Upgrade to LOMC, keep status quo, or just buy more records!

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by dangorange, Apr 11, 2019.

  1. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    Been thinking lately, when it’s time to replace my Dynavector 10x5 cartridge, would I get another one or make a move up to a low output MC. For some reason I’m less interested in getting a better HOMC, or an MM, but that's not set in stone. My current set up would need some adjustments to accommodate a LOMC though.

    Here’s my deal, I like my set up, it sounds great to my ears, and I’m not sure how much of an improvement I would get without making some significant changes. It’s not in an acoustically treated room, speakers are probably not optimally spaced due to our room’s configuration, it’s not bad by any means, I just would not consider it an ideal listening space.

    My turntable is a Funk Firm LSD which I really like, it’s a bit quirky and off the radar, but it definitely could handle a nicer cartridge. Then I have a Marantz 2275 and ProAc Response 3.8 speakers which I’ve had for a long time. The Marantz was bought cheaply many years ago and has been well maintained, the speakers were essentially inherited, so free! If I went towards a LOMC cartridge I would either need a SUT or a decent preamp. I’m thinking the latter would be a more noticeably significant upgrade.

    Part of what got me thinking of all of this was I recently sold some pro audio equipment that was no longer needed and built up a few grand or more in my paypal account. I don’t usually have that much to spend freely and thought it would be a rare opportunity to buy some vinyl records that usually are out of my range, early Blue Notes, a few rare lps on my list etc. Replacing the Dynavector 10x5 is within the family budget, spending a lot more on a LOMC and SUT or Preamp is not though. I feel like I can either have fun briefly being able to afford some LP’s I usually only lust after, or make a set up change that might have a significantly improved listening experience, or maybe not? Any thoughts, suggestions are very welcomed!
     
    Echoes Myron likes this.
  2. Trabik

    Trabik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Carrboro, NC
    You have a lot of choices. Go up the ladder to a 20x2 HOMC? LOMC with SUT? The end goal is sound improvement. I’d say that whatever you choose, it’ll be like getting all new records. I can say that I feel like I get improved sound with my LOMC / SUT over the LOMC through the MC settings on my pre, so I’d say jump into the LOMC / SUT game.
     
    Echoes Myron and dangorange like this.
  3. tman53

    tman53 Vinyl is an Addiction

    Location:
    Pa
    I think you answered your own question.
     
  4. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    Interesting, what SUT are you using? Thanks
     
  5. Trabik

    Trabik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Carrboro, NC
    Denon AU-305. Everything is in my profile.
     
    dangorange likes this.
  6. Morbius

    Morbius Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brookline, MA
    New vinyl always significantly improves the listening experience and for the long term. Try and strike a balance between equipment upgrades and new music.

    EDIT: I might add that if you have to make an equipment upgrade, Dynavector recently made some significant changes (stylus, cantilever, motor system) to the 10X5 and I think without raising the price much. It would be a drop in solution without any other major investments.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
    KT88 and dangorange like this.
  7. vinylontubes

    vinylontubes Forum Resident

    Location:
    Katy, TX
    A budget is a budget. Just trade in the cartridge for a new one.
     
    patient_ot likes this.
  8. matteos

    matteos Stereotype

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Definitely get a LOMC.

    Another option to a new Pre-amp or an SUT is a head amp. I had (Still have) one of these and I thought it was great. $100 off eBay. I used it with my Denon 103r

    Harmonious Audio MPA-1a Moving Coil MC Head Amplifier Preamplifier

    It just amplifies the signal using some clever trick that I don't understand and you can then run it through your normal MM stage.

    It's battery powered but the batteries were still working a year into me using it. I now have a phonobox RS so it doesn't really get used anymore, but I'm not inclined to part with it.
     
  9. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    Right, I forgot about the head amp, are any of these options safer than another in terms of introducing additional noise into the equation? That's what I want to make sure to avoid, thanks!
     
  10. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    Thought I had replied to this, thanks with the heads up on the new Dynavector, I noticed there was an update but did not really pay attention, seems pretty interesting. I have a dealer nearby that has the 10x5 for $650, I'm going to assume they have the old one, but I might double check.
     
    Morbius likes this.
  11. Davey

    Davey very clever with maracas

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    That's a pretty good idea, and on sale now for under $80. I think it's based on the old Marshall Leach DIY design, just a couple common 2N4401 and 2N4403 transistors, a handful of resistors and capacitors, and a couple batteries. I built one of his preamps when I was a kid, way back in the late 70s, may have built the head amp too, can't remember now, pretty good sounding circuits at the time ... Moving Coil Cartridge Head Amps

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Trabik

    Trabik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Carrboro, NC
    @Benzion uses a head amp and was trying out a SUT prior to that - maybe he could provide his input on any possible noise from a head amp. I do know that he had trouble with grounding on the SUT he tried.
     
    dangorange likes this.
  13. sturgus

    sturgus Forum Resident

    Location:
    St. Louis Mo
    I know you like the sound of the Dynavector, but have you thought about the Soundsmith line. The reason I ask is they are having a great sale and when it comes time to re-tip or rebuild they only charge 20% of the cartridge price. They make some nice sounding cartridges in your price range and that rebuild cost is a great selling point. Just something else for you to think about.

