Phono preamp advice

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by 4011021, Nov 23, 2017.

  1. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brazil
    My vinyl system is as follows:

    Turntable: Pro-Ject Debut Carbon
    Cartridge: Nagaoka MP-110
    Receiver: Denon AVR-3200
    Speakers: B&W CDM-1

    I'm satisfied with my system but I'm considering upgrading it by adding a phono preamp and I have some doubts, I thank you in advance for any help.

    I know this system is entry-level. Will an entry-level pre-amp like Musical Fidelity V90 LPS be any better that my receiver's phono? Between buying an entry level and keeping things the way they are I should chose the former? Would this entry-level system require a better phono preamp, maybe mid-level? If I buy a mid-level would this system match it and allow it to show some of its features?

    I also consider buying a better phono than my system's level, then if I decide to upgrade other items I won't have to spend money in a new preamp (someone in this forum gave me that advice), but this would be not my first choice because of budget limits. Maybe I would like to see some difference first by adding a phono preamp to this system first. I have no plans to buy a MC cartridge since my Nagaoka is brand new and at least for now I like it a lot.

    It's not useful to tell you what my budget is since prices in Brazil are crazy. Also I can't test the photo before buying and can't return it without a good reason and not liking the way it sounds is not a good reason according to Brazilian law.

    Some preamps available here at decent prices I'm considering buying:

    - Musical Fidelity V90 LPS
    - Mcintosh Krell Td little bear T7
    - Thorens Mm-002
    - Thorens Mm-008
    - Yaqin Ms23b
    - Yaqin Ms 12b
    - Monolithic Sound Ps1 PLUS Hc1 Mm Mc
    - Graham Slee Era Gold V Mm
    - Parasound Zphono
    - Ifi Iphono2
    - Bat Vk P5

    More expensive ones that I'm not considering (but who knows?)

    - Parasound Halo Jc3+
    - Parasound Amp Jc3
    - Triode Trv-eq3se

    PS.: Sorry for this Brazilian man's poor English.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
    Dennis0675 likes this.
  2. Guitarded

    Guitarded Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montana
    Any chance you can Demo on or more of these in your system?

    Odds are, most any stand alone is going to improve on the sound you are getting from your current Receiver.

    As long as you have the additional input to use (Aux. or other line level input) it will definitely be an upgrade that you can build on. Also, most hold quite a bit of their value. So, reselling in the future is an option.

    I can endorse the Creek OBH series of Phono Pres as well as the PS Audio GCPH ($450-500 2nd hand).
     
    4011021 likes this.
  3. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brazil
    Thank you for your inputs, no demo, I edited the post to include this information.
     
  4. Guitarded

    Guitarded Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montana
    I can say that I did Demo a Grahm Slee (earlier version than on your list) and I liked it a lot.

    I was running it through a Linn Classik with a pair of Linn Tukans and had an MMF-5 Turntable at the time.

    Also, maybe check out the 'What Phono Pre-Amp Do You Use' Thread that is going right now.
     
    4011021 likes this.
  5. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brazil
    I've been reading that, thanks!
     
  6. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brazil
    So you think I would have some improvement with the Musical Fidelity V90 LPS?
     
    Dennis0675 likes this.
  7. Agitater

    Agitater Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    The best budget phono preamps you can buy will take you a long way into better cartridges and better tonearms and better turntables.

    Then again, I think your Pro-ject Debut Carbon is a terrific turntable - excellent value for the money. I think it’s quiet, the Pro-ject tonearm is very versatile, it works perfectly well with a wide variety of cartridges, the turntable speed is accurate. Put the turntable on a rock solid, non-resonant base, locate the turntable well away from your speakers, and it’s a winner.

    Your Nagaoka cartridge is very, very popular because it’s very, very good. Nagaoka made a great design at a great price point. The cartridge does a wonderful job of playing music. That said, the phono preamp in your Denon is not giving you all the music that the Nagaoka is getting out of the LP groove. You need an external phono preamp, no doubt.

    The Graham Slee Era Gold and the Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 are excellent phono preamps. They’ve both been award winners, and an awful lot of audiophiles and music lovers hang on to them for years and years. I’ve owned both - they’re excellent.

    The Musical Fidelity V90 LPS is another outstanding phono preamp. A friend has had one in a secondary system (with much more expensive components than yours, for whatever that’s worth in your considerations). The system includes a Rega RP6 with a Rega Exact 2 cartridge. The V90 LPS will let you hear much, much more of the music, just like the Graham Slee models.

    It’s not on your list, but if you can order one the Vincent PHO8 is another superb choice.

