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Integrated amp for TT setup

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm trying to decide between a Cambridge Audio 540 +phono preamp (tbd) versus the Marantz PM7001. Either one will feed a seperate amp so power is not a concern. This will be an all analogue TT setup. I'm not sure if the seperate phono preamp route is the way to go? Must have preouts and tone bypass, which both of these appear to have. Anyone have any experience with either of these?
post #2 of 10
Do you have a fixed budget?

There are several phono pre's on the market that can be adjusted 6 ways to sunday to match your cartridge, which you WILL be changing over time. One I had good luck with was the Phonomena CLICK HERE

I finally got a pre-amp with an on-board phono pre-amp but if I change to a moving coil cart, I will need a step-up transformer.

Hope this helps.

post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ya I don't think a $1k phono preamp is gonna happen. More like <$100.
post #4 of 10
A decent phono pre-amp below 100 bucks is gonna be a tough nut to crack. Not impossible though. If I were you, i'd look on Audiogon for a used piece that fit your needs.

I will do some searching and post a couple of links for you. Its great to help someone get into vinyl.

post #5 of 10
HERE you go. Brand new and right in your wheelhouse. Only 75 bucks.

post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Looks good. So what really is the advantage of these preamps? Assuming I'm getting a basic setup and no esoteric cartridges? Just flexibility for different cartridges?
post #7 of 10
The 75 dollar "basic" phono pre-amp will do an average job with a variety of cartridges. It's settings are not adjustable so each cart is sees will be treated in the same way. The amplitude you get from different cartridges will vary depending on the output voltage of the cart.

The entry level solution will require you to use a moving magnet cart, or a high-output moving coil cart. This should be fine for what you are trying to achieve. The cartridge specs will tell you the output voltage of the cart. 4.5mV would be one of the more powerful models and 1.5 would be on the low side. The output voltage will determine the volume of the turntable in relation to the other source equipment you are using. For instance, with a low output cart the difference in volume levels when switching from phono to CD may be quite a dramatic, but with a 4.5mV output voltage cart, it wont be as drastic.

How esoteric the carts are is not really the point you are interested in. The output voltage is. If you are going for the inexpensive phono pre-amp then you need to stay away from any carts that do not have an output voltage without a number to the left of the decimel point. And in fact, the larger that number to the left is, the better off you will be gain wise.

This is a complex world you are entering, but there are some great sounding value minded carts out there, the GRADO BLACK comes to mind at 40 bucks. And it outputs 5mV so there would be no volume issues.

Many of the more expensive outboard phono pre-amps allow you to custom tune the pre-amp to match any cart you may be using. Variable load and resistance settings insure the cart is giving you all it can. Probably not useful for you now, but perhaps something to keep in mind as you begin to upgrade later.

By the way, have you considered going with a retro-receiver? Look on E-bay for a vintage Marantz or Pioneer piece that has a built in phono input, or look very closely at this receiver...

The Outlaw Audio RR2150 Retro Receiver

It has a phono input built in. I actually have one of these in my second system and it is kick ass. At 649.00 you get the integrated amp, a receiver AND the phono pre-amp. Look closely at this one, it is highly regarded.

Hope this helps.

post #8 of 10
Oh, and the Outlaws phono input can accept either a moving magnet or moving coil cartridge by simply changing a switch position. Very versatile.

post #9 of 10
If your needs are modest and you don't intend to be trying out different (pricey) cartridges, then your needs will likely be adequately served by the built in phono inputs on a receiver or a modest outboard one (www.phonopreamps.com or http://www.musiciansfriend.com/home/...q=phono+preamp). Cartridges can and do respond differently to capacitance loading (you'll notice it in the high frequencies) as well as resistance. Mike has sagely One could purchase a phono preamp that has the ability to load the cartidge with different amounts of capacitance and/or resistance. The sensitivity of a cartridge to loading varies according to the manufacturers and I don't know if tendencies can be generalized by manufacturer such as Grado is less touchy than say Shure. If these types of phono preamps are out of your range, you could contact the cartridge manufacturer to determine what the optimum loading range was and then using cables of a known capacitance, buy a couple of different lengths to try and zone in on it. FWIW, you'll find the MC are far less sensitive to loading but then they tend to cost more and need to have their signals boosted.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
I was looking at that Outlaw too. I like the sub out. Although I was planning to run stereo subs using RCA Y splitters on each channel out of the pre/pro, so I don't know if that matters.

I bought this today: http://www.soundcity.com/index.asp?P...rodID=688&HS=1

It's Rega P2 clone. They must be closing them out because everyone else's price is higher. In fact I seen a used one with a glass platter sell for about $450 today on ebay.

And thanks for the advice on preamps everyone!
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