Stormin'Norman

WTB Quality MC phono stage

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On 08/01/2020 at 17:52, Lurch said:
Ollie Bigman80 on here & PFM (spends more time on PFM) is behind the BB development so give him a shout for info & options. I believe the BB works out @ roughly £700 for parts etc. 

Thanks for highlighting the Bigbottle!

You can build a Bigbottle for under £400.

Valves prices are a bit variable so account or that.

£700-800 is the pre built price for those who cant make their own.

There one built, here and in use, so if you want a listen, come see me. I'm in the Middle of England

The one in use here, is a MK2 prototype which has seen a couple of improvements and a reduction in components on the PCB.

Here's a look at the MK1 Mikeyb owns (on AoS). This one was slightly more money due to the laser etched front panel, Clarity Caps, DC Blocker and Telefunken valves, but wouldn't look (or sound) out of place in a very posh system :

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Build thread here:

http://audioaddictsforum.com/thread/288/bigbottle-hybrid-mc-phonostage-pcb

Development thread here:

http://audioaddictsforum.com/thread/1165/bigbottle-mk2-build

Edited by Bigman80

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Super Wammer

Thanks Oliver,

Appreciate the info, would realistically be home build, have read posts on the pcb and how BOM developed.

Would love to hear it and your kind offer, but live in the Audio Backwater of Northern Ireland ( hard to audition even at dealers. Kronos av aren't too bad - 90 mile round trip )so will regrettably be unable to take up your audition offer.

Currently awaiting replacement pre-amp due next week, so will have a better idea then of where to go re phono, but am thinking yours would be a contender.

Many thanks, Norman

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13 minutes ago, Stormin'Norman said:

Thanks Oliver,

Appreciate the info, would realistically be home build, have read posts on the pcb and how BOM developed.

Would love to hear it and your kind offer, but live in the Audio Backwater of Northern Ireland ( hard to audition even at dealers. Kronos av aren't too bad - 90 mile round trip )so will regrettably be unable to take up your audition offer.

Currently awaiting replacement pre-amp due next week, so will have a better idea then of where to go re phono, but am thinking yours would be a contender.

Many thanks, Norman

Ah, yes. I can see that may be a bit far to travel lol

The best option is always DIY for the VFM and also the ability to make it look how you want it to.  Being switchable between MM and MC, you can also see for yourself whether you still need a head amp or SUT, or utilise the Fet in the Bigbottle, which is how i use it. 

Also adding an extra set of RCA sockets allows the use of loading plugs so you can fine tune the loading for the cartridge. Its a really flexible PCB in terms of possibilities.

As for preamps, is you are DIY competent, i would recommend a Neurochrome Universal buffer, used with a Khozmo and Selector switch. Have a look on DIYaudio for "tomchr"

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The Primare R32 is the best I have ever heard, beating Tom Evans and many more I tried. 

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Super Wammer

Don't appear to be any on second hand market and is no longer available new, though there is a R15 in budget and an R35 way over.

Which one is its successor, I wonder, probably the more expensive

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not sure,  another avenue is a SUT. I just got a mark Levinson one from 1978, simply amazing , battery powered. 

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not sure,  another avenue is a SUT. I just got a mark Levinson one from 1978, simply amazing , battery powered. 

If it’s battery powered it’s a head amp, SUTs are totally passive.


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hi norman just to throw some more options into the mix.....

I use an OC 9 MLii with a P10, but rather than use the T10 i use a Denon HA 500 head amp fettled by Phonomac. When I first tried the p 10, with russian and chinese valves and was very underwhelmed. It sounded veiled and dynamically lacking. I considered it inferior to the Quad 24 P phono stage i had.

However, after trying some different vintage (but not that pricey)valves it has been transformed into a very capable phonostage.  It only uses one ECC 83 and one ECC 88 so experimenting is relatively cheap

And although the T 10 matches well with the P10, the secret was the Denon head amp.

With its 100 ohm impedance, the denon  is  ideally matched to the OC 9. And the high output of the Denon is perfect for the lowish gain of the p 10.

