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Realistic 42-2101/42-2101-a Phono Preamps

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Robin L, Aug 12, 2015.

  1. katstep

    katstep Professional Cat Herder

    Was able to try one of these recently, and as others have stated, they are very bright (almost shrill to my ears) until they are on for a while. Once it was on for over a week, it mellowed out, but it just didn't mesh with the components in my B setup. It just wasn't very musical to my ears. Kind of grainy actually. My old Rotel was far more to my liking. Naturally, there are lots of variables at play and it might sound nice in another configuration. It was worth a try though!
     
  2. harby

    harby Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR, USA
    You will likely have more dramatic results by changing the cartridge loading, instead of playing with equalization component values in the preamp. The later phono 42-2109 was noted above to have added a 100pF capacitor across the inputs.

    For another 100pF or so, using what you might have on hand, just extend your phono cables 6 feet with another RCA and some male-male adapters (or a Y cable with two males) and see how it changes the sound. Many cartridges, like AT, instead, work best with very low capacitance, which extends high frequency response but reduces a hard mid-treble peak - for that, short low-capacitance phono cables (if you have detachable RCAs):

    [​IMG]

    The 68k resistor on the input also can be switched to a 56k or a 49k if your cartridge will benefit, but this resistor is also part of filtering, and reducing its value will create a bit of bass roll-off too. You can tack-solder a 390k resistor in parallel with the existing resistor for 58k.

    Example cartridge response curve, compare 75k to 47k:
    [​IMG]

    (use these green graphs as just indication of the direction that loading will change the response, not an absolute guide for values that will make your cartridge sound good..)
     
    patient_ot and MattyW like this.
  3. vanmeterannie

    vanmeterannie Forum Resident

    I appreciate this, and have experimented with loading in the past, but this is for a Stanton 500 installed in a vintage stereo console and I really need the entire top end lifted 3-4 dB to get around other sonic limitation in the unit, which I presume could be done by changing a capacitor at some stage with this preamp. I just don’t know which one! I have a Hagerman Bugle I could modify to do what I want but frankly like the sound of this preamp better.
     
  4. MTX

    MTX New Member

    Location:
    IL
     
  5. MTX

    MTX New Member

    Location:
    IL
    Maybe this can help to know something about motronix in Israel
    Link to motronix web: Contact Us - Motronix
    Shop - Motronix

    eBay store: motronix2012 | eBay Stores
     
  6. Davey

    Davey NP: Lost Girls ~ Menneskekollektivet

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Not quite as cheap, but the Boozehound kit has always been one of the best goto phono preamps in modern times, simple no feedback design, now converted over to the Linear Tech jfets to replace the OOP Toshibas, though there are still some offers on ebay for kits from other suppliers with the Toshibas ... replace the electrolytics caps with chokes and polypropylenes and it could be a world beater :)

    JFET Phono/RIAA Preamplifier kit

    [​IMG]
     
    dmckean likes this.
  7. MTX

    MTX New Member

    Location:
    IL
    very nice design but I really don't get the idea of using ultra high quality components and then using ultra cheap terminal block to connect the signal. just don't get it! and take for this $119
     
  8. Davey

    Davey NP: Lost Girls ~ Menneskekollektivet

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    You know, it's a kit, if you don't want the flexibility of the terminal blocks, just solder the wires directly... it's all under your control :)
     
    dmckean likes this.
  9. MTX

    MTX New Member

    Location:
    IL
    I think you didn't get my point. in $119 i think i need to get Perfect product. you see someone upload here picture with motronix product that sale on eBay with tag price of $8 ?
    when you place extra wires from the pcb to the connectors you got more noise that's for sure. anyway i'm new here and i like this place :D
     
    Davey likes this.
  10. Mileater

    Mileater Member

    Location:
    Wisconsin
    $8 motronix.. with $8 cheap parts. any one try one? leave it on for three months, still work? are they actually quiet with a cheap wall wart?
     
  11. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    Just picked up a 42-2101 and also a Pioneer STP-1, a similar size phono from the mid 60's that runs off of a 9v battery. I'm using the phono section of a restored McIntosh C24 pre and like it very much, but had the chance to get both of these cheap so I did. Didn't see this thread until after buying them, but I'll report back after giving them some play time. I'm especially looking forward to hearing the battery powered unit.

    Don't suppose anybody has had each of them and made a comparison?
     
  12. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    Been playing the 2101a for about 45 minutes this morning and it sounds excellent right out of the gate. Mind you it's been sitting in storage for a few years! Very quiet, and very dynamic. My system tends to run on the darker side so I do believe it's complimenting it, but without much warm up it sounds as good as my Mc C24.

    Also forgot that I have a Realistic 42-2930. Eventually will run a comparison.
     
