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Fittersean
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I'm happy with my volvare, ol.encounter,goldring 1040 front end,but was wondering if a separate phono stage ,such as Graham slee gold,as a starting point, would give a good improvement on my exposure xv built-in stage .Or due to its age, would I be better spending on a new integrated, such as a nait xs with a built-in phono stage,just after a few ideas from your experiences, when I can get out of the house for a listen, thanks sean

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Whilst you say your happy with your cart, personally I would say your cart is the weak link in your chain. Yes a separate phono could reap some benefits but I think you'd need a, better cart first to warrant the outlay. Staying with mm then something like the AT 750SH, or a high output mc that will work into your mm stage like a Hana EH/SH, or Dynavector 10x5. 

Once you've stretched the capabilities of the exposures phono you will then hear the benefits of a 'better' PS. 

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IIRC if you join the the GS forum - no cost etc - there is a loaner scheme.

I used my Era v Gold with my XX Super for quite a few years. No idea how it compares the MM stage on your XV tho'.

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With lurch on getting a better cartridge before trying an off board phono preamp ..

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Personal view is the Exposure has a good phono stage and you would have to spend a lot to improve on it.  The XV is available with either MM or MC phono stages. A customer with a MM phono board who decides later to get a MC cartridge can have his board swapped at his dealer at no charge.  Reading reviews of the amp it is worth being aware that  the XV's musicality disappeared when asked to deliver high output levels. If you have a large room, insensitive or low-impedance loudspeakers, or like to listen to music at high levels, the XV won't do it for you.  Your MAs are rated at 89db so power should not be a problem but if you are listening at high volume levels it is something to be aware of.

I guess at the end of the day you need to assess what is missing or lacking in the sound you are getting.  Without knowing what you are looking for you are guessing in the dark (looking for some magical improvement that you do not know what it sounds like until you hear it) rather than operating from a point where you can say "i want more bass definition - more mid definition .. less muddy .. less shouty or whatever it is" then it is hard to recommend anything.

For me that realisation usually comes after visiting someone and listening to their system and then come home and identify that I am not getting this or that which I heard on the other system (fortunately not happened for a long time).  It is all too easy to get caught with the upgrade itch but it is a bit like treating s symptom instead of identifying a root cause problem to solve.  

If you are due a stylus change then it is an opportunity to scratch the itch and investigate other cartridges and how they sound and can they bring something more to the party.   With your turntable and arm it is certainly capable of handling a far superior cartridge than the Goldring (superior perhaps is the wrong word but a wide variety of Moving Coil cartridges is for certain) but in these times it is hard to get to listen at dealers or others to decide what other cartridges you might like that would bring more to your party.  

As you said you are generally happy with the sound you are getting now (and so you should be - great TT arm and cartridge) so my advice would be to just keep putting pennies in the savings bank .. and try to listen to more kit and form some opinions .. my personal view is an upgrade of speakers would bring a lot more to the party (but that is my ears not yours and we each have our own ideas of what sounds right) but your ears may tell you something completely different.

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2 hours ago, Lurch said:

Whilst you say your happy with your cart, personally I would say your cart is the weak link in your chain. Yes a separate phono could reap some benefits but I think you'd need a, better cart first to warrant the outlay. Staying with mm then something like the AT 750SH, or a high output mc that will work into your mm stage like a Hana EH/SH, or Dynavector 10x5. 

Once you've stretched the capabilities of the exposures phono you will then hear the benefits of a 'better' PS. 

100% this - I was going to suggest the AT150mlx, but it seems AT have reworked their entire range, and I'm not sure what the latest equivalent would be - I personally find 'high end' MM to be far more enjoyable than budget high output MC - no question that this will yield far greater gains in the short term. Something like a Croft phono stage is where I'd suggest looking after that - much better sound/£ than the GS stuff I would say - MH

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Thanks for the responses, had a denon 110,swapped to the goldring 1042,I have to admit it was a sideways move, never had sibulance on Fleetwood mac's tango in the night, since the k9 many year's ago, wishing I'd gone for the dynavector now. Only my second mistake in my systems evaluation 

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Just wondered if a better phono stage would smooth things out, as well as a step up in quality 

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25 minutes ago, Fittersean said:

Just wondered if a better phono stage would smooth things out, as well as a step up in quality 

Personal view - no.  You still haven't said where you feel your system is falling short.   If you do not clearly evaluate what you feel is wrong and identify (with your ears) something that sounds better then it may just be "box swapping" .. 

Over the years I have tried many many cartridges .. once you get to the level of a 1042 the differences as you move up the scale are "differences" with some revealing more detail .. but this has to be balanced with getting more detail and a presentation you like.  As my mate's missus said when he was evaluating speakers to buy years ago "I can hear more on them but I like it better on these" ...

