Phono Stage for loud rock music

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by mbrewer566, May 16, 2019.

  1. mbrewer566

    mbrewer566 Active Member Thread Starter

    I see numerous posts debating ss vs tube phono stages, but can't find much on what to use for kick ass Black Sabbath, AC/DC, type heavy metal. I started with an AT-LP120 with stock MM cartridge, and it is very nice. But eventually shelved the TT and upgraded to Rega P8/Aphetta 2 with Allnic H-1202 tube stage. It is a beautiful setup for acoustic, classical, and precision voice recordings. But I'm not so sold on heavy metal. Heavy bass at loud volume seems to stretch the tube amp capabilities.

    Should I blow the dust off the AT and use it as a second TT for my mad moments of rocking out?
     
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  2. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney

    You list your phono stage as the Rega Aria but on this post as the Allnic, which one are you using? I doubt the the AT would sound better than either of those.
     
  3. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    Get better tubes. I don't know much about the E180CC other than you can swap with 12AT7 tubes. All my gear uses 12AU7 and 12AX7 tubes. But I'm sure there is a tube that you can swap out that is better suited to Rock.

    [Edit] I lied, I have Phillips 12AT7WC tubes on my Jolida JD-302. They sound good to me and they are affordable. Worth giving a roll.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019
  4. mbrewer566

    mbrewer566 Active Member Thread Starter

    Sorry, I didn't update my profile. I sold the Aria and got the Allnic. I agree the AT would be very unlikely to sound better (especially since I'd be using the Yamaha Aventage onboard phono amp. Of course, it would be pretty easy to just hook it up again and do a side by side test with different music types. I'll try this first, as it's free, then investigate a tube swap.
     
  5. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    When you listen to Metal via digital setup, does that sound ok/better to you ? Just to rule out it's not your speakers instead of the phono stage....
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  6. Uglyversal

    Uglyversal Forum Resident

    Location:
    Sydney
    Doesn't the Allnic have a gain control, perhaps the cartridge is overloading it. I don't think the problem would be because SS or tubes but some cartridges and preamps might not cope well with some music. I've heard your cartridge with the Aria and a Plinius ande the bass was fine but funny enough with an Audio Research I thought it was saturating. But that same audio Research sounded completely clear with my cartridge.
     
  7. mbrewer566

    mbrewer566 Active Member Thread Starter

    Good suggestion, I'll give it a try with digital as well.
     
  8. mbrewer566

    mbrewer566 Active Member Thread Starter

    Yes, I tried changing the gain, and didn't notice much change to the overload perception.
     
  9. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    My personal experience is your AVR is likely the bottleneck in this instance. Pair up your wonderful Allnic with a dedicated capable 2-channel stereo integrated amp and it'll make all the difference in the world. With respect, the current setup is cutting the Allnic at the knees but an amp upgrade will change everything.

    Secondly, have you considered a subwoofer?
     
    The FRiNgE, bluemooze and bever70 like this.
  10. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    For Heavy Metal, I would go with a SS phono preamp.
     
  11. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    That's why I asked OP if he had the same problem with Metal when listening to digital files/cd's. I also suspect the problem being in the amp/speaker area. Agree that a good sub definitely helps with Metal as I found out recently.
     
  12. Strat-Mangler

    Strat-Mangler Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    Anything I did was immediately held back by my Arcam AVR. It was like a boat anchor attached to a sprinter. For surround sound, it was fine but for serious music listening, there's no denying the immense positive impact using a good 2-channel dedicated amp had on the sound.

    I agree the speakers should eventually be upgraded but the amp is the bigger issue. Even upgrading only that will make those speakers sound so much better, especially when listening to his vinyl setup. It'll be hugely beneficial.
     
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  13. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    I listen to many different types of music but never thought the need to use special equipment to listen to metal, not the Sabbath type stuff, AC/DC hard rock, or more extreme types of metal. Then again I typically look for neutral "all rounder" equipment to the extent I can.

    Tube gear is not my area but if a phono preamp + cartridge combo can't handle distorted guitars at moderate volume something is very wrong.
     
    jon9091 likes this.
  14. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    No, tube gear is probably not your area.

