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Thread: which phono stage for dl103?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Frisco, TX

    Posts: 17
    I'm Jim.

    Default which phono stage for dl103?

    Hello all:
    I will soon be getting a Thorens TD160 with Sumiko MMT and DL103. I need to get a new phono stage for this set up and not entirely sure which way to go. I am currently thinking about the Gram Amp 3 Fanfare and hoping someone can provide some input. I have also considered the Phonomena II, and also wondering if I should get the K&K SUT right away? Trying not to spend more than about $500 for now. Thanks in advance for any input you can provide.

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 110,089
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    Hi Jim (I presume?)

    Welcome to AOS

    Nice set-up you've got there, especially the MMT, which will match very well with your DL-103. I have much experience with using this cartridge and optimising its performance, so would recommend the following:

    1) An extra-heavy detachable headshell for your Sumiko. The stock one is good quality but unfortunately not quite high enough in mass to ideally suit the 103 - it's about 6g too light to be optimal, so you need one of these (make sure you go for an LH-18, which has a mass of 18g):

    http://www.audiocubes2.com/brand/Aud...ead_Shell.html

    I use one of those myself, along with a Fidelity Research S/5, and they're excellent. There is also no alignment required as the headshell is supplied with two sets of pre-drilled screws which the cartridge screws into from the underneath of the headshell, avoiding the need for tedious to use nuts on the top. Simply select the holes nearest the front of the headshell, screw some bolts in, and your cartridge will be perfectly aligned - you can check it with your usual protractor.

    2) In my experience, the 103 works best with a MC step-up transformer in conjunction with a MM phono stage. With your budget, I would buy one of these from the same site:

    http://www.audiocubes2.com/brand/Den...ng_Trance.html

    They're great little things and are designed purposely with the 103 in mind.

    You then have the option of buying whichever MM phono stage you fancy which fits in with the remainder of your budget. I would say that the Graham Slee entry-level ones are as good as any at that price, or those from Creek, Pro-ject, etc. Or you could try one of these which are also rather good:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/Audio-Technica-A...4.c0.m14.l1262

    Or:

    http://cgi.ebay.com/YAMAHA-HA-5-Phon...4.c0.m14.l1262

    Hope this helps. If there's anything else you need to know just ask!

    Marco.
    Main System

    Turntable: Heavily-modified Technics SL-1210MK5G [Mike New bearing/ETP platter/Paul Hynes SR7 PSU & reg mods]. Funk Firm APM Achromat/Nagaoka GL-601 Crystal Record Weight/Isonoe feet & boots/Ortofon RS-212D/Denon DL-103GL in Denon PCL-300 headshell with Funk Firm Houdini/Kondo SL-115 pure-silver cartridge leads.

    Paul Hynes MC head amp/SR5 PSU. Also modded Lentek head amp/Denon AU-310 SUT.

    Other Cartridges: Nippon Columbia (NOS 1987) Denon DL-103. USA-made Shure SC35C with NOS stylus. Goldring G820 with NOS stylus. Shure M55E with NOS stylus.

    CD Player: Audiocom-modified Sony X-777ES/DAS-R1 DAC.

    Tape Deck: Tandberg TCD 310, fully restored and recalibrated as new, by RDE, plus upgraded with heads from the TCD-420a. Also with matching TM4 Norway microphones.

    Preamps: Heavily-modified Croft Charisma-X. LDR Stereo Coffee. Power Amps: Tube Distinctions Copper Amp fitted with Tungsol KT-150s. Quad 306.

    Cables & Sundries: Mark Grant HDX1 interconnects and digital coaxial cable, plus Mark Grant 6mm UP-LCOFC Van Damme speaker cable. MCRU 'Ultimate' mains leads. Lehmann clone headphone amp with vintage Koss PRO-4AAA headphones.

    Tube Distinctions digital noise filter. VPI HW16.5 record cleaning machine.

    Speakers: Tannoy 15MGs in Lockwood cabinets with modified crossovers. 1967 Celestion Ditton 15.


    Protect your HUMAN RIGHTS and REFUSE ANY *MANDATORY* VACCINE FOR COVID-19!

