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phonostage, turntable, arm or cartridge?..


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If you were to spend out more on one of the above four.. which would it be? 

I'm not looking at current setup, brand or budget. Interested where peoples may think the single most important contributing factor may be...

also aware correct setup helps 🔩...

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Not possible on this forum 😊

I think we've finally solved this mystery, what you need to do is spend £10k on turntable and the same amount on your arm, cartridge and phonostage,  There, it wasn't that difficult after all.

So you could sell the Phono stage and go on holiday??

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There was a thread on this a few months back and it ran into many pages. Non conclusive due to various options. 
For me, I spent the most on deck then arm then cartridge although arm and cartridge are only £100 apart because the arm is capable. Unfortunately where I tripped up was the phonostage because it cost more than the individual aforementioned items lol

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My arm is worth about 2/3 of my turntable, cartridge about 1/3 of my turntable and my phono stage cost about 1/4 of my turntable (but I think it's worth about 1/2 to 2/3 of my turntable).

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I missed that thread and not looking to start a new log😂.. Nice simplified answers thanks 👍

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9 minutes ago, 2010*zuma said:

 Nice simplified answers thanks 👍

Not possible on this forum 😊

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In my opinion, once you reach a certain point, the turntable itself makes a tiny difference - it's all about the arm/cartridge compatibility. 

As for the phono stage, I tested loads and had a £4k design which I loved. Changing my whole amplification to a vintage Japanese pre/power showed me that the conviction of many that a separate phono stage is best, is folly.

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Posted (edited)
23 minutes ago, oldius said:

As for the phono stage, I tested loads and had a £4k design which I loved. Changing my whole amplification to a vintage Japanese pre/power showed me that the conviction of many that a separate phono stage is best, is folly.

are your saying you found that an intergrated phonostage in your vintage japanese pre gave you excellent results within the context of all your previous phono's... 

Edited by 2010*zuma
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If you are a mega detail freak then spend lots on a turntable and arm. If like me tou are not then I ended up with (retail price) £4.5k turntable, £1k arm and £3k phonostage. I have used a £4.5k Koetsu, £3.3k Dynavector and now a £3k Audio Note cartridges. I have found to my personal tastes it’s worth splashing out on cartridge and phonostages subject to good arm/cartridge match. 

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I'm mostly in agreement with DomT, if you have a decent tt/arm, you can get away with a cheaper cartridge, but you can't get away with a cheap phonostage.  Although my phonostage only cost £700 it was really a bargain, I'd put it up there with ones costing £1500.  To be honest I was really surprised at how much of a difference a phonostage made to the sound, but all things a relative.

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, 2010*zuma said:
are your saying you found that an intergrated phonostage in your vintage japanese pre gave you excellent results within the context of all your previous phono's... 

I am saying that my system, as a whole, improved with that change. In my view, the sound that I achieved from vinyl was better than all of the previous amplification that I had used with internal or external phono stages.

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk
 

Edited by oldius
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It's tough. I have pretty much maxed out on all 4.

I note that I was happy listening to records with a goldring 1042, however much I prefer the dynavector. 

By contrast when my pip1 finally became unusable and I bought a quad 44 as a stop-gap, I stopped listening to records 

Ditto a standard technics sl1200 while waiting for my mission 774 to be rewired (still waiting...) 

Changing the arm (and mat) on the technics transformed it into listenable. 

So, whilst I think the answer is a balance and it is pointless having one component massively ahead of the mix, other than as a transitory stage, I would now prioritise the arm over the turntable 

It goes without saying that I consider Houdini is now a game changer in this field 

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30 minutes ago, Pinkie said:

 

It goes without saying that I consider Houdini is now a game changer in this field 

Predictably though, you did say it.

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I am not a Linn fan but they got it right years ago. T/T first. A good arm and cartridge on a poor deck will only amplify the ‘noise’ from the deck.  I use a Micro Benz cartridge which I had in a Rega Technoarm.  It was good.  I brought an Origin Live arm and now it’s great. 
T/T first. Arm second. Cartridge third. 

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4 hours ago, antonio66 said:

I'm mostly in agreement with DomT, if you have a decent tt/arm, you can get away with a cheaper cartridge, but you can't get away with a cheap phonostage.  Although my phonostage only cost £700 it was really a bargain, I'd put it up there with ones costing £1500.  To be honest I was really surprised at how much of a difference a phonostage made to the sound, but all things a relative.

As you say, a better phonostage can make quite a difference. But I found that they are quite variable with some sounding asleep (Puresound) or strangling the music (Linn Uphorik). There are some good ones at around £1000 (Trilogy) but once you get beyond that there are a few gems. Of course it helps if the rest of your system can reveal the differences. I could hear far more of a difference between any component with my Wilson Benesch Curves compared to my Harbeth SHL5s. 

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4 minutes ago, Minicoupeman said:

I am not a Linn fan but they got it right years ago. T/T first. A good arm and cartridge on a poor deck will only amplify the ‘noise’ from the deck.  I use a Micro Benz cartridge which I had in a Rega Technoarm.  It was good.  I brought an Origin Live arm and now it’s great. 
T/T first. Arm second. Cartridge third. 

I think that first choose the turntable that gives the base character that you are looking for but it doesn’t necessarily have to cost the earth.  If you are a DD or Idler fan then the entry point is relatively low. 

The other thing that I have found is that to my ears a lot of the magic of a Koetsu or Dynavector DRT1 isn’t fully revealed with SS (I ran both all valve and SS concurrently for a few years) With an SS based system I personally wouldn’t use anything exotic at all unless I bought something secondhand at a huge discount.

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