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Phono Preamps 2017 Dual-Channel Preamps
Old 11th September 2017
  #1
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

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Phono Preamps 2017

What are people using in 2017 for phono preamps?

I have a decent Music Hall 5.1 turntable and Musical Fidelity preamp that is connected to my Avocet.

It sounds decent but the unbalanced level is a bit low compared to all my other sources. The Avocet analog inputs have adjustments on the back but they're not super easy to calibrate, especially how I have mine mounted in my desk at the moment. The attenuation that you can do right on the remote doesn't affect the metering which is the other part of my annoyance of low levels.

I'd rather buy a nice phono preamp than deal with it on the Avocet.

So, I'm wondering if somebody is using or knows of a great phono preamp with +4 XLR output for easy interfacing with the Avocet.
Old 11th September 2017
  #2
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Paul Gold's Avatar
A professional phono preamp should be able to be calibrated to a standard reference level. 1K lateral at 7cm/sec is the most common reference level. The choices are few and far between. Most don't do a balanced +4 out and have level adjustments for both channels. I'd avoid anything without those modest features.
Old 11th September 2017
  #3
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul Gold View Post
A professional phono preamp should be able to be calibrated to a standard reference level. 1K lateral at 7cm/sec is the most common reference level. The choices are few and far between. Most don't do a balanced +4 out and have level adjustments for both channels. I'd avoid anything without those modest features.
Thanks Paul. I'll do some searching but also welcome any suggestions of models.

A quick search brings up the SPL Phonos but I didn't analyze the specs too closely other than it seems to be RCA in and out.
Old 11th September 2017
  #4
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Paul Gold's Avatar
I don't know of any. Crazy. You could kluge it with a bump box.
Old 11th September 2017
  #5
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Old 11th September 2017
  #6
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hane View Post
Have you looked at the VADLYD MD12 MK4
78 RPM and RIAA Preamplifier
Thank you. This is exactly the kind of things I'm looking for. They are not so easy (for me at least) to find via Google but I wanted to see if anybody had or knew of anything exceptional.
Old 12th September 2017
  #7
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Paul Gold's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hane View Post
Have you looked at the VADLYD MD12 MK4
78 RPM and RIAA Preamplifier
Fixed gain. Can not be calibrated to a standard reference level.

There are lots of preamps with fixed gain and balanced out. Totally useless AFAIC.

Last edited by Paul Gold; 12th September 2017 at 01:16 AM..
Old 12th September 2017
  #8
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Old 12th September 2017
  #9
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Old 12th September 2017
  #10
Wasn't this one touted as best for mastering/transfer of old vinyl before? I seem to remember a big project thread about it on GroupDIY too. Someone on another mastering forum was offering builds too, but that forum recently migrated and all the old PMs are gone. I thought it might be Paul Gold, but obviously not as he hasn't mentioned it yet.

The Signal Transfer Company: RIAA balanced output

There was a version available that could switch the RIAA curve on or off (if you wanted to do digital RIAA). Or I could just be totally mistaken and thinking of something else. Sorry I can't be more definite!

I'm using and very happy with the Radial J48, but it doesn't have many bells and whistles (does have balanced outs though), and that's mainly for pleasure listening as opposed to transfers, of which I do very few.
Old 12th September 2017
  #11
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Still using and loving our PS audio GCPH Phono Preamp for archival work. Here is a review of that unit https://www.stereophile.com/phonopreamps/106gcph
I also still have, a heavily modified, Stanton 210B phono preamp for 78 rpm use. Both sound GREAT!
Old 12th September 2017
  #12
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Thanks guys, this is exactly the stuff I'm looking for. Due to logistics and a full desk already, I'm looking for something on the smaller side like the GCPH or the vinylium phono master. I have a longer than ideal run to my Avocet (especially to make the wiring look nice) and I'd like to have the preamp close to the turntable and have the longer run be after the pre-amp, so small and non-rackmount is ideal.

