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Rek O Kut Ultra Phono Preamplifier Review

Rate this Phono Stage:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 32 39.0%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 42 51.2%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 7 8.5%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 1 1.2%

  • Total voters
    82

JSmith

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grumpy old man yelling at the sky
_2yqMV.gif


Only joking... resistance was futile. :p


JSmith
 

Vict0r

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Rednaxela

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Sorry, I missed that. I edited my post.
No, my apologies!

Meant it in a more lighthearted way. Something like: we Dutch can't help ourselves can we.

Also I should have unwatched right from the start. I don't even have a turntable!
 

Rottmannash

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Nothing unusual nowadays. I'm a member of a hiking group and answered a member question the other day about trails at a particular location. Well every other poster, about 20 of them, provided the exact same answers. You'd think people could just read the previous posts and add detail if necessary.

Now watch me get called out for being a grumpy old man yelling at the sky or some shit.
If one reads and comments on a thread from the front and one is many pages behind, one's posts when answering will appear redundant when reading in real time, as your response may answer a question in the following page 10 more times. That's happened to me when reading an old thread.
 

cgallery

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The Rek-o-Kut stuff looks like it comes from the same plant that makes the TC-750. Anyone know if this model uses discrete circuitry or op-amps?
 

cgallery

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Also concern about headroom and the accentuation of pops and ticks seems to be applied inconsistently, or is that me?

In this case the unit clips at 50mv and the concern was noted. But I don't think the same concern was expressed for the more expensive Pluto 2? Or was it?

And certainly there are other factors beyond clipping, like recovery time, no?

At one time a test was proposed here that would test surface noise immunity but didn't seem to go anywhere?
 
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sofrep811

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Id always been wanting to try a Rek-O phono amp. I thought the data would be more positive. Seems expensive now considering the options at that price point.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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There are so many reasonably priced phono preamps out there which don't have this preamp's problems that I would advise against buying this. Most people don't in any way need any equalization other than the standard RIAA. This preamp doesn't even include enough alternate equalizations to be truly useful. The manufacturer trying to use the Rek-O-Kut brand is senseless; the original engineers of that company are long, long dead.

Skip this one.
 
OP
amirm

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In this case the unit clips at 50mv and the concern was noted. But I don't think the same concern was expressed for the more expensive Pluto 2? Or was it?
50 mv was at 1 kHz. It progressively got worse as frequencies went up.

But yes, this is newer development/commentary in my testing. :)
 

anmpr1

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Why on earth would someone feel compelled to resurrect the long defunct Rek-O-Kut brand????? Who, aside from some old HiFi nuts even remembers that brand???? They were one of the better manufacturers of turntables in the 1950s, but who the hell cares now????

Astonishing. :facepalm:
The operation selling Rek O Kut has been around since at least the late '70s. So it's not something new. I don't know how they came about the name... whether the principals were part of the original group, or otherwise acquired it. Most of their production appears to be geared toward the archivalist... variable speed record players (up to 90 rpm) with the capability to play oversized discs, and so forth.

Back in the day (I'm doing this from memory so take it FWIW) I seem to recall the original brand being bought by another 'major' US based hi-fi oriented company, but that it was too little too late, and with the introduction of inexpensive Japanese DD, the US turntable market moved off shore. I could have that all wrong, and in any case I'm not inclined to research it.

However it was/is, the niche the current company occupies is probably not inconsistent with the original 'broadcast' orientation of the historical company.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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The operation selling Rek O Kut has been around since at least the late '70s. So it's not something new. I don't know how they came about the name... whether the principals were part of the original group, or otherwise acquired it. Most of their production appears to be geared toward the archivalist... variable speed record players (up to 90 rpm) with the capability to play oversized discs, and so forth.

Back in the day (I'm doing this from memory so take it FWIW) I seem to recall the original brand being bought by another 'major' US based hi-fi oriented company, but that it was too little too late, and with the introduction of inexpensive Japanese DD, the US turntable market moved off shore. I could have that all wrong, and in any case I'm not inclined to research it.

