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 Post subject: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 6:32 am 
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Location: Baltimore, MD, US
I'm replacing my Musical Fidelity M6PRE which had a phono preamp with a Cary SLP 05, which doesn't have a phono preamp. My other components are:

Vandersteen 3a Signature speakers
Musical Fidelity M6PRX power amp
VPI traveler turntable with Ortofon Bronze MM cartridge (table and cartridge likely to be upgraded next).

Here's what I'm thinking about in the $1,000 to $3,000 range (new or used). Would like tube but not necessary.

Sutherland 20/20
Lehmann Decade
Pass Labs XP15
Allnic H 1201
Manley Labs Chinook
Parasound Halo JC3

Anyone have thoughts about these or others? Thanks!


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 2:34 pm 
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Joined: Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:07 pm
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Location: Lantana, TX, US
You might want to include either a SimAudio LP 5.3 or the current 310LP. The LP 5.3 is almost identical to the 310LP with the 310LP being somewhat quieter. I have owned both and also own the matching 320PS power supply which makes the preamp even quieter. I have been thrilled with both and use them with a VPI Classic playing either a SoundSmith Zephyr or Dynavector 20x VPI into a Classe SSP-800 and Classe CA-5100 finally ending up in Thiel MCS1 speakers.


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Fri Jun 12, 2015 8:43 am 
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Joined: Tue May 28, 2013 5:29 pm
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Location: Reno, NV, US
I'd recommend an NVO SPA I or II if you can find one used. It's an all tube design, is dead quiet, and sounds phenomenal: absolutely grainless, fast, balanced, with great imaging. The SPA II is my reference. The only negative mark I'd give it is it puts out a significant amount of heat (it's got 22 tubes).


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Sat Jun 13, 2015 4:23 pm 
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Location: Hamilton, ON, CA
Are any of the preamps you're looking at available for an audition. You are looking at some good units, but all are quite different from each other. With that kind of budget I'd want to listen first, then narrow the search and ask opinions.

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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Thu Jun 18, 2015 12:16 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2011 5:40 pm
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Location: Waterford, ON, CA
I've been reviewing a bunch of phono stages on my site lately - including one of the newer NVO units (agree with the previous comments on it). If you go into $3k territory you might have a system imbalance though. Something like a used BAT VK-P5 might fit the bill, or maybe an Aesthetix if you can find one. My feeling is that MC tube designs are a real stretch of both budget and noise limitations. I'm an MC guy, but I've been happier with tube MM's (e.g. EAR, Bottlehead, Hagerman etc) coupled with a good SUT. Don't forget to budget for all the extra interconnects. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:53 am 
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Joined: Tue Jul 05, 2005 3:09 pm
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Location: Sherbrooke, QC, CA
desertrat wrote:
I'm replacing my Musical Fidelity M6PRE which had a phono preamp with a Cary SLP 05, which doesn't have a phono preamp. My other components are:

Vandersteen 3a Signature speakers
Musical Fidelity M6PRX power amp
VPI traveler turntable with Ortofon Bronze MM cartridge (table and cartridge likely to be upgraded next).

Here's what I'm thinking about in the $1,000 to $3,000 range (new or used). Would like tube but not necessary.

Sutherland 20/20
Lehmann Decade
Pass Labs XP15
Allnic H 1201
Manley Labs Chinook
Parasound Halo JC3

Anyone have thoughts about these or others? Thanks!


Go for something where the dealer will let you have a demo unit for a week-end, preferably a long week-end, to bring home.

A system being a chain, evaluating any new component should be done one at a time, within the system you know and in your listening room to have any validity. Anything else is simply purely hit or miss.

Why do you value the opinion of others who are either owners of the model and so very prone to confirmation bias or casual listeners who will gladly opine just for the sake of it?


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Thu Oct 15, 2015 3:18 pm
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Location: Fulton, MD, US
desertrat wrote:
I'm replacing my Musical Fidelity M6PRE which had a phono preamp with a Cary SLP 05, which doesn't have a phono preamp. My other components are:

Vandersteen 3a Signature speakers
Musical Fidelity M6PRX power amp
VPI traveler turntable with Ortofon Bronze MM cartridge (table and cartridge likely to be upgraded next).

Here's what I'm thinking about in the $1,000 to $3,000 range (new or used). Would like tube but not necessary.

Sutherland 20/20
Lehmann Decade
Pass Labs XP15
Allnic H 1201
Manley Labs Chinook
Parasound Halo JC3

Anyone have thoughts about these or others? Thanks!

Have you heard of Pear audio? they make 2 models within your budget they are tube and very well constructed !