    I like the Parasound zphono, but not quite as much as the Musical Fidelity V90 LPS or either of the Graham Slee preamps.

    The amp section in your Denon sounds great. With one of these phono preamps, the Denon will send music to your excellent B&W CDM-1 speakers that you’ve never before. Personally, I think you’ve got a system that’s more than good enough to gain another full level of quality with the addition of a good external phono preamp.
     
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2017
  8. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brazil
    Thank you for your help, I appreciate.
     
  9. bluemooze

    bluemooze Forum Resident

    Location:
    Frenchtown NJ USA
    Way to go. :)

    Some additional low-cost items to consider would be the Lounge LCR III and the Mofi StudioPhono. Good luck.
     
  10. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    project have a huge range of matching phono stages
     
    4011021 likes this.
  11. 4011021

    4011021 Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Brazil
    I just ordered a Musical Fidelity V90 LPS. It will be my first experience with a dedicated phono preamp. Should be here in a few days.
     
  12. Jelloalien

    Jelloalien Stylus Genie

    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario
    Congrats! And I was gonna say, yes, a preamp will definelty be a noticeable upgrade over your integrated phono stage :)
     
    4011021 likes this.
  13. Ntotrar

    Ntotrar Nope

    Location:
    Mystic valley, Tn.
    The Lounge has fantastic reviews, I plan on auditioning one eventually. Of course your personal taste and milage may differ...
     
    4011021 likes this.
  14. Ric-Tic

    Ric-Tic Forum Resident

    Location:
    Stockholm
    Congratulations! Please write back and report your impressions of your new phono stage.
     
    4011021 likes this.
  15. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    Anyone have experience with the Project Tube Box S preamp?
     
  16. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    The iFi iPhono 2 has reports of some reliability issues. There was a member who went through 3 of them and was the biggest fan of the sound but even he had to reluctantly admit those issues were too much and he eventually got something else he still loves today.

    My FIL has a Lounge which he likes. Unfortunately, I have an MM cart or else I'd give it a spin myself. Sounds pretty good with his turntable, though (Marantz TT15S1). Hard to find somebody who has a bad thing to say about this preamp.
     
    HankM and 4011021 like this.
  17. Leviethan

    Leviethan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I have a very similar setup to you; a Project Xpression III turntable, Nagaoka Mp-150 cart, Marantz 1504 A/V receiver, and Pioneer Andrew Jones SP-FS52 speakers. I bought a Budgie Tube preamp from Parks Audio. They're handmade by Shannon Parks up in Washington State and they have a lot of fans here on the forum. $400 with free worldwide shipping.

    Parks Audio System Components
     
    4011021 likes this.
  18. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    The Budgie Parks Audio I’m seriously considering. It’s US dollars which will cost me more, but I’m super impressed with what I’m reading about them. Does it come with a power supply?

    I’ve looked at the Emotiva, Music Hall, Cambridge Audio and the Musical Fidelity preamps, but I’d really like to have tubes.
     
    4011021 likes this.
  19. Leviethan

    Leviethan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I didn't even know he was making a higher gain hybrid version now. I might have to upgrade!
     
  20. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    I actually read reviews from users who tried both, and some actually preferred the $399 model.
     
  21. Leviethan

    Leviethan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Huh, I could keep chasing that dragon forever. It does sound good, especially for needledrops. I just ordered a pair of Genalex Gold Lion 6922s for it.
     
    decontrol2 likes this.
  22. Vinyl Fan 1973

    Vinyl Fan 1973 "They're like soup, they're like....nothing bad"

    So in your opinion that would be the way to go instead of the other options I’ve mentioned above?
     
  23. sturgus

    sturgus Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis Mo
    There are so many good sounding preamps out now. I don't think you can really make a bad choice. I have 3 of Graham Slee products. I just like his design philosophy, not to mention the loaner program. You can hear it in your system before you buy. Another nice little pre is is the Vista Audio. Very nice for the money and very adjustable depending on your cartridge. This is good time to explore vinyl.
     
    4011021 likes this.
  24. BeatleFred

    BeatleFred Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Queens, New York
    I just received a Pro-Ject Phono Box DS+ yesterday, and will do more listening tonight, so far, it really sounds good, quite a noticeable improvement in sound quality! (currently on sale from Crutchfield).
     
    Garthb, 4011021 and Vinyl Fan 1973 like this.
  25. Leviethan

    Leviethan Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    Never heard the Project Tube pre. The nice thing about the Budgie is you can talk to the guy who makes it. He'll tweak it for you, if need be. He also threw in a pair of short RCA interconnects for me. Can't beat the customer service.
     
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