    Phil Thien and 33na3rd like this.
  13. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    Started using the 2930 with my Dual 1019/Stanton 500 combo and it sounds every bit as good as the 2101a does with my Fairchild 412/Pickering V15 Micro IV combo.

    Using the Fairchild combo now listening to Ornette Coleman's "To Whom Who Keeps A Record", one that I know very well. Everything sounds like it should. Instrument separation is very good.

    Really terrific little boxes these are.
     
    Phil Thien likes this.
  14. Wolfie62

    Wolfie62 Active Member

    Location:
    Birmingham AL
    I have the Motronix unit that I purchased last year. It arrived from ISRAEL, and is made in ISRAEL, not China!!

    The unit I have is the SMD version. But first, I bought one of those $18 Chinese phono preamps, complete with power supply and nice extruded aluminum boxes.

    The Chinese unit was awful, as expected. So I gutted the board out of it, and istalled the Motronix unit. They both use the identical power supply. How does it sound?

    Let me say this. It is VERY quiet. It has a superb sound! Very detailed, tight bass, not muted or veiled, and a nice smooth, detailed HF response. With my best and most expensive cartridges, it sounds better than the Graham Slee kit I built from their website. Also, I have the SA-150 mini amp. The phono preamp in that thing is awful! This Motronix unit surpasses it handily. The Motronix unit sounds every bit as good as the MM phono pre in my 1980 SAE Two A14 integrated amplifier. It's a complete waste of time building these other clones of the RS phono pre when the Motronix unit is cheap, easy, and just superior. Oh, and I compared this Motronix unit to the NAD, the hybrid Little Bear, the Art DJ, the Cambridge, the Shiit Mani, the TCC, and a few others, through friends who have them. This Motronix is superior. It has air, depth, detail, smoothness that gets lost in the more complex designs. KISS really is better.
     
  15. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile

    Location:
    MI
    I cannot imagine the Radio Shack has good audio coupling caps like new SS phono amps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2020
  16. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    Don't know. But the end result is as good to my ears as my modern $1700 pre and my restored with premium parts McIntosh preamp.

    Strange, huh?
     
    Phil Thien likes this.
  17. allied333

    allied333 Audiophile

    Location:
    MI
    Wow- 0k!
     
  18. sberger

    sberger Dream Baby Dream

    All of this stuff is obviously very subjective and system dependent. I do tend to fall into the belief that simpler is better and products like this built when vinyl really was king usually sound decent. I do think people who dismiss it out of hand do so more because of the price and its age, but that's fine.
     
    Phil Thien likes this.
  19. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    42-2101/42-2101-a
    what is the difference between the two?
    I'm just new to the turntable and my friend was told me to get this phono stage. Since I'm full time cassette player, I just want to use the turntable occasionally. Any feedback would be great.
     
  20. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    The -a is Phono/RIAA only, the the 42-2101 has Mic (microphone) inputs and a switch to change from Phono to Mic.

    I have a 42-2109, which is the replacement to the 42-2101a. The 2109 was made in Korea (2101a in Japan) and moves the ground lug to the same side of the enclosure as the RCA jacks.

    The Realistic units sound good, but they do implement the RIAA curve in the feedback, so they're going to accentuate any surface noise. Not a big problem if your albums are in very good shape, but for anything less than very good condition, it may be a little noisier.
     
    DRM and Classic Car Guy like this.
  21. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Thank you for the feedback. Sounds like for someone like me that will use the turntable like 5 times in a year should be just fine with the 2101 which is okay with me.
     
  22. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Yeah, it is a pretty decent unit, sounds nice and extremely quiet (very little hum, etc.) and rolls off below about 30-Hz (so albums with subsonic energy either baked in or due to warps won't rattle the woofers).

    Even if you later upgrade, the Realistic unit is nice to keep around as a spare. They cost next to nothing.
     
  23. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Beautiful. This fellow that I know locally has been a vinyl person all his life. Every time he needs help on tape recording and tape media I try to help him. One day he mentioned of all the hifi guys how come I don't have vinyl. so to cut it short I ended up getting this old JVC and with a stroke of luck it was running good too. so I wanna set it up like what you said maybe if I get more serious later on, atleast I can upgrade the preamp.

    [​IMG]
     
    Phil Thien likes this.
  24. Classic Car Guy

    Classic Car Guy Forget Scientific & Enjoy the Music

    Location:
    Northwest, USA
    Just one more thing. In regards to the preamp, the seller said its for mm -Moving Magnet, Sensitivity 3-4 mV. whatever the heck that means. I guess it should work?
     
  25. Phil Thien

    Phil Thien Forum Resident

    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    It should work with most any moving magnet cartridge. What cartridge is on that table?
     
    Classic Car Guy likes this.

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