However it was/is, the niche the current company occupies is probably not inconsistent with the original 'broadcast' orientation of the historical company.
I literally haven't run across the name for decades, so I assumed that they were like Altec Lansing, an old and respected brand name which was bought on the cheap in order to market cheap stuff. :facepalm:
 

cgallery

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50 mv was at 1 kHz. It progressively got worse as frequencies went up.

But yes, this is newer development/commentary in my testing. :)

Okay thank you, I was misinterpreting the new graph and maybe didn't spend enough time looking at it. I had thought it was a test of the alternative curves of the unit but now realize it is something much better. Yeah, I think that test is going to be a helpful additional tool in comparing these units.

Any chance you looked inside the unit? Wondering whether these are discrete or op-amp based units?
 

cgallery

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I literally haven't run across the name for decades, so I assumed that they were like Altec Lansing, an old and respected brand name which was bought on the cheap in order to market cheap stuff. :facepalm:

If you look at the back of the unit, it is a dead ringer for the stuff coming from TCC (the phonopreamps.com guys).

Who actually designed it is anyone's guess.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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If you look at the back of the unit, it is a dead ringer for the stuff coming from TCC (the phonopreamps.com guys).

Who actually designed it is anyone's guess.
I'm not familiar with TCC (who are they?).

There sure seem to be a LOT of cheap phono preamps springing up these days - and ultra cheap phonographs from the likes of Crosley et al. I can only assume that this is because of the vinyl revival.
 

anmpr1

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For the archivist and/or more serious collector, the company offers a device that is inserted downstream from the RIAA stage, and compensates for the various LP 'curves' found in pre RIAA discs. Before standardization, some preamps had this function built in, such as the '50s McIntosh C-108.

It appears to be capable for its intended purpose--who knows the actual S/N specs (85dB is claimed), but SINAD is probably not the customer's primary concern when they buy something like this. An outfit called KAB used to offer a similar product, but that has been out of production for a while. Really, if you are looking to play antique records that are cut anywhere from 33 to 90+ rpm, it's not like you have many choices. Frankly I'm surprised anyone can stay in business selling this sort of thing.



EQ.jpg
 

BDWoody

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For the archivist and/or more serious collector, the company offers a device that is inserted downstream from the RIAA stage, and compensates for the various LP 'curves' found in pre RIAA discs. Before standardization, some preamps had this function built in, such as the '50s McIntosh C-108.

The Puffin also offers a wide range of 'curves' for non-RIAA recordings, or you can roll your own.

Screenshots_2022-05-19-12-39-32.png
 

anmpr1

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The Puffin also offers a wide range of 'curves' for non-RIAA recordings, or you can roll your own.

View attachment 207567

I'd have to think this through... The Rek O Kut 're-equalizer' goes after the RIAA stage, in the signal path. So that means the device is modding an already formatted signal.

Yet whatever record going in to the phono preamp stage requires an EQ curve specific to the way it is cut during mastering. So with these pre-1954 non-standard records, wouldn't you want to bypass the RIAA EQ altogether? That is, provide an unequalized voltage amplification from the phono cartridge to the line preamp input, and then EQ that 'raw' signal depending upon whatever EQ curve is required?

Ex: the device has an RIAA EQ setting. But the upstream phono stage has already applied RIAA EQ, so why are you again applying an additional RIAA EQ to an already equalized signal?
 

BDWoody

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I'd have to think this through... The Rek O Kut 're-equalizer' goes after the RIAA stage, in the signal path. So that means the device is modding an already formatted signal.

I may be missing the issue, but in the specific case of the Puffin, it only applies the curve you've selected, or in the case of the 'line in' option, no correction at all.

It doesn't automatically apply RIAA that would then have to be undone to use a different one.

Edit: I agree it looks like with the 're-equalizer' it takes an already adjusted signal and then alters that, vs applying the proper curve at first.
 

MakeMineVinyl

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So with these pre-1954 non-standard records, wouldn't you want to bypass the RIAA EQ altogether?
Yes, you'd want to only use the curve which complements the curve which was used to cut the record. That's the way it was done in the old days. Using RIAA and then adding something else on top of that would only introduce more complexity and potential for degredation of the signal.
 

Soniclife

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