    Moving Iron Cartridges (All)-Elusive Disc
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
    dangorange likes this.
  14. TarnishedEars

    TarnishedEars Forum Resident

    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    Stepup transformer are often a better choice. These don't add any noise at all, unless they are placed near to a power transformer.
     
    chili555 likes this.
  15. Benzion

    Benzion "Cogito, ergo sum" Forum Resident

    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    I run two head amps, and very happy with both. In the living room, it's in the chain Denon DL-301 - Lounge Audio Copla (head amp) - Pro-Ject Tube Box S2 (phono). In the bedroom, it's Zu Denon DL-103 - Hagerman Labs Piccolo2 (head amp) - Hagerman Labs Cornet3 (tube phono). The Piccolo/Cornet combination is very quiet, no additional noise in the chain. The Copla/S2 combo likewise, very quiet, no issues. Counter-intuitively, when I tried pairing the Lounge Copla with Lounge LCR phono, a pair designed for each other - it was a lot noisier than the Copla paired with the S2, although separately each of them is very quiet. Now I have the LCR hooked to a different tonearm, separately, and, by itself it's very quiet and is a marvel of a phono.

    Of the two head amps, I probably like the Hagerman Piccolo just a tad more, due to its clear-cut adjustments/settings, but, generally, both are great.

    Piccolo2 - MC Headamp

    https://www.loungeaudio.com/copla
     
    dangorange likes this.
  16. matteos

    matteos Stereotype

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    The head amp doesn't introduce any noise. I had an SUT that was very noisy... But it turned out it was broken, my MC phonostage doesn't have any noise either.

    Any of these solutions, properly implemented should be no noisier than an MM cart.
     
    dangorange likes this.
  17. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    Thanks for all the great suggestions so far! I guess one question regarding going the SUT or Head amp route, if I bought a nice LOMC cart, are the preamps in my Marantz decent enough to justify the better cartridge. Thats why I was curious if I should also introduce a better preamp as well.
     
  18. gakerty

    gakerty Forum Resident

    Location:
    California
    Down the rabbit hole you go. : ) The result of my cartridge upgrades resulted in new phono amps, new integrated amplifiers, then a new tube preamp and new poweramp currently... and it has been all worthwhile!
     
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  19. matteos

    matteos Stereotype

    Location:
    Los Angeles
    It's a very good point... Is your amp up to it? What about your speakers, are they really good enough? How about the room? Did you get it treated? While we are on the subject.. What about the turntable? Or the cables.

    Just hand over your wallet now.

    Don't take that too seriously. I've not heard of most of your equipment. A google and it seems your speakers and turntable were very well regarded and the Marantz seems to command a pretty decent price of eBay.

    Whether it is all good enough I don't know. Like gakerty said... A new turntable for me meant a new tonearm, new cartridge, new phonostage. It doesn't end, but it's all worth it.
     
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  20. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    Ok, you've all convinced me, I'm putting our house up on the market and holding out until I find a more suitable place for all the new equipment I'll be purchasing. Now to break the news to my family....
     
    TarnishedEars, matteos and Trabik like this.
  21. Trabik

    Trabik Forum Resident

    Location:
    Carrboro, NC
    Go with new construction so that you can have a dedicated listening room built to spec that also doubles as a compound to protect you from WiFi signals.
     
    dangorange likes this.
  22. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Location:
    Karlskrona- Sweden
    I would go down a completely different road. I think your system would benefit from a better amp. the 2275 is a nice vintage amp but the Proac speakers have more to give than the amp can provide, imho.
     
    Strat-Mangler likes this.
  23. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    Out of curiosity, any suggestions? I've never looked into a different amp!
     
  24. Mad shadows

    Mad shadows Forum Resident

    Location:
    Karlskrona- Sweden
    That is the million dollar question. I can't account for your taste. I would go solidstate 100-200 w with decent current delivery. I guess you can invest a fair amount of money before the speakers become the limiting factor.
     
    Trabik likes this.
  25. dangorange

    dangorange Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Natick, MA
    The Marantz has been the only amp I've ever had for my turntables over the years. Don't really have much to compare to, but I would guess that I prefer a warmer sound overall, over something that might seem more clinical. Although I think I'm pretty easily satisfied with any direction so long as it sounds good! If I did think about an amp, I would want one that could handle MC cartridges.
     

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