RSand

Cheap and cheerful solution to needing MC

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I've got a Quad 34 with built-in MM phono stage, it was running fine with a HO MC and I should have left it alone :)

I was lent a LO MC and SUT and in honesty, in this system, I preferred the cheap and cheerful 'pick-it' cart over the rather tasty Saec cart. This might be as much to do with compliance, the arm is light and the Saec MC is a heavy lump so the counterweight sits right at the back of the arm.

Anyway, the issue/problem. I now need to return the SUT but can't go back to the HO cart as I dropped and broke it, leaving me with a MM phono and MC cart and not a lot of money.

Solution 1
Get hold of a quad 34 MC board. I've seen them go on flebay for £20ish but not for a while, the only ones now are £50. How good a stage is the 34 MC? Worth hanging on for?

Solution 2
Buy a  cheap SUT or head amp? From experience, SUT's can be easy to get right and easy to get wrong, what can I really expect for sub £100?

Option 3
Pick up a cheap phono stage with MC like a phonobox se, cambridge etc. With an entry level newr stage outperform a quad 34 board?

Option 4
Try and source another sub £100 HO MC?

It's only the 2nd system, however I seem to spend more time listening in this room than the main one :( especially as we come into summer it's the system I'll be using. Swapping phono's, TT's or carts isn't an option, I don't want to disturb the main room.

Thanks in advance

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Moderator

Go mm or get a head amp.

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I found the Quad 34 MM phono stage to be pretty good. Certainly every bit as good as a separate phono stage. Of course I'm only referring to the technical qualities, but as far as the technical performance goes, the Quad 34 is pretty good. 

Noise is -80dB CCIR weighted

Input overload is an excellent 30dB

RIAA Accuracy is within 0.5dB up to 20kHz

Input capacitance is as standard 277pF, but that can be easily changed.

If you just have to pay £50 for the Quad MM board, you certainly won't find better for that price, and you'll avoid having to have an extra box.

S

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Super Wammer

Ortofon T5s will sort your cheap SUT requirement. I have a pair if there's none on ebay.

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I own a Quad 34 with both mc and mm cards. I think the mm card is good however the mc card IMO is not to the same standard sounding rather murky and vague.

However I have got good results with a cheap Audio Technica AT630 inline SUT into the mm card. It is quite a lively sound so perfect for the slightly laidback Quad. It is also whisper quiet.

These can be had for under £70 however the T5 mentioned may be just as good an option.

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Super Wammer
9 hours ago, RSand said:

I've got a Quad 34 with built-in MM phono stage, it was running fine with a HO MC and I should have left it alone :)

I was lent a LO MC and SUT and in honesty, in this system, I preferred the cheap and cheerful 'pick-it' cart over the rather tasty Saec cart. This might be as much to do with compliance, the arm is light and the Saec MC is a heavy lump so the counterweight sits right at the back of the arm.

Anyway, the issue/problem. I now need to return the SUT but can't go back to the HO cart as I dropped and broke it, leaving me with a MM phono and MC cart and not a lot of money.

Solution 1
Get hold of a quad 34 MC board. I've seen them go on flebay for £20ish but not for a while, the only ones now are £50. How good a stage is the 34 MC? Worth hanging on for?

Solution 2
Buy a  cheap SUT or head amp? From experience, SUT's can be easy to get right and easy to get wrong, what can I really expect for sub £100?

Option 3
Pick up a cheap phono stage with MC like a phonobox se, cambridge etc. With an entry level newr stage outperform a quad 34 board?

Option 4
Try and source another sub £100 HO MC?

It's only the 2nd system, however I seem to spend more time listening in this room than the main one :( especially as we come into summer it's the system I'll be using. Swapping phono's, TT's or carts isn't an option, I don't want to disturb the main room.

Thanks in advance

No point it buying a cheap head amp but you don't need to .. get a step up transformer :)  If you buy a decent one you will always get your money back on it .. However the 34 isn't the most transparent of preamps - perhaps it is time to upgrade that as well :) 

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I have a couple of high compliance carts Rob that you could try. IMO the cartridge and arm should be considered as one and need to have a compliance match. I'm no expert in terms of the mathematical calculations but there is a compliance matching thingy on vinyl engine that I used some years ago. 

I also have a Lentek head amp that will allow you to try an mc as it is battery powered and connects straight in to the MM input of your Quad. I like the Quad stuff, it always sounds good to me.

I'm not a fan of SUTS personally but lots are; they offer too little flexibility for me and need to matched to the cartridge well. If you change your cart you need to change your SUT unless you match its spec again.

 I'm off for a fortnight if you want to try anything.

Edited by oldius

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Super Wammer

Teachers and holidays! ;) Have a good one Geoff. Generous offer as ever.

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Moderator

Hi Mike, hope you're well.

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Have a look at the Boozhound jfet MC preamp shipping price is wrong on the website and is free if just ordering the pcb. You can put one together with nice parts for under £50 including the pcb

https://boozhoundlabs.com/collections/all/products/bhl-audio-jfet-moving-coil-pre-preamp-phono-kit-2sk170

Fwiw have a look also at the Boozhound JFET/RIAA preamplifier the pcb is $29 (free shipping) but forget using the Russian paper in oil caps I made mine with a all Russian teflon capacitor RIAA stage and Tex cap American teflon output capacitors all found on ebay. It is a superb budget phono stage and great bang for you buck. It easily smoked my Clearaudio Nano phono.

https://boozhoundlabs.com/collections/all/products/bhl-audio-jfet-phono-preamplifier-kit-2sk170-riaa

 

Edited by JamieMcC

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Some good, helpful advice - thanks all.

Geoff, that would be great thanks and will point me in the right direction be it cart, phono, head amp or sut. I'm free most days so will text you to arrange, will be good to catch up.

I'm not desperate to upgrade here, the quad sits perfectly in this room and sounds great. It's more about having music in the room, not critical listening if I want better I just go into the other room.

Edited by RSand

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Moderator

No problem Rob. The Quads are plenty good enough IMO.

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Guest MJ.

Agree with Geoff and Graham. The Quad 34 MM phono is actually pretty good, the MC less so.

So, my advice is an MM cart or step-up with MC, in that order.

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