Dismiss Notice
We are making some updates and reconfigurations to our server. Apologies for any downtime or slow forum loading now or within the next week or so. Thanks!

Schiit Mani vs Rega Fono Mini A2D

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by WDeranged, Apr 7, 2021.

  1. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I'm a vinyl noob but I have reasonably good ears. Recently got a Planar 1 and Rega Fono Mini A2D and been quite impressed with the sound but after reading the (mostly...) positive opinions of the Mani I decided to pull the trigger on an ebay special.

    The Mani turned up in good condition. On first listen I was immediately struck by the top end detail, in fact I had to wonder if it wasn't a little bit harsh. I put this thought aside and kept listening. I found the sound to be all around more 'hi-fi' than the Rega, a clear improvement in clarity across the whole frequency range. The sense of depth was a few hairs deeper too, reverb tails seeming to go that little bit further.

    On the second day I started worrying that I was missing something. I'd heard people complain about mid range shortcomings (or polite restraint depending on your perspective) and did a quick comparison of the two pre-amps with mid range specifically in mind.

    The Rega does produce a fuller mid range, a smidge more warmth. But that is all it does, there was less detail and a slight sense of the bass and mids being smeared together, a bit mushy.

    I'm still sitting on the fence about the Schiit. It's miles ahead as far as clarity, but there is a coldness about it. It's got punch, bass is tight. Mids are definitely there, if restrained. The sound as a whole has more life than the Rega, more energetic.

    So this is kind of a half review, half question. Is the Schiit just exposing the weakness of my Rega Carbon cartridge?
     
  2. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    Quite possibly, although, never having heard the Schiit.

    FWIW, I agree with your assessment of the Fono Mini A2D
     
  3. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Ah good, so my ears still work. What did you think of the Rega?
     
  4. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    I found similar results with my Grahame Slee. It has it good points

    So I purchased a Chinese Clone of the EAR
    834.
    All I can say is that it's easily the best
    Stage I have heard.
    It's put a smile on my 69 year old face
    Makes me wonder how important cartridge is when the phono stage can make or break its effectiveness
     
    Cyclone Ranger and bluemooze like this.
  5. jcr64

    jcr64 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Indiana
    It was adequate. I got it toward the tail end of my mid-fi, days, when I moved and an idiot installer blew out the phono stage of my stereo receiver. When I replaced that receiver with an NAD C368, I found that I preferred the NAD’s internal pre-amp.
     
  6. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Yeah, if I could take the mid range warmth of the Rega and graft it onto the clarity and punch of the Mani I'd be a happy man. No cartridge change required.
     
  7. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    True, adequate is what it is. I would have been satisfied with it if I hadn't heard the extra clarity of the Mani.
     
  8. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo

    Tell me more. I've moved from a Mani to a Slee Reflex Era Gold (transitional model between Era Gold V and Reflex M) and the changes were significant - the noise floor dropped, and the soundstage widened and deepened.
     
    bluemooze likes this.
  9. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    I've had both of these at the same time at one point. I think the Mani sucks. It picked up RFI which was a no go for me. The Rega is boring and a little veiled IMHO, but it was much quieter in my system. Even a $30 no-name preamp was quieter than the Mani.

    I've since moved onto other stuff.
     
    WDeranged likes this.
  10. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I've noticed more noise with the Mani for sure. Nothing that you can hear without really cranking the volume though. Way below the noise floor of vinyl. No RF interference thankfully, this is the 1.2 which apparently fixed that.
     
    Cyclone Ranger likes this.
  11. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Mine was noisy enough to hear during quiet passages of music. Consider yourself lucky.
     
    WDeranged likes this.
  12. Thorensman

    Thorensman Forum Resident

    OK.
    I am using a Linn Basic ,( Don,t laugh!)
    And Hadcock tonearm.
    The Cartridge is a new old stock Shure
    V15 MK3

    It performed fine with Grahame Slee.
    But it wasn't t quite there .
    Now, I,m using a passive preamp which feeds a Leak TL12 plus X 2.
    The EAR drives this to perfection.
    I bought another for my main system
    As I was so delighted.
    The sound is smooth, but not soft.
    Bass is deep, but not boomy.
    The music flows so naturally, little details like the tinkle of a piano which the Grahame Slee reproduced as fuzzy was
    Clear and vivid.
    To quote an old saying, it's like hearing some of your favourite records for the
    First time. Sound stage is huge.
    I did use the Grahame Slee with an active
    Preamp and it was a little better,
    But nothing special.
    To conclude
    I wish I bought one years ago.
     
