Advice for phono pre-amp upgrade (pluto u-turn)

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by sadguitarsolo, Sep 19, 2021.

  1. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    There is no "twice as loud". SPL (sound pressure level) is measured in decibel. 60 db is the level of normal human speech. 120 dB, which is twice as loud, is the level of a jet aircraft taking off. If you are directly underneath that jet at the time, there is a good chance of getting killed by that level of sound. The level of a stadium rock concert is about 115 dB, and it is known to cause permanent hearing damage in some people.

    To put it in perspective for you, for an increase of volume by 3 dB the amplifier power must double. So, +9 dB increase of volume means 8 times increase in amplifier output power (2 x 2 x 2). Similarly, your current phono gives you 36 dB vs. suggested 47 dB - see now why your volume is so anemic now? It's 11 dB below the suggested figure.
     
  2. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I was in the Air Force and am very familiar with jets taking off over my head, and coincidentally tinnitus. I did study much of this in tech school though that was years ago and remains unpracticed. And yes this makes sense, thanks. It's nice to have a logical reason that is more than just "buy more expensive stuff".
     
  3. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Most of what I quoted I remember, what I don't is easily looked up, when you know what to look for.
     
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  4. MikeJedi

    MikeJedi Forum Resident

    Location:
    Las Vegas
    I own a Parasound Zphono and disagree .. my DL110 sounds great with it and certainly not like a CD. :)
     
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  5. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I found it mostly comical, just because their negative is my positive.
     
  6. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Just remember that cell phones, wifi routers, smart devices, etc. can cause interference issues with phono preamps. Position your equipment so that these types of devices are away from the turntable system.
     
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  7. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    The main difference would be the fact that Pluto has its own power supply, as opposed to the built-in one that has to siphon some off the main power supply of the integrated amp.

    Another important aspect is the fact that most built-in phonos in lower-end integrated have a ridiculous capacitance value of 300-400 pF, whereas the most AT carts need to be loaded at 100-150 pF tops, and sound screwy with more. That's likely what gives AT carts the reputation for brightness.
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2021
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  8. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Ok so,

    I'm very grateful as I've settled on the Zphono pre-amp.

    Now I'm battling between the VM95ML and the VM540ML cart, since I need one soon anyways. Quick google search is a rabbit hole, but I'll start digging.

    Concerning brightness, I suppose this is a reason I often saw them recommended for rock for budget listeners? Just curious.
     
  9. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    LOL. There is always a negative review or more for any component. Tastes are not universal. But you situation calls for more gain, so I think you may benefit. One suggestion to be on the safe side: buy a new unit from Audio Advisor. If you don't like it - return it for a full refund. The only thing it will cost you is return shipping.
     
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  10. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Texas
    @Benzion As an example of how much input you need from the phono preamp, the input sensitivity of the CD input of a Yamaha A-S301 is listed in the specs as 200mV. The idea that you need to be at 1V is not right.
     
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  11. DrZhivago

    DrZhivago Hedonist

    Location:
    Brisbane Australia
    If I was you. I'd be looking for an amplifier (with a decent phono pre) upgrade.
     
  12. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I own the USB version, and quote from personal experience, too. I agree - it's a very decent unit, even if not the last word in hi-end.
     
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  13. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I don't like to make speaker suggestions because I think you need to go listen to some yourself. Speakers will make the most obvious difference to the sound of your system, usually. Re: the amp, getting hot is not a good sign. Some amps do run hot though. I am not a fan of AVRs for 2 channel listening. Typically the AVR at a similar price point as a 2 channel amp will have a boatload of extra features you don't need. To include those features, the manufacturer will have to cut corners in other areas, generally.
     
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  14. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I did not imply you need 1V from a phono - in fact, I'm against it myself. My personal preference is about 500 mV coming out of the phono.

    I did see the input sensitivity figure, but given the OP's description of how lackluster the combo sounds, I'm not sure if that figure is believable.
     
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  15. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Texas
    I could see that assessment.
     
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  16. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Thanks everyone. I'm just researching between the VM540ML and the VM95ML for the 1200 now. I'll try and report back once it's all hooked up.
     
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  17. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Dynamic compliance for both is listed as 10 in Japanese units. Static compliance is 20 for 95ML, and 40 (twice as much) for the 540 ML. Instinctively, it makes me think the 540 may be more compliant than the 95, which will make the 95 a better/safer choice for the 1200 tonearm.
     
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  18. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    That's the gist of what I'm seeing, though many are reporting being happy with the 540 regardless. I mean it's about $100 cheaper for the 95ML so if it's more uhh, compliant, then that works for me. I think if anything that $100 is a big factor just because I'm grabbing the Zphono as well, and with the cart that puts me at $340 total which seems about perfect for now.

    I'm digging thru this thread: AT-VM540ML and a Technics 1200

    I really appreciate the help and the explanations!
     
  19. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    More compliant is worse for the 1200 arm, as it is a medium-weight arm, and thus prefers medium-to-low compliant carts. The 95 is lower compliance, which makes it a safer choice.

    EDIT: on the other hand, the dynamic compliance is listed as equal for both, at 10, so the AT people might know what they're talking about.
     
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  20. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    I meant compliant with my budget :cool:.
     
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  21. ejman

    ejman Music, fountain of life!

    Location:
    Oregon
    Well, no. 10 db increase is twice as loud. so 70 db would be twice as loud as 60 db. 120 db is many, many times louder than 60 db and in fact will result in hearing loss if exposed to that level for long periods of time.
     
  22. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Oh, yes, I forgot it's more of a logarithmic relationship, rather than straight arithmetic. That way, 120 dB is 64 times louder than 60 dB.
     
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  23. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    The current VM540ML and your AT120Eb are based on the same cartridge core, and the styli are interchangeable, at least either stylus will perfectly fit either cartridge body although there could be very subtle differences in sound balance since the 540 body is allegedly slightly improved. The ML stylus is the significant upgrade. The 95 is a different cart body, and compared to the 540 it has a bit less separation, and a bit less detail in the higher end, and costs less than the 540. It is certainly your decision but I think if you like the 120 you should get the 540ML when you get a new cart.
     
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  24. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    The gain on mk2 is higher 47 verse 40 on mk1, both are higher then what you currently have.
     
  25. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    Rega list gain in its specs, 47db on its site and every site that sells it.
     

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