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Good RIAA phono preamp for sampling vinyl
Old 25th August 2012
  #1
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DJ ALX's Avatar
Good RIAA phono preamp for sampling vinyl

I used to sample my vinyl from a Vestax PMC05 ProII and then I sampled through my Akai MCF42 till I had humming issues on the MFC and switched back to my Vestax. Now that my MFC is working again I recorded the same thing on my DAW with both PMC05II and MFC42 at same levels to compare. Both samples were recorded using a Shure Whitelabel.

The Vestax sounds nice and round and you have the idea that nothing is missing in the sonics.

The MFC42 sounds more bright but not as round as PMC05II. I think the MFC sounds a bit more hard at the lower end but there are a bit more highs.

I have the PMC05II since 1998 and maybe its safe to say that the channel EQs (highs and lows) might have an affect on the sonics even when I have them at 12 o'clock. It might not be just flat 0db but slightly + or - due to aging.

Eitherway, I think i started tripping on both phono preamps and now I want to purchase a dedicated and better RIAA phono preamp to sample through there. Maybe run the signal through a dbx graphic equalizer if I plan to sample on my MPC60.

Does anybody have experience with RIAA phono preamp devices?

Im not looking to get a high end phono preamp that would cost 1000-2000 bucks.
Just something that would be better than MFC42 and PMC05II. If the PMC and MFC cost about 300 bucks wouldnt a preamp at the same price be better since it does just one thing?

*Ive attached the recorded parts from PCM and MFC. Maybe its just my idea and it doesnt matter where I sample from. Your advise is welcomed.

http://djalx.net/wp-content/uploads/...C05II_test.wav

http://djalx.net/wp-content/uploads/...MFC42_test.wav

Peace!
Old 25th August 2012
  #2
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If it sounds good it is good. I have the same mixer. Done whole records sampling through it. I have other dedicated devices as well.
But what is your budget? I can help you spend some dough or that's what you want to do.
Old 25th August 2012
  #3
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Ward Boss's Avatar
 

NAD PP-2 sounds good. Looks like the new version is the PP-3.

I've also used the same Vestax mixer you mentioned. Using a mixer lets you adjust the gain/EQ etc., so that's a plus.
Old 25th August 2012
  #4
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cavemusic's Avatar
 

I bought an RIAA preamp from KAB Electro Acoustics:
KAB Electro Acoustics http://www.kabusa.com

He's got a range of units, from pretty cheap to expensive. Mine is a Great Sound Escorts preamp (I don't see it on his webpage anymore.) It sounds pretty good to me, but I have no way of comparing it to other units. I found him pretty easy to talk to if you want to call him for some advice.
Old 25th August 2012
  #5
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If you dont like the sound of your vestax 05 try a rane or zone .. mind you not many people consider the preamp to be the weak link I have never seen anybody sample through a dedicated pre. that being said try audiophile forums but beware as those forums have more people swearing by xyz brand of snake oil than gearslutz ever could
Old 25th August 2012
  #6
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atma's Avatar
Budget Phono Preamps

pro-ject stuff is good; i've used it before.
Old 26th August 2012
  #7
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DJ ALX's Avatar
Thank you all for your replies.
Old 26th August 2012
  #8
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DJ ALX's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrides View Post
If it sounds good it is good. I have the same mixer. Done whole records sampling through it. I have other dedicated devices as well.
But what is your budget? I can help you spend some dough or that's what you want to do.
Well PMC05II sounds good but the right channel is about 2db lower than the left.
So if im gonna spend money for a mixer why not get a dedicated device for this?
My budget is in the 100-300 range. Not looking for anything special just something that sounds good and hopefully better than the PMC05II.
Old 26th August 2012
  #9
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DJ ALX's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Boss View Post
NAD PP-2 sounds good. Looks like the new version is the PP-3.

