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Vinyl Guy
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Joined: Jan 29 2008 - 12:55pm
Phono Preamp Question

Hi, everyone.

I just upgraded my TV to HDTV, and had to buy a new receiver to handle my home theater. I have not been in the market for a receiver in about 10 years, so this is the first time I've encountered the absence of phono jacks on new receivers.

I went to my Mom & Pop stereo store, and bought a phono preamp. It does not have a ground connection for the turntable ground wire, but they advised me to ground it to the chassis of the receiver. Well, every part of my component system sounds great except for the turntable. I'm basically not getting any volume out of it. I have to turn it WAY up to get any kind of real "umph" out of it, and then (of course) it's full of noise and hum.

Is this a grounding issue? Is this a preamp quality issue? Is this a Magnetic cartridge issue? Please advise. I miss my vinyl. Thanks.

Stats: Pioneer PL-55x turntable
Sure M97XE cartridge (magnetic)
Onkyo TX-SR605 receiver
(maybe) a TCC TC-400 preamp. Don't remember now.

jackfish
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Re: Phono Preamp Question

A $30 phono preamp is going to get you at least $30 worth of problems. I'd at least get a Pro-ject PhonoBox Se or a Bellari VP129 and you will have at least $250 worth of pleasure.

O'Shag
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Re: Phono Preamp Question

I'm afraid the phono section of most receivers is nothing to write home about. My Yamaha RX-Z9's phono stage is ok but not great. But with respect to your problem; there should be enough gain in your receiver to drive an MM cartridge, and you may have a fault in the receiver itself. Perhaps a call to the manufacturer's service center is in order.

Vinyl Guy
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Re: Phono Preamp Question

Hey everyone. I found my solution!

Ultimately, the first suggestion was the right one. I went to another retailer and got a Cambridge Audio Azur 540p Phono Preamp. It only ran about $100. Hooked it up, and voila! Clean, noise-free, beautiful vinyl sound with plenty of "oomph" to challenge my speakers. Thanks. Yep, you get what you pay for.

KBK
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Re: Phono Preamp Question

There's possibly..apparently..a bit of a joke hiding in the name of the Cambridge phono pre.

You see, digital can be equated, to a certain degree..to 'interlaced' video signals.

'progressive scan' can be considerd the TRUE analog (film frame) version of the signal, comparatively speaking. Full frames instead of the interlaced 'faked progressive scan' version, with far less data.

In the UK, they use PAL as a video base, in this case, the two formats are:

540i..interlaced video, and
540p..progressive scan video.

Analog, true progressive scan, etc.

Just thought you might like to know that the Cambridge guys might be having an unannounced funny.

And if they have a tiny little ~$100 DAC, it might be called the '540i"

David44
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Re: Phono Preamp Question

If you can barely hear the turntable at normal levels, it sounds like you have a low output cartridge and you are not getting enough gain from your phono pre-amp. Phono pre-amps can be high gain or low gain. Some have a switch the adjust the gain. The nicer cartridges are generally low output, but require a high gain phono stage.
I think you should check the output of the cartridge and the gain of your phono pre-amp. Go in to a good audio store and let them help you.
Good luck.

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