Having tried Supex, Fidelity Research and Koetsu and a host of others many years ago what shocked me the most was a simple Denon 103 mounted in a Mayware Formula IV just had more realism to my ears - sure the Koetsu dug out more detail but on rock music lacked the dynamic attack of the 103 ... then I heard a Decca SIlver up against the above and I was sold - nothing had the dynamic attack and lack of compression on transients.   So I have used Deccas (all upgraded with micro line stylus to Super Gold Spec) for the last 42 years ... the only cartridge I heard that was as good with transients but better in other aspects was a Japanese Audio Note which cost a couple of grand about 35 years ago and I have to admit to loving the Transfigurations as well.  

Unless you need a new stylus then sit tight and work out exactly what more you want from your system.  I note you use AKG K240 headphones - how do you find the sound on those?  The reason I ask is to get a benchmark - I had to get some phones when mine died and based on reviews I got some AKG 550 which were supposed to give "Spacious, detailed and natural sound" .. but compared to my old phones were lacking bass resolution and the midrange seemed very recessed.  I pressed them hard to my head and voila the sound was just right but that was not a way to wear headphones and a pain so I bought some Beyer DT990 and they are "spacious, detailed and natural" - great bass and good mids and top end. 

You need to get out and hear more (I know impossible at the mo with Covid) and find what floats your boat instead of fishing and hoping to pull in what you want.   Your turntable arm and cartridge combo should be delivering a great presentation .. so identify what you think is missing and have you heard what you think is missing on other systems?

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53 minutes ago, Fittersean said:

Just wondered if a better phono stage would smooth things out, as well as a step up in quality 

Having previously owned had a fancy 1042 variant for quite some time, I would say that it certainly didn't lack smoothness.... I'm guessing that you have the original XV amp? It might be worth having it checked over/serviced - some of the component values might have gone a little off-piste by now, but I think you'd have to pay quite a bit to get a "better" amp overall, but you certainly wouldn't lose out by adding a good quality valve phono stage. 

And a pair of Harbeths :D

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7 hours ago, MotherSky said:

Having previously owned had a fancy 1042 variant for quite some time, I would say that it certainly didn't lack smoothness.... I'm guessing that you have the original XV amp? It might be worth having it checked over/serviced - some of the component values might have gone a little off-piste by now, but I think you'd have to pay quite a bit to get a "better" amp overall, but you certainly wouldn't lose out by adding a good quality valve phono stage. 

And a pair of Harbeths :D

A good point. Except the Harbeths ;)

I had my Super XX recapped and fettled by Exposure, it was about 18 yrs old (bought 2nd hand). Top end and mid-range improved quite a lot.

Well worth it, if it hasn't been looked at.

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There are so many possible variations, and what you really need is to be able to find a good dealer and try things. I would make 2 observations from recent personal experience.

The 1042 is a decent cartridge. I bought one to replace a U205c which was damaged. And used it with my pip1 (a very good phono stage). It's a bit of a Ford Focus. Not the best in any field but competent all round. I was very happy with it, still have it in a drawer and would use it again if I needed to.

The Pip became unusable and at that time irreparable and I bought a quad44 as a stop gap. And stopped listening to records. I remember my wife bought me a couple of LPs at the time which I didn't even take out of their sleeves.

I started listening to records again when I eventually got the Pip fixed. I can't give relative value for money assessments and I don't know your phono stage, but I think the goldring is good enough to merit a decent phono stage and a good phono stage (phono preamp) transforms LP playing

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15 hours ago, Fittersean said:

I'm happy with my volvare, ol.encounter,goldring 1040 front end,but was wondering if a separate phono stage ,such as Graham slee gold,as a starting point, would give a good improvement on my exposure xv built-in stage .Or due to its age, would I be better spending on a new integrated, such as a nait xs with a built-in phono stage,just after a few ideas from your experiences, when I can get out of the house for a listen, thanks sean

You could look to have the Exposure serviced but frankly your money might be better spent on the likes of an XS. You have a first class turntable so you need to decide how far you want to go to hear it at it’s best. If you aim to invest in a good MC and better speakers then look for a new amp and quality phono stage. If that is not foreseeable and you want to stick with the 1042 ( great cartridge) then go for a new amp with MM stage - if it was me!!

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Service the XX. Great MM phono. Stick with the best MM you can afford. AT MM with microline stylus is a good bet or depending on age /wear you may just obtain a new stylus for the 1042.

If you want to go spendy AN IQ3, MM ,with the same stylus as the Io,  may be as far as you can go. I have IQ2 for MM and an original ANJ Io rebuilt by Kondo. 

Speakers/amp/room matching are FAR more important though and are  key. The rest is icing  only once you ave that right.

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