    Also **SAY NO** to unjust 'vaccine passports' or certificates, which are totally incompatible with a FREE society!!!


  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Frisco, TX

    Posts: 17
    I'm Jim.

    Default thanks for the info!

    Marco, that's great info thanks. I'll get the denon sut today. With regard to the two mm amps you suggest.....I currently have the NAD PP2. Would either of these be a step up?

  4. #4
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 110,089
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    Hi Jim,

    No worries. Don't forget to buy the AT headshell, too - this is absolutely ESSENTIAL (I can't stress this enough), as the stock Sumiko headshell is too light for a 103 and the cartridge will sound bright and rather 'shouty' as a result, certainly compared with how I know the cartridge should sound when optimised.

    The PP2 is a very good little budget MM stage, but if it were me I'd be tempted to try the Audio Technica. I've not used one personally, but given AT's reputation with phono accessories I suspect that it will be really good and a step up from the NAD. It looks rather like one of those little 'treasures' one usually only finds for sale on the Japanese market.

    If you decide to go for it, do let us know how you get on

    Best,
    Marco.
    Main System

    Turntable: Heavily-modified Technics SL-1210MK5G [Mike New bearing/ETP platter/Paul Hynes SR7 PSU & reg mods]. Funk Firm APM Achromat/Nagaoka GL-601 Crystal Record Weight/Isonoe feet & boots/Ortofon RS-212D/Denon DL-103GL in Denon PCL-300 headshell with Funk Firm Houdini/Kondo SL-115 pure-silver cartridge leads.

    Paul Hynes MC head amp/SR5 PSU. Also modded Lentek head amp/Denon AU-310 SUT.

    Other Cartridges: Nippon Columbia (NOS 1987) Denon DL-103. USA-made Shure SC35C with NOS stylus. Goldring G820 with NOS stylus. Shure M55E with NOS stylus.

    CD Player: Audiocom-modified Sony X-777ES/DAS-R1 DAC.

    Tape Deck: Tandberg TCD 310, fully restored and recalibrated as new, by RDE, plus upgraded with heads from the TCD-420a. Also with matching TM4 Norway microphones.

    Preamps: Heavily-modified Croft Charisma-X. LDR Stereo Coffee. Power Amps: Tube Distinctions Copper Amp fitted with Tungsol KT-150s. Quad 306.

    Cables & Sundries: Mark Grant HDX1 interconnects and digital coaxial cable, plus Mark Grant 6mm UP-LCOFC Van Damme speaker cable. MCRU 'Ultimate' mains leads. Lehmann clone headphone amp with vintage Koss PRO-4AAA headphones.

    Tube Distinctions digital noise filter. VPI HW16.5 record cleaning machine.

    Speakers: Tannoy 15MGs in Lockwood cabinets with modified crossovers. 1967 Celestion Ditton 15.


    Protect your HUMAN RIGHTS and REFUSE ANY *MANDATORY* VACCINE FOR COVID-19!

    Also **SAY NO** to unjust 'vaccine passports' or certificates, which are totally incompatible with a FREE society!!!


  5. #5
    Join Date: Feb 2008

    Location: Boddam Aberdeenshire

    Posts: 272

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jimmieg View Post
    Would either of these be a step up?
    The step ups Marco refers to are transformers, used to increase the low voltage output from the cartridge to a sufficient level to drive the phono stage, and also to match the impedances.
    "Always carry a large flagon of whisky, in case of snake bite and, furthermore, always carry a small snake."


    Kevin

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 110,089
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    Hehe... I think he meant the two phono stages I linked to on Ebay being a "step up" (improvement) from his PP2... You're doing well these days, Kevin!



    Marco.
    Main System

    Turntable: Heavily-modified Technics SL-1210MK5G [Mike New bearing/ETP platter/Paul Hynes SR7 PSU & reg mods]. Funk Firm APM Achromat/Nagaoka GL-601 Crystal Record Weight/Isonoe feet & boots/Ortofon RS-212D/Denon DL-103GL in Denon PCL-300 headshell with Funk Firm Houdini/Kondo SL-115 pure-silver cartridge leads.

