Monacor / IMG Stage Line SPR-6 Pre-amp / Phono Stage Owners' Thread

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by LivingForever, May 2, 2017.

  1. LivingForever

    LivingForever Always one more tomorrow... Thread Starter

    Hi everyone,

    I thought I'd start a thread because discussion of this pre-amp seems to come up again and again in other threads but it doesn't have one of its own.

    After having been recommended one on another thread, and seeing other people being impressed with it versus phono stages that cost 20 times as much, I thought I'd take a punt on the SPR-6.

    Managed to swap out my Pro-ject Phono Box MM for this at the weekend, and so far I really like it. Everything sounds much cleaner, more focussed and more 3D (if there can be such a thing in audio.)

    So, to my ears it nicely outperforms something that cost £20 more than it - but thought I'd start a discussion for other owners who might have tested it against something a bit more high-end.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  2. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I use it in preference to anything.
    It's basically 2 transistors per channel, and a handful of passive components
    Itdbruns in class A.
    It's the fact thst it used no OP Amps
    That lifts it head and shoulders against
    Anything in my opinion.
    It's also quiet despite its average spec.
    The music simply flows with this device,
     
    robegian likes this.
  3. LivingForever

    LivingForever Always one more tomorrow... Thread Starter

    This is it- it just seems like a pure signal being passed through, very clear and clean.

    Suits me for now, that's for sure, especially since it cost about £35 shipped.

    Have you tested it against other pre-amps?
     
  4. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    Yes, I tried to replace it several times
    Once with an Audio synthesis
    Another with IFI which was nice, but the Monacir wins by being do pure and relaxing.
    Hubert Jan put me onto it, has measured it and tells me its top notch.
    I, m told its easy to copy and replicate.
    I have a version also with a battery supply ! Sold under a different brand.
    I gave up trying to replace it,
    It may be cheap but nothing gets close. I have accepted thst despite its
    Low price its high quality.
    I have suggested the Monacot on various threads but its low price puts them off.
    I mean its silly, one says i am looking for a £400 phono stage .
    Or a £600 phono stage,
    2 transistors a 9 volt power supply
    Where does the extra money go?
     
  5. Mitsuman

    Mitsuman Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO USA
    I can't get over the poor S/N ratio per their published specifications. For $60.00 I'm tempted to buy one just to try it, but I'm worried by the low rating of >50 dB.
     
    Robert C and Cuki like this.
  6. Wayne Bull

    Wayne Bull Well-Known Member


    Thorensman helped me see the light :)

    Brilliant pre for the money
     
    LivingForever likes this.
  7. 33na3rd

    33na3rd Forum Resident

    Location:
    SW Washington, USA
    I couldn't find it for sale in the US, except on Ebay. It sounds interesting though.
     
  8. Mitsuman

    Mitsuman Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis, MO USA
    Same here.
     
  9. Hubert jan

    Hubert jan Forum Resident

    That Monacor is also called Stage line.
    The virtue is it's a pure Class A device just like old amplifiers had one build in. Up to this day I find it the best there is, phono pre's with opamps dont have that pure musical sound. (my gear is Class A valve amp, Magnepan, all very high resolution, only Class A phono pre will match)
     
    Thorensman likes this.
  10. Tonmeister

    Tonmeister Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I've read with interest thorensman's recommendations on this in various threads and would be interested in giving it a try too. But it seems like it runs off 240v powersupply and I'm in the US. The battery powered version - any links to that you could send?
     
  11. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    EBay
    Pre-Amlifier- Phono - To - Stereo -Rca-Preamp Turntable -To -Line level Amp new.
    £14.89 sold by Gearooz(battery)
    £35.84 sold by Iotoonsfr
    There may be bothers .
    All made in same factory, under different names .
    I added a mono switch to mine
    Following a suggestion by H.
    Jan. Simplicity rules. Use the money saved to buy more records
    Or interconnects.
     
    Tonmeister likes this.
  12. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    The actual units are all 9v.
    If you bought A UK model all that's required is a 120v to 9v power pack assuming its to be used in USA,
     
  13. Tonmeister

    Tonmeister Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    Brilliant - thank you , will have a look!!
     
  14. Tonmeister

    Tonmeister Forum Resident

    Location:
    New York
    I thought of that, but then there's frequency too and I was concerned that might be an issue a 50/60 hz and the possibility of hum? I'm not the most knowledgeable on electricity here...
     
  15. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    You could be right . I never thought of that!
     
  16. Hubert jan

    Hubert jan Forum Resident

    Hum is never an issue for different line frequencies. The 50 or 60 Hertz power is rectified and smoothed, no problem.
     
    Tonmeister likes this.
  17. Manimal

    Manimal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Southern US
    Me too:)
     
  18. Fishoutofwater

    Fishoutofwater Forum Resident

    I liked the Monacor. Very clean sounding. A Reaal bargain and i would have kept it except i had a loud "pop" every time i switched the TT on. I spent a lot of time comparing it to my Musical Fidelity XLPs and its RSU. Overall i did enjoy the sound of the MF more. Seemed to have more "punch". Perhaps the MF is more "coloured" but for now i wont be changing it. Had the Monacor not created the loud "pop" every time i switched on my TT i would have kept it just for the hell of it. A little gem.
     
  19. robegian

    robegian Active Member

    Location:
    Trieste, Italy
    I recently stumbled upon this Monacor SPR-6 and it amazed me so much: compared to a Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Communicator (costing about six times the Monacor) I ended with preferring this cheap box. I searched the net to find if other people thought this little marvel sounds so good, and I found this thread — so I'm not alone in awe :)
     
  20. robegian

    robegian Active Member

    Location:
    Trieste, Italy
    Speaking of amazingly cheap pre-amps, some say the similarly priced Dynavox TC-750 is even better than the Monacor: did anyone here compare the two devices directly?
     
