Phono stage advice?

mikeystrat

Novice Member
My system - Roksan Kandy L.iii Integrated Amp, Technics 1210 Mk2, Denon DL-110 HOMC cartridge, Dali Ikon 1 Speakers.

I've been considering adding a Phono stage to my system for a while and was looking for some advice on the best option for my particular set up.

Firstly would any phono stage (budget up to £300) actually give me a noticeable upgrade in terms of sound quality over the inbuilt stage of the Roksan amp and if so which would be best suited to the Denon cartridge? (I'm looking for an increase in gain as I have to crank the volume quite high at present).

Many thanks.
 

Member 459099

Standard Member
Hi Mikeystrat

The Phono pre-amp built into the Kandy is pretty good so avoid budget ones. I wouldn't go any lower than Pro-Ject's Phono Box S at £129. For a really lovely valve sound I'd go for the Tube Box S at £299 also from Pro-Ject.

I hope this helps.
 

mikeystrat

Novice Member
Hi Mikeystrat

The Phono pre-amp built into the Kandy is pretty good so avoid budget ones. I wouldn't go any lower than Pro-Ject's Phono Box S at £129. For a really lovely valve sound I'd go for the Tube Box S at £299 also from Pro-Ject.

I hope this helps.
Thanks,

The Tube Box S was on my list of possible options.
 

shuddersfield

Novice Member
Hi

I saw a video on youtube for a little known (I think) company called Angle Audio who specialise in Phono Stages and I can recommend them. The basic stage was much better that the Rega Fono Mk2 and was £60 cheaper. I've now upgraded to their reference 2 and its a world away from the basic unit, which is great anyway. The soundstage is brilliant and the sound is very confident - am now getting the sound I've wanted from my vinyl for the first time in years. The basic unit is £129 and the reference 2 is £290 I think...good luck
 
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moppit

Active Member
If you see an Arkless modified cambridge audio going second hand in the classifieds here or on Pink fish etc then snap it up. I've got one, it's brilliant. Compares favourably with many £1k phono stages.
 

clived

Active Member
Consider adding the iFi iPhono to your audition list, if you can stretch the budget a little to £350. I bought one as an upgrade from a Musical Fidelity X-LPS.

It is *very* quiet and is fully adjustable to provide the right load for your DL-110, both of which will help get the best out of you MC cart. Oh, and I think it sounds fantastic :)
 

mikeystrat

Novice Member
Consider adding the iFi iPhono to your audition list, if you can stretch the budget a little to £350. I bought one as an upgrade from a Musical Fidelity X-LPS.

It is *very* quiet and is fully adjustable to provide the right load for your DL-110, both of which will help get the best out of you MC cart. Oh, and I think it sounds fantastic :)
I've read some great things about the iFi Phono, and think that will be the one I'll go for.

Thanks
 

arb70sok

Active Member
The basic stage was much better that the Rega Fono Mk2 and was £60 cheaper.
This is not a great endoresment of the Rega Fono Mk2 in my view!

I have just purchased the basic AudioPhile phono stage from Angle Audio and am underwhelmed. Tempted to say AudioPhile by name but not by nature.

Previously I was using the phono stage from a very old AudioLab 8000a.
Unfortunately I no longer have the AudioLab so can not do A/B comparison.

However I used Audacity on my MacBook pro to take a digital copy of Neil Young's Harvest prior to parting with the 8000a. To do this I fed the tape out from 8000a into my laptop/audacity.

When I play the resulting digital file back through a DAC it sounds better to my ears than how the AudioPhile renders it straight from vinyl. Both are using 8200CDQ pre-amp, maraschino cherry mono blocs and Rubicon 2 speakers.

What do I mean by "better"? Quite hard to pin it down but with the AudioPhile the vocal sounds subdued. On the DAC playback the vocal is clearer and more pronounced and sounds better. Also the lower registers sound muddy and imprecise compared to the DAC playback where there seems to be better clarity and separation between instruments and generally a cleaner sound.

I do have a capable DAC which might be doing some clever up-sampling but my understanding is that a DAC can not improve on the original digital source it is fed. This was a recorded from the same Deck (Project Debut III) but with the AudioLab 8000a phono stage as described above.

I have only had the AudioPhile for a couple of days and have not listened to that many LP's yet.
Will report back after a bit more listening time. Also to be fair often products of this nature often require some "break-in" time.

However this could just be an expectations thing. Coming to AudioPhile from "Rega Fono Mk 2" is perhaps somewhat different from coming to it from an ancient 8000a phono stage.
 

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