View Full Version : Some advice please...

30-04-2009, 20:51
I'm trying to return to playing vinyl after a twenty year absence.
Turntable and arm is work in progress and near completion, but not the phono stage.......

Exotic phono stages are out of the question. Imagine a self employed bloke trying to make a living in a recession.
I need something very cheap that will be a step up from the generic 12 plastic box that i already have.
Normally i just build something but time is in short supply as well as cash, at the moment.

Does anything spring to mind?
Cambridge Audio... good value?
Perhaps you've got something that you've grown out of, just lying around.
Suggestions welcomed.

30-04-2009, 20:56
Build a WD clone! :)

16ish for the cct board, and the rest does itself! ;)

30-04-2009, 20:58
Hi alb. I have a NAD PP-1 that you can have for nowt (it's been sat in the loft for months). It's nothing special, but it should be a step up from something costing 12! It was about 80 when I bought it new about 10 years ago, but I have no need for it now, since my Quad 33 has a nice built in phono stage which suits my needs better... no worries if you're looking for something a bit more 'hi-fi' :)


30-04-2009, 21:10
Hi Guys,
On this same thread I have an old Sony TT to which I have just fitted a new cartridge but it has worried me since I started reading the posts on this forum that the phono leads from the inside of the TT are bog standard for the era (30 years ago). Is it possible and/or recommended that these be changed for something a little more hifi. I also plan to get STan the Man's 7520 shortly - would this help to improve the shortcomings of the poor phono leads if I put it immediately downstream of the TT.
Be gentle with me, I'm new here !!

30-04-2009, 21:23
would this help to improve the shortcomings of the poor phono leads if I put it immediately downstream of the TT.
Be gentle with me, I'm new here !!

Nope, sorry. ;)

30-04-2009, 21:29
Ageing of copper conductors can be variable in the extreme. I've seen some thirty year old mains and speaker leads where the copper surface has gone black, whereas other cables this age look fine. maybe it depends on how pure the copper was at the start.

The phono leads on your turntable may well make a difference if they were replaced, but having done mine recently, I wouldn't say the difference is huge unless the originals were rubbish to start with or truly corroded. I used Van Damme pro-patch mic cable (two cores, hot and return with the screen connected to the return at the phono plugs but not connected at the deck) as it's flexible and easy to work with, but I'm sure there are others..

To the OP, the NAD PP1 is quite reasonable in a fruity sort of way and if it's very cheap I'd go for it, but I suspect the Cambridge 640P is much better. My favourite a few years ago was the Rega Fono, but I haven't compared it with the Cambridge. I'm also alarmed by the prices charged by Creek these days for their little boxes...

01-05-2009, 06:45

Obviously i will build something eventually. My record collection currently stands at about 30 albums, most of which is charity shop fodder donated by well meaning people. I think.
Once i know if i'm going to enjoy this new vinyl experience, then i will put more effort and time into it. Right now i'm just after a decent sound.


A kind offer, but the interesting thing is that i once owned a PP1. Probably when they first emerged on the market.
I remember not using it for very long, and being distinctly unimpressed with it.
I also remember giving it to my Bro in law, who said his built in stage was better.
It may be that you have an improved version, but i think i should aim a little higher if possible. Thanks anyway.

I don't know how good the Cambridge things are, but they seem cheap enough with good reviews. I'm not normally given to taking much notice of magazine reviews, but if they are consistent, then there is usually some truth in them.

I might try one of these. If all else fails, at least i'll have a usable box to build something inside.:)

01-05-2009, 11:16
No probs alb! I think my view of it lines up with yours. It's one of those 'better than nothing' things and mine is probably as old as yours was. It was popular at it's pricepoint and sold most places. I seem to recall it got some stars from What-HiFi whatever that means! But history has not been kind to it :)

01-05-2009, 13:36
Hi Al,

Sorry for getting so late to this thread...

The Cambridge is a fine little device - I would recommend it. However, if you fancy something a bit more 'left-field', and in my opinion even better, then this superb little Audio Technica unit is the one for MM use only:


or for MM & MC use:


A couple of the guys on the forum use them with great success. They are very well built and sound fab.

If you're happy using a decent MM cartridge then the PEQ3 is fine for the job. If you want the flexibility of MM & MC then the PEQ20 is what you need.

However, another option if you want to use a good quality low-output MC cartridge is to use the PEQ3 MM stage with a low-cost SUT (this achieves superior results, IME), such as the Denon MC boosting trance below:


This would be an excellent combination with, say, a Denon DL-103:


Some good sub 100 cartridges listed here:


Hope this helps. Feel free to ask any more questions! :)


01-05-2009, 14:33
Despite a couple of quick web searches, i didn't find those AT jobbies. Thanks.

The question is ...do i want something i can put on a shelf and look at, and possibly modify?
Or do i want something small enough to nail on the back of the turntable.
More decisions!

Moving coil is something for the future, perhaps. The thought of broken cantilevers worries me.
My hands are better suited to wielding a pickaxe than deftly positioning highly expensive carts above a record. Need some practice first, so i'm going to cut my teeth on something robust like a G800E and something cheap from Shure. Both of which are new and kindly donated.
Also need to invent some sort of lowering device.:scratch:

Besides i like to start at the bottom and work up. Sometimes you find something good on the way.
Maybe when i've got this tonearm properly sorted, i can move on up to the dizzy heights of a Pickering or something.:)

01-05-2009, 16:43
Forgot to mention that i also have an EMO broadcast phono stage that i've been playing with. It's quite good but i'm not sure how it rates alongside newer designs.
Has anyone come across these over the years?

02-05-2009, 09:57
Hi Al,

Never heard of the EMO, I'm afraid. What's its history and connection with the broadcast industry?

The question is ...do i want something i can put on a shelf and look at, and possibly modify?
Or do i want something small enough to nail on the back of the turntable.
More decisions!

My advice is to go with whatever sounds best within your budget - audio performance is what matters first and foremost! :)

Since this is only likely to be a stop-gap solution I wouldn't get too hung up on looks or the type of case used... Experience tells me that these devices which are only available in Japan (or the US) usually outperform many much more expensive units for sale on the UK market.

I think the PEQ3 would be an ideal choice. The quality and value for money of AT products such as this is almost second to none. I reckon it will be a veritable little giant-killer! :gig:


02-05-2009, 10:46
This Thorens unit also looks good on German Ebay:

http://cgi.ebay.de/Thorens-MM-01-Phonovorverstaerker-schwarz-NEU_W0QQitemZ260279464643QQcmdZViewItemQQptZPlatte nspielerzubeh%C3%B6r?hash=item260279464643&_trksid=p3286.c0.m14&_trkparms=72%3A1229%7C66%3A2%7C65%3A12%7C39%3A1%7C 240%3A1318%7C301%3A0%7C293%3A1%7C294%3A50

Can you tell that I'm used to searching for items a little bit outwith of the mainstream? :eyebrows: ;)


02-05-2009, 11:15
This is the same model i think.
Mine looks like it fell from a third floor window, which i why it only cost me a fiver. But it still works ok.


Just because its built like a tank and retails at 200 , don't necessarily mean it sounds as good as a hifi box.
Once i've established just how good this is, i can decide on what to buy. Tony has a Pro-ject box I can compare it to, sometime soon.
First impressions are that its a bit bass shy compared to the little 12 box, but superior otherwise. Difficult to tell with a beat up old Connoisseur turntable.:)