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Thread: Phono preamp-modules

  1. #1
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    Phono preamp-modules

    I just did a search for Phono amp/modules/eq with no luck.
    Sometime in the last 4 weeks or so someone posted a link to a company that make a series of external phono preamp modules - the price and quality varied quite a bit but it seemed like they filled a real need.

    Well, my new HK receiver has no Turntable/phono input - and at least part of my audio urges are realized with my ancient Denon turntable.
    So I need some kind of module or external amp with RIAA eq to step it up to line level and feed it into the HK.

    Ideas, comments? Perhaps the author of the previous post I vaguely remember can help me out?
    2ch: Oppo, JoLida 502CRC, JBL L212, 18ti,240ti; Heath AS101, Von Schweikert VR4
    7.1: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

  2. #2
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    http://www.needledoctor.com/Online-Store/Phono-Preamps

    not a recommendation, but an example of price ranges... I have a friend
    the uses the Bellari and likes it... I have a few-years-old AR unit that I'm
    fond of. NAD makes one that's a reasonable place to start without breaking
    the bank and gets good bang for the buck reviews... -grumpy

    (you can find many of the examples at this web site cheaper elsewhere...
    some are intended for moving coil vs. the more "normal" moving magnet...
    no point to pay for the extra low noise & gain if it's not needed)

  3. #3
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    Hi, Heather,

    A fairly inexpensive option is a pair of (yellow) Altec 1579 modules. For your app would require minor DIY, a pair of octal sockets, a small project box, and a wall wort PS. They show on eBay fairly regular, usually bring ~$25-30 each. Simple project, pleasing results, but likely would get you booted from any hi-ender circles (which suits me just fine ). I'll dig some out and post specs if you want.

    http://www.lansingheritage.org/image...pro/page21.jpg

  4. #4
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    Thumbs up 1579B/C transistor RIAA preamps

    sounds like a fun project! -grumpy

  5. #5
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    I installed a pair internal to the TT. No low-level cable loss/issues for me!

  6. #6
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    Hi Heather,

    Have you tried Marchand Electronics?

    Cheers,
    BugC

  7. #7
    Senior Member rs237's Avatar
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    RIAA Preamp

    Hi Heather,

    here the winner of the ETF06 RIAA is comparison test.

    http://www.hagtech.com/cornet2.html

    regards

    juergen

  8. #8
    Senior Member Fred Sanford's Avatar
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    7:25 AM, on a dingy, grey Virginia morning...a cry for help comes over the mountains...

    This sounds like a job for...cue my theme song:

    http://www.sitcomsonline.com/sounds/sanfordandson.wav

    ...as our hero emerges from the junk-strewn basement with a new-in-the-box:

    http://www.positive-feedback.com/Iss...fphonopack.htm

    http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...58539&read&3&4

    Looks like they've got a new product out:

    http://www.musichallaudio.com/mmf_pr...rolook=bellari

    Heather, as usual, feel free to borrow it to see if it suits your needs, and we'll either work out a deal or this can help you learn what exactly you do want.

    7:28, and the cereal didn't even get soggy.

    je

  9. #9
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    Senorita,

    Welcome to the wide world of phono preamps. As you might imagine, suggesting a phono pre is like suggesting a car. There are so many kinds and styles to choose from, one can get lost in the choices. Being the vinyl junkie that I am- I think a wildly competitive marketplace like this only suppports the fact that more people are getting into vinyl these days. Blame it on the CD format wars. Blame it on the fact vinyl sounds so good and selling off your old records isn't worth the hassle. Why not spin 'em!?

    Since there are so many choices and flavors- defining your absolute needs and budget will get you to your picks in a hurry. For example, what type of cart do you have (MM or MC)? What level of db step up is necessary? What traits are you looking for (a quiet pre, a tube or solid state model, a battery powered unit, etc.)?

    If you want to test your skills with a soldering iron- there are hundreds of free DIY schematics available on the web. Nelson Pass made several top notch solid state units- readily available to the DIY community. There are many more...

    When it comes to budget, remember that most entry level units will be focusing on the midrange portions of the material. Extending to the absolute lows and highs is typically a trademark of the pricier units. Not always the case but more the norm.

