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Phono stage help please

Discussion in 'Hi-Fi Stereo Systems & Separates' started by alfablue, Jan 21, 2004.

  1. alfablue

    alfablue
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    I just changed my Yamaha RX-V596RDS receiver (that had a phono input) for a Pioneer VSX-D812 (that doesn't). I bought a NAD PP2 phono stage for £44.95 from Cheshire Audio.

    When I hooked it up (to my Rega 3, RB300, Elys cartridge), the sound was poorer than my previous setup. Midrange was laid back, and trebble was tizzy. Cimbals on my 180gm Dark Side sounded like a tin of nails.

    I emailed Phillip - the guy at Cheshire Audio (which is a fantastic shop judging by the service and prices I have received), and he suggested I checked all connections (using MM not MC etc) and then let the thing burn in for a week, as performance would improve. He said he would swap it for a Project phono box if i was still not happy (great service!). He also said that if it was faulty it most likely wouldnt work at all, which sounds reasonable.

    (by the way, he answered my email that I sent in the evening within a couple of hours -this is truly excellent service!!!)

    I have left the box powered up for a over a week, and have used it every day for 2 or 3 hours. It has improved, midrange is better, bass is full, but i still get the bag of nails top end.

    I am tempted to go for the swap, but should i expect an improvement? I dont really want to send one back and find there's no difference, wasting his time and mine. Can anyone offer any ideas about this?

    I am using good Ixos leads, and the Aux input on the receiver (all inputs have the same sensitivity, so shouldn't make any difference). I can't really go for anything above this price at the moment - alternatives to these two are all upwards of £100.

    Surely this setup should out perform the built in phono stage on my old Yamaha.

    Your comments will be gratefully appreciated.
     
  2. Chris Frost

    Chris Frost
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    Two things have changed in your system; the phono stage and the amp. As you probably know from your Hi-Fi experience, amps have different characters too.

    First things first. If you haven't already tried this then check if the amp has a 'source direct' mode. Also, try the phono box connected to the Front L & R inputs of the 5.1 input for SACD/DVD-A players. With some AV amps this bypasses the digital circuits.

    If things haven't improved then ask Cheshire Audio if they'll loan you one of the much more expensive phono pre-amps for a couple of days. Most good hi-fi dealers will do this if they can take a credit card deposit as security. Trying a better phono pre-amp will help you work out if its the NAD or the Pioneer causing the problem.

    Regards
     
  3. alfablue

    alfablue
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    Thanks Chris, good advice.

    Yes, I have tried "Direct" but this is not quite so good, treble needs a little boost even though tizzy (tizzy but treble too muted on direct).

    Good tip about the analogue inputs, if that works is there any option but to swap these each time I change source from phono / sacd?

    Anyway that will be another way of assessing the receiver's effect.

    By the way, the receiver sounds good on other sources, so it is likely to be how it deals with this particular source i guess.
     
  4. bobbypunk

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    if you decide it is the phono stage try the project phonostage SE about £100 it is meant to be a huge leap up.
     
  5. overkill

    overkill
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    Try going second hand. The Michel Iso (mc only) & Creek OBH-8SE (MM) are good options as both are relaxed, but well detailed units. I think the Creek is on ebay at the moment............
     
  6. alfablue

    alfablue
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    Thanks Overkill, That sounds like a great idea - only the auction ends in 12 hours and pay day is in 120! But it looks good, and may be the way to go.

    Chris, I tried the suggestion (using the analogue inputs for SACD), I thought it was slightly different, but still not nice to listen to, as it used to be.

    When I compare to my CD and SACD versions (the latter is probably unfair), it doesn't sound too good, but with the old setup the vinyl sounded very pleasant even in comparison to these sources.

    I am thinking of asking Cheshire for a trial, as you suggest, and / or may persue the S/H idea.

    Thanks for your advice guys!
     

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