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Thread: Phono Soundstage or Preamp?

  1. #1
    Senior Member shaansloan's Avatar
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    Phono Soundstage or Preamp?

    Folks I am kinda new at the vinyl thing...

    I have a Denon DP-40F table running to the phono input on my McIntosh C-22 Preamp, fired by McIntosh 240 tubes....

    Question: Do I need a phono soundstage or preamp? If so, what does it do for my system?

    Thanks for any guidance here. Shaan

  2. #2
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    Short answer: probably not.

    Longer answer: maybe... but it would be dependent on the cartridge, not the turntable.

    Really long answer: (sorry, got to scramble to the carpool)

  3. #3
    Senior Member shaansloan's Avatar
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    Grado F-3+

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    Short answer: probably not.

    Longer answer: maybe... but it would be dependent on the cartridge, not the turntable.

    Really long answer: (sorry, got to scramble to the carpool)
    Thanks Grumpy.... looks like my cartridge is a Grado F-3+.... so Soundstage? Preamp?

    I am pretty sure the tone arm is the original Denon.

    Any other ideas that would improve my sound....?

    Don't get me wrong, I think it sounds like s dream right now, but I wonder what I might be missing... Thanks, Shaan

  4. #4
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    The McIntosh C-22 (Original or Re-issue) has a perfectly fine phono input and should not need an outboard phono stage. If he C-22 is an Original unit, it would sonically benefit from service, as there are a number of capacitors that are out of spec.

  5. #5
    Senior Member SUPERBEE's Avatar
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    The McIntosh C-22 has a great phono stage. The Marantz 7-C is even better!
    Paragon
    Olympus
    L-100's
    4311's

  6. #6
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    C-22's spec'd phono "stage" (internal phono pre-amp) gain of 62dB is sufficient for just
    about any cartridge (including your F3+); but the case of a very low output moving coil
    cartridge that likes to be loaded with less than 47K ohms, there -could- be benefits to
    using a stand-alone phono preamp into an aux input, or step-up transformer into the
    C-22's phono input. Lower noise floor, different dynamics, RIAA eq implementation,
    channel matching, etc... might be areas of improvement or just change (that you might
    like or not).

    If the stylus has a lot of hours, the Grado "Red" replacement stylus appears to be a
    recommended replacement for the F3+ and might buy you more entertainment per buck
    (along with the suggestions to make sure the C-22 is working optimally) than entering the
    potentially rather expensive world of stand-alone phono front-ends, which (again) you
    should not need with that cartridge.

  7. #7
    Senior Member shaansloan's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tips...

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpy View Post
    C-22's spec'd phono "stage" (internal phono pre-amp) gain of 62dB is sufficient for just
    about any cartridge (including your F3+); but the case of a very low output moving coil
    cartridge that likes to be loaded with less than 47K ohms, there -could- be benefits to
    using a stand-alone phono preamp into an aux input, or step-up transformer into the
    C-22's phono input. Lower noise floor, different dynamics, RIAA eq implementation,
    channel matching, etc... might be areas of improvement or just change (that you might
    like or not).

    If the stylus has a lot of hours, the Grado "Red" replacement stylus appears to be a
    recommended replacement for the F3+ and might buy you more entertainment per buck
    (along with the suggestions to make sure the C-22 is working optimally) than entering the
    potentially rather expensive world of stand-alone phono front-ends, which (again) you
    should not need with that cartridge.
    Sweet...thanks for the tips...

    Currently I have an EQ in between the C-22 and the MC240 amp, and I am using the subsonic filter which seems to help tighten up the LF drivers.....I am running this through my Altec Carmels right now....this room is large and has high ceilings, along with the EQ slightly tweeked this just sounds fabulous! Just sounds great with any brass, strings, or vocals....any kind of vintage music just has a real nastalgic feel...

    Of course newer music I listen to on my JBL's with an integrated.....

    If I get my hands on a stand-alone phono preamp I'll try running it through my aux and see how it sounds...pretty hard to improve on what I got right now though.

    I appreciate the help... Shaan

  8. #8
    Senior Member pyonc's Avatar
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    In my opinion, it depends on what kind of cartrdige you want to use.
    If you want to use a moving coil cartridge, you'll definitely a phono amp for better and louder sound. But you settle for a moving magnet cartridge like myself, probably you don't need one. Actually when I've tried a moving coil cartridge without a phono amp, I could barely hear the sound from the record. But with the moving magnet cartridge, the sould was much louder and clear. I think you can get the same effect if you find an efficient phono headamp with a higher S/N dbl. I've an Ortofon MCA-76, but its S/N dbl is rather low, compared with modern models like NAD or Cambridge phono amp. I'm going to put it on ebay soon.
    Currently, my turntable gear is Linn Sondek LP12, a vintage gear,
    with Shure V15III moving magnet type. Marantz amp, Mcintosh C29 preamp.
    It sounds great, especially for jazz on my gear, JBL 4343.

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