Do I need an upgraded phono stage?

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D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
I was tracking a Mk2 Dino on eBay but lost out in the final bidding so impatience then got the better of me *smile* I opted for a Project Phono Box DS from my local SSAV store; fortunately they talked me out of the Phono Box S, and I picked up the DS at £50 off, (regular purchaser).

This is all written with a rather large caveat in that I can’t turn the volume up too much as the neighbours are at home today so most of this has been done at a 60dB peak. But I have compared the difference between the Pioneer TT (2M Black) connected directly to internal phono stage, and the Marantz TT (MP300) connected via the DS.

Initial impressions of the DS are good: nice compact unit and appears to be well built, controls are all fascia mounted and it has a very low noise floor, it is much quieter than the Marantz in this respect. However, the low noise floor is unfortunately a double edged sword as there is definitely a loss of fine detail and definition. Difficult to level the gain between the two phono stages as the DS input gain is 40, 50, 60dB; I would put the Marantz at about 45dB gain, so I had to play with the volume control.

I’m also using a very cheap interconnect from the DS to the amp, (the TT is now 1.5m from the amp). I’m not really into the cable debate about expensive cables making a difference, but I do run Atlas Integra interconnects in the rest of my system so I guess it only makes sense that I should duplicate this with the turntable interconnects from the DS, (Marantz and Pioneer TT cables are Clearaudio and Project respectively, which are of probably of reasonable quality).

There’s more auditioning to be done of course but first impressions are that the integral MM phono stage on the Marantz amp is a rather good one, it’s better than a £225 stage, so probably in the region of £3-400 to equal its performance.

I’ll update further as I change things.
 
DougK said:
I was tracking a Mk2 Dino on eBay but lost out in the final bidding so impatience then got the better of me *smile* I opted for a Project Phono Box DS from my local SSAV store; fortunately they talked me out of the Phono Box S, and I picked up the DS at £50 off, (regular purchaser).

This is all written with a rather large caveat in that I can’t turn the volume up too much as the neighbours are at home today so most of this has been done at a 60dB peak. But I have compared the difference between the Pioneer TT (2M Black) connected directly to internal phono stage, and the Marantz TT (MP300) connected via the DS.

Initial impressions of the DS are good: nice compact unit and appears to be well built, controls are all fascia mounted and it has a very low noise floor, it is much quieter than the Marantz in this respect. However, the low noise floor is unfortunately a double edged sword as there is definitely a loss of fine detail and definition. Difficult to level the gain between the two phono stages as the DS input gain is 40, 50, 60dB; I would put the Marantz at about 45dB gain, so I had to play with the volume control.

I’m also using a very cheap interconnect from the DS to the amp, (the TT is now 1.5m from the amp). I’m not really into the cable debate about expensive cables making a difference, but I do run Atlas Integra interconnects in the rest of my system so I guess it only makes sense that I should duplicate this with the turntable interconnects from the DS, (Marantz and Pioneer TT cables are Clearaudio and Project respectively, which are of probably of reasonable quality).

There’s more auditioning to be done of course but first impressions are that the integral MM phono stage on the Marantz amp is a rather good one, it’s better than a £225 stage, so probably in the region of £3-400 to equal its performance.

I’ll update further as I change things.
Good to hear. Marantz never stinted on their phono stages, even many moons ago with the A400. You might have been surprised if you had managed to bag that Dino though.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
Al ears said:
Good to hear. Marantz never stinted on their phono stages, even many moons ago with the A400. You might have been surprised if you had managed to bag that Dino though.
Yeah I was gutted when I lost out on the Dino. I'll have to perservere with the DS for the moment.

What I did come across during my eBay trawling was this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/191878521625?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

MM and MC stage. If only I had the cash to splash around *sad* this is almost half price!
 
DougK said:
Al ears said:
Good to hear. Marantz never stinted on their phono stages, even many moons ago with the A400. You might have been surprised if you had managed to bag that Dino though.
Yeah I was gutted when I lost out on the Dino. I'll have to perservere with the DS for the moment.

What I did come across during my eBay trawling was this:

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/191878521625?_trksid=p2055119.m1438.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

MM and MC stage. If only I had the cash to splash around *sad* this is almost half price!
Half the price of what? That's a PM11 amp.

Look when you can for a Tom Evans Microgroove. ;-)

Also there is a Dino Mk1 going for £99 at the moment.
 
D

Deleted member 108165

Guest
Almost half the price of a new one, £1595 vs £2999. Yes I know it's an amp *biggrin*

I've been looking for a used Microgroove but haven't seen one as yet. Some used Groove's about but they're a bit too rich for my pocket. Aren't Tom Evans stages custom built for your particular cartridge?

Seen the Mk1 Dino but I already passed on one of these over the weekend, it went for £175 + £15 postage. I'll keep my eyes peeled for another Mk2, or see how the bidding goes on the Mk1.

Failing all this I may get in touch with the Slee guys for a loan of one of their offerings to test/purchase. But I'll get some decent cable first as the one I've got connected at the moment is of the Poundland variety *smile* , this should make everything equal.
 
DougK said:
Almost half the price of a new one, £1595 vs £2999. Yes I know it's an amp *biggrin*

I've been looking for a used Microgroove but haven't seen one as yet. Some used Groove's about but they're a bit too rich for my pocket. Aren't Tom Evans stages custom built for your particular cartridge?

Seen the Mk1 Dino but I already passed on one of these over the weekend, it went for £175 + £15 postage. I'll keep my eyes peeled for another Mk2, or see how the bidding goes on the Mk1.

Failing all this I may get in touch with the Slee guys for a loan of one of their offerings to test/purchase. But I'll get some decent cable first as the one I've got connected at the moment is of the Poundland variety *smile* , this should make everything equal.
I thought it was going to be a link to a phono preamp :)

The Groove is normally present for a certain mc output but has dip-switches to adjust this as does the MicroGroove. However, you are right, they rarely come up for sale.
 

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