What budget phono preamp?

toon10

Active Member
I've recently upgraded my amp/streamer from a Yamaha RN-602 to a Naim Uniti Nova. The difference in sound quality is staggering but then for the price of the Naim, it should be. The purchase has left two issues however. One, I can no longer use my Pro-ject Debut 3 SE turntable as the Yamaha had a built in phono stage. It wasn't the best but built in ones tend to get you by rather than overwhelm you. Two, I went over budget on the amp by quite some way so I have a very limited budged to buy a phono preamp to get me going again. The way the Naim seems to handle any style of music and is very sympathetic of the source quality, I'm convinced I can get back into my vinyl again with some noticeable increase in listening pleasure.

As mentioned my budget is low so I'm looking at £200 give or take a little. I'm new to dedicated phono preamps but have narrowed it down to the following. Does anyone have any thoughts on which one would be better? Subjective I know but any personal experiences.

1. Graham Slee Gram Amp 2 Communicator Phono Stage
2. Rega Fono MM MK3
3. Pro-ject Phono Box S2
4. Schiit Mani

I'm struggling to source the Schiit in the UK so probably looking at the other options.

Thanks
 

Jampot90

Active Member
You don't mention what cartridge you have fitted to the TT but the Project Phono S2 seems to offer a range of settings in respect of gain, impedance and capacitance which may prove useful if / when you change or upgrade the cartridge.

It seems to compare favorably with the other candidates too, and would be my choice of the 3.

It should represent a nice improvement over the phono stage in the Yamaha as well.

Jim
 

toon10

Active Member
It's just the standard MM Ortofon 10 cartridge that comes with the Debut 3 SE. I've not been brave enough to attempt to change to a better one with my lack of DIY skills.

The Pro-Ject offering tends to review well.
 

Jampot90

Active Member
Nothing wrong with the OM10 and it's a simple matter to fit a better stylus if you fancy a further improvement when the original gets tired.

I use an OM30 but OM20 and OM40 styli are all interchangeable depending how fat you wallet is at the time;-)

Jim
 

oscroft

Member
Nothing wrong with the OM10 and it's a simple matter to fit a better stylus if you fancy a further improvement when the original gets tired.

I use an OM30 but OM20 and OM40 styli are all interchangeable depending how fat you wallet is at the time;-)

Jim
Yes, indeed. I upgraded my OM10 to an OM30 not long ago, and I got a big improvement in resolution. (I could have got a whole new cartridge with a fine line stylus for quite a bit less than the OM30 stylus, but I like the tonal balance of the OM and wanted to keep it.)
 

addyeddy

Active Member
I was playing my vinyl via the phono stage on my Onkyo TX-NR686, and hated the lifeless sound. I didn't have much spare cash, so bought the Fosi Audio Box X2.

For the small outlay, I'm absolutely delighted in the improvement in sound quality, it was immediately apparent, very noticable.

So if you want a budget option, I'd highly recommend it.
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
If you really want the Schiit you can buy direct from the USA.
As above, if you want the schiit, just use the US site. I bought a headphone amp from them recently. There's a UK plug option and the fact that they're cheaper over there, plus the exchange rate, cancelled out the postage. No duty on stuff worth under £135.
In total it was pennies over £115, which is what it would have cost on the uk site. $99 on the US site. Arrived in under a week.
 

toon10

Active Member
Just an update. I ended up buying the Graham Slee Communicator Gram Amp 2. I started watching various boxes on eBay. My thinking was if I was buying used and wasn't satisfied, I won't have spent much money and I could always make that back by selling back on.

As it happens, I'm blown away with how good my records sound now. I managed to get the preamp and PSU1 power pack for less than the price of the preamp new. (£190 all in.)

I can't say whether is sounds better than the other options or not but I'm more than happy with the sound. Going forward, there maybe a cartridge upgrade on the cards with a new platter if I start to crave more but right now, I'm enjoying my collection again.
 

Khankat

Well-known Member
The Graham Slee range is very good. They have a loan scheme, which many have tried, which has led to happy purchasers.
 
i would always recommend the Musical Fidelity LX2-LPS

I tried both the rega and this and just found the extra clarity of the Musical Fidelity to be preferable

 

autechre

Novice Member
As above, if you want the schiit, just use the US site. I bought a headphone amp from them recently. There's a UK plug option and the fact that they're cheaper over there, plus the exchange rate, cancelled out the postage. No duty on stuff worth under £135.
In total it was pennies over £115, which is what it would have cost on the uk site. $99 on the US site. Arrived in under a week.
Hi there.

I'm after the Heresy from Schiit. Looking to purchase directly from their US store. What shipping option did you choose? In total, it's $99 for the amp itself, and around $45 for their cheapest shipping option with FedEx. Would I be paying roughly what you did?
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Hi there.

I'm after the Heresy from Schiit. Looking to purchase directly from their US store. What shipping option did you choose? In total, it's $99 for the amp itself, and around $45 for their cheapest shipping option with FedEx. Would I be paying roughly what you did?
Pretty much. Think I went for the same shipping. Total cost was just over £115. The current exchange rate of 1.4 is a real help. Don't forget the UK plug!
I also got the Heresy. Worth it. I'm really pleased with it.
 

autechre

Novice Member
Pretty much. Think I went for the same shipping. Total cost was just over £115. The current exchange rate of 1.4 is a real help. Don't forget the UK plug!
I also got the Heresy. Worth it. I'm really pleased with it.
Nice, I just placed an order. I'm now looking for a DAC, the Topping E30 looks like a good option so far. What are you using?
 

acgingersnaps

Well-known Member
Nice, I just placed an order. I'm now looking for a DAC, the Topping E30 looks like a good option so far. What are you using?
Topping D30 and Sonos Connect. The Heresy is run off the back of my amp.
 

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