Schiit Mani Phono Preamp

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Szeppelin75, Dec 28, 2017.

  1. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Sure, in a large company it would probably be done that way.
     
  2. Small ones too. It happened to me at GrooveTubes, a company of about 25 employees. One of my designs got dumbed-down.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  3. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    If you read Jason Stoddard’s posts at head-go.org, you’ll see it’s not their approach. Sure they design gear to price points, but they don’t have bean counters with authority over engineering decisions.
     
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  4. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I suppose that's why you have your own company now.
     
  5. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    Head-fi.org. DYAC
     
  6. Good thing there is nobody who has a say in "dumbing down" your current design(s)....

    ... then again, there is ONE person... the boss.
     
  7. I was used to things like what happened to my design at GrooveTubes. It's really so common that if things like that really bothered me I would have gotten out of the business long ago: So that was not a significant reason I started Lounge Audio.

    I had made two attempts to start a company before. Lounge was the proverbial "third time's a charm".

    BUT! It is very nice to be the main decision maker on what part is used on each node of the circuit.

    BTW, another problem is once a design is done and rolling off of the lines the source engineer has likely moved on. Then if parts substitutions are made for whatever reason, it's usually done by a senior tech/manufacturing manager type of person or another engineer that does not have the same sensibilities as the source engineer.
     
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  8. :D She is the only reason I wake up in the morning! :love:
     
  9. Darn, you nailed that one!
     
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  10. volta

    volta Forum Resident

    Location:
    Denver, CO
    Has anyone done any comparisons with the Emotiva XPS-1 and the Mani? I am thinking of buying the Mani to give it a shot but I currently have the Emotiva and for me, it has been a great little phono stage.
     
  11. SNDVSN

    SNDVSN Forum Resident

    Location:
    Glasgow
    Mani owners, what's your level of hiss with your amp at three quarters volume and no record playing?
     
  12. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    How much investigation have you done? Sometimes hiss is a symptom or result of RFI/EMI, either directly into the circuitry, or through power and grounds. Are all the computers and digital gear turned off when you are listening to records? Have you tried relocating the Mani, or plugging into other receptacles? Any power conditioners or filters you can use?
     
  13. Well, have to get the "hiss-o-meter" out to measure.... :) (just kidding)

    Seriously, you are probably referring to the "white noise" that is inherent in stages - and if you are getting it a 3/4 volume you probably don't have much to worry about, it is when the stage has a "high noise floor" and the white noise is in the listening range where you could make the case you have a "noisy" stage.

    When I first get a stage in and test, I hook it up, crank up the volume without a record playing to help me diagnose grounding, RFI issues, etc. Where there is the white noise, and a buzz, then I go address grounding.... if there is a whine, I look for potential RFI candidates.... if it is just clean white noise, and it does not start till well past the listening volumes, all is good.

    EDIT - realize that at these price points, white noise is expected... I have heard that when you start paying up for the real high dollar stages, they get "inkier blacks" and not as much noise, but again, it usually is not an issue if it is not of your listening volume, and does not start until much higher.
     
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  14. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Crank up the Mani all the way with no record playing and listen very carefully. Do you hear a radio station? If so, that's definitely RFI. You might be able to cut it down with ferrite chokes and by repositioning the unit, but you probably won't get rid of it totally, just down to a white noise haze. That was my experience.

    Not all inexpensive stages are noisy either. My Rega Fono Mini is much, much quieter than my Mani was once RFI reared its head after my last move. I did prefer the sound of the Mani though. MOFI Studio Phono is also quieter than the Mani.
     
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  15. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    I have absolutely no experience with the Mani so take my opinion with a huge grain of salt, but the gain choices seem odd to me, and certainly may be contributing to the users who are possibly less than satisfied with the unit.

    The super low gain (so called Decca setting) seems the oddest as there are not going to be many MM's around that require that little gain. If I was designing the stage I would eliminate that gain setting and substitute in a 36 dB gain setting which should be pretty much ideal for the vast majority of MM's putting out around .5 mV.