    If you find a complete preamp with a decent phono section- you can use just the phono section of that pre and route it into your other (main) pre. The Dynaco PAS3 preamp is just one popular example of this. It has a very respectable phono section. A lot of people use a Dynaco PAS for its phono section only. I once used just the board of a PAS3 (upgraded parts) and powered it with a torroidal and solid state rectification and it sounded amazing! It took a $2K preamp (A blueberry extreme) to put it out.

    For the really tight budget- look at the pro DJ type phono preamps. They are dirt cheap and will get you spinning in no time. Don't expect an involving musical performance, yet some sound decent enough to get you by.

    The Bellari unit Grumpy suggested is a good choice for your entry into tube phono preamps. I know someone with it and he loves it. It is very popular.

    Another friend of mine uses this little gem to good effect:
    http://www.wickeddigital.com.au/Fire...r-p-16763.html

    There are wonderful merits to using battery powered units. I remember seeing a battery powered unit in the $150 price point recently. Stereophile had a quick snippit on it. Pretty favorable as I recall. I will try to track it down for you and post a link if you are interested.

    More to come.

    Nate.

  10. #10
    Senior Member JBLRaiser's Avatar
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    I have a Dynaco PAS 3 hooked to a.....

    Quote Originally Posted by X_X View Post
    Welcome to the wide world of phono preamps. As you might imagine, suggesting a phono pre is like suggesting a car. There are so many kinds and styles to choose from, one can get lost in the choices. Being the vinyl junkie that I am- I think a wildly competitive marketplace like this only suppports the fact that more people are getting into vinyl these days. Blame it on the CD format wars. Blame it on the fact vinyl sounds so good and selling off your old records isn't worth the hassle. Why not spin 'em!?

    Since there are so many choices and flavors- defining your absolute needs and budget will get you to your picks in a hurry. For example, what type of cart do you have (MM or MC)? What level of db step up is necessary? What traits are you looking for (a quiet pre, a tube or solid state model, a battery powered unit, etc.)?

    If you want to test your skills with a soldering iron- there are hundreds of free DIY schematics available on the web. Nelson Pass made several top notch solid state units- readily available to the DIY community. There are many more...

    When it comes to budget, remember that most entry level units will be focusing on the midrange portions of the material. Extending to the absolute lows and highs is typically a trademark of the pricier units. Not always the case but more the norm.

    If you find a complete preamp with a decent phono section- you can use just the phono section of that pre and route it into your other (main) pre. The Dynaco PAS3 preamp is just one popular example of this. It has a very respectable phono section. A lot of people use a Dynaco PAS for its phono section only. I once used just the board of a PAS3 (upgraded parts) and powered it with a torroidal and solid state rectification and it sounded amazing! It took a $2K preamp (A blueberry extreme) to put it out.

    For the really tight budget- look at the pro DJ type phono preamps. They are dirt cheap and will get you spinning in no time. Don't expect an involving musical performance, yet some sound decent enough to get you by.

    The Bellari unit Grumpy suggested is a good choice for your entry into tube phono preamps. I know someone with it and he loves it. It is very popular.

    Another friend of mine uses this little gem to good effect:
    http://www.wickeddigital.com.au/Fire...r-p-16763.html

    There are wonderful merits to using battery powered units. I remember seeing a battery powered unit in the $150 price point recently. Stereophile had a quick snippit on it. Pretty favorable as I recall. I will try to track it down for you and post a link if you are interested.

    More to come.

    Nate.

    newer model Chinese 6sn7 preamp just to play the vinyl. The 12ax7 tube phono stage is very musical. They are readily available on Ebay.

  11. #11
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    Here are a few more examples of phono preamps for you. I'm not recommending that you purchase from this retailer per se, although I have had good experiences with them in the past:

    http://www.audioadvisor.com/products...=title&sort_by=

    Since CD/Digital media became prevalent, many manufactuers stopped including phono preamps in their products as you have experienced first hand. If you are an analog enthusiast you might want to consider a unit with the capability of setting the input impedance and amount of input capacitance to optimize the frequency response of the phono cartridge. Different cartridges function optimally with different "loading" settings of those two parameters. This is not essential but is nice to have.

