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Here I go again - Discussion/Recommendations on a MM Phono Pre-Amp Stage w/ Actual Volume Control?

C. Cook

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I decided to edit this post so as to save anyone who might spend any real effort replying some time. By all means I'm happy for any discussion to keep going, but I did discover an old Adcom preamp in my attic with a phono input and it sounds great using some XLR-RCA adaptor cables and a Nobsound switch box that lets me still control digital sources with my RME DAC and analog ones with the Adcom. Quite a sturdy pre-amp and personally I love the sound both with the tone controls bypassed and active. Nelson Pass designed the first generation 555, FWIW, and he commented elsewhere that Adcom made a few changes w/ the Mk II. If I'd known I had it up there, I would have sent to Amir to test a year ago, damnit, but now it's stuck in my system...really is quite a nice little preamp especially for its age.
 
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Slayer

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Well, you didn't say what you considered affordable. However, seeing the cost of those 2M bronze cartridges. I will go out on a limb and suggest you get a Parasound Halo preamp, either the P5 or P6. You will be set for features and either will drive any amp you have now or will have in the future.
 

dougi

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A proper preamp would be best, but there are not many out there with a built in phono that are affordable. If you wanted to test out tube "warnth", something like the Dynavox may suit. Gain for mm is 100x so 5mV at 5cm/sec will go to 0.5V. I assume the amp sensitivity around 2V so will get close. Remember that vinyl levels will peak to 15-30cm/sec depending on the record so will peak above the amp sensitivity so may drive to full power.
 
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C. Cook

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Well, you didn't say what you considered affordable. However, seeing the cost of those 2M bronze cartridges. I will go out on a limb and suggest you get a Parasound Halo preamp, either the P5 or P6. You will be set for features and either will drive any amp you have now or will have in the future.
Thanks, I had seen Parasound's products in the past and they look good. Affordable to me is <$1500, preferably <$1200, but I'll check around the used marketplace for one of those in good condition.

Slight edit: It appears that those Parasound boxes also contain DACs and I don't really want to pay extra for one when I've got a good one. The search continues...Maybe an old used Krell.
 

Blumlein 88

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A good choice my be an older quality tube preamp. You can replace the tubes. Circuits are simpler than transistors meaning if some caps need replacing it is easier to do. Plus many of those used poly caps that will never need replacing anyway. So you are down to maybe replacing a pot or switch and it is good as new. Any of the usual suspects would be fine even quite old ones. Many of them will need nothing other than maybe some new tubes.
 

RayDunzl

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I've been itching to pick up an analog phono preamp with volume control, either solid state or tube and once again I'm having a heck of a time finding one that's 1) affordable, 2) includes actual volume knob and 3) has enough gain to feed directly to a Hypex or IcePower power amp (which obviously have no volume controls). The most frequent recommendation is of course to buy a standard preamp with phono input, but I don't really want a full size component unless I absolutely have no other choice (and I do appreciate any recommendations in that regard as well).

Many suggestions from friends and other forums have been to try Schitt's passive attenuator/potentiometer

Get the little phono amplification box you like and put the Schitt passive volume control after it before the power amplification...
 
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C. Cook

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Get the little phono amplification box you like and put the Schitt passive volume control after it before the power amplification...
Good idea. However, I forgot to mention that my amps only have XLR inputs and I guess that makes this an even tougher search.
 

Slayer

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Affordable to me is <$1500, preferably <$1200, but I'll check around the used marketplace for one of those in good condition.

Slight edit: It appears that those Parasound boxes also contain DACs and I don't really want to pay extra for one when I've got a good one. The search continues...Maybe an old used Krell.
Well just remember, you don't have to use the dac in the Parasound. Or you can use it and sell your other dac. Specs on the Parasound are under rated. Someone on here where the P5 had a sinad of 114 or 115 i forget. Either way it's completely transparent. I would imagine the P6 measures as good if not slightly better. I run my mains Balanced, one sub balanced and two subs unbalanced. Not to many pre's can do all that.
With either of the Halo's, you get a headphone amp, phono amp, numerous inputs, including balanced and unbalanced. Balanced and unbalanced outputs, including the sub out. high pass and low pass crossovers, bass management etc. It really is a jack of all trades as they say. (nothing wrong with Krell either). Hate to sound like a fan boy, but with the Halo series, you get a lot of value for the dollar. Which I think may of us here are after.
But good luck and happy hunting on whatever you choose.