The Millennium one looks impressive but probably a bit overkill for what I need.
Old 12th September 2017
  #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
I'm using and very happy with the Radial J48, but it doesn't have many bells and whistles (does have balanced outs though), and that's mainly for pleasure listening as opposed to transfers, of which I do very few.
I saw the Radial one but the balanced outs were called "mic level" which led me to believe they were meant for live gigs so you can plug into the sound system and not blow up their preamp section.

Do you find the XLR outs to need more gain or be at a good level compared to other sources on your monitor controller?
Old 12th September 2017
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin P. View Post
I saw the Radial one but the balanced outs were called "mic level" which led me to believe they were meant for live gigs so you can plug into the sound system and not blow up their preamp section.

Do you find the XLR outs to need more gain or be at a good level compared to other sources on your monitor controller?
I did A/B's between the Radial balanced mic level outs (into TG2 pre main inputs) and the unbalanced line level outs (into TG2 DI inputs), and preferred the unbalanced route. Yes, with the "mic level" balanced outs you need more gain. I love how it sounds (heavily modded Rega RP6 with AT150 MLX stylus), and haven't really wanted for more, but as I said it's mostly just for pleasure listening.
Old 12th September 2017
  #15
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Justin P.'s Avatar
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hermetech Mastering View Post
I did A/B's between the Radial balanced mic level outs (into TG2 pre main inputs) and the unbalanced line level outs (into TG2 DI inputs), and preferred the unbalanced route. Yes, with the "mic level" balanced outs you need more gain. I love how it sounds (heavily modded Rega RP6 with AT150 MLX stylus), and haven't really wanted for more, but as I said it's mostly just for pleasure listening.
Thanks. For me it's mostly just for pleasure listening as well. I just would like something with a bit more level than my current preamp puts out. It sounds pretty good otherwise.
Old 12th September 2017
  #16
be4
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Old 13th September 2017
  #17
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Old 15th September 2017
  #18
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Old 15th September 2017
  #19
Quote:
Originally Posted by mediatechnology View Post
Phono Transfer System - Balanced In/Out, Adjustable Gain +4 capable.

Phono Transfer System Boards and Kits

Wayne
Yep, that was the one I was thinking of above!
Old 16th September 2017
  #20
Gear Maniac
 

the pro Shures from the day, tube SE1, SS SE22, Urei something something something, McCurdy, Gates (not sure) all +4 balanced out,
and a couple Stantons, output level and EQ adjustable via Trimmer Caps, to drag your cart closer to Inverse RIAA curve, I never fully figured it out
just kinda by ear, and some cryptic notes that come with a variety of test records

one of the tube Shures is gonna be for sale soon, but they go for real money on ebay

_m
Old 16th September 2017
  #21
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calibrated phono preamplifier

the Shure SE1 utilises the Dynaco PAS circuitry in addition to an output stage with UTC A-25 transformer.
The circuit cards are the same as in the Dyna preamplifier/control center.
Unmodified it offers enough adjustments to be used as calibrated reference.
With a few changes (deletion of the phono stage positive feedback),
it sounds simply amazing.
Attached Thumbnails
Phono Preamps 2017-se1.jpg  
Old 17th September 2017
  #22
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dave-G's Avatar
I don't do formal transfers with it, but I've got a GCPH for record listening which I found on Craigslist for way too low a price not to buy it (found it when buying a used VPI record cleaner, also nice) ... Sounds good, plays nicely with the balanced inputs on the Crookwood.

And ... low on the glamour scale, but cheap, small, balanced, good-sounding, and lumber-mountable is the Rane PS1 (maybe on Ebay?)
Old 21st September 2017
  #23
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Plush's Avatar
Just added QUAD QC-24P

Fantastic and detailed sound.
Old 1 week ago
  #24
For audio restoration purposes, my own personal go-to is the Time-Step T-01EQ (an EQ/preamp). This is being redesigned into an even better box than it already is now.
Timestep 78RPM EQ
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