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Thread: SUT/Headamp for Denon DL-301 mkII?

  1. #1
    Join Date: Jan 2019

    Location: Leeds

    Posts: 9
    I'm Brett.

    Default SUT/Headamp for Denon DL-301 mkII?

    Hi there, I'm hoping to get some recommendations for a SUT or headamp please? Usually Googling will get me a decent list of candidates but I've been falling a bit short here, perhaps due to my own ignorance on the matter!

    It'll be for a Denon DL-301 mkII going into the MM input of my Croft Phono Integrated. People seem to like the Denon at 400-600ohms for the most part, though some swear by it at 1k. The Croft stage seems to veer a bit towards the bassy side judging by reports (and my own currently not very sympathetic DL-110 that's going straight into it, for what that's worth) so I'm guessing it might end up preferring 600ohms+?

    I'd been looking at the Rothwell Headspace but since the options there jump from 360ohms to 1.5k I'm thinking it might not be the most suitable first choice? I'll readily admit that I'm not great on the maths for some of this stuff though so there could well be something I'm missing as far as connecting it to this particular phono stage goes!

    The AU-300LC apparently loads it at 470ohms but used prices seem to have gone up quite a bit in the past few years. Might there be better, more modern options for the money?

    Any suggestions more than welcome

  2. #2
    Join Date: May 2017

    Location: West Sussex, UK

    Posts: 691
    I'm Steve.

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    Hi Brett

    If you can get hold of a Denon Ha500 head amp you'll be over the moon.
    I had the same cart as you and it was fantastic through the Ha500.
    Expect to pay 200 to 250.

    Steve..
    Project 2experience sb dc, Cart: At33ptg
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    Steve...

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

    Posts: 4,227
    I'm Mike.

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    There's a Haggerman Head Amp on eBay just now, not my sale and no idea if it's any good but it's under 200 and might be worth a look.

    Maybe someone on here has experience of it.

    https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F183624973087

    There's also a Lentek for sale on here too

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Near Saffron Walden, Essex

    Posts: 6,455
    I'm Dave.

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    I can thoroughly recommend the Rothwell Headspace and their step-up x'mers. Unbeatable value IMO.

    I've never noticed any Croft phono stage "veering towards the bassy side". I suppose it's one of those forum things and shouldn't be taken as gospel.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Jan 2019

    Location: Leeds

    Posts: 9
    I'm Brett.

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    It could well not be the case Dave, the Croft is new to me and I was slightly hesistant to buy due to the somewhat controversial Stereophile measurements which suggested the phono stage was quite dark. On setting it up I found that it was very much the case with the DL-110 (it actually veers into boomy territory) but as I say, it could purely be down to it being a bad match for the cartridge. The 110 will be getting towards the end of its life anyway, hence buying the 301 II. I'm hoping once that's all set up properly the bass will be more under control as I fell in love with the line stage of the amp literally seconds after turning it on!

    That Piccolo2 looks interesting and the loading values look about as close to ideal as I'm probably likely to get - just going to have a seach around for reports on that one!

  6. #6
    Join Date: Apr 2009

    Location: Near Saffron Walden, Essex

    Posts: 6,455
    I'm Dave.

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    GT explains the Stereophile measurements in one of his posts on PFM. Truth is, the Croft phono stage measured as well as any other high quality phono stage and certainly no reason for any 'boomy' problems. Maybe it's a cartridge mis-match or set up ?

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2014

    Location: KY - Scotland

    Posts: 4,227
    I'm Mike.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    GT explains the Stereophile measurements in one of his posts on PFM. Truth is, the Croft phono stage measured as well as any other high quality phono stage and certainly no reason for any 'boomy' problems. Maybe it's a cartridge mis-match or set up ?
    I was thinking setup too, perhaps the cartridge is sitting tail down?

    Mind you I've had a 301 mkII and thought it so so, didn't really have the detail and clarity if the ZU Audio 103 I had at the time, that was a good bit more expensive mind you.

    I think Jimbo had a 301 mkII as well as Croft amps so he might be able to shed some light on the audio abilities of that combo

  8. #8
    Join Date: Jan 2019

    Location: Leeds

    Posts: 9
    I'm Brett.

    Default

    For the sake of clarity, the 301 II isn't installed yet as I don't have the SUT/headamp.

    The DL-110 is set up level, but as mentioned before the bassy thing could well be down to it being a poor match. I only brought it up here as it made me suspect I might end up preferring the 301 II at a higher value, especially since it doesn't seem to be seen as the most treble-heavy cart around. All guesswork at this point obviously, but understandably so since I'm trying to get a better idea of what SUTs/headamps to look for and don't have any such device around to test the waters so to speak.

    Quote Originally Posted by hifi_dave View Post
    GT explains the Stereophile measurements in one of his posts on PFM. Truth is, the Croft phono stage measured as well as any other high quality phono stage and certainly no reason for any 'boomy' problems. Maybe it's a cartridge mis-match or set up ?
    Yeah, it's sounding like that's probably the case Dave. I'm certainly not trying to propagate any myths here as I don't have the knowledge to make any bold definitive claims, just trying to get things sounding right in my own system with new gear I'm getting my head around - I'd have very happily ignored the Stereophile testing if my own experience hadn't seemed to back them up! Whether that experience pairing a DL-110 and Croft was worth paying attention to is obviously up for debate

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2019

    Location: Leeds

    Posts: 9
    I'm Brett.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mikeyb View Post
    I think Jimbo had a 301 mkII as well as Croft amps so he might be able to shed some light on the audio abilities of that combo
    Ah yes, turns out I'd actually read a thread of his about the pairing a while ago when Googling around! Going back to it I can't see any mention of loading though.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Birmingham

    Posts: 4,667
    I'm James.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Brettski View Post
    Ah yes, turns out I'd actually read a thread of his about the pairing a while ago when Googling around! Going back to it I can't see any mention of loading though.
    Hi Brett,

    I used the Denon 301 mkii with a K&K SUT 1:10 step up ratio with good results, however the 301 is a little soft in the top end so I did not get quite the detail I was looking for. Midrange was excellent, this was all through the Croft Micro 25R.

    I have used a couple of Head amps but they sounded a bit mechanical and a touch bright but the Denon HA 500 should work well or an Au320.
    VPI Scout 1.1 - Ortofon 2M Black FGS - Croft 25R+ - Croft Series 7 - Spendor SP2

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