    A phono preamp + cartridge combo can handle distorted guitars at moderate volume. That is not a problem.

    Metal is best enjoyed with an all SS system, just the same way Jazz is best enjoyed with an all tube system.

    The OP can buy a little Emotiva XPS-1 for $199.

    XPS-1 HIGH-PERFORMANCE PHONO PREAMPLIFIER

    [​IMG]

    Or he can buy their SP1 for $100 more.

    SP-1 HIGH-PERFORMANCE PHONO PREAMPLIFIER AND ANALOG INPUT SELECTOR

    [​IMG]

    This gives you the same XPS-1 phono preamp inside a steel cabinet, that also has the power supply in it, along with three other analog inputs.

    This will allow you to use additional analog inputs on your system and use an already existing phono preamp as one of those inputs, which is what I would do, having two turntables.

    Another nice benefit is that the SP-1 has a wireless remote control. Top box in the photo below.

    [​IMG]

    Emotiva makes a nice SS preamp, recommended for all Metal music.
     
  15. Jimi Floyd

    Jimi Floyd Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pisa, Italy
    Tubes are overrated
     
  16. patient_ot

    patient_ot Forum Resident

    Location:
    USA
    Maybe. Good for guitar amps though where distortion is the goal.
     
  17. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    I have a schiit saga passive preamp with a switcheable tube buffer (only 1 tube) and I have to say, when I listen to metal or harder rock, I always switch the tube off. It just sounds better to my ears with this kind of music.
     
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  18. russk

    russk Forum Resident

    Location:
    Syracuse NY
    I ended up going with my current phone stage partially for that reason. I was shopping in the 1K price range and all of the tube units in that range were lacking in the bottom end. They either lacked decent bass or were too soft and fuzzy or just too noisy.

    I love tubes but for phono stages I’m pretty much sold on solid state. They all seem so much quieter and way more accurate. I’ve read that as tubes drift it tends to mess with the RIAA curve in real tube phono stages. Don’t really know how true that is. I’ve heard some beautiful ones but it always seemed to me that comparably priced solid state units were quieter and easier to live with over all, sound wise.
     
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  19. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Makes a lot of sense, for metal you want quick transient attack above all, and immediate bass slam.
     
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  20. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    Most phono pre's use passive circuits for R.I.A.A. equalization.

    I have a Decware ZP3 tube phono preamp. From the Decware web site, "the ZP3 uses a passive RIAA network between the two 12AX7 gain stages".
     
    russk likes this.
  21. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Yes, but the impedance on each side of that passive network becomes part of the filter response, and different tubes or aged tubes may lead to a different response. Maybe not much, depends on design, maybe not enough to care about in many (most?) cases, but surely not insignificant.
     
  22. SandAndGlass

    SandAndGlass Twilight Forum Resident

    True, but considering how any of the tubes in a tube amp can change its sound signature.

    I doubt if the R.I.A.A. circuit's deviations are going to matter much in the overall scheme of things.

    I don't have any issues with my ZP3. How accurate it is? You got me. It sounds excellent and that is all that concerns me.

    Besides the ZP3, I have two other tube amps that were designed and built by Steve Deckert of Decware.

    There are many good amplifier designs out there and a lot of very talented people building them, but no amp I have has the quality sound of the Decware amp's and the prices are far below what you would pay anywhere else for an amp of similar quality.
     
  23. John

    John Forum Resident

    Location:
    rhode island
    I used to own a Manley Steelhead. That bad boy could rock, maybe you could check one out on the used market.

    Best of Luck in Your Search!
     
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  24. Sugar Man

    Sugar Man Forum Resident

    Location:
    Hermosa Beach
    This is not a phono preamp problem. As many have said above, the Allnic is not the problem. That is a sweet phono pre. I've got an RP8 and a 300b tube amp and it can ROCK on my AN E's. My guess is the AVR. Change that or get a quality sub. Or some AN E's.
     
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  25. Glmoneydawg

    Glmoneydawg Forum Resident

    Location:
    Canada
    A great mm cartridge will get your heart pumping....don't get me wrong mc cartidges are great at some very important things....mm's are more more dynamic though....for rock and blues...mm all the way:)
     
    Fishoutofwater, John and SandAndGlass like this.

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