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What phono stage would you suggest me?


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Posted (edited)

Sorry for the bad english, this is not my native language. I live in Ukraine.

Friends, advise the phono stage. In my wilderness there is no way to listen, I rely on experience, intuition and your help.
At the moment I have:

Michell Orbe + SME 309 + Goldring Eroica Lx;
Phono stage Benz Micro Lukaschek PP1;
Unison Research S6;
Harbeth 7.

I just want to exchange Lukaschek for a more or less decent tube.

Of the options (all this is used):

E.A.R. 834 P Signature - $1200
Synthesis Roma 79DC Al - $1500
CARY PH-302 mk II - $2400

I would really appreciate your help!

Mikhail

Edited by Editor
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No one likes this response but at this high end of the equation more than ever - you need to get your ears around them and see which your ears like best.  Against that you also have to balance will you change your cartridge in the future and if so to ensure that the one you buy has the versatility to match to different cartridges.   

I would also see what is available second hand - careful second hand buying at the right price means, if you decide it is not for you, you can pass it on for little or no loss.  

If you have not read it then I would read this - https://www.themasterswitch.com/best-phono-preamps

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Posted (edited)

The EE minimax phonostage (mm and mc) is well worth an audition, I have used one for many years, and it is presently paired with a unison research simply 4. Sounds superb in that combination.

Forgot to mention that The MC gain and  is done through SUT's on the EE, which I know is favoured by many on here, and it has a high and low setting.

Edited by greybeard
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I agree with everything Uzzy has just written, and if i was in the market for a new phono stage at your price point i would be auditioning the PS audio Stellar. 

I don't tend to bother to much with reviews (as they are nearly all positive, or at worst very veiled with caveats), but it has been described as a must audition 'at any pricepoint' by some reviews i respect.

Best,

 Joolz

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5 minutes ago, greybeard said:

The EE minimax phonostage is well worth an audition, I have used one for many years, and it is presently paired with a unison research simply 4. Sounds superb in that combination.

Hi Mikhail, Welcome to the wam I hope your prepared for your response....

I agree with everything Colin (Greybeard) Says above I also have a EE Minimax Phono stage fitted with a Coppercap Rectifier and have used it with a Michell Oddessy SME V Benz Wood sl combination so not unlike your Turntable set up.

I can safely say it's the best phono stage I have had in my system in every way and will not be leaving my house while I am alive. I have had Sugden Masterclass,Vincent two box, Icon Audio and others none of which have stayed. It just does the job musical detailed solid bass and great imaging.

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Here's a picture....

89B5A532-9688-4635-97E6-2C0C6DB87AB8.jpeg

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You could consider a new TRON Convergence within your budget. Top class valve phono stage, which has featured in the Best Sound awards at Rocky Mountain Audio Fest in the USA. That’s an excellent achievement considering how much the systems cost at RMAF.

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3 hours ago, uzzy said:

No one likes this response but at this high end of the equation more than ever - you need to get your ears around them and see which your ears like best.  Against that you also have to balance will you change your cartridge in the future and if so to ensure that the one you buy has the versatility to match to different cartridges.   

I would also see what is available second hand - careful second hand buying at the right price means, if you decide it is not for you, you can pass it on for little or no loss.  

If you have not read it then I would read this - https://www.themasterswitch.com/best-phono-preamps

It's not that no-one likes it, it's just that ...

a) people come on the forum seeking suggestions to narrow down a potentially bewildering field. If they can audition, we all know they should and most will; they are simply seeking suggestions as to what to audition

b) the OP says "In my wilderness there is no way to listen, I rely on experience, intuition and your help" so I think any suggestions here are acknowledging that.

I think your second point is hugely helpful given Mikhail's situation: a new purchase, unless on audition, is risky financially whereas sensible secondhand/used/pre-owned purchases offer fabulous value if you like what you hear and minimal losses if you don't. Nice one.

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If it's recommendations you want, I love my EAR 834P but the caveat is you'll have to keep a spanner handy to tighten the nuts around the o/p plugs - otherwise a channel will drop out for no readily apparent reason.

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Tron Convergence, EE Minimax, Icon Audio PS1.2. 

All really good and would fit the OP’s requirements admirably.

But given the budget range I would go for this http://www.artaudio.co.uk/vinyl-one-phono-stage/

i appreciate that it will be more expensive second hand, even in “basic” configuration but for overall musicality and especially bass extension and definition the Vinyl One is hard to beat! I’ve had all four in my system at one time or another for various lengths of time.

Mikhail, do you really need a valve stage though? What about this? https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/TRILOGY-907-PHONO-STAGE-EXCELLENT-CONDITION-EX-DISPLAY-AUTHORISED-DEALER-/154519179074?var=0&mkevt=1&mkcid=1&mkrid=710-53481-19255-0&campid=5338268676&toolid=10044&customid=EAIaIQobChMIx5CB2ZfU8QIVCLbtCh0VtAgSEAQYAiABEgJPNfD_BwE. Getting expensive new but in your budget second hand and a terrific phono stage.

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4 hours ago, TheFlash said:

It's not that no-one likes it, it's just that ...

a) people come on the forum seeking suggestions to narrow down a potentially bewildering field. If they can audition, we all know they should and most will; they are simply seeking suggestions as to what to audition

b) the OP says "In my wilderness there is no way to listen, I rely on experience, intuition and your help" so I think any suggestions here are acknowledging that.

I think your second point is hugely helpful given Mikhail's situation: a new purchase, unless on audition, is risky financially whereas sensible secondhand/used/pre-owned purchases offer fabulous value if you like what you hear and minimal losses if you don't. Nice one.

Nicely put - my problem is with a major expense items, being naturally risk averse, I have great difficulty in buying anything I haven't heard.    Also there are some good dealers in the UK who will (if you pay the courier costs) let you have stuff on home trial.  When it comes to moving things on I am a lazy sod who hates the hassle of selling stuff online.  Guess I am turning into the grumpy old lazy git.   

I would suggest though if you and fourlegs have a recommendation I might be inclined to buy unheard when it comes to electronics (I still believe speakers are such a personal choice that I would be less inclined in that area)  and this brings me back to what I have told others, namely which wammers have commented on stuff that you know and were their comments/findings in agreement with yours?  Easy for me having been a wammer for some years and feel I am tune with a number of Wammers - as I have commented "similar ears" or "understanding others choices" ..  Editor is a newbie so not so easy for him unfortunately.

I do realise though I neglected to ask Editor the all important question - What is it he thinks is falling short with his current Phono Preamp (as it seems to be a bit of a beast  https://www.audiosanctuary.co.uk/benz-micro-lukaschek-pp1-moving-coil-transformer-with-riaa-equalizer.html) that he feels the need to change it?  It could just be a search for the holy grail (an itch for a change) which without audition is a dangerous game UNLESS as we both agree, that the alternatives can be bought at a price to be sold on for little or no loss.  

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You could look at the Bigbottle BB3, the maker comes on this forum and I'm sure would be able to answer any questions you may have.  It's been given some rave reviews of late.

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Posted (edited)

The Minimax uses feedback equalisation, I have never been a fan of this approach, the 834p is the same.

There are lots of phono stages that use passive equalisation that sounds better to my ears.

Edited by Firebottle
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