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Thread: Rothwell MC Headamp

  1. #1
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Lincolnshire, Home by the Sea

    Posts: 3,445
    I'm Shaun.

    Default Rothwell MC Headamp

    Sort of a mini review but I have only been using it for a week or so.
    Comparison with a Pro-Ject DS Phonobox

    I decided to change from a Benz Micro Silver HOMC to a Denon DL103 in my Stanton ST.150 turntable and this ended with the DS giving very high levels of hum at 60db of gain. The Rothwell was installed and although I had setup issues, they all were sorted after a few days. So, how does it compare...? Well, it doesn't really to be honest. The difference is like the proverbial chalk and cheese. No hum, just residual hiss which cannot be heard from the seating position, a massive stereo image even though I had argued that CD will always be better. There are now elements of the mix that are hugely more breathtaking than with the same recording on CD. Little sounds emerging and shooting across the space between the speakers with a massive level of realism. The whole mix is now separated into individual threads that are not just a mix of sounds but rather very separate threads. It is just so easy to hear individual instruments and effects and also overdubs and edits. The midrange contains an enormous amount of detail that was just not there with the DS and a huge sense of realism that was also missing. Bass is OK but I think that is a function of the arm on the Stanton. I have heard more bass in the past from the same vinyl.

    Pro-Ject DS Phonobox - £225
    Rothwell MC Headamp - £300

    No comparison if you already have an inbuilt phono stage that is really good.
    Marantz CD6005 into Audiolab MDAC
    Nottingham Analogue Interspace turntable with Origin Live Onyx tonearm/Denon DL103/Dynavector P75 MkIII phono stage

    Prima Luna Prologue preamp
    Prima Luna Dialogue Premium power amp/EL34

    B&W CM8 S2 loudspeakers

    Atlas Hyper interconnects
    Van Den Hul Teatrack biwired cables

    Mainly electronica and modern jazz/funk

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jul 2011

    Location: Northamptonish

    Posts: 1,503
    I'm Peter.

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    Yes, agreed Shaun ... like all Rothwell products I've owned, the Headspace is a quality product that punches well above its price point. Offers enough flexibility to accomodate just about any mc cartridge and system gain. Highly recommended.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Lincolnshire, Home by the Sea

    Posts: 3,445
    I'm Shaun.

    Default

    Yes Peter, it has impressed the hell out of me enabling the Denon to really shine through.
    Marantz CD6005 into Audiolab MDAC
    Nottingham Analogue Interspace turntable with Origin Live Onyx tonearm/Denon DL103/Dynavector P75 MkIII phono stage

    Prima Luna Prologue preamp
    Prima Luna Dialogue Premium power amp/EL34

    B&W CM8 S2 loudspeakers

    Atlas Hyper interconnects
    Van Den Hul Teatrack biwired cables

    Mainly electronica and modern jazz/funk

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jul 2016

    Location: Welsh Borders

    Posts: 219
    I'm Gary.

    Default

    It's nice to hear that your Rothwell head amp hits the spot so well, Shaun. I have been lucky enough to get hold of an Arkless Electronics head amp, built for me by Jez just recently, and like you I am absolutely bowled over with what it does for vinyl replay. There is quite a strong SUT following on this forum (and that's fine obviously - each to their own) but I feel that the virtues of a well designed and implemented head amp have become somewhat overlooked amid the general enthusiasm for the "mystique" of the SUT.
    IB

  5. #5
    Join Date: Dec 2008

    Location: Lincolnshire, Home by the Sea

    Posts: 3,445
    I'm Shaun.

    Default

    Well Gary, I did a shedload of reading on the net regarding active versus passive and I came up with active wins for me. Yes, I did have a load of hum and RF problems at first but I guess I just had to work through them systematically to get to where I am now. The hum was cured by moving the preamp away from the headamp and the RF was removed using four ferrite clips. I love the loading options using the Rothwell which really have proved how important they are and of course I adore the revelation that is the Denon DL103. I am currently very happy with my sound from vinyl but would secretly love a Rega RP6. Let's just wait and see...!

    Marantz CD6005 into Audiolab MDAC
    Nottingham Analogue Interspace turntable with Origin Live Onyx tonearm/Denon DL103/Dynavector P75 MkIII phono stage

    Prima Luna Prologue preamp
    Prima Luna Dialogue Premium power amp/EL34

    B&W CM8 S2 loudspeakers

    Atlas Hyper interconnects
    Van Den Hul Teatrack biwired cables

    Mainly electronica and modern jazz/funk

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 70,699
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Infinitely Baffled View Post
    There is quite a strong SUT following on this forum (and that's fine obviously - each to their own) but I feel that the virtues of a well designed and implemented head amp have become somewhat overlooked amid the general enthusiasm for the "mystique" of the SUT.
    Lol... Not at all, Gary! We love (and are advocates of) both approaches, when done well. The *only* reason there may have been more discussions about SUTs is simply because, in terms of their existence, they outnumber head amps by about 10,000-1!

