Phono preamp recommendation for Pro-ject Debut iii / OM10

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Soundnz, Feb 11, 2019 at 5:20 PM.

  1. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Sorry for the newbie question but I'm getting back into vinyl after a 40ish year 'hiatus' and don't (yet) have an amp with a phono stage. I've picked up a used Pro-ject Debut iii with an Ortofon OM10 cartridge (with new stylus) and for now, plan to use it with an Onkyo TX-NR609 AV receiver and JV60 speakers (Vifa drivers). Probably not the question to be asking on an audiophile's forum but perhaps someone would be kind enough to suggest something that would make this all sound not too awful. BTW I am in New Zealand and some options may not be available/affordable where I reside.
     
  2. Stanton56

    Stanton56 Active Member

    Location:
    Idaho
    Art DJ II Pre-Amp sound excellent
     
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  3. TheVU

    TheVU Forum Resident

    Do they have Cambridge products in New Zealand? Like the now older Cambridge Audio 540p/640p?
     
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  4. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
    Project do make phono stage & produced ,millions of them
     
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  5. todd141

    todd141 Forum Resident

    I bought a Pro-Ject phono Box S2 for my Music Hall mmf 5.1 table. I really like that you can modify the impedance and capacitance, and will work for MC and MM. Very inexpensive also I think.
     
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  6. daytona600

    daytona600 Forum Resident

    Location:
    UK
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  7. yarvelling

    yarvelling Forum Resident

    Rega Mini-Fono is a good choice too.... low capacitance, and a very clean sound. Works very well, and if I use my Pro-Ject Primary/OM-5E it sounds lovely!
     
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  8. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Yes, I've seen those. Good to hear first hand that they sound great. About NZ$80 here so very affordable. I'm definitely considering that one.
     
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  9. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks. Really good to know that works well with what I guess is very similar hardware to mine. I've seen one on sale for NZ$209 which is about as much as I think I'd want to spend given the stage I'm at with the rest of my setup. The audio store also offers LayBuy to spread the payments so I'm very tempted to go ahead with this one :)
     
  10. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    They tend to sell Cambridge products at the higher end HiFi stores in NZ and used products don't seem to come up for sale very often. I did see a Cambridge CP2 listed on an NZ website (Audio Reference Co) for NZ$179 but it turned out to be a pricing error. They offered it to me for $NZ$325 (around 220 USD) which seemed to be a good price, although, a bit more than I was wanting to spend on my present system. Do you think the CP2 would be better suited to my purpose than say a Rega Mini Phono? It would like be a while before I get around to getting a dedicated amp and speakers for my TT but I'd like to upgrade them at some stage.
     
  11. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks. They sound ideal and get some very good reviews. I don't think I'll be going down the MC path with my current Pro-ject TT as the aluminium arm probably can't handle it but, given all the positive reviews it sounds like something that could stay with me for a few upgrades. I'll look into these a bit further.
     
  12. Guitarded

    Guitarded Forum Resident

    Location:
    Montana
    A Creek OBH should be pretty easy to source
     
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  13. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks. It really does sound ideal but, although Pro-ject have a NZ website, they don't seem to list either the phono stage or PSU (though do show a DS & RS - the latter of which is pretty pricey). I'll look some more and then see if Amazon or Ebay can help (although I have to watch out I don't get stung for too much tax and fees if I import higher value goods).
     
  14. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for the suggestion. I can find an OBH 15 mk2 and OBH 8 mk2. The latter is NZ$275 which sits roughly halfway between the Rega Fono Mini and Cambridge P2 in terms price (a little closer to what I wanted to spend than the Cambridge). I've always wanted to try a Creek phono stage as I bought a CAS4040 amp a few years ago with the intention of listening to my stored vinyl but never got a turntable and ended up passing it on. Even those cheap amps were supposed to have a very good phono stage.
     
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  15. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks for all the great suggestions. If I could afford to, I'd probably buy two different phono stages, compare and sell the one I least prefer. Doing this a few times I may end up with the one that suits me best. Unfortunately that's not an option right now as I have a number of priorities so I'll try to get the one the best matches my set up and budget and might audition another later. Although I hear some great things about the DJ II Pre, I'm leaning towards either the Rega Mini-Fono or Creek OBH 8 (but could probably pick up a DJ II Pre a later time to compare). The Cambridge is almost within reach but I can't seem to find to many reviews on this one, (the Cambridge Duo has great reviews) so am reluctant to take the plunge. The Project Phono Box S2 sounds ideal and would likely see me through a few upgrades but I can't seem to find it here and given that it costs a little more, would likely attract some additional costs in tax and fees if I was to purchase overseas. I'll give some more thought to which I will buy but would still love to hear any comments from those who have experienced any of the afforementioned first-hand or have any other suggestions.
     