With the Denon there is no softening of the frequency extremes that I find common to many SUTS.

If you are interested I can PM you some details of the valves, I tried and the results obtained.

atb

Graham 

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If you prefer a one box solution the recommendation of the long dog audio mcj3 stage would be worth investigating. There is there a good review on this site somewhere and one of the carts used was an OC 9 with excellent results. it uses 2 ECC 88s so could be further tweaked for not much cost

btw where in the country are you?

Edited by graham67

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54 minutes ago, Steve Z said:


If it’s battery powered it’s a head amp, SUTs are totally passive.


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Yup  you are indeed correct. Its battery powered and officially a head amp. I tried 3 different Ortofon SUTS plus a Klang Film one, then  a SOTA head amp, the ML was the clear winner for me . Matched with and Ortofon Rohmann cartridge

. Horses for courses  and we are all different so it's actually really hard to make a recommendation for anyone unless you know the type of sound they like.

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. Horses for courses  and we are all different so it's actually really hard to make a recommendation for anyone unless you know the type of sound they like.


I think where phono preamps are concerned they should ideally be totally transparent and just let the cartridge get on with its job unencumbered. Tbh designing a good one is not that difficult provided it adds as little noise and distortion as possible and keeps as close to the RIAA curve as possible that’s all that’s required. I really believe that of hifi equipment phono stages are the devices that reach the law of diminishing returns the quickest, imho spending north of £300-£400 is pretty foolhardy unless what can be bought at a higher price gives a different “sound”, if it does it’s probably veering away from neutrality and transparency anyway and hence defeats the objective of Hifi. I suppose anyone spending in the region of a grand on a cartridge (crazy imo) assumes they “must” spend as much on a phono stage, to keep the system in “balance”. In my experience (45years+) it is possible to get a pretty well balanced and accurate vinyl sound with a combined phono stage and cartridge for well under a grand, the Rega Ania and Rega Fono MC springs to mind, it’s certainly the combination I’d buy if I had the money.


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Super Wammer

Have to say not that disappointed in the T10\P10 combo especially now I've gone to an  active speakers set up, namely a Linn C6100 amp. All 6 channels are used tri-active in Keilidh's. They are Mk 1, mine from new, with the Hiquan tweeters upgrade. Although tonite I just bought a pair of later Mk 3 , with what are considered to have superior mid\bass drivers.They were an absolute steal at £122 + postage in original boxes.

The real weak link is the preamp but it's replacement arrives early next week.

So this is prep work for possibly replacing the Puresound kit in the near future and I gladly welcome the various thoughts of what is good out there and had come down to 2 contenders but thanks to Graham 67 I will have to explore a bit of valve rolling. If it yields results akin to some op-amp rolling I have carried out on a Little Bear headphone amp I would be well pleased. So yes a PM would be very helpful on guidance on valves.

Very sage advice Steve Z, I was probably going to slash the budget by a few hundred as there are good options of kit produced by fellow enthusiast's on this forum

Question, do I really need to scratch this itch....mmmmm.  I think I'll reflect for a while and let the latest addition settle in, roll a valve or two and see if the itch subsides. If it doesn't, you guys have turned up a couple of other options.👍

A hearty thanks to one and all 🙋

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My advice would be save a few hundred more and get a Trilogy 907 secondhand you'll get one for around £1400

or

Start looking for a Paradise, very hard to find on used market but one of worlds best phono stages imho

or

push budget to £1800 and look for used Aurosound Vida, another brilliant phono stage.

I think you'll need to find a phono stage of this kind of quality to better a P10 set up

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Super Wammer

Yes, the P10 does seem to be held in high regard by some, others have questioned its design philosophy. Certainly my local dealer agrees that for the money it represents excellent value.

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Just had a read of the Paul Rigby review of the P10 (as I’d never heard of it before), he describes it as being totally transparent and adding nothing to the intrinsic sound of the cartridge, if that description is a fair assessment then I’d be very tempted to keep it because that’s exactly what you want a phono stage to do.

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