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Old 10-08-08, 07:13 PM   #1
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Jim Liedeka
Since: May 2008
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entry level phono stage


I'm getting a used turntable in the near future and my receiver lacks a phono stage. Could someone recommend a decent entry level MM phono stage? I'll be getting a Grado Sonata cart which puts out close to 5 mv. My max budget would be $500 but I'd prefer something cheaper.

I've heard some good things about the Rega Fono which goes for about $350. I'm also tempted to try the Parasound Zphono for $150. Any recommendations?

Jim


Receiver: Marantz SR8002, Speakers: Paradigm Studio 20s (front) Studio 10s (surr) and CC-490, Sub: Hsu VTF-3 Mk3, TV: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60, Blu: Oppo BDP-93 TT: SOTA Sapphire (Sumiko Premier MMT arm, Grado Sonata cart) Other: Xbox 360

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Old 10-15-08, 11:54 AM   #2
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Jay
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Re: entry level phono stage


The Rega Phono Mini for $145, the Cambridge Audio 640P for $170, NAD PP-2 or PP-3 for $130 and $180, respectively, and the ProJect Phono Box II for $160.

A real sleeper is the Bellari VP129 tube phono stage for $250. It is a great sounding unit that you cannot touch the sound of for probably twice the price.

http://www.lpgear.com/Bellari_VP129.pdf


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Old 10-15-08, 04:52 PM   #3
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Jim Liedeka
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Re: entry level phono stage


Thanks. I ended up ordering the Cambridge Audio 640P. That should at least get me started.

Jim


Receiver: Marantz SR8002, Speakers: Paradigm Studio 20s (front) Studio 10s (surr) and CC-490, Sub: Hsu VTF-3 Mk3, TV: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60, Blu: Oppo BDP-93 TT: SOTA Sapphire (Sumiko Premier MMT arm, Grado Sonata cart) Other: Xbox 360

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Old 10-18-08, 08:54 PM   #4
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Jim Liedeka
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Re: entry level phono stage


So far, I really like the Cambridge. It's dead silent and my records sound really good. Since I've never owned another phone stage, I can't compare it to anything. All I can say is it doesn't add any noise and sounds like it has a reasonably accurate RIAA curve. The spec is +/- 0.3 dB and I'd have to guess that that's true.

Jim


Receiver: Marantz SR8002, Speakers: Paradigm Studio 20s (front) Studio 10s (surr) and CC-490, Sub: Hsu VTF-3 Mk3, TV: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60, Blu: Oppo BDP-93 TT: SOTA Sapphire (Sumiko Premier MMT arm, Grado Sonata cart) Other: Xbox 360

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Old 10-23-08, 08:50 PM   #5

superchad
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Re: entry level phono stage


Check out the Musical Surroundings Phonomena used for a great budget option, it will load any MM or MC you may ever want to try and performs great, I have 2 with one in storage, if you care for any info or further inpressions PM me, these can be had for as little as $250 and offer far more options than many starter units.


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Old 10-24-08, 12:12 AM   #6
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Jim Liedeka
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Re: entry level phono stage


Thanks for the info. I wondered about the Phonemena. So far, I'm happy with the Cambridge. It's dead silent and seems to be reasonably accurate with the RIAA curve. I've found one instance where I prefer the vinyl version of an album to the CD. I think that speaks well for my vinyl setup.

Jim


Receiver: Marantz SR8002, Speakers: Paradigm Studio 20s (front) Studio 10s (surr) and CC-490, Sub: Hsu VTF-3 Mk3, TV: Panasonic TC-P65ZT60, Blu: Oppo BDP-93 TT: SOTA Sapphire (Sumiko Premier MMT arm, Grado Sonata cart) Other: Xbox 360

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