    As with most things in audio, the sky is the limit in phono preamps too, with units being available for thousands of dollars. Given that you can purchase a cheap receiver for $200, phono preamps similarly priced may seem ridiculous, but that is the reality of things. Good luck!!

  12. #12
    Senior Member jim campbell's Avatar
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    does the phono input on pre amps for moving magnet type cartridges match the input sensitivity of the tape ins or aux ins?i have a quatre gain cell that was for matching moving coil cartridges to he phono input of my pre amp but i never did find out if the phono input on preamps were any more or less sensitive than the other inputs.in its day the quatre sold for about 250 bucks and was powered by 4 d cells.i learned the hard way never to turn it of or on when the unit was powered as there was an ungodly pop that went tru the system.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by JBLRaiser View Post
    Dynaco PAS3 into a...newer model Chinese 6sn7 preamp just to play the vinyl. The 12ax7 tube phono stage is very musical. They are readily available on Ebay.
    'Raiser,


    Agreed. They are hard to beat. I found them to be a bit noisy in stock form, though that could be related to a few parts being out of spec. When I incorporated a solid state rectifier over the 12X4, and beefed up the power supply- things really began to move!

    As a standalone phono- the following two mods will help greatly improve the perfomance (AKA- 2 friendly suggestions that you may have already incorporated... ):


    1. Bypass all tone controls on the pas3 as suggested by Curcio. Also remove the volume control and clip the entire selector switch out of path. Wire the phono board direct.


    2. Clip the linestage board remove its 12ax7 load from the power supply. Greatly increases the dynamic perfomance!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    These two mods will cost you next to nothing. (except the cost of solder and about 1' of wire). Oh, also the cost of two resistors. When you remove the select switch- you have to reroute the load onto the phono board. That means you have to change a pair of resitors. It is all outlined in Curcio's documents.



    I can attest to these two mods and they turned my "little engine that could" into a full blown freightliner.




    Originally Posted by jim campbell
    does the phono input on pre amps for moving magnet type cartridges match the input sensitivity of the tape ins or aux ins?



    Jim,


    Phono inputs on preamps are very specific with regard to cart type, and they do not match the input of an AUX or TAPE loop input. Phono inputs of the MM variety are approx 1.5mV- 5mV; MC = 0.1 - 0.5mV inputs (+/- on both). Line Level inputs= 2V range.


    A common mistake people make is routing a stand alone phono pre into the phono input of the main preamp. Very bad. They step up the signal and as such, should be routed into the AUX. Otherwise, the phono input on the main pre is just that- a direct connection to the TT. Sounds like a mistake few people would make, but it happens...


    When it doubt- err on the side of caution and double check. A mismatch in sens can cause parts to operate well out of spec and result in resistor burnout when the load gets heavy enough. I messed up doing this once...only once.



    cheers,
    Nate.

  14. #14
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jim campbell View Post
    does the phono input on pre amps for moving magnet type cartridges match the input sensitivity of the tape ins or aux ins?
    no. the line level (tape in/aux in) inputs are -much- less sensitive.

    Quote Originally Posted by jim campbell View Post
    i have a quatre gain cell that was for matching moving coil cartridges to he phono input of my pre amp but i never did find out if the phono input on preamps were any more or less sensitive than the other inputs.
    This would be a non-equalized, pre-preamp ... one can also buy step-up transformers
    to perform a similar function. An actual preamp phono input must in include something
    resembling RIAA equalization to flatten the frequency response back out. I'm not a
    huge Wikipedia fan, but : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RIAA_equalization

    -grumpy

  15. #15
    Heather [Senorita member] hjames's Avatar
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    In the old days I used to run the table with a Stanton 681 EEE - but I'm sure I have a lesser pickering or similar in there now. (at work now, not at home to check, sorry).

    I just need a minimal gain stage with an RIAA vinyl EQ.
    I'm not really looking to run my turntable off a tube amp - certainly nothing THAT esoteric!

    Quote Originally Posted by JBLRaiser View Post
    newer model Chinese 6sn7 preamp just to play the vinyl. The 12ax7 tube phono stage is very musical. They are readily available on Ebay.
    2ch: Oppo, JoLida 502CRC, JBL L212, 18ti,240ti; Heath AS101, Von Schweikert VR4
    7.1: Oppo BDP103D, B&K, UREI 809A, JBL B460

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