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2015 7:39 am 
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Posts: 73
Location: Montreal, QC, CA
If you demo a Moon 310LP at home, ask for one that's already been used for a good many hours. Like about 200.

I've just finished that period on a new 310LP. Two hundred hours is where the bass stopped being dry and closed in, and really opened up and gained detail and character. Quite noticeable and surprising.

You would not have that consideration with a Moon LP5.3. There are no new ones any more. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:42 am 
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Location: Toronto, ON, CA
PBB wrote:
Go for something where the dealer will let you have a demo unit for a week-end, preferably a long week-end, to bring home.

A system being a chain, evaluating any new component should be done one at a time, within the system you know and in your listening room to have any validity. Anything else is simply purely hit or miss.

Why do you value the opinion of others who are either owners of the model and so very prone to confirmation bias or casual listeners who will gladly opine just for the sake of it?


I am in complete agreement with this...but unfortunately we are not always near a dealer who carries what we are looking for...

My recommendation would be a EAR 834P

(Am I allowed to provide a link...?)

http://www.needledoctor.com/EAR-834P-Ch ... ono-Preamp

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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 11:51 am 
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Joined: Thu May 14, 2015 5:16 am
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Location: Bethesda, MD, US
I've recently owned Audio Research PH7, with power supply upgrade, and a Doshi Alaap 2.1 phono preamp. The PH7 used is in your price range and for about $1K more a used Doshi phono is too. Both have superb dynamics and control with either MM and MC carts. The Doshi is one of the best phono preamps I've hear to date, and though I am not a big follower of online reports this review by PF gives an accurate take of this amp: http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue66/doshi.htm


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 3:09 pm 
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Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 2:34 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Eugene, OR, US
If you want tubes research
Decware
Tavish Design
and Rogue


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Mon Aug 28, 2017 6:16 pm 
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Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2012 7:16 pm
Posts: 3
Location: Kelowna, BC, CA
Home demo of a broken in unit is always best.

Google Lounge Audio and read what owners, not reviewers, are writing about this product. It seems heretical to include a preamp that sells for $300 USD in this thread but... Here's what the previous owner commented about it's qualities after I'd purchased it from him:

Over the past 40 years I have had about a dozen phono stages. All the 4 Graham Slee models, EAR tubes, Sonic Frontiers Sig., Melos tubes, Sonneteer, BlueCircle, Rega, Creek, to name some. I put the Lounge at or near the top. Firstly it is way over built as seen from the internal photos. It is smooth and easy going without that high-end etched sound of over detail. However I must say that all phono stages are fairly close in sound and the biggest variable is the system it goes in to. If you don`t enjoy it then I don`t think you could do much better unless you need more detail or brighter sound.


BTW I can vouch for the service of this small company. I inquired about a special build request length of interconnect from them. They replied the next day. Order confirmed the following day. Cables were made & then shipped next business day after that. How often does that happen these days?

I think they have an in home demo trial with a 10% restock if you return it.

Regardless, good luck in your quest.

http://www.loungeaudio.com/hi-fi

An interesting read on the genesis of Lounge Audio: http://www.tonepublications.com/review/lounge-audio-phonostage/


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:17 pm 
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Location: Rio Rancho, NM, US
Thank you shawnwes for the interesting and informative post. These days some of the best leading-edge manufacturers are ones' that are occasionally 'under the radar'. Lounge Audio would seem to fit that description.

Keep in mind that this thread is over 2 years old so it's probably safe to say that the OP made a decision and has moved on by now. But that doesn't make your contribution to this thread any less pertinent.

Like so many others here on the USAM forums, the OP asked for recommendations and then disappeared into the ether never to be heard from again. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:42 pm 
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Location: Bernardsville, NJ, US
I own a Rogue Ares, which is wonderful and fits into your price range.

However, my strong recommendation would be the Tavish Adagio. It is right in the middle of your price range at $1650, and it competes with units 3 x the cost. Severely underpriced for a bomb proof unit. It's a tube design, but dead quiet.


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 Post subject: Re: phono preamp upgrade
PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 12:42 pm 
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Joined: Sun Aug 15, 2010 11:02 am
Posts: 7
Location: Kingston, ON, CA
Drew_K wrote:
I own a Rogue Ares, which is wonderful and fits into your price range.

However, my strong recommendation would be the Tavish Adagio. It is right in the middle of your price range at $1650, and it competes with units 3 x the cost. Severely underpriced for a bomb proof unit. It's a tube design, but dead quiet.

It's been over 2 years since the OP. I think he may have pulled the trigger on something by now...?


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