If you contact these guys on the phone, they will treat you right and give you a good price. Talk with Corey or Steve.
pht_2_450x.jpg
 
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C. Cook

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Well just remember, you don't have to use the dac in the Parasound. Or you can use it and sell your other dac. Specs on the Parasound are under rated. Someone on here where the P5 had a sinad of 114 or 115 i forget. Either way it's completely transparent. I would imagine the P6 measures as good if not slightly better. I run my mains Balanced, one sub balanced and two subs unbalanced. Not to many pre's can do all that.
With either of the Halo's, you get a headphone amp, phono amp, numerous inputs, including balanced and unbalanced. Balanced and unbalanced outputs, including the sub out. high pass and low pass crossovers, bass management etc. It really is a jack of all trades as they say. (nothing wrong with Krell either). Hate to sound like a fan boy, but with the Halo series, you get a lot of value for the dollar. Which I think may of us here are after.
But good luck and happy hunting on whatever you choose.

If you contact these guys on the phone, they will treat you right and give you a good price. Talk with Corey or Steve.
pht_2_450x.jpg
Thanks for the responses. I'm going to have to admit that with my regular workload this whole "audiophile" habit has become intimidating and moreso after the purchase of a turntable just because my dad unloaded a ton of old LPs on me. Parasound's reputation precedes them and I'm going to seriously consider taking your advice especially because of the headphone amp and XLR ins/outs. Just have to find a good deal or save up for a while. Cheers.
 

BDWoody

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Thanks, I had seen Parasound's products in the past and they look good. Affordable to me is <$1500, preferably <$1200, but I'll check around the used marketplace for one of those in good condition.

Slight edit: It appears that those Parasound boxes also contain DACs and I don't really want to pay extra for one when I've got a good one. The search continues...Maybe an old used Krell.

I ended up getting one of these when I started getting more into my turntables. There are older tube preamps also as @Blumlein 88 mentioned above if you really wanted to embrace the retro thing.

I like it a lot. There are reasons old preamps meant to be used with turntables had quite a range of control that would be hard to find in a new product.

 

nagster

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Good idea. However, I forgot to mention that my amps only have XLR inputs and I guess that makes this an even tougher search.Good idea. However, I forgot to mention that my amps only have XLR inputs and I guess that makes this an even tougher search.
Second-hand goods are on a case-by-case basis, so it is assumed that you will purchase a new one.
You probably won't find a low-cost preamp with a built-in high-performance Phono amp.
I recommend the Phono amp stand-alone. Because there are a lot of choices.
This is just one example.
Phono preamp is Cambridge Audio Solo.
Volume control is Schiit SYS passive preamp.
Use such a cable to connect the passive preamp to the power amplifier. If the cable is short, there is no problem in terms of performance.
Note: rca-rca / rca-xlr / xlr-xlr In all cases, the length of the passive volume output cable should be as short as possible.
rca-xlr01.jpg


If you have a lot of budget, get an active preamp that has a balanced output such as Schiit FREYA S or Topping Pre 90 instead of a passive preamp. There is no problem even if the length of the output cable is 10m.
 
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C. Cook

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Second-hand goods are on a case-by-case basis, so it is assumed that you will purchase a new one.
You probably won't find a low-cost preamp with a built-in high-performance Phono amp.
I recommend the Phono amp stand-alone. Because there are a lot of choices.
This is just one example.
Phono preamp is Cambridge Audio Solo.
Volume control is Schiit SYS passive preamp.
Use such a cable to connect the passive preamp to the power amplifier. If the cable is short, there is no problem in terms of performance.
Note: rca-rca / rca-xlr / xlr-xlr In all cases, the length of the passive volume output cable should be as short as possible.
View attachment 205965

If you have a lot of budget, get an active preamp that has a balanced output such as Schiit FREYA S or Topping Pre 90 instead of a passive preamp. There is no problem even if the length of the output cable is 10m.
I should probably delete this forum post, but I don't know that I can. Turns out I had an old Adcom GFP-555II sitting in the attic and I'd forgotten how good it sounds. I'm just going with that for now. Oh, yeah I had a pair of those cables on-hand too, so I'm good. :)
 

Waxx

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The Cambridge Duo got good reviews down here and is very cheap for what it delivers. I use it's precestor the CP2, and i got to say it's better than a lot i heared that is way more expensive.

 
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