Do I need a phono stage

thedude

Distinguished Member
Love an upgrade! But will buying a phono stage upgrade my sound.
I've got an elicit r and a Rega 2.

Are all the rega fono mm any good?
But are the projects a good alternative or avoid.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
I think I read somewhere that the Elicit built in phono is based on and may be better than the Rega Fono therefore you may need to go up a step in the ladder to get a significant benefit I.e. up to the £500-1000 mark.

Depending on what cartridge you are running you may get a bigger initial upgrade in the sound by spending the £200ish on a new cartridge.
 

thedude

Distinguished Member
I think I read somewhere that the Elicit built in phono is based on and may be better than the Rega Fono therefore you may need to go up a step in the ladder to get a significant benefit I.e. up to the £500-1000 mark.

Depending on what cartridge you are running you may get a bigger initial upgrade in the sound by spending the £200ish on a new cartridge.
Hey dude thanks for the input.
I read that it didn't have a good phono in it but I have no idea.
I'm using the Elys original cartridge
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
Hi. As above, you'll get a good bump in quality spending £150 to £300 on a new cartridge. The same on a new phono amp would be wasted, imho.
I have an Elex R. The phono stage is fine. I think the Elicit has slightly better one.
I love the changes that you can get from a cartridge change.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The Elys is a pretty standard bonded elliptical cartridge/stylus on a par with the Ortofon 2M red and AT VM95E. One thing to be aware of is that Rega Cartridges do not have replaceable stylus so when they become worn it is a trade in or a new one. The Ortofon and especially the AT VM series use a single body and you just upgrade the stylus from spherical to bonded elliptical to nude elliptical to fine/micro line to Shabata. The other two series to look at are the Nagaoka MP and Goldring GX10xx again these have a single cartridge with a range of stylus.

The planar 2 can stand a fairly decent step up in cartridge (if it has the Rega RB250 arm there are lots of tweaks for that to improve performance as well) and something like the Ortofon 2M Blue or my favourite the AT VM95ML will give a good boost in both clarity and sound stage, the AT also has a long stylus life and is reported to wear records less due to its micro line / fine line stylus. At £129 it is a bit of a bargain.

I must admit I read the opposite that the Elicit R (and the Elex R) have pretty decent built in phono stages but not having owned either this is just from various reviews and comments on this forum.
 

thedude

Distinguished Member
So I'm hearing buy a new cartridge not a fono?
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
I must admit I read the opposite that the Elicit R (and the Elex R) have pretty decent built in phono stages but not having owned either this is just from various reviews and comments on this forum.
Yup. Haven't even considered moving on from the phono stage on my Elex R. Currently contemplating a cartridge upgrade though.
Saw something on here with someone comparing a a fono mm with the phono stage on the Brio. As far as I can tell, his conclusion was that it was louder. I have a volume pot for that!
 

thedude

Distinguished Member
Well I better start looking,
 

BT Bob

Distinguished Member
... the AT VM95ML will give a good boost in both clarity and sound stage, the AT also has a long stylus life and is reported to wear records less due to its micro line / fine line stylus. At £129 it is a bit of a bargain.
The AT VM95 range have the added advantage of being the same depth as the Rega cartridges, so there will be no issue with arm-height and therefore VTA.
 

thedude

Distinguished Member
Any other cartridge suggestions
 

acgingersnaps

Active Member
Can't speak for the AT range. I've only ever had one of their base models on my first, crappy turntable. They have a fine reputation though. Many people recommend the 95ML and 95SH as being excellent for the money.
I can say that I've had an Ortofon 2M Blue and Nagoaka MP110. Far preferred the Nagoaka, which is also much cheaper. The blue sounded a bit much like a CD for me and I couldn't really tell the difference between it and my Qobuz streams. With the Nagoaka there was an obvious and pleasant difference in tone.
Left field option would be the Denon 110. MC, but high output, so usable with an MM phono stage. Would be tempted myself, but it's far too light for my tone arm.
Personally, I'm going to give the 2M Bronze a go, once the cart that came with my new(ish) turntable is ready to jettison.
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
Here's a quick comparison I did on stylus geometry, obviously does not tell you what they sound like but interesting nonetheless to compare. I think the Rega Elys is in the first line (bonded elliptical) and the Exact in the second (nude elliptical)

Audio Technica/Ortofon/Goldring/Rega Comparison.

Eliptical - VM95E = 2M red = OM10 = 1012 = VM520EB = Elys = MP110
Nude eliptical - VM95EN = 2M Blue = OM20 = 1022 = VM530EB = Exact = MP150 + MP200 / MP300 (boron cantilever)
Fine line - VM95ML = 2M Bronze = OM30 = no Goldring =VM540ML = No MP
Shibata - VM95SH = 2M Black = OM40 = 1042 = MP500

Note 2M Red/blue use one cartridge and bronze/gold another and the silver (not listed) is inbetween with a red stylus on a bronze body (ish). I also tried to map the Nagaoka series but they seemed to have a different grading/line system but I think the MP100 is bonded elliptical, MP150 isnude, MP200 uis Fineline and MP300 shibata (sort of).

Edited as per @RugbyAl info below.
 
Last edited:

RugbyAl

Well-known Member
Have had an Elys, 2M Blue and MP110 and agree with all the comments above (especially the CD like 2M Blue though that was clear and detailed). Have an MP110 with a MP200 stylus (nude elliptical with Boron cantilever) so that cartridge is also is upgradeable.

Rega don't do bad phono stages. I believe the AT range would be a great upgrade providing you start with at least the nude elliptical model.
 

RugbyAl

Well-known Member
I also tried to map the Nagaoka series but they seemed to have a different grading/line system but I think the MP100 is bonded elliptical, MP150 isnude, MP200 uis Fineline and MP300 shibata (sort of).
MP110 is bonded elliptical, MP150 is nude and MP200 is nude with a boron cantilever. There are also slight changes in their bodies. Adding the MP200 stylus to my MP110 gave the detail of the 2M Blue with the warmth/ease of the MP110 - also much cheaper than a complete MP200.
 

thedude

Distinguished Member

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
The AT VM95 series is pretty simple - One cartridge and multiple, interchangeable stylus.

From cheapest to most expensive -

Spherical - VM95C
Bonded Eliptical - VM95E (usual starting point for most)
Nude Eliptical - WM95EX
Micro Line - VN95ML
Shibata - VM95SH

So you can start with a VM95e (fitted to a number of lower/mid range turntables as standard), remove the stylus and jump straight to the SH stylus if you wanted.

This principal is also used for the Ortofon OM, Goldring GX10xx and Nagaoka MP series of cartridge.

The Ortofon 2M series is slightly different as they have two cartridge bodies - One for Red and Blue, one for Bronze and Black, with the silver being a bit of a hybrid of the two - effectively a Red Stylus but with a Bronze/Black (ish) body.

Hope this helps.
 

oscroft

Member
After years of using elliptical styli, I switched to a fine line stylus last year - just a straight stylus switch from an Ortofon Super OM10 to OM30. Having experienced the revelation it brought, I'd never go back to an elliptical stylus now. So, assuming I had a half decent phono stage, I'd always upgrade to a cartridge with a fine line (or Shibata or whatever) stylus first.
 

thedude

Distinguished Member
microline seems detailed enough or should i go full on.
Some choices here!
 

Ugg10

Distinguished Member
May be of interest

 

thedude

Distinguished Member
Ive been listening to the samples the ML highs are a lot more clarified
 

thedude

Distinguished Member
Beware of anything that you're hearing over the Youtubes - it won't be close to what the original really sounds like.
Theres MA files to download from dropbox.
 

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