  21. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Just based on your recommendations from past threads - I've got a new one on eBay recently. It's still en route from Austria, will report my impressions in a while. It will be replacing the Pro-Ject Phono Box DS Plus, which I plainly didn't like, but it's no slouch, nevertheless, and is about $499 new (MSRP).
     
  22. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    The power supply wall wart is an adapter - it will work with 110V.
     
    Tonmeister likes this.
  23. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
  24. Benzion

    Benzion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Monacor SPR-6 arrived from Austria today, brand new in box. Here are my impressions, after about 3 hours of continuous play on two different turntables.

    On Rek-O-Kut Rondine L-34 idler drive, with Jelco SA-370H arm and Shure M97HE (original, 4.0 mV): sounds lifeless.

    Tonally, it's pleasing, more pleasing than the outgoing Pro-Ject Phono Box DS+ it replaced, which is around 6 times the price of Monacor. But - "no meat on the bones", so to speak. The unit has a strange (unlisted) gain value - around 38-39 dB, if you do the math. It claims to put out 450 mV from a 5.0 mV cart. The Shure M97HE has 4.0 mV, and the gain deficiency really showed, with resulting output of only around 356 mV. Through speakers, I had to turn the volume up to around 31-32 on my preamp, as opposed to around 17-18 when played with the Pro-Ject's 45 dB gain. And even when at the same volume level, the sound felt like it lacked something which the Pro-Ject had - magnitude, fullness, air, 3D soundstage - call it whatever you want. Turning the volume higher only made it louder, but did not compensate for the missing part, whatever it was. Sorry for the lack of specific eloquence - if I possessed the required jargon, I'd probably have Fremer's job.

    Then I switched to headphones, through Little Dot Mk II. Same story - the volume knob had to go to nearly 4 o'clock position (!) to get to my normal listening level, from a regular 12 to 1 o'clock with the Pro-Ject. The sound was almost as lifeless with cans as it was with speakers, tubes did not fully compensate for the lost magic.

    Another important point for anyone who runs older idler drive tables, or has fairly high level of rumble, regardless of drive type - the Monacor lacks subsonic filter - and it shows. My venerable 1956 R-O-K is pretty noisy compared to newer tables, by default, and by the design of idler drive. It really really benefits from subsonic filter, and really suffers from lack of it. So much so, that I would not play the R-O-K through cans again. In Monacor's defense, when I hooked the R-O-K to the Lounge LCD and played it with cans - the motor noise became simply unbearable, even compared to Monacor.

    To summarize - I was not too crazy about the Pro-Ject unit's tonal composition. But now that it's gone, and compared to Monacor, I appreciate everything else it had. The Monacor does have a pleasing tonal signature, but lacks everything else the Pro-Ject had, especially gain and rumble filter.

    Verdict - not a good match.

    On Pro-Ject Debut Carbon DC, with acrylic platter and Ortofon 2M Blue: a lot better than on the R-O-K. But, compared to the Lounge LCR that it's usually paired with - meh. To make it short - the Lounge does everything better, with the exception of one thing - the Monacor happens to be quieter as far as noise goes.

    Just like the Monacor, the Lounge LCR lacks subsonic filter. The gain on the Lounge is 40 dB, the Monacor has nearly as much, but a little less. With the Lounge, and when playing with cans, noise has become noticeable enough that I started a separate thread looking for advise on how to combat it, or what other table to get, to replace the Debut. Monacor pretty much fixed that issue with the Debut - very quiet, indeed. Maybe due to slightly lower gain, or maybe because of the simplicity of the circuit and lack of op-amps, something duly praised by our colleague here, @Thorensman. Other than noise floor, the Lounge pretty much wipes the floor with the Monacor in every other respect, strictly in my opinion, of course, YMMV.

    I bought it solely out of curiosity and based on heavy praise lavished on it by quite a few people on this forum. Apparently, it has its merits, and many people like it a lot. I'm not one of them. My curiosity is now fully satisfied. With shipping from Austria, this thing cost me around $84, converted into USD. It is now 3 hours old. If anyone is still curious to hear it for themselves - you can surely have it for, say $75 plus shipping (or local pickup).

    I'm swapping the Lounge back to the Debut tomorrow, and may entertain the idea of getting the new Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 - a new model, FET input, tube output, discreet circuitry, no op-amps, for the R-O-K. It has a subsonic filter, and a 43 dB gain setting, which should fit the Shure cart like a glove. Will report if (or when) I get it.

    Happy listening!

    Edit: The wall-wart of the Monacor will work with 110V here in the US, however, the plug is fixed and has the European round prongs, as opposed to our flat ones. I luckily had an adapter. Will throw that in if anyone wants to buy the unit. Otherwise just keep in mind that one is needed.
     
    33na3rd and Tonmeister like this.
  25. robegian

    robegian Active Member

    Location:
    Trieste, Italy
    I'm using a Monacor with exactly the same combination (see picture). I compared the Monacor with just two pre-amps (the Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Communicator and the Rega Fono Mini A2D), on the same system, and I preferred the Monacor. By the way, I felt the Monacor was better paired with the Ortofon OM10 cartridge I was using before replacing that with a 2M Blue — nevertheless, it's still doing a fine job with the 2M Blue.

    By the way, here in Italy the Monacor can be bought for 35€ (including shipping).

    [​IMG]
     

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