New Phono Amp

Jason36

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Jul 23, 2008
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Following on from a recent post regarding my Turntable and Phono Amp (Goldring PA1)......Lostangeles has mentioned that in theory my phono stage should improve the sound of my Turntable through the Caspian Pre / Power rather than sound the same as just playing my TT through the Marantz Phono Out.

So this leads me to believe the Goldring PA1 (based on the Project Phonobox) and apparently sounding the same as playing the TT through a Rotel RA-04 Phono Stage is possibly a week link in my setup.

I'm thinking that possibly buying a better phono amp would improve this situation so to this end wondered if anyone can recommend an alternative phono amp.....I'm thinking possibly the Graham Slee Gram Amp 1 or Trichord Dino could be options here?

What are peoples thoughts on this??
 

Henley

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Nov 26, 2007
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The phono stage is definitely the weak link (even if it were one of ours) considering your system I'd spend at least £200 and more if possible. Think about it logically, the cartridge has an output signal that is minute in comparison to line level. Thus it is far more succeptable to distortion and interference and really need the best quality amplifier you can afford.
 

Jason36

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Thanks for that......

I have no problem in spending the money on the phono amp...bearing in mind the pre / power combination is likely to stay the main engine of my system for a few years then I will always need to use a Phono amp.....if anything I am more likely to upgrade the turntable in due course to a better tuntable.....I really fancy a michell or clear audio or maybe even a Roksan in a year or so.

I would be willing to spend up to £500.00 on a new phono amp so are there any other recommendations over and above the Gram Amp or Trichord Dino?
 

shropshire lad

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Feb 18, 2010
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Maybe an Icon Audio PS2 for about £450.00 ? I haven't heard it so this isn't so much a recommendation as a suggestion to investigate further . It is the entry-level version of their highly regarded PS1 , which costs quite a bit more than your intended budget . That is the one I'm saving for .

Nick
 

Jason36

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Jul 23, 2008
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To be honest it wouldnt be yet....

However I must say after extended listening to the Caspian CD player and then coming back to the TT there is definately something not right.....not sure if its the phono amp, the interconnects or the cartridge.....but it is definately bass heavy :-(

It just seems tight and lifeless and no where as good as the CDP
 

Lost Angeles

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Apr 24, 2008
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Jason36:

It just seems tight and lifeless and no where as good as the CDP

Floyd Droid will have you banned off here saying that,

It's a hell of a good CDP though.
At the moment you may need a lean sounding phono but when you change your speakers that could change.
Trichord Dino may give you too full a sound at this present time.
 

Jason36

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I know I hate t say it, but at the moment I'm afraid that's true


Now there is a point I keep forgetting.....the speakers. So I think its a case of getting new speakers in situ and then seeing how the TT and Phono Amp sound and taking it from there.

Cheers Lost Angeles
 

floyd droid

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Sep 5, 2008
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Hurrah,brain in gear now i see. LA is spot on in regs to the Dino,i used to own one, it can tend to be a bit forward in the wrong set up. Sort out your speakers first buddy.

And please mind your language,lol.
 

Jason36

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Thanks for that FloydDroid, sorry to use such foul language in your presence as well


However........

The Caspian CD and Pre Power combo sound excellent through my Castle Speakers.......solid lows (but not overpowering) and defined mids and lows....which make an enjoyable listen through the Castle's.

However as I have said the reverse is true when switching to the TT through......I cant quite put my finger on it but a lot of mu music just sounds as though the lows are too much. It sounds as though the mids need a bit of a lift.

What I dont understand is that surely if its my speakers letting the system down it would be on both the CD and TT?? Is it just a case of living with it until I get the new speakers sorted and hoping that lifts the TT sound a bit? Or in your opinion could it be something else letting the TT down...ie phono stage or cables?

Cheers mate
 

floyd droid

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Couple of things to look into here for starters Jason.

Check that your tracking force isnt overly heavy BUT i wouldnt go the opposite way and set it too light as this is a sure fire way to ** up your records in the long run. No idea what your carts recco'd downforce window is but if you are set at the heavy end ,back it off a tad. Although apparently,as ive just checked it out, its 1.75 gm end of !.

Secondly you could try setting your VTA so the cart is sitting nose down a bit as opposed to parallel. Just have a play around.

