JollyRaja

Phono Stage Advice for SME10, Bryston amps and PMC fact8s

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MM carts rarely need a step up transformer as their output is much higher than an MC cart.

Most valve phonostages are MM because of the noise issues with using low output MCs and valves so need a SUT when used with a MC cart.

There have been lots of recommendations but I couldn't find anything about budget in the OP, how much are you looking to spend?

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I have an Art Audio Vinyl 1 and it is good for foot-tapping. Can be tweaked a bit as well and tubes can be rolled if that appeals. I wouldn't call it warm, but it is punchy and tonally accurate which is not to be sniffed at for long-term listening.

Interesting. Do Art Audio still exist? Can't find anything on the internet.

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MM carts rarely need a step up transformer as their output is much higher than an MC cart.

Most valve phonostages are MM because of the noise issues with using low output MCs and valves so need a SUT when used with a MC cart.

There have been lots of recommendations but I couldn't find anything about budget in the OP, how much are you looking to spend?

Well I got the turntable, arm and cartridge for £2,750 and so was thinking around £1,000 - £1,500 for a phono stage. Not sure if these are reasonable expectations and so I didn't mention price in the OP - just wanted to see what would be the best match regardless of cost. I'm also happy to double my value by going second hand.

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Well I got the turntable, arm and cartridge for £2,750 and so was thinking around £1,000 - £1,500 for a phono stage. Not sure if these are reasonable expectations and so I didn't mention price in the OP - just wanted to see what would be the best match regardless of cost. I'm also happy to double my value by going second hand.

For that sort of budget I would be looking to upgrade the cart, you will get far more bang for buck spending the money on a cart.

I would get something like a Puresound P10 phonostage which would give you some of that valve slight softness and stay away from a SS phono if I were you, add to that a reasonable SUT and buy something like a Shelter MC cart and you would have a nicely balanced musical front end.

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Thanks Jupiter4. I feel my system in on the lean side too. I have no cartridge strategy - it's my first turntable - but I might need one as I think (but I could be completely wrong) that valves are more suited to MM and need a step-up transformer.

I'm probably talking rubbish ... I had to Google "Dynavector VD20" to realise it was a typo and it should have been DV20!

There are a fair few valve phono stages with decent enough built in SUT's*(My own Icon, Eastern electric Minimax, EAR spring to mind or the Puresound with matching SUT....alright that one's two boxes.:D , then there's the Boardman 33.3 which can be ordered MM only or with SUT's, the Firebottle looks good too) & for many mainstream mc carts there shouldn't be many issues with matching & there is a good choice of capable lomc's between £300-£800.

:) Given how many of us are using valve phono stages with LOMC carts your statement is a little at odds with many of our vinyl setups here. Out of those of us using separate phono stages on here I wouldn't be surprised if valve phono stages were in the ascendence. Given your cart I reckon the Minimax would be a good shout as Wallmans Ortofon Kontrapunkt B sounded lovely through his, any of the options mentioned should be fine though.

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The Avid Pulsus has been recommended to me by another dealer. It's in my budget and has got rave reviews in the press (well those published on the Avid website) but is conspicuous by its absence on this forum. Is there a reason for this?

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I am not aware of anyone that owns an Avid phonostage. I have never heard or seen one nor can I recall anyone talking about them on the forum.

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Get a 2nd hand Ps Audio GCPH (cullen modified) for less than $1k on USA audiogon. Has volume control so can be used direct into power amps or active crossovers. I use this with PMC MB2 XBD-A and brinkmann record playing system. Easily beat a TEAD groove/vibe combo at a tenth of the cost (as it cuts out the pre leading to huge gain). Into a pre it is equivalent to the microgroove. Cutting out the pre brings a HUGE gain. Put the remainder of your budget to to a sale of the pre and SME10 and upgrade the deck. I recommend a Brinkmann deck - even the cheapest will kill the SME 30.

If you need to use a digital source then get one with its own inbuilt volume control and then run the dac and the phono into a switch before the crossover or power amp.

This will lift your system into the next league or three

Not interested in flame wars with trolls. This is my opinion like it or lump it guys

Took me a whole to understand what you were saying because of my inexperience / ignorance. Your set-up sounds very interesting. Maybe not for me today as it involves selling a lot of what I already have but in the future who knows. I didn't realise there are so many options!

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I am not aware of anyone that owns an Avid phonostage. I have never heard or seen one nor can I recall anyone talking about them on the forum.

Ha ha. The dealer who recommended it to me personally has a set-up very similar to mine, listens to a lot of different phono stages as part of his job and suggested the Avid Pulsus was the best stage for me. It wouldn't be a gamble because he's heard the whole caboodle together. Choosing a different one, including more expensive ones from him, would be a gamble.

As someone said earlier, the best way to choose a phono stage is to try a selection in your own home. Unfortunately I haven't got the time or patience for this so a "dead cert" as my first phono stage is a good idea. As I gain more experience, go to more hi-fi shows etc I'm sure I'll change things.

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Ha ha. The dealer who recommended it to me personally has a set-up very similar to mine, listens to a lot of different phono stages as part of his job and suggested the Avid Pulsus was the best stage for me. It wouldn't be a gamble because he's heard the whole caboodle together. Choosing a different one, including more expensive ones from him, would be a gamble.

As someone said earlier, the best way to choose a phono stage is to try a selection in your own home. Unfortunately I haven't got the time or patience for this so a "dead cert" as my first phono stage is a good idea. As I gain more experience, go to more hi-fi shows etc I'm sure I'll change things.

One view would be that there is no such thing as a 'dead cert' especially when it is recommended by the person selling it, alternatively if you have a relationship with a dealer you trust then make use of their experience and demonstration facilities.

If you know the dealer I am sure he would let you have a home dem.

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When he delivered my new Tron Atlantic power amp on Monday, Graham Tricker mentioned that he's releasing a new all-valve phono stage in November. I think it's called the Tron Convergence. IIRC there will be MC and MM versions. Should retail for around £1k.

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Hi Raja, one of your dealers is recommending a TEAD, you might get a Moon from another and I presume a third is recommending the Avid, which I haven't heard. You might consider valves (btw Definitive Audio will help with Art Audio enquiries) maybe with an off-board SUT as well. In all honesty the Microgroove, Moon and Art Audio all sound totally different, as do SUTs, not to mention external power supplies. So my advice would be buy nothing till you've heard a good few demos from dealers with some longer home demos of your eventual short list. Or alternatively, just take a punt on something and keep your fingers crossed. You've a good system. Take the time to improve it.

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Avid Pulsus is a great phono stage. I've heard it in context of Avid Sequel / SME IV / Dynavector XX2 and it was really nice. Good luck with your choices.

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