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

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

  1. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    Zphono, I have not heard it, it has good gain numbers for MM. I’ve only tried the more expensive Parasound Zphono XRM, that one was lacking in bass, kind of bright and forward in detail, little less balanced for my taste. Rega’s house sound is warm and dynamic. (Dynamic, wider range in quite to loud, soft to slam)
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2021
  2. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    An improvement, at last!
     
  3. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    There might be an even simpler solution then - he can just get the 540 stylus, and slap it on the 120's body - eliminates the need to align a new cart.
     
  4. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

  5. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
  6. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frenchtown NJ USA
    In your price range the Lounge LCR III phono preamp is my recommendation. :)
     
  7. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    Yes, I was going to recommend checking out the ZPhono myself.
     
    Benzion likes this.
  8. Boltman92124

    Boltman92124 Fish tacos.

    Location:
    San Diego
    Amazon reviews are ridiculous IMO.
     
  9. MCM_Fan

    MCM_Fan Senior Member

    Location:
    Oregon
    @sadguitarsolo it seems this thread is focused only on gain. There is a lot more to the sound quality/performance of a phono stage than gain. Personally, I'd rather have a phono stage with 40 - 42dB of gain and a very high overload margin than one with 45 - 47dB of gain and a small overload margin. The former will be a better match for a much wider range of cartridges. Even if you never plan to own a phono cartridge with more than 3.5 - 4.0mV output, a high overload margin has other benefits (better handling of transient peaks, better handling of surface noise/pops and clicks, etc.). I haven't looked at the specs for the Pluto, but I suspect one reason they originally limited the gain to 36dB is due to a low overload margin.

    I repeat my original recommendation for a Darlington Labs MM-6. The standard gain is 40dB, but 42dB is available on request when placing your order. The Darlington Labs products have tons of overload margin, and also sound great with phono cartridges down to 2.2mV of output voltage with the standard 40dB of gain (I tried a couple with an MM-6) or 2.0mV with 42dB of gain. The Darlington Labs products sound great with everything from LOMC cartridges up to high output broadcast cartridges.
     
  10. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    If it were me I would definitely be looking at other aspects of the system rather than just the phono stage. 36dB of gain should not be a problem with the cart OP is using. Is it lower than the 40ish dB that comes with most newer phono stages? Sure, but it's not an issue for that cartridge. The real issue is possibly a very weak/crappy amp with inefficient speakers.
     
    Pkcpga likes this.
  11. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    Yeah it’s an unfortunate combo, weak amp and weak preamp. For the OP budget it would hard to buy a good amp that will drive his speakers well, unless the OP tries used. I’ve heard the new version of the OP preamp, U-turn audio is right down the road from where I live, their new preamps are not very good.
     
  12. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    Your right, Rega site states gain of 41.4 dB at 1KHz, glanced to quickly. No issues with gain on the Rega’s both MM version and MC version.
     
  13. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    The 41.4 dB is for the bigger Fono, not the Mini, and it is listed there. The Mini, however, only lists the Input Sensitivity, and by math alone, the gain is 40 dB, not 41.4.
     
  14. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Well I paid the extra $30 for a brand new Zphono pre-amp from Amazon and the damn thing showed up with the left channel completely dead and not working. Good luck I guess, or something I'm not thinking of, but worked 100% before and after plugging this piece in. Gotta hope a replacement fixes the issue.
     
    Pkcpga likes this.
  15. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    That’s terrible, personally hate Amazon, they resell returns all the time, no one checks if things are broken or cares.
     
    sadguitarsolo likes this.
  16. sadguitarsolo

    sadguitarsolo Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Oregon, USA
    Honestly I've been thinking about breaking up with them for awhile, lol. The last few months especially it's just all been junk and hardly worth the hassle, or the price! (for Prime). So yeah. This might be the nail in the coffin.

    edit: Yeah my renewal was in a week, just canceled it after 10 years. Feels good, lol.
     
    JohnO and Pkcpga like this.
  17. JohnO

    JohnO Senior Member

    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Try newegg and bhphoto. They have most electronics items, and often free shipping by item without a required membership.
     
    Pkcpga likes this.
  18. Pkcpga

    Pkcpga Audio Enthusiast

    I’ve always had good luck with B&H, ship quickly and free, never get something used.
     
    JohnO likes this.

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