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Phono stage and cartridge - maybe a change?

DomT

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If you really want to explore phonostages then an obvious contender for Dynavector cartridges is their veryown P75 that with a Dynavector cartridge punches well above its weight.

The other ones that I really liked (and bought) with the DV20X2L (using an SUT but you can plug directly) we’re the Trilogy 906 and Audion Premier. Out of the two I prefer the Audion due to transient speed being faster and the instruments being a little more fleshed out. But the Dynavector P75 would be different rather than worse than these. 

 

trumpetman

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Thanks DomT

I like the idea of a P75, completely forgotten it. I had a mk2 some years ago and found it very good and space saving in the rack. I ended up with the Aria as I sold my Devialet which had a built-in adjustable phono stage. 

I might even put a wanted in the classifieds

 
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uzzy

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Rabski answered the question .. in fact having the volume control above 12 pm is to my ears the ideal (we all know the problem of the other side of the coin where there is a tiny turn from nothing to ear blast and no room for fine tuning).

The moral of the story (if sound is your key) is to accept the quirks of differing sources having different loudness ,, not only that if someone has turned the volume control to max and you switch on it can be a disaster, so for the seasoned amongst us who over the years have had all sorts of issues etc we have trained ourselves to do two things ... check the volume control is at the minimum on switch on and to return the volume control to minimum when we have finished listening.   For the in between times again when changing source the first action for me is to turn the volume control down.

Of course we got used to it due to CD players having an output of 2 volts and our preamps and amps back in the day had input requirements of 300 mvolts or less so unless fitting attenuators on the CD you could blast yourself into next week (or catch the bass cones as they parted company with the basket) if you switched from phono to cd player without adjusting the volume.

The other advantage to this is, whilst volume pots can wear over time, if left in one position, or a small range of movement, dirt and dust settle on the unused bits resulting in crackle when adjusting outside your normal range ... so for me I would rather risk the wear on knobs by frequently adjusting, to having to try and get rid of crackle (which I have to do occasionally on the balance control which is rarely used).   My Audio Research preamp is coming up for 30 years old and the volume pot (with its frequent movement) is still working perfectly. 

 
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Rockchild

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Firstly Happy New Year to all in advance

Background - AWB are touring the UK featuring their white album, couldn't get to any concerts, so put my vinyl copy on the system over christmas and it sounded shite.  Investigations led to to cartridge and alignment check - all OK, then phono stage settings.  I discovered the MC button was pressed and not the MM - bingo sounding gorgeous.  BUT volume on amp is at 3/4 for ordinary listening levels. Being a bit OCD this is not good esp when I change source. Have tried a few settings with some advice using MC jumpers and obviously still crap.

So WAM advice please

I'm still loving the vinyl and DV carts - do I get a more sophisticated adjustable phono stage that will bring the knob down (oh err!), or look for a LOMC?

Suitable phono stages to consider would be appreciated

Details below - thanks

System

Rega Aria MM/MC phonostage
Dynavector 20X2H cartridge
Funk Firm LSD
Hegel Integ. Amp

Cartridge

Type High output moving coil cartridge with flux damper and softened magnetism
Output Voltage 2.8mV
Channel Separation 25 dB (at 1KHz)
Channel balance 1.0 dB (at 1KHz)
Frequency response 20 - 20,000Hz (± 1dB)
Compliance 12 mm/N
Tracking force 1.8 - 2.2 g
Impedance 150 ohms
Recommended load impedance > 1,000 ohms
Cantilever 6mm length, hard aluminium pipe
Stylus tip Micro Ridge Nude diamond
Weight 9.2 g
Not a fan of these so called high output mcs that are designed to run on MM. The output is poor for gain matching as there is no adjustment on mm. A typical mm cartridge has an output of anything from 5.0mV which would give you a better volume control range. Hana are worse than DV at only 2.0mV against 2.8mV. They are all pointless on MM Settings imo. 
The Rega phonostage is a good one and I’d look either for an MC cartridge with an output of approx 0.4mV or a decent MM Cartridge with an output of approximately 5.5mV or above. Rega’s own MM’s are 6.0mV or above. 
I don’t know if your Hegel has different volume settings per input but I wouldn’t want to forget where I left the volume control if it didn’t when id switch inputs! !
 

A properly matched MM or MC cartridge should NOT need you to whack your volume dial around the clock no matter what has been said here. 
 

 
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Lurch

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+1 for the above. 

To my mind HOMC carts are not the panacea they appear to be, providing neither the SQ of a similarly priced mm or the delicacy and insight of the equivalent mc. They are basically a compromise, a way into MCs without the expense of a new PS, headamp or sut when checking if that's the way you want to go. 

I would say move your HO cart on and either go for a high end mm/mi or a low output regular MC, that way you will get the best performance by type, for the money you're prepared to invest. 

 
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Rockchild

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+1 for the above. 

To my mind HOMC carts are not the panacea they appear to be, providing neither the SQ of a similarly priced mm or the delicacy and insight of the equivalent mc. They are basically a compromise, a way into MCs without the expense of a new PS, headamp or sut when checking if that's the way you want to go. 

I would say move your HO cart on and either go for a high end mm/mi or a low output regular MC, that way you will get the best performance by type for the money your prepared to invest. 
Exactly 

 
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trumpetman

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Thanks chaps, have you any cartridge suggestions to look out for please, £500ish, new or used with history. 