  13. mktracy

    mktracy Forum Resident

    Location:
    Pasadena,Ca
    I have a Mani but haves since upgraded to a ARC PH3 se phono pre. The Mani is good but get a Swagman Labs LPS for the Mani and it will sing. The Swagman Labs really improves the Mani in all ways, Soundstage, depth, Bass gets a bit tighter and deeper, mids are very clean and present and the highs are simply great. The Swagman Labs LPS cost about $125 but is definitely worth the cost.
     
  14. Cyclone Ranger

    Cyclone Ranger New old stock

    Location:
    Best Coast USA
    Sounds like the OP is jonesin’ for a phono stage that’s better than either the Rega or the Mani. ;)
    .
     
    KT88 and aunitedlemon like this.
  15. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I'm definitely not. I didn't even want the Mani but reviews and curiosity got the better of me :laugh:

    For me right now, perfection would be the Mani with a small boost in the mids.
     
  16. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I'll keep them in mind. A bit rich for my vinyl noob tastes but maybe next year. When I was planning to get back into vinyl I only wanted to pay around £400 for everything. Think I've spent double that so far.
     
    mktracy likes this.
  17. aunitedlemon

    aunitedlemon Music is medicine, dose often.

    Which Graham Slee did you have? I ask because I've had an Era Gold V for right on a year and I've loved it. Never "fuzzy". I like it so much I just ordered the GS Reflex M which I assume will be the last preamp I buy for sometime.
     
  18. inzite

    inzite Forum Resident

    Location:
    Toronto
    I didn't have any RFI with my mani that I bought last june but when comparing to my luxman integrated or luxman standalone phono it has a much higher noise floor. Noticeable when having the volume past 9 o'clock standing about 1 meter away from the speakers. With the luxman integrated you can't hear any noise floor (ear up to speaker) until past 10 o'clock and with the standalone until past 11 o'clock - music gets fairly loud at that setting.
     
  19. adhoc

    adhoc Gentlemen Prefer Stereo

    My Mani (which was v1.2) had an annoying ticking sound audible during soft passages of music that would not go away no matter what. The power supply was probably picking up rfi from WiFi as as moving the wall wart some distance away helped. There was also a soft hiss at very high volumes with no music playing.

    When the Graham Slee was subbed in... Suddenly there was only silence.
     
  20. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Certainly sounds like wifi or mobile phone interference but I've not had that issue yet. I definitely do get the soft hiss but it pales in comparison to the surface noise of vinyl so it doesn't bother me at all.
     
  21. patient_ot

    patient_ot Senior Member

    Location:
    USA
    Pretty much all phono stages make noise, whether anyone wants to admit or not. The key point is whether it is audible while playing records of actual music. If you're okay on that score, don't worry about it.

    Wifi devices can definitely cause all sorts of interference with stereo systems, which is why they should be kept away from them. Same thing with dimmer switches, powerline internet adapters, etc.
     
    Danilo and WDeranged like this.
  22. bever70

    bever70 It's all about the soundstage

    Location:
    Belgium
    I also have the Rega fono mini a2d, well it's in my daughters' system actually. Personally I found it a 'dark' sounding phonostage, too warm, too bassy, bit muddy,....
     
    Danilo and WDeranged like this.
  23. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    I made my decision last night and boxed up the Rega for return. I like the warmth, but I'm happy to give it up for the full frequency clarity I'm hearing from the Schiit Mani.
     
  24. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    You should get the Rega Fono then. It's a lot nicer and offers the enhanced clarity while retaining some warmth, just what you are looking for. You'd then be very pleased with a cartridge upgrade as it's also good enough to pair with excellent cartridges. If you want better sound, stop trying to cut corners and just get the few simple pieces that you need to get there. It doesn't have to cost a fortune, but looking at only the most affordable offerings of any maker is not the best approach to finding higher fidelity.
    -Bill
     
  25. WDeranged

    WDeranged Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    UK
    Thanks for the info. I'll look into the Fono but I'll stick with the Schiit for a year or so before making any more changes. This started as a budget friendly curiosity. Like many before me I'm prone to letting things spiral so I need to keep a tight grip on the purse strings. The sound quality I'm getting right now is already higher than I expected from my return to vinyl :)
     

Share This Page

molar-endocrine