Is your cart sitting bum heavy ?,check it out.

No idea if this holds water as ive never heard one but ive read elsewhere about the rega carts can be a tad heavy in the bass dept. Dont know if this is in reference to their older versions though.

Option 3 play a c... Nope sorry i cant type it
.

Have fun buddy you will get there in the end.
 

Jason36

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Jul 23, 2008
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floyd droid:

Couple of things to look into here for starters Jason.

Check that your tracking force isnt overly heavy BUT i wouldnt go the opposite way and set it too light as this is a sure fire way to ** up your records in the long run. No idea what your carts recco'd downforce window is but if you are set at the heavy end ,back it off a tad. Although apparently,as ive just checked it out, its 1.75 gm end of !.

Secondly you could try setting your VTA so the cart is sitting nose down a bit as opposed to parallel. Just have a play around.

Is your cart sitting bum heavy ?,check it out.

No idea if this holds water as ive never heard one but ive read elsewhere about the rega carts can be a tad heavy in the bass dept. Dont know if this is in reference to their older versions though.

Option 3 play a c... Nope sorry i cant type it
.

Have fun buddy you will get there in the end.

Cheers Floyd Droid,

I will have a look at those options and see if they make any difference.....In America at the moment.....so will have a play when I get back at the end of the month :)

Also my TT is sat on a wooden surface at the moment.....its a built in cupboard at the side of the fireplace....solid and very sturdy but probably not ideal.....unfortunately due to space a wall bracket is out of question at the moment......Would an isolation plater or possibly a granite chopping board make any difference?
 

floyd droid

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Hmm ,lets get back to this when you are home and have tried the cart tweaking first Jason. Forget filling your lounge so it resembles a builders merchants. Peeps on here will be having you try 14 breeze blocks and a granite quarry before you have time to blink. Just enjoy your hol for now mate.
 

Jason36

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Jul 23, 2008
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Right I'm back of holiday now and have had a chance today to play with the Turntable.

As I mentioned earlier, unfortunately the table is unable to be seated on a dedicated wall support due to space reasons


I have had a play with the arm weight and also the VTA (which I have been told on rega only needs to be set at about half the recommended level stated by Rega).

I have also set the downforce (not sure if this is the right word) with some digital scales.....I believe Rega state 1.75gm (although the scales will only show .6 .7 or .8 no halves. I have this set at 1.6gm at the moment.

There is a definate improvement in the treble and mid ranges....with the Bass not being so pronounced. Will having this arm set at 1.6gm rather than tge stated 1.75 have any longer term issues with regards to damaging the stylus or records?

I think at the moment in the current set up this is as good as I am going to get it....without changing the speakers or phono stage (as I discussed earlier speaker upgrade is on the cards for later this year).

Jason
 

Jason36

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Jul 23, 2008
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Oh OK thats good news then
There is definataly an improvement having made those changes.

I'm in Lancashire, near by Preston....why?
 

Lost Angeles

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Apr 24, 2008
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Jason36:

Oh OK thats good news then
There is definataly an improvement having made those changes.

I'm in Lancashire, near by Preston....why?

I asked where you lived because if you lived near me and had wanted I could have bought my Graham Slee Gram Amp Communicator 2 and Trichord Dino phono amps around along with a Sound Advice rack with a turntable shelf on it to give you a chance to try out for a few hours to see if anything made a vast difference.
Preston is out of my range though
 

Jason36

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Jul 23, 2008
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Right well after another mess around and move around of my system at the weekend.....I am glad to say that the Rega Planar 3 is back to its lovely sounding self :)

I have moved the turntable to a higher shelf and it now sits on its own rather than next to the Amps and CD...this seems to have opened up the sound a hell of a lot.....possibly because there is now free space around it.

The turntable now also sits on one of the glass shelves from my HiFi stand (which is currently dismantled and in storage) and the phono amp has been moved well away from the Turntable as well (just in case that was causing interference)

As I said the sound has improved 100% and it looks a lot better as well (bonus points from the missus)

I know just need to sort my stylus out...beause I am sure that has seen better days and I have no idea how old it is.
 
A

Anonymous

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If it sounds all right I wouldn't worry about it. Also, the Elys from memory doesn't have replaceable styli so you're looking at buying a new cartridge.
 

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