Music taste is not rock or classical, if there is something in the recording I like to hear it especially trumpet!! Big Band, Jazz soul and AWB of course

 

Lurch

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MM AT VM750SH, Goldring 1042, Ortofon 2m Bronze MC, AT OC9xML, Goldring  Eroica Lx, Ortofon Quintet Bronze 

 
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rabski

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Not a fan of these so called high output mcs that are designed to run on MM. The output is poor for gain matching as there is no adjustment on mm. A typical mm cartridge has an output of anything from 5.0mV which would give you a better volume control range. Hana are worse than DV at only 2.0mV against 2.8mV. They are all pointless on MM Settings imo. 
The Rega phonostage is a good one and I’d look either for an MC cartridge with an output of approx 0.4mV or a decent MM Cartridge with an output of approximately 5.5mV or above. Rega’s own MM’s are 6.0mV or above. 
I don’t know if your Hegel has different volume settings per input but I wouldn’t want to forget where I left the volume control if it didn’t when id switch inputs! !
 

A properly matched MM or MC cartridge should NOT need you to whack your volume dial around the clock no matter what has been said here. 
 
I completely agree about the first part.

Re the second part, nobody is suggesting turning the dial right round its setting range. However, even among all the LOMC cartridges suggested so far, there are reasonably different output levels. You are never going to get a phono stage with enough fine gain adjustment to make everything absolutely equal, and nor should you.

 
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hiesteem

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Thanks chaps, have you any cartridge suggestions to look out for please, £500ish, new or used with history. 

Music taste is not rock or classical, if there is something in the recording I like to hear it especially trumpet!! Big Band, Jazz soul and AWB of course
There's an OC9 XSL on sale in the wam classifieds. 50 hours use, two months old, with receipt.

 
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Rockchild

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I completely agree about the first part.

Re the second part, nobody is suggesting turning the dial right round its setting range. However, even among all the LOMC cartridges suggested so far, there are reasonably different output levels. You are never going to get a phono stage with enough fine gain adjustment to make everything absolutely equal, and nor should you.
This is why I like the Benz L and M options 0.4mV and 0.8mV respectively. The latter I have and seems to be gain matched pretty equally to other sources. Sometimes it’s trial and error. 
where it goes wrong is using MC’s on MM, I’ve done the comparison with two DV cartridges and it’s truly awful on the high output version, it robs the low output version it’s credibility if you haven’t heard it.

Ortofon Quintet MC cartridges are impressive for their cost but many naturally will assume they are the same except stylus profile but as an example, the blue outputs at 0.5mV but the Bronze outputs at 0.3mV. 
 

it pays to do your homework as you know. 😊

 
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rabski

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This is why I like the Benz L and M options 0.4mV and 0.8mV respectively. The latter I have and seems to be gain matched pretty equally to other sources. Sometimes it’s trial and error. 
where it goes wrong is using MC’s on MM, I’ve done the comparison with two DV cartridges and it’s truly awful on the high output version, it robs the low output version it’s credibility if you haven’t heard it.

Ortofon Quintet MC cartridges are impressive for their cost but many naturally will assume they are the same except stylus profile but as an example, the blue outputs at 0.5mV but the Bronze outputs at 0.3mV. 
 

it pays to do your homework as you know. 😊
The real problem with using HOMC cartridges is that the fundamental way they work electrically means they're a fudge, because they have to 'work' with the 47K input impedance of virtually every phono stage set to MM, whereas ideally the loading would be different. They're built as a major compromise.

To be fair, quite a few aren't at all bad. They can give some of the lightness and openness of good MCs, but I've yet to hear one that's 'the whole package'.

You (probably) know by now my feelings about cartridges anyway. QWhen it comes to moving coils, be prepared to make Mr Barclycard wince. There are and have been a few exceptions, but in general you really need to get a bit spendy to avoid the 'what is all the fuss about' feeling.

 

Rockchild

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The real problem with using HOMC cartridges is that the fundamental way they work electrically means they're a fudge, because they have to 'work' with the 47K input impedance of virtually every phono stage set to MM, whereas ideally the loading would be different. They're built as a major compromise.

To be fair, quite a few aren't at all bad. They can give some of the lightness and openness of good MCs, but I've yet to hear one that's 'the whole package'.

You (probably) know by now my feelings about cartridges anyway. QWhen it comes to moving coils, be prepared to make Mr Barclycard wince. There are and have been a few exceptions, but in general you really need to get a bit spendy to avoid the 'what is all the fuss about' feeling.
Indeed. The same applies to turntables. I’ve been impressed with some ‘under £1000’ MC’s but agree, things really get tasty from then on. I’ve had some in the past but resisting the urge to do it again. If I do, I’ll blame the forum 😊

 

uzzy

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Thanks chaps, have you any cartridge suggestions to look out for please, £500ish, new or used with history. 

Music taste is not rock or classical, if there is something in the recording I like to hear it especially trumpet!! Big Band, Jazz soul and AWB of course
The D5 arm says it is variable mass but FF do not quote the effective mass of the arm anywhere I could find (perhaps I did not look long enough) - but the theory of increasing mass with the sliding weight on the arm tube to set cartridge weight will not IMO make a lot of difference as many of the Low mass moving coils track at the same weight a a lot of medium compliance cartridges,

One ad said it had a medium mass arm - so if you are looking at Moving Coils I would be looking at medium compliance (i.e. avoid low compliance Denon's that love a heavy arm).  

As such you need to get to your dealers and get your ears around the market to see what tickles your fancy ,,, if i was in your position (but I doubt I ever will be being a Decca lover which requires a different arm) I would be checking out the Low output Hana MCs and the AT OC9 range and the Dynavector DV-20 X2 low output (it can be bought as a High output too) ,,, as to the type of music you listen to, a great cartridge reproduces all types of music with equal aplomb. 

The following thread may provide more insight https://www.hifiwigwam.com/forum/topic/157089-£500-mc-carts/#comments

 

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