    Paul Hynes MC head amp/SR5 PSU. Also modded Lentek head amp/Denon AU-310 SUT.

    Other Cartridges: Nippon Columbia (NOS 1987) Denon DL-103. USA-made Shure SC35C with NOS stylus. Goldring G820 with NOS stylus. Shure M55E with NOS stylus.

    CD Player: Audiocom-modified Sony X-777ES/DAS-R1 DAC.

    Tape Deck: Tandberg TCD 310, fully restored and recalibrated as new, by RDE, plus upgraded with heads from the TCD-420a. Also with matching TM4 Norway microphones.

    Preamps: Heavily-modified Croft Charisma-X. LDR Stereo Coffee. Power Amps: Tube Distinctions Copper Amp fitted with Tungsol KT-150s. Quad 306.

    Cables & Sundries: Mark Grant HDX1 interconnects and digital coaxial cable, plus Mark Grant 6mm UP-LCOFC Van Damme speaker cable. MCRU 'Ultimate' mains leads. Lehmann clone headphone amp with vintage Koss PRO-4AAA headphones.

    Tube Distinctions digital noise filter. VPI HW16.5 record cleaning machine.

    Speakers: Tannoy 15MGs in Lockwood cabinets with modified crossovers. 1967 Celestion Ditton 15.


    Protect your HUMAN RIGHTS and REFUSE ANY *MANDATORY* VACCINE FOR COVID-19!

    Also **SAY NO** to unjust 'vaccine passports' or certificates, which are totally incompatible with a FREE society!!!


  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Frisco, TX

    Posts: 17
    I'm Jim.

    Default i should have said "improvement'

    I should have been more clear. Yes I meant "step up" as "improvement." I am comparing these to the Hagerman Bugle which I have always heard about as a budget favorite. I called Hagerman and spoke to them today, and was told that if I purchased one assembled and not as a kit, they could set it up at high enough gain (60) to accomodate low output moving coils. I still want the Denon step up (as in signal boost). Should I order the Bugle as it were going to be used with mm cartridges or with mc? Thanks again, Jim

  8. #8
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: North Down /Northern Ireland/ UK

    Posts: 19,495
    I'm Neil.

    Default

    Hi Jim

    If you want to use the Denon Step Up transformer then yes you will have to order the Hagerman Bugle as a MM. If you have the MC version you can't use a step up, you would overload the phono stage...way to much gain. I have read a lot about the Hagerman Bugle. Are you based in the USA ? Or if not where? Some folks might like to know about costs, shipping etc (including me). These all valve phono stages are made in Hawaii, and get a good write up.

    How about a review for Strokes of Genius when you get it and you are all settled in with it + some nice photos.

    Welcome to the forum by the way You should pop into the welcome section of the forum, and say hello and tell us a bit about yourself, your kit, the music you like etc. You might also like to place some photos of your kit in the gallery...folks here love to see nice photos.


    Regards D S D L----Neil
    Last edited by Spectral Morn; 17-03-2009 at 23:49.
    Regards Neil

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Frisco, TX

    Posts: 17
    I'm Jim.

    Default well then moving magnet it is!

    Hello Neil:

    I will go over to the "welcome section" after I post this and give a proper introduction. I had some system pics on audiogon awhile back but took them down because I was upgrading. In a couple of weeks I will have my new turntable and I will post some photos then.
    I am in the USA, Dallas, TX. Hagerman is in Hawaii and the price for a pre-assembled Bugle is $149USD. I have not yet ordered it but I think shipping is about $21 for me. He said he was just back from vacation and it would be at least 2 weeks before he would get to it. Marco suggested the AT-PEQ20 and I have never heard of it but would like to get some info on it before ordering the Bugle.
    Jim

  10. #10
    Join Date: Nov 2008

    Location: North Down /Northern Ireland/ UK

    Posts: 19,495
    I'm Neil.

    Default

    Hi Jim


    Thanks ....bare in mind once you order the MM version you will always have to use the Step up transformer for MC cartridges except high out put ones which usually have the gain of a MM cartridge.

    Regards D S D L---Neil
    Regards Neil

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