it. Thanks!

commsysman
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Re: pairing a preamp/amp with a pro-ject Xpression III

There really ARE no separate pre- and power amplifiers in that kind of price range, unless you just stumble across a fabulous used deal somewhere by lucky chance.

The Music Hall A25.2 is a nice integrated amp at around $699, though, or if you need more power, the NAD C355BEE at $799 list, or the Cambridge 640 A2 at $599.

To get better sound than these units from separate components, you are talking about 4 to 8 times that amount of money.

When you say "pre" are you actually talking about the PHONO amp?? If so, the Pro-Ject Phono Box II lists for $169 or so. check out Music Direct and Acoustic Sounds website or catalogs for some ideas there; also the Needle Doctor.

Very nice turntable by the way; it will do justice to a better cartridge when you can afford to spend a few hundred bucks there.

pentanthropy
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Re: pairing a preamp/amp with a pro-ject Xpression III

hey, thanks. I know my turntable is out of the league of the rest of the equipment I'm looking at buying right now, but times change. I want to eventually want to get decware dual mono blocs and their phono stage.
Okay let me get this strait - I think this may be the dumbest thing posted on this sight, but here we go. The configuration goes turntable> phono preamp> amp> speakers right?
A phono amp is really a preamp designed to raise the level of the turntable's output in order for an AMP to do its job correctly right? So what's an integrated amp?
Whatever the case, I know I'm in the right place for figuring it all out. Is there somewhere I can go to find this sort of basic info that is assumed to be known on this forum by everyone but me? That way I don't pester you all with questions like this as much.
I thank everyone in advance for helping me!

jackfish
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Re: pairing a preamp/amp with a pro-ject Xpression III

phono stage or phono preamp - takes the limited output of the turntable and increases the signal to be compatible with a line level input of a control amp or preamp.
control amp, line stage or preamp - takes the output signals from various switched sources and provides an adequate variable signal to the power amp, besides source switching and volume controls it may provide tone manipulation and tape monitoring/recording
power amp - takes the output of the preamp and increases it for output to the loudspeakers
integrated amp - generally includes a preamp and power amp in one box

If you are interested in tubes I would suggest listening to the Jolida gear and the Shanling A-3000 hybrid integrated amp.

Jolida
http://www.jolida.com/catalogue/models/jd9a.shtml
http://www.jolida.com/catalogue/models/jd100a.shtml
http://www.jolida.com/catalogue/models/jd502b.shtml
http://www.jolida.com/catalogue/tubeamp.shtml

Shanling A-3000
http://www.spearitsound.com/shanling/shanling_a3000.asp

commsysman
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Re: pairing a preamp/amp with a pro-ject Xpression III

In the old days, everyone would buy a receiver, which had phono amp, preamp, power amp, and AM/FM tuner all on one chassis.

One problem is that the power amp really should be on a separate chassis if it is over 80 watts or so, because it is hard to isolate its large power supply from everything else and prevent problems.

The same goes for the other parts to varying degrees, so purists tend to want each piece completely separate.

You can still find some integrated amps that have a phono stage built in, or optional as a plug-in circuit card, but this is not very common. Also, there are some preamps that have a built-in phono stage. Most people buy the phono stage as a separate unit.

I suggest that you probably should buy a decent integrated amp to start with, and a separate phono stage.

Look on the Audio Advisor website for a listing of some good components that are available and typical prices.

To upgrade to separate preamp and power amplifier and get well beyond the quality that an integrated can offer, you should get equipment that has fully balanced connections and plan on spending at least $3000 each; otherwise you are probably just better off upgrading to a higher quality integrated amp in the $1500 to $2500 range.

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