I've also used the same Vestax mixer you mentioned. Using a mixer lets you adjust the gain/EQ etc., so that's a plus.
Will look for the NAD you mentioned.
I dont care if I have gain/EQ like I have from the mixer cos Im planning to get a dbx stereo graphic EQ and Im gonna do alot of shaping from there before I sample. Will use it mostly when I plan to sample into MPC60 or SP1200 cos those machines dont have internal EQ/filtering.
Old 26th August 2012
  #10
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Ward Boss's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ ALX View Post
Will look for the NAD you mentioned.
I dont care if I have gain/EQ like I have from the mixer cos Im planning to get a dbx stereo graphic EQ and Im gonna do alot of shaping from there before I sample. Will use it mostly when I plan to sample into MPC60 or SP1200 cos those machines dont have internal EQ/filtering.
I see Radial makes a more full featured phono preamp with TRS and balanced XLR outputs in addition to the usual RCA. Might be worth checking out.
Old 26th August 2012
  #11
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Look for an old 70's reciever, from the days when vinyl was the main medium and preamps almost kind of had to be decent (as a selling point). You would be surprised to see how we have regressed.
Old 26th August 2012
  #12
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DJ ALX's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jrides View Post
Look for an old 70's reciever, from the days when vinyl was the main medium and preamps almost kind of had to be decent (as a selling point). NAD, Marantz etc. You would be surprised to see how we have regressed.
Yup. Read your detailed reply on mpcforum and i am looking for one as we speak.
Old 26th August 2012
  #13
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Ward Boss's Avatar
 

70s Sansui receivers have nice phono preamps.
Old 26th August 2012
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Boss View Post
70s Sansui receivers have nice phono preamps.
I guess they were.
Im looking at vintage Marantz receivers and preamps/amplifiers all day. I guess I can get something within the 70-200 bucks range.
Old 26th August 2012
  #15
DAH
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For sampling, my hard opinion is you need EQs as musch as a quality preamps. I had a ecler HAK360 and palyed with Rane 56, Ecler IMHO wins in both departments
Old 27th August 2012
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DirtyMan View Post
mind you not many people consider the preamp to be the weak link I have never seen anybody sample through a dedicated pre.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DAH View Post
For sampling, my hard opinion is you need EQs as musch as a quality preamps.
I kept the parts of both quotes that resonated with me. I have never used a high end, modern, and/or audiophile type of phono preamp. I have had more than a few mixers at various price/quality points. I also started with a 70's Pioneer receiver and was given a very nice Marantz.

Was their a difference between my cheap Stanton mixer and my Marantz, yes, but it wasn't all that big.


On the flip side, I EQ my samples before recording in off my Soundcraft mixer. Just a 3 channel but that does make a night and day difference, not because the EQ's are amazing, because I eq my samples a lot. Go further and I do finer adjustments, as well as corrective ones when making my beat. Further more, I then layer up my samples, filter them, etc, so at the end, it truly is night and day.


I don't want to say I would never buy myself a super nice phono preamp but it is not high on my list. However, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a better EQ if I wasn't already getting the results I want from my mixer and my plug ins, though it's still on the list and much higher than a dedicated phono eq.

Truth be told, I still use my cheapo Stanton, which was arguably the worst phono pre I had access to (but not by any great length if even a measurable length) but I actually have the space for it compared to my big receivers.


I am not trying to say that their is no difference if you are just comparing them out the box and I consider something better than what I have for archiving but when all is said in done, for the way I sample when you encompass it all, the differences are so marginal from my experience thus far that it isn't important to me.
Old 28th August 2012
  #17
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DJ ALX's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by 3rd Degree View Post

Was their a difference between my cheap Stanton mixer and my Marantz, yes, but it wasn't all that big.
Yes I understand what you are saying and thats where Im coming from too.
But as I said in my first post, "I think I started tripping on my phono preamps".

Ive made dozens of albums sampling through my PMC05 and Ive even released an album sampling through an old Gemini Scratchmaster mixer.

Never had a problem.

But trying an old 70s preamp on a receiver sounds tempting.


By the way this is part of my work:



Most tracks sampled through PMC05II and a few older tracks sampled on the old Gemini. At the end it doesnt make any difference, I know.

But Id just like to experiment with an old preamp and probably a modern dedicated device too.
Old 28th August 2012
  #18
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GoldMember's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ ALX View Post
I used to sample my vinyl from a Vestax PMC05 ProII and then I sampled through my Akai MCF42 till I had humming issues on the MFC and switched back to my Vestax. Now that my MFC is working again I recorded the same thing on my DAW with both PMC05II and MFC42 at same levels to compare. Both samples were recorded using a Shure Whitelabel.

The Vestax sounds nice and round and you have the idea that nothing is missing in the sonics.

The MFC42 sounds more bright but not as round as PMC05II. I think the MFC sounds a bit more hard at the lower end but there are a bit more highs.