    As it now stands, that vast segment of the market is probably not particularly well served by the Mani as 30 dB is likely to be too low and 42 dB is really pushing things for those using cartridges with around .5 mV (ie. most moving magnets) and may well explain why some users are experiencing a bit of a compressed quality with a lack of midrange.

    It looks like the product offers a huge amount of flexibility but it would make more sense to me to direct that flexibility into a gain setting which is going to be appropriate for the huge majority of the users of the product.

    I'd probably just tweak those settings a bit so they are 36 dB, along with the existing 42 and 48 and do a minor change on the 59 to 60. Should be easy enough to do and might turn it into an even bigger seller and one that sounds better with most of the MM's out there.
     
  16. When I had the radio station interference with mine, I did not have to crank it up very high!! It was very prevalant - but then again I could reposition and eliminate, some are not so lucky - like I think you weren't!!

    And yes, I agree, can be noisier than some cheaper options, but it still sounds a lot better!!! White noise is expected, but TOO much is not good, all depends where it kicks in....
     
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  17. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    36 dB might be nice, but 30 is plenty with the 2M series of cartridges, which are of course very popular for users of phono stages around this price point. They output from 4 to 5.5 mV, depending on the model, which is quite high. I prefer my 2M cartridges on the low gain setting rather than the “standard MM” setting.
     
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  18. Gabe Walters

    Gabe Walters Forum Resident

    I get white noise at very dangerous levels, not audible at normal listening levels. No RFI/EMI. Like I said above, I got RFI at one place in my house from a nearby tower, then plugged the Mani directly into the wall rather than a power strip, and the RFI was gone. Now the Mani is back in my basement room, and back in the same power strip, and no RFI.
     
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  19. dmckean

    dmckean Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
  20. No, I have a few power conditioners (Furman) which some called "glorified power strips" and lots of debates on true value of them versus a good power strip - but nothing like this.

    For $3 I would question what circuitry could possibly be inside of that where it "filters" EMI though... maybe you can fill me in on that. My guess is it is a "one time" device where it will trip (hopefully) on a surge (like a lightning strike) and have to be replaced. So it probably has a fuse in it.... but after that, how is it filtering EMI / RFI?
     
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  21. dmckean

    dmckean Forum Resident

    Location:
    San Diego, CA, USA
    It's probably some sort of inductor/trimmer capacitor thing similar to the FM trap on my TV antenna.
     
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  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    No idea about that particular item. I have/had all my equipment plugged into a commercial grade surge protector, which I believe has that filtering. Like I said, the Mani was fine until my last move, I got tired of messing with it, so I sold it. Before that I used it with no issue in three different cities, in three different states. In my case I believe the RFI issue had to do with the proximity to a strong FM station. My current place is actually close to several stations. My advice now is that if anyone is thinking about a Mani, forget it if you are close to a station. Look up your location on fmfool.com and see what is close to you before placing the order and buying one.

     
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  23. Leonthepro

    Leonthepro Skeptically Optimistic Autodidact Debater

    Location:
    Uppsala Sweden
    The FMfool site didnt work for me, but I live in Sweden so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
     
  24. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I've brought this up before, but my ideal phono pre would have gain that I could adjust 1db at a time (not to mention lots of resistance and capacitance adjustment). Most models don't offer that feature, or if they do, they are very expensive. ART has a model with gain adjustment, but it's lacking in other areas.
     
  25. blakep

    blakep Forum Resident

    Yes. For many (most I would bet), 30 dB of gain with a 5 mV cartridge is not going to cut it and 42 dB is going to be too much. At least if you can compare it to a more appropriate gain setting.

    My experience is primarily with low output moving coils (which may admittedly be a bit fussier on absolute gain matching as the signal is much lower) and my phono stage is much more expensive. But it has infinitely variable gain adjustment between around 55 dB and 75 db and I can tell you that the gain window for optimum performance with low to medium output MC's is very narrow.

    Certainly within 2 dB. But most people with absolute fixed gain stages will never know this. You only find out when you can literally adjust gain in very small increments easily and repeatedly.
     
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