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Gain setting for my cartridge

Motortown review

Newbie
Wammer
Nov 9, 2020
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My phono amp (Chord Huei) has different gain settings for MC, my cartridge is 0.4mV, which gain setting would be preferable?

Is a lower gain setting preferable over a higher gain, obviously negating the need to turn up the volume?

At the moment the middle of the range seems more or less there, just maybe anyone's thoughts if using this phono amp.
 

Rockchild

Formerly Radiant Red 🎶
Wammer Plus
Jun 22, 2011
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Launceston UK
AKA
Jonathan
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  1. No
The Chord has good gain settings and I’d say (depending on your amplifier gain) 60dB is about right but see how you go.
 
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JohnyT

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Aug 14, 2022
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Broadwey
HiFi Trade?
  1. No
I guess I'll make this my first proper post here:
I had the same dilemma a few years ago. Do I up the gain or do I up the volume on my amp? I found all sorts of conflicting info online. From my experience of Sat-coms it's best to get the cleanest signal into the final stage.
Any way what I decided to do is select the stages's gain somewhere in the middle (forgot which setting exactly) and also set the volume of my amp to something reasonable and made note of where the knob ponited
Next I played the pink noise track of the hifi news test record and using a dB meter I recorded my base point of amplitude. I think it was 85 dB.
Next with nothing playing I would set the volume of the amp to the 12 o'clock position and go through each gain setting making note of how much dB of noise floor I was getting.
It's a bit complicated but using the 85dB reference point I was able to go back and forth adjusting the stage gain and amp volume to find the best signal to noise ratio.

In my case like I predicted it was better to go very low gain and turn the amp up a bit. There's so many variables in our setups, cartridges, amps, mains, cabling ect what was the best combination for me might be a disaster for someone else! Fast forward to today I've gone to great lengths to get clean mains. My new amp and phono stage are both super quiet, it's almost impossible to tell the difference other than how loud each setting is.
 
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