Preamps for High-Output MC Cartridges

Jul 30, 2015
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Hey everyone,

I have a Pro Ject 2Xpression SB DC equipped with a Sumiko Blue Point 2 High Output MC Cartridge. The phono stage is a Cambridge Audio 551p. the amplifer I am using is a Cambridge Audio 651A.

My question realtes to the ideal gain for the Sumiko High Output MC Cartridge. Previosuly, I had a Pro Ject Debut Carbon with an otrofon RED and the quality of sound was seemingly better despite being a worse set-up in terms of specs. So I am thinking that the phono stage is not ideal to use with the MC cartridge. I know that MC cartridges are technically compatiable with MM phono stages, but the output voltage of the High output MC is still less than the MM Otrofon red by about a factor of two. So what is the ideal phono stage gain? What afforadbale preamps are there (~$500)? What other factors relating to the sound quality, MC carts, and phono stages should I consider? Thanks!
 
Feb 18, 2015
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I'll leave this one for Alears to explain but I know a budget pre is no good for mc carts no matter the output,are you in the USA,the Rothwell rialto if available where you are could be worth a punt,I use trichord dino mk3 which would work fine but reckon it will be over your budget at around 500gbp.
 
Emilio Cazares said:
Hey everyone,

I have a Pro Ject 2Xpression SB DC equipped with a Sumiko Blue Point 2 High Output MC Cartridge. The phono stage is a Cambridge Audio 551p. the amplifer I am using is a Cambridge Audio 651A.

My question realtes to the ideal gain for the Sumiko High Output MC Cartridge. Previosuly, I had a Pro Ject Debut Carbon with an otrofon RED and the quality of sound was seemingly better despite being a worse set-up in terms of specs. So I am thinking that the phono stage is not ideal to use with the MC cartridge. I know that MC cartridges are technically compatiable with MM phono stages, but the output voltage of the High output MC is still less than the MM Otrofon red by about a factor of two. So what is the ideal phono stage gain? What afforadbale preamps are there (~$500)? What other factors relating to the sound quality, MC carts, and phono stages should I consider? Thanks!
Hi Emilio, so you preferred the sound of your Ortofon Red? Interesting. But it tells you something doesn't it?

Regards phono stages I am going to disappoint you as I believe you are looking at the problem the wrong way. Although cheap the 551p is pretty decent within its limitations so is actually doing a pretty good job.

Your problem I am afraid is the cartridge. I cannot understand anyone who goes through considering the costs of a cartridge with a non-replaceable stylus and comes to the conclusion that a high output moving coil is the way to go. Personally I have never seen the point of high output moving coil cartridges and would suggest the Sumiko is not one of the better examples of those anyway.

My best advice to you, and you can discard it by all means, is to sell the Sumiko, keep the 551p and then come back when you have a budget in mind for a really decent moving magnet cartridge.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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Mark Rose-Smith said:
I'll leave this one for Alears to explain but I know a budget pre is no good for mc carts no matter the output,are you in the USA,the Rothwell rialto if available where you are could be worth a punt,I use trichord dino mk3 which would work fine but reckon it will be over your budget at around 500gbp.
Some used Dinos go on ebay for around £300 so worth looking out for.
 
Please ignore my comment about cartridge not b r ing one of the better types, I was getting it confused with another Sumiko. I have not heard the 2.

However, my comments regarding high output moving coils stands.

You could try to find a used Trichord Dino as suggested, if you still don't like the result it should be fairly easy to sell on.
 
Jul 30, 2015
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Thank you for the reply! To be clear, it is not as though the Otrofon RED was better in terms of sound, it was better because I didnt need to drive my amplifier so high, whereas the Sumiko had to be driven pretty high due to its lower output which resulted in noise.

I aprpeciate your advice as far as selling and replacing with a MM, but certainly there are configurations with a High Output MC that are decent. My only question is, which preamps are the best for that setup.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
97
3
0
Emilio Cazares said:
Thank you for the reply! To be clear, it is not as though the Otrofon RED was better in terms of sound, it was better because I didnt need to drive my amplifier so high, whereas the Sumiko had to be driven pretty high due to its lower output which resulted in noise.

I aprpeciate your advice as far as selling and replacing with a MM, but certainly there are configurations with a High Output MC that are decent. My only question is, which preamps are the best for that setup.
The Dino has different settings for different outputs, so I think that maybe a good choice, the Mk3 has 4 different MC output levels. The Mk2 has 1 less setting it seems. I would check it out on their website. If you are in the USA there may well be other options.
 
BigH said:
Emilio Cazares said:
Thank you for the reply! To be clear, it is not as though the Otrofon RED was better in terms of sound, it was better because I didnt need to drive my amplifier so high, whereas the Sumiko had to be driven pretty high due to its lower output which resulted in noise.

I aprpeciate your advice as far as selling and replacing with a MM, but certainly there are configurations with a High Output MC that are decent. My only question is, which preamps are the best for that setup.
The Dino has different settings for different outputs, so I think that maybe a good choice, the Mk3 has 4 different MC output levels. The Mk2 has 1 less setting it seems. I would check it out on their website. If you are in the USA there may well be other options.
If that's the way the OP wants to go then I agree. He is going to need a good phono preamp with multiple settings for MC cartridges. The Dino fits the bill sure enough but we don't know what else he has access to.

I must say although I have owned a Dino I have never tried it with a high output mc.

A simple step up transformer might will result in too high a gain unfortunately.
 

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