You are here

Log in or register to post comments
Martin888
Martin888's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: May 5 2007 - 1:31am
pre-ampflication basics. for a beginner with increasing knowledge...

Continuing my thinking around phono preampflication, I am starting to ask myself the question of whether it is worth bringing an upgrade forward and getting a pre-amplifier with a phono stage. Say, instead of the EAR 324 phono stage with a separate integrated amp or preamp/power amp, the EAR 912/509s for example.
But seriously, at this level, are there any advantages in going for a separate phono preamp? or going for a preamp with integrated phono MM/MC inputs?
The problem I find here in Switzerland in talking with dealers is they are all trying to sell the stuff they carry... And they are sometimes not too forthcoming with extra (interesting - alternatives) information. very frustrating.
Like one high end dealer here who I tried to ask about SME turntables who tried to sell me something German. then another who tried to talk me into a Nottingham...
and what is the potential hum that some people talk about with preamps with the phono inputs????

absolutepitch
absolutepitch's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 months 2 weeks ago
Joined: Jul 9 2006 - 8:58pm
Re: pre-ampflication basics. for a beginner with increasing know

Don't have experience with the EAR products.

As for phono preamps, I have always used those integrated with the preamp, because I have used moving-magnet (MM) cartridges with outputs in the 3-5 millivolt range. I had also used an electret cartridge which was claimed to be full resistive and did not need any capacitance compensation to adjust its response, also in the same output range.

Moving coil (MC) cartridges need more gain, thus a pre-preamp, unless you get a high-output MC cartridge, although those outputs are at the bottom end of output of the MM type. My impression of the reviews is that MC sounds much better, but you pay more $$$ for it.

Hope others can provide more relevant comments.

cyclebrain
cyclebrain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jun 16 2006 - 11:40pm
Re: pre-ampflication basics. for a beginner with increasing know


Quote:

The problem I find here in Switzerland in talking with dealers is they are all trying to sell the stuff they carry... And they are sometimes not too forthcoming with extra (interesting - alternatives) information. very frustrating.

A separate phono device gives you more choices in your taste in sound.
As for a dealer wanting to sell the products that they carry. First, they as a business must sell stuff to stay in business. Second, if they are a sincere audio store they will have chosen products that they believe are the best.

cyclebrain
cyclebrain's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: Jun 16 2006 - 11:40pm
Re: pre-ampflication basics. for a beginner with increasing know


Quote:
As for phono preamps, I have always used those integrated with the preamp, because I have used moving-magnet (MM) cartridges with outputs in the 3-5 millivolt range. I had also used an electret cartridge which was claimed to be full resistive and did not need any capacitance compensation to adjust its response, also in the same output range.

Moving coil (MC) cartridges need more gain, thus a pre-preamp, unless you get a high-output MC cartridge, although those outputs are at the bottom end of output of the MM type. My impression of the reviews is that MC sounds much better, but you pay more $$$ for it.

Hope others can provide more relevant comments.


All phono cartridges require an amplifier and RIAA equalization. Generally a MC cartridge will have a lower output level and need more gain than a MM cartridge.
Still either one will need additional gain and equalization relative to a line level input.

Yiangos
Yiangos's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 7 2005 - 8:41am
Re: pre-ampflication basics. for a beginner with increasing know

Martin888,this is a difficult question.Usually,external phono stages benefit from the extra isolation (transormers etc)that exist in a pre-amplifier.Also,usually when a manufacturer makes a pre-amp with a built-in phono stage and the decides to produce the same phono stage as a stand alone unit,he/she fits better components in the stand alone unit but the only advantage i can think of without knowing exactly what the manufacturer did,is extra electrical and emi/rfi isolation. As for the 324,it is a great phono stage.
I am using a SME model 20.2 with series V arm and a Koetsu urushi or VDH Black Beauty cartridge.The 324 works perfectly with both cartridges although i believe it is more
in-tune with the Koetsu than the VDH. Back to your original question,it all depends what you own right now and what you want to have.If you have a good integrated or pre/power,all you need is a phono stage.If you are planning to get a new amp as well,the choices are not very broad.Unless you are willing to spend big bucks,you won't find many integrateds or pre amps with a better phono stage than the 324 and when you do,they won't be cheap.

stuartk
stuartk's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Jun 6 2007 - 1:26pm
Re: pre-ampflication basics. for a beginner with increasing know


Quote:
Martin888,this is a difficult question.Usually,external phono stages benefit from the extra isolation (transormers etc)that exist in a pre-amplifier.Also,usually when a manufacturer makes a pre-amp with a built-in phono stage and the decides to produce the same phono stage as a stand alone unit,he/she fits better components in the stand alone unit but the only advantage i can think of without knowing exactly what the manufacturer did,is extra electrical and emi/rfi isolation.

However, standalone is also more expensive because you need an extra chassis, power transformer, etc. besides just the phono preamp circuits themselves.

You also add in an extra RCA cable to connect the two boxes, which can increase risk of EMI/RFI trouble, plus you are at greater risk of grounding problems.

I don't think it's a clear choice either way. It depends upon the circumstances.

Personally, I like a separate preamp and amp, with a phono section built into the preamp.

However, an integrated amp can also be a good choice, can save you money, and will almost certainly take up less space.

On the other hand, if I already owned a a preamp or integrated amp I was happy with that didn't have phono, it might well turn out to be most cost-effective to just add a standalone phono preamp.

  • X
    Enter your Stereophile.com username.
    Enter the password that accompanies your username.
    Loading