I have the PMC05II since 1998 and maybe its safe to say that the channel EQs (highs and lows) might have an affect on the sonics even when I have them at 12 o'clock. It might not be just flat 0db but slightly + or - due to aging.

Eitherway, I think i started tripping on both phono preamps and now I want to purchase a dedicated and better RIAA phono preamp to sample through there. Maybe run the signal through a dbx graphic equalizer if I plan to sample on my MPC60.

Does anybody have experience with RIAA phono preamp devices?

Im not looking to get a high end phono preamp that would cost 1000-2000 bucks.
Just something that would be better than MFC42 and PMC05II. If the PMC and MFC cost about 300 bucks wouldnt a preamp at the same price be better since it does just one thing?

*Ive attached the recorded parts from PCM and MFC. Maybe its just my idea and it doesnt matter where I sample from. Your advise is welcomed.

http://djalx.net/wp-content/uploads/...C05II_test.wav

http://djalx.net/wp-content/uploads/...MFC42_test.wav

Peace!
there are 3 main kinds of phono pres....
tube 60s
transistor 70s/ early 80s
miniaturized op-amps usually chips or smd... 90s/y2k.

there is also very different phono-pre amp desings.
pre-RIAA eq gain only, post-RIAA eq gain, or 50/50...
bi-polar, Class-A NPN, or Class-A PNP, etc...
some have added features like different RIAA EQs for 78rpm discs,...

Manley has the most expensive Tube mic-pre, but some people like others.
Phono Pre can also be done with a mic-pre with >47k impedance + EQ.
the most $$$ Phono Pre is the boulder 2008

hi-fi brands like PassLabs, Moon Audio, etc...
vintage brands like Marantz, Sansui, McIntosh, etc...
dj brands: numark, gemini, roland, art dj pre ii, behringer, audio-technica, stanton, etc...

Phono-Pre sound very different, at hi end level depends totally on personal taste...
i have Marantz 2500, that has the most technically accurate phono-pre made by Marantz, and also Marantz 2285 & 2285B, they sound totally different: accurate vs. musical, & musical accurate vs. musical hyped, "larger than life".
2265B & 2285B have same Phono-pre.
2285 has same pre as Model 19 but NPN vs. PNP.

cartridge & stylus affects like crazy, Stanton 680v3 has a very neutral sound,
Shure 44-7 has a hyped compressed sound in a good way for electronic music, Audio-Technica AT150MLX & Ortofon 2M Black are top of the line MM, incredible details...
turntable accuracy, resonance, tonearm wire, etc...
there is also Movin Coil cartridges, but they need a lot more gain, &/or step up transformers.

nice forum about Phono:
Timestep Hi Fi forum

there is also the DIY Phono-Pres keneda, etc...,
there is a lot of PCB on ebay that emulate the Marantz 7t & 7c
but will sound good?

in my experience discrete transistor sound better than miniaturized chip op-amps.
more negative feedback circuit sounds more musical, less (-) feedback sounds more accurate.
there is also feed forward & feed backward.

but transistors used in for example Marantz 7 are impossible to buy new today, and some NTE replacements / references sound worse, some sound better.
Old 28th August 2012
  #19
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carlheinz's Avatar
 

Iv'e used these and they sound good.

Electrix Pro Filter Factory | Vintage Synth Explorer

They have a nice sounding phono preamp on the back

check ebay as they are no longer in production
Old 28th August 2012
  #20
I use the metric halo riaa decoder. No need for another pre that way.
Old 28th August 2012
  #21
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by DJ ALX View Post
Yes I understand what you are saying and thats where Im coming from too.
But as I said in my first post, "I think I started tripping on my phono preamps".

Ive made dozens of albums sampling through my PMC05 and Ive even released an album sampling through an old Gemini Scratchmaster mixer.

Never had a problem.

But trying an old 70s preamp on a receiver sounds tempting.


By the way this is part of my work:



Most tracks sampled through PMC05II and a few older tracks sampled on the old Gemini. At the end it doesnt make any difference, I know.

But Id just like to experiment with an old preamp and probably a modern dedicated device too.
I could listen to that all day. Are those greek artist you are sampling from? I bet you have some hidden gems over there.
Old 29th August 2012
  #22
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bwrecordings View Post
I use the metric halo riaa decoder. No need for another pre that way.
It is indeed nice to be able to EQ in the digital domain, BUT if the device you are hooking up to does not have around 47k Ohm input impedance, as well as very low capacitance, then the phono cartridge is not likely to be giving the frequency response it was designed to give.
Old 29th August 2012
  #23
KT1
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ward Boss View Post
I see Radial makes a more full featured phono preamp with TRS and balanced XLR outputs in addition to the usual RCA. Might be worth checking out.
J 33 its great and I have one for sale.