  16. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    I did find the Phono Box S on the project.co.nz website. Any idea how this compares to the S2 or whether it can use a battery PSU? At $299 NZD it's more than the Rega Mini-Fono but not too much more than the Creek OBH 8. Maybe I'll get in touch with Project or one of the distributors to see if the Phono Box S2 is on the horizon.
     
  17. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    The Art DJ Pre is a very good unit considering it's so cheap.

    I like the Rega Fono Mini A2D for what it is but it can't compare to better, more expensive phono stages.

    I'm not a fan of Pro-Ject products so I wouldn't buy that one.

    Re: the Creek, I would look at the capacitance and see if it matches with your cartridge, or any future cartridge you plan to use. It is very easy to add capacitance if you need more but more complicated to take it away.

    If audition before buying is not possible, get a good return policy on whatever you buy.
     
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  18. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    I don't like the rega mini fono, too dark sounding, too much bass, too small soundstage. I hope/think you can get something better at that price, otherwise I would spend a bit more....
     
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  19. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I found mine to be a little rolled off at both ends of the frequency spectrum. Paired with a bright-ish cart, it's fine for what it is. For $180 you can't expect too much IMHO. The truth is better phono stages cost more unless you are prepared to do the DIY thing or hunt on the used market.
     
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  20. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks. The A2D is a good price here and there was a listing for a second hand Fono Mini (not A2D) recently, which although older, I believe is the same unit but without USB.

    I have read on a forum that the OM10 has a capacitance 'sweet spot' around 400pF and users have noticed a considerable difference switching from 200 to 300pF on their phono stage. The Creek is fixed at 220 pF so I guess could benefit from having capacitors soldered somewhere. The Cambridge CP2 BTW, is the same. A2D just 100pF and I've heard can sound a bit bright if exceeded. Perhaps I might be better looking for a variable capacitance phono stage although I don't think there are many in my intended price range. The Pro-ject Phono Box 2 is one, (can't seem to find the 2S here in NZ), however I know you're not keen on the Project products. Guess I might have to do a bit more research.
     
  21. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    You may well be right. I'm limited by where I can place everything in a small lounge room playing via what is essentially an AV Receiver so already my sound stage will be less than ideal. Being limited by what I can spend at the moment however, I may need to choose something for now and audition prospective replacements at a future time.

    Anyway, I will need to refamiliarise myself with my vinyl collection and tweak speaker placement, amp settings etc before I can really tell which phono stage sounds better. I'm grateful to you and others in the forum for your generous input and am looking forward to hearing some familiar sounds which will no doubt educe some distant memories.
     
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  22. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    RE: capacitance, to add it, you just use loading plugs. You do not need to open the phono stage and mess with anything. You can even make no-solder loading plugs with some adapters and electrical tape. Takes less than 5 minutes.

    One thing you need to keep in mind is cartridge specs for recommended capacitance take into account the wiring in your tonearm and the cable that goes from the turntable into the preamp (whether hardwired or separate). This can easily add up to 100pf or more. If you want to be sure, ask the manufacturer of your TT or get a capacitance meter and measure it yourself.
     
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  23. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks. That's great to know. I had been reading up on capacitance but hadn't yet come across cartridge loading plugs. Apparently, people used to solder capacitors across the signal leads from their tone arms, beneath their turntables. Not something I wanted to mess with!

    I'm still (eagerly) waiting for my TT to arrive and am not sure whether the seller will include any cables etc but, once I know what I have, I will order any cables or other accessories along with some loading plugs. There seem to be a couple of second-hand, entry level phono stages on local auction/classified sites (Rega, Cambridge) so, maybe I can stretch to buying two and compare if prices are low enough. Thanks again. You've been most helpful.
     
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  24. Soundnz

    Soundnz Member Thread Starter

    Thanks again all for some great suggestions. I'm going to see what I can find in the second-hand market over the next few days/weeks and hopefully try out more than one. I can see that personal preference can play a big part in determining what suits ones ears, as I imagine can room acoustics, amp/speakers and other factors. I think trying out a few will be the best way to find what suits my setup/environment and I'll be sure to post how I get on in case anyone's interested.
     
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  25. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Not my pics, but here are some examples of loading plugs. These are resistive plugs, but you can make them with capacitors as well.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Here are the type plugs you can use with no solder. You just open the plug with a small screw driver and insert the leads of the capacitor or resistor. Then wrap with electrical tape.

    [​IMG]

    As a precaution, turn off all equipment before changing or installing plugs.

    You can tune the sound by ear or use a test record and audio analyzer program to see how each loading affects the frequency response of your cartridge.
     
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