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Thread: Are expensive phono preamps worth it?

  1. #11
    Join Date: May 2010

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    Quote Originally Posted by struth View Post
    That should be xps-1... ps they are very good but need running it a fair bit and respond well to use of battery power
    Thanks for the correction. Yes, my XPS-1 has been in use for 11 months before I upgraded. It is a really good phono (certainly beat several other ones in a similar price range).

    But switching to iFi iPhono 2 made XPS-1 sound like a blaring mess. At least to my ears.

    Yes, I paid double for iFi iPhono 2, but to me the extra cash was definitely worth it. Which made me ask the original question -- is it worth going for an even pricier phono, seeing how much improvement I got from paying the double price?
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  2. #12
    Join Date: Nov 2015

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    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    Thanks for the correction. Yes, my XPS-1 has been in use for 11 months before I upgraded. It is a really good phono (certainly beat several other ones in a similar price range).

    But switching to iFi iPhono 2 made XPS-1 sound like a blaring mess. At least to my ears.

    Yes, I paid double for iFi iPhono 2, but to me the extra cash was definitely worth it. Which made me ask the original question -- is it worth going for an even pricier phono, seeing how much improvement I got from paying the double price?
    Doubling the price may not prove to be double the improvement.

  3. #13
    Join Date: Feb 2013

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    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    Thanks for the correction. Yes, my XPS-1 has been in use for 11 months before I upgraded. It is a really good phono (certainly beat several other ones in a similar price range).

    But switching to iFi iPhono 2 made XPS-1 sound like a blaring mess. At least to my ears.

    Yes, I paid double for iFi iPhono 2, but to me the extra cash was definitely worth it. Which made me ask the original question -- is it worth going for an even pricier phono, seeing how much improvement I got from paying the double price?
    the xps1 is 229 now. it did improve a lot using battery supply. lifted it quite a bit. shows the smps was shit
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  4. #14
    Join Date: May 2010

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    Quote Originally Posted by struth View Post
    the xps1 is 229 now. it did improve a lot using battery supply. lifted it quite a bit. shows the smps was shit
    You know, I totally believe that. What battery supply did you use?
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  5. #15
    Join Date: May 2010

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    Doubling the price may not prove to be double the improvement.
    Everyone seems to agree that improvements/worsening is never linear. And it's all kind of subjective. In my case, iFi iPhono 2, which is more than double the price of Emotiva, improved the sound not twice, but maybe ten times (okay, I'm exaggerating here, but really everything was elevated to a whole new level after the switcharoo).

    Needless to say, I am very pleased with this upgrade (it demonstrated to me the vital importance of the phono stage), but the little bug is now buzzing around my head wondering if there is a way to go even higher with the phono stage? Or have I reached the plateau, and only venturing into some esoteric territory would bring me substantial lift?
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  6. #16
    Join Date: Feb 2013

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    Default Are expensive phono preamps worth it?

    Quote Originally Posted by magiccarpetride View Post
    You know, I totally believe that. What battery supply did you use?
    its an Anker battery. has a 12v supply plus others. they were not cheap. i picked mine up second hand here. great gadget. my rpi runs off a 5v battery too. I do like the battery supply. although not all batteries are made equal. its better than the linear supply i used to use with the xps1

    Regards,
    Grant .... ؠ

    I've said it before and I'll say it again: democracy simply-doesn't-work
    .... ..... ...... ...... ................... ..... ..... ..... ..... .....
    OPPO BDP-103D - JBE SERIES 3/B&O SP1/PROJECT PHONOBOX DS2 USB - QUAD VENA 2 - IFI PURIFIER 2/TWIN PRO MONOBLOCK POWER AMPLIFIERS - LEAF HD BLUETOOTH - OPPO PM-3 PLANAR, SONY H900 & NURAPHONE HEADPHONES - ZBOOK/ IFI SILENCER/WIN10 PRO/AUDIRVANA & JRIVER - SMSL M6 DAC & IFI SILENCER - RPI 3+, DIGIONE HAT/VOLUMIO2 - EDINGDALE MK1 SPEAKERS - CABLE INC CHORD, MOGAMI, SUPRA & WIREWORLD

    **Men are not punished for their sins, but by them**Don't be such a big girl's blouse!**
    ***SMILE, BE HAPPY***

  7. #17
    Join Date: Jul 2016

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    I think getting the right phono stage for your system is much more important than many people realise. I have heard ones I consider to be good or bad at a lot of price points, and there are a few affordable ones that punch above their weight too. Generally though, as long as it is made properly with good components, the more you spend the better the sound. There are obviously exceptions to this, and I have heard some with a big price ticket that I haven't liked in mine and other peoples systems, but for me an exceptional phono stage is at the heart of most if not all analogue systems.

  8. #18
    Join Date: Aug 2009

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    there can be quite a difference between stages at the 200-300 quid mark and the stages at the 2k to 3k mark.

    No doubt there are some 2k and 3k stages that are just 200 quid stages in a fancy box. But I would say if you have the money - and buy one of the good ones - the improvement over a good 300 stage is substantial.

    Not just a little bit better, a lot better. I would not have thought that was true until I heard the comparisons for myself. Previously I had figured that as a phono stage does not really have to do much then there would be nowhere else to go after about 500 or thereabouts except for adding bling to the case and bullshit to the marketing spiel. Wrong!
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  9. #19
    Join Date: Mar 2011

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    I believe the answer is yes. The phono stage has a tricky job in that the signals it has to deal with are very small. So attention to earthing, noise and layout are far more important than in other amplifiers. If you use a moving coil then it becomes even more important as there microVolts to work with not milliVolts. If you use a low output moving coil then you are really a glutten for punishment.

    Od course what you spend will depend upon the rest of your system and what your expectations are. As always there are some expensive lemons and some brilliant, expensive phono amps and matching them to your system becomes more important.

  10. #20
    Join Date: Apr 2012

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    I'm Geoff.

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    The title is "Are expensive phono preamps worth it?" But really, you could substitute the name of any piece of equipment in place of 'phono preamps', like speakers or amplifiers for instance and get very similar debate, with arguments for and against.

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