Sent from my HTC Desire S
Old 29th August 2012
  #24
Quote:
Originally Posted by TRJanuary View Post
It is indeed nice to be able to EQ in the digital domain, BUT if the device you are hooking up to does not have around 47k Ohm input impedance, as well as very low capacitance, then the phono cartridge is not likely to be giving the frequency response it was designed to give.
FYI for any Metric Halo users coming across this thread, they will mod the DIs (at least on the ULN-8/LIO-8) to be 47kOhm, for a fair price. Think they charged $100 or $150. Works great with my Technics along with their RIAA EQ curve, which you can further tweak/EQ/compress etc. Pretty neat.
Old 30th August 2012
  #25
Gear Addict
 
fivepoundmusic's Avatar
 

I use the NAD PP-2, too.
Good dedicated Phono Pre and not much $.

I am a firm believer to not alter your sound on the way in to the Sampler.
if you gotta eq, do it afterwards...(otherwise you`re stuck with the sound)

Just my 2 Cents...

No right or wrong (as always in music)
Old 30th August 2012
  #26
Quote:
Originally Posted by paulrk View Post
FYI for any Metric Halo users coming across this thread, they will mod the DIs (at least on the ULN-8/LIO-8) to be 47kOhm, for a fair price. Think they charged $100 or $150. Works great with my Technics along with their RIAA EQ curve, which you can further tweak/EQ/compress etc. Pretty neat.

Yup. Cleanest way I've heard.
Old 30th August 2012
  #27
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I use a Project Phono Box 2 and it sound prett good to my ears. From there into a Desk and then in the sampler.
Old 30th August 2012
  #28
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The Beatsmith's Avatar
 

Another shout for the nad pp2/pp3!
Old 30th August 2012
  #29
Old 1 week ago
  #30
Gear Addict
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldMember View Post
there are 3 main kinds of phono pres....
tube 60s
transistor 70s/ early 80s
miniaturized op-amps usually chips or smd... 90s/y2k.

there is also very different phono-pre amp desings.
pre-RIAA eq gain only, post-RIAA eq gain, or 50/50...
bi-polar, Class-A NPN, or Class-A PNP, etc...
some have added features like different RIAA EQs for 78rpm discs,...

Manley has the most expensive Tube mic-pre, but some people like others.
Phono Pre can also be done with a mic-pre with >47k impedance + EQ.
the most $$$ Phono Pre is the boulder 2008

hi-fi brands like PassLabs, Moon Audio, etc...
vintage brands like Marantz, Sansui, McIntosh, etc...
dj brands: numark, gemini, roland, art dj pre ii, behringer, audio-technica, stanton, etc...

Phono-Pre sound very different, at hi end level depends totally on personal taste...
i have Marantz 2500, that has the most technically accurate phono-pre made by Marantz, and also Marantz 2285 & 2285B, they sound totally different: accurate vs. musical, & musical accurate vs. musical hyped, "larger than life".
2265B & 2285B have same Phono-pre.
2285 has same pre as Model 19 but NPN vs. PNP.

cartridge & stylus affects like crazy, Stanton 680v3 has a very neutral sound,
Shure 44-7 has a hyped compressed sound in a good way for electronic music, Audio-Technica AT150MLX & Ortofon 2M Black are top of the line MM, incredible details...
turntable accuracy, resonance, tonearm wire, etc...
there is also Movin Coil cartridges, but they need a lot more gain, &/or step up transformers.

nice forum about Phono:
Timestep Hi Fi forum

there is also the DIY Phono-Pres keneda, etc...,
there is a lot of PCB on ebay that emulate the Marantz 7t & 7c
but will sound good?

in my experience discrete transistor sound better than miniaturized chip op-amps.
more negative feedback circuit sounds more musical, less (-) feedback sounds more accurate.
there is also feed forward & feed backward.

but transistors used in for example Marantz 7 are impossible to buy new today, and some NTE replacements / references sound worse, some sound better.

Awesome breakdown here. Best reply in this thread!
Thanks for the info!
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