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Schiit Skoll Balanced Phono Stage Review

Rate this phono stage:

  • 1. Poor (headless panther)

    Votes: 5 3.8%
  • 2. Not terrible (postman panther)

    Votes: 9 6.9%
  • 3. Fine (happy panther)

    Votes: 73 55.7%
  • 4. Great (golfing panther)

    Votes: 44 33.6%

  • Total voters
    131

Daviede

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So, now we have 2 preamps with balanced outputs at a decent price tag: ifi zen and schiit skoll. Schiit have better SINAD, but, (from what I remember) I think ifi have better RIAA and overload behavior.

Schiit have standard XLR connectors, capacitance options for MM and remote control ... I think it justifies the price difference... really tough decision.
Hello, I'm a beginner and I have a question about the RIAA equalization for a phono preamp. Doesn't RIAA specify that starting from 1K, there should be an 18dB increase at 20Hz and an approximately 18dB attenuation at 20KHz for the curve to be relatively good?
 

dzerig

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Hello, I'm a beginner and I have a question about the RIAA equalization for a phono preamp. Doesn't RIAA specify that starting from 1K, there should be an 18dB increase at 20Hz and an approximately 18dB attenuation at 20KHz for the curve to be relatively good?
Yeah, it's something like that. A big slanted line. The bass takes more space on a record than treble, so they alter the response physically on the record, and alter it electronically in the SKOLL or w/e.
 

mike70

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Hello, I'm a beginner and I have a question about the RIAA equalization for a phono preamp. Doesn't RIAA specify that starting from 1K, there should be an 18dB increase at 20Hz and an approximately 18dB attenuation at 20KHz for the curve to be relatively good?

RIAA curve is RIAA curve ... what do you mean?
 

Daviede

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Yeah, it's something like that. A big slanted line. The bass takes more space on a record than treble, so they alter the response physically on the record, and alter it electronically in the SKOLL or w/e.
So why do people like this blue straight line during testing?
 

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mike70

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So why do people like this blue straight line during testing?

The test checks the linearity in the RIAA implementation ... a straight line is the perfect response using a pure RIAA signal
 

rocksteady

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Why are moving coil cartridges considered the "better" choice, when every pre-amp measurement I've seen show you sacrifice significant noise and distortion due to the extra gain needed in the pre-amp?
That's an excellent question and one that I have asked many times over the years. I have only once owned a MC cartridge, a low output Denon DL-304, that while quite good, it failed to truly impress and reignite my passion for LP reproduction...
 

rocksteady

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Since my turntable is 50 years old, I need to recap and decided to add a 5 pin DIN output. I ordered the parts for the latter today ironically enough.
;)
What do you need to recap, exactly? Surely not the Turntable?
 

KEM

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What do you need to recap, exactly? Surely not the Turntable?
Yes.

If you take the bottom off your TT, you will see one or two capacitors at least. These are in the power supply for the table. With 70 year old caps, I would expect that the capacitance has increased significantly (I've seen 1.5x). Although this is not necessarily a problem, capacitor failure is a problem. If there's electrolytic caps in your TT (and there probably are for the power supply), and the table is 20+ years old, then there's a good reason to replace the caps before the end of life. Poly and film caps seem to age very well. There's no need to replace those (usually).
In summary, the reason to replace all electrolytic caps in all vintage audio gear is to prevent further damage to the equipment when the electrolytc fails.
 

rocksteady

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Since my turntable is 50 years old, I need to recap and decided to add a 5 pin DIN output. I ordered the parts for the latter today ironically enough.
;)
I wasn't aware there were any capacitors in turntables, at least in those with external PSUs, such as my Roksan Xerxes. I'm fairly confident there are any in mine. May I ask what model is your Turntable?
 

Andysu

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nope wouldn't add it to my THX cinema for the technics sl 1210gr

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dzerig

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I wasn't aware there were any capacitors in turntables, at least in those with external PSUs, such as my Roksan Xerxes. I'm fairly confident there are any in mine. May I ask what model is your Turntable?
Vintage gear didn't use external power supplies (unless you were waaay high end), it was all inside the box. 8 D sized batteries put the box in boom box.
 

dzerig

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Why are moving coil cartridges considered the "better" choice, when every pre-amp measurement I've seen show you sacrifice significant noise and distortion due to the extra gain needed in the pre-amp?
The design, as always, has tradeoffs. The low output means more noise and distortion, this can be offset somewhat by a step up transformer.

A moving magnet has magnets on the opposite end of the needle, the moving coil has small copper wires. The benefit is that the coil is much lighter than the magnets, so like a see saw with lighter children on it, it is easier to move and has less momentum when the needle sees back to the vinyl. In a MC, the magnets are fixed in the body of the cartridge and do not move.

Do not underestimate the amount of force on the tiny surface area of the needle tip. People say that this makes the mechanics more agile - more responsive to smaller changes in the groove. I like the sound of my Denon 103 ALOT but I couldn't say it is a more accurate cartridge than my Ortofon Blue.

It is as important to get a cartridge that fits with the tone arm mechanically so you don't have resonance coming up near the audible range (not above 12-15 Hz). This means a heavier tonearm requires a less compliant cantilever (the seesaw) and the other way round. Many of the needles are made by one company so again, note what kind of geometry you are buying and compare it to competition ... Audio Technica has really good deals on 'high end' geometry's that last longer according to them than cheaper ones.

Bottom line, most of the benefit of LPs is the interaction with the source. The closer I pay attention, the better the music sounds.
 

JP

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A moving magnet has magnets on the opposite end of the needle, the moving coil has small copper wires. The benefit is that the coil is much lighter than the magnets, so like a see saw with lighter children on it, it is easier to move and has less momentum when the needle sees back to the vinyl. In a MC, the magnets are fixed in the body of the cartridge and do not move.

MCs haven’t had a moving mass advantage since the 70s.
 

Snoopy

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Would this be a substantial upgrade over a cheap phono preamp?
 
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