    Seriously though, just think about how many head amps (of any description) are on the market, compared with SUTs, both new and vintage, and you'll see what I mean. Therefore, it stands to reason that SUTs will receive more attention, especially the good ones - but then check out how many threads there are here about the Lentek, and that's a head amp! I also use a (Paul Hynes) head amp in my own system

    No, on AoS we value simply whatever it is that's genuinely GOOD, no matter what that is: valves, solid-state, SUTs, head amps or anything else.

    Marco.
    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do". - Milan Kundera.

    "Your validity or worth are not defined or determined by the views of others with their own superimposed agendas". - Pharos (on AoS)

    My system:

    Modified Technics SL-1210MK5G/Mike New high-precision bearing & baseplate/Mike New ETP platter/Bruil record weight/Nagaoka GL602 crystal T/T mat. Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules)/DCSXL pure-silver DC lead. Ortofon RS-212D tonearm/'Speedy Steve' custom-made Ebony armboard. Yannis Tome 423.5 Phono Silver-Litz tonearm cable, with Furutech CF-DIN(R) and Eichmann silver Bullet Plugs. Cartridges: Denon DL-S1 in AT MG-10 headshell with AT-6106 Quattro Hybrid lead-wire. Denon DL-103C1 in '103U' headshell with AT-609 silver lead-wire. Vintage Denon DL-103AU in AT-Ti15ANV Titanium Headshell. Shure M55E in Denon PCL-300 headshell with 6N silver lead-wire. Shure original USA SC35C. Audiocom-modified Sony X-777ES/DAS-R1 transport/DAC. Raspberry Pi-3 Model B and IQaudio Pi-DAC+/Paul Hynes SR3DR-05 linear PSU/Williams Audio NAS linear PSU. Heavily-modified Croft Charisma-X preamp. Stereo Coffee LDR. Head-amp: Paul Hynes design/SR5 PSU. Also modified Lentek. Tube Distinctions 50W Class A P/P Copper amp with cryo-treated Tung Sol KT150s. Speakers: 'Lockwood Majors', using 15" Tannoy Monitor Golds, modified with bespoke crossovers. Also Celestion Ditton 15XRs. Stands: Mana Acoustics (non-magnetic stainless steel 'clones’). Hi-Fi Racks Podium T/T wall shelf. Sony ST-5055L tuner. Cables: Furukawa EE/F-S 2mm & 2.6mm solid-core mains leads, fitted with Furutech FI-50 IECs and FI-1363Rs. Stereo interconnects: Sommer Carbokab 225 (with silver-plated MS Audio non-metallic POM RCAs). Speaker cable: VDH 'The Wind' Hybrid II. Digital coaxial cable: 1m Trompeter Electronics Triax TRC-75-2, with MS Audio ‘Starline' silver-plated RCAs. Mains block: Mark Grant 6-way, modded with Furutech FP-1363R sockets and Furukawa cable. Tube Distinctions digital noise filter. VPI HW 16.5 record cleaner.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

    Posts: 614
    I'm Andrew.

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    The new phonostage - the Signature Two - was reviewed in last month's Hi-Fi Choice and was very well received. I mention it here because the input stage of the Sig 2 is very similar to a Headspace with the same kind of circuit topology and a very similar discrete component voltage regulator.
    Here's the review if anyone is interested.
    http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co...._review_1.html

  8. #8
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 26,874
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Nice review Andrew.
    Mr. Tact!

    Main system: MMs/ADCs/Low output MC's/One rare Japanese SUT/One scarce British phono stage/various tonearms/hefty Japanese DD TT and hefty Japanese BD TT and small British BD TT. 4 CD players/2 jitter buster/2 DACs/Valve buffer. TVC stepped attenuator or valve pre-amp or solid state pre-amp. Current dumping power-amp or either of two Class A SS power-amp or Class A EL34 valve monos or big Japanese (part Class A) integrated. Big dual concentric speakers/Smaller dual concentric speakers/Two way British compacts and full range speakers, amongst others. And too much more to list!

  9. #9
    Join Date: Oct 2016

    Location: Bolton, England

    Posts: 614
    I'm Andrew.

    Default

    Thanks - I was pretty pleased myself

  10. #10
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

    Posts: 2,058
    I'm Mike.

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    Great review and looks a lovely bit of kit. Well done.

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