Arghhhh … my trusty old Technics amp/pre-amp (my wife’s amp actually) is dying … the light s are out, but it still passes power throgh to the FM tuner and the tuner signal can be sent on to soundcard/Audacity - so I can still record FM radio. BUT I can’t switch the device to phono - so no more vinyl recordings for now, and I’ve still got a way to go
It looks like I might have to buy a phono preamp to sit between my turntable and my Edirol UA-1EX USB soundcard.
Does anybody have any good recommendations for a preamp?
I think that some devices are made for folks who need to connect TTs to new amps that don’t have phono inputs - reasonably small and cheap- Obviously I don’t want a USB preamp as I am using the external USB soundcard - so I need RAC to input to thr soundcard. The TT presents RCA outputs. The preamp obviously need to do the RIAA equalisation.
My best results have been with a 20 year old Sony STR-6046 integrated amplifier - I have two of them, the switches are very crackly and the lights don’t work, but there’s a direct out from the pre-amp that works great. I’ve also got a little plastic phono pre-amp which cost about $20 some years ago - it’s not quite as good as the Sony, but it’s good enough for most stuff and it’s a lot more convenient. Unfortunately it’s “Unbranded”, so I can’t tell you a lot more about it.
Hi Steve, thanks for the quick reply. Our old Technics SU-X902 is an integrated jobbie also with a direct output from the pre-amp, like your Sony. And up till now it has worked extremely well delivering good results.
When it gets properly light again tomorro, I’ll open it up to see if there’s anything obviously amiss.
After having powered the unit down last night and unplagged it from the mains and left it for 12 hours - I plugged it in again this morning, pressed the power switch and lo and behold: on come all the fairy lights and switching facility is fully restored.
I did try “re-boot” yesterday (more than once) turning off/unplugging for more than one minute - I can only assume that the device has some big capacitors for charge retention, or possibly it went into some temporary shutdown mode (overheating?).
But anyway we’re back to full operation today, thank goodness. - so no $$/££ wil have to change hands for now.
It’s certainly possible Andy - my cats have a penchant for laying on top of the amp (they’ve sussed that it’s nice and warm) - and the Maine Coon boy is very large and fairly hairy. Keeping them off my PC k/b is a nightmare too - they are even worse typists than me!
Thanks for posting what you use - a useful insight.
Inexpensive phono pre-amps can produce surprisingly good results, and if using a budget turntable and cartridge it is probably not worth spending a lot more. High quality cheap IC’s are available specifically for phono pre-amps, and make circuit design of reasonable quality quite a trivial matter. However, with a high quality deck, it is probably worth getting something that is “branded” by an audio equipment manufacturer who have a reputation to protect.
The other major advantage of a genuine “hi-fi” pr-amp, is that it will usually be switchable to suit either MM or MC cartridges so that you can get the best out of whichever type you have.
Looks like I might have to go this route Steve, as the Birrmingham screwdriver didn’t work today, alas, not even with a big thump. The good news is that experimentation shows that the separate FM tuner sends a strong enough signal on its own without the benefit of the pre-amp (and possibly it will actually a better signal with less circuitry in the way). And this will enable me to capture good quality off-air FM signals from the BBC long after I have completed the vinyl digitization.
But it looks like I will need a phono pre-amp - so it’s a trip down to the hi-fi shop in the local town (and I count myself extremely lucky to still have a real hi-fi shop in a small town).
Steve, the PP2 looks a nice piece of kit with good spec. and not too bad a price - and NAD is a good brand - so well worth considering. The other (cheaper) bit of kit that I have seen from Dolphin Music in Liverpool is the Behringer Microphono PP40 - which also looks as if it’s up to the job - probably not as high quality as the NAD though.
But for the moment … the Techics amp has today come back to full fairy-light, switchable life. So my intermediate plan is to leave it switched in phono mode (it works as a preamp even when the lights are out - but becomes unswitchable) to connect my record deck. And use the FM tuner in standalone without “benefit” of the pre-amp. The only downside is that I will have to continually swap the phono connectors from the amp to the tuner and back again to swap modes - and I never really like over-using connectors in that way, as it tends to fatigue them.
I expect that the Behringer Microphono PP40 will perform very well - I use a lot of Behringer kit, and the electronics are fantastic, though you can often see where corners have been cut in the build quality. (I have a Behringer instrument pre-amp at the moment that needs a new battery connector). All in all I think that Behringer offer amazing value for money, but the NAD (at more than twice the price) is likely to last much longer.
The ideal situation would be if you could find a dealer that sell them both and is willing to let you try them.
Yes I know what you mean here - this was one of the deciders when I bought an external soundcard and settled on the Edirol UA-1EX over the Behringer UCA202 - the Behringer though is half the price of the Edirol.
The UCA202 is a good bit of kit. The sound quality is good, it has gold plated contacts and a robust USB lead. OK so it’s just in a plastic box, but as long as you don’t stand on it there’s no reason why it shouldn’t last for years. I’ve had one for a couple of years now, and it is still “as new”.
I don’t think that the build quality of the Edirol is any better, but it does have some extra features that justify the extra cost - built in microphone input, volume control, audio I/O signal indicators and Sampling rate switch. The UCA202 is just 2 ins and 2 outs and a power on LED and that’s all (but that is all I need).
If the PP40 is to the same standard then it would be a good choice - it is certainly the cheapest. Whichever you choose I’d be interested to read your review of it.
As requested Steve - f/b on the one I bought. It only arrived today do initial impressions only …
I eventually decided on the ARTcessories DJPreII - this cost £35 from Dolphin music in Liverpool.
Looks very well constructed in a robust aluminium housing. I chose it at twice the price over the Behrringer for a number additional features:
It has a grounding post - the Behringer does not - I definitely needed to ground the TT to my Technics when it was still working
it has a gain control - with a useful hard-clipping indicator
two input seetings 100pf and 200pf - the Behringer is preset to Moving Magnet cartridge only
it also has a switchable low cut filter - which I probably shan’t use as I don’t seem to get rumble from my TT
The RCA terminals are not gold-plated - IIRC the Behringer’s are - this is a corner that ART should not have cut really
I have tested this so far on a couple of records - intial impressions are that it gives a nice detailed sound, a good stable stero image. The first record that I tried led me to the impression that the device was favouring the left channel - but on popping on a mono record on the deck after that, both channels looked nicely equal. Sunmmary: does the job well.
The other one that I seriously considered was one that Steve mentioned earlier - the NAD PP2 - looked a nice piece of kit, well made - costs c. £50 in the UK. The other one that looks very good is the one that Koz and alatham recommend - the TCC TC-750LC manufactured in the US but they will ship to the uk for c. £62.
Guys, guys, guys. The recommended load impedance of a typical Moving Magnet cartridge is in the tens of thousands of ohms (Audio-Technica lists 47,000 ohms). I hope you aren’t worried about adding an extra 1/10th of an ohm to the circuit by using a (gasp!) gold-chrome contact.
On the other hand, if you want to make sure your contacts will still be ok in 50 years, then go ahead and spring for the gold contacts. And if you’re talking about Moving Coil cartridges (with a load impedance of tens of ohms) then they’ll probably benefit from slightly lower resistance contacts.
Seriously though, the quality of the ADC circuit is many times more important than the plating on the contacts.
Andy, good points - my contacts only have to last for 18-months to two years till I finally finish my vinyl conversion project - almost finished mine in fact, then I move on to my wife’s 150-200 albums or so …