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Sub $1k MC Phonostage or Back to MM??


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G'day All

 

Do I buy a sub $1K phono stage (and would that be better than my Schitt Mani) and stay with my Orotofon Kontrapunkt A MC Cart, or revert back to MM?  That is the question.

 

I had a Project Debut with Ortofon Blue MM mounted.  Phono stage was (and still is) a Schitt Mani, which I have been very impressed with.  I upgraded the TT to a Project Xtension 9 Evolution mid last year.  It has the Kontrapunkt A (very limited info I have found on the net about it) mounted.  It and Mani work well, but I am getting the impression that I am not doing the Kontrapunkt A justice.  I have the Mani loading the cart at 47ohm, 59db gain.  

 

Now, I like vinyl and I am enjoying it, but I don't think I am up for $1k+ in phono stage.  If that be the case, do I revert to MM (maybe a Nagoaka or Bronze or something) and keep the Mani?  I understand the Mani is a very good MM stage...but probably isn't the pick for MC.

 

Your expert thoughts and experiences greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

Aaron

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If you gonna spend money on MM c as st, why  it save the m9ney for a new phono? There is a Valab for sale at SNA for $800? It will work with the Kontrapunkt A...

I think the mani is ok with the Ortofon too, keep it and waaot until you have the fund for a new phono.

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Hi @Fubar990

 

Purchasing a sub $1000 phono stage for the Ortofon would, as you say, not do justice to it in most cases.

 

There are a few sub $1000 phonos, that you could pick up second hand that would.

 

The Project Debut with Ortofon Blue MM is probably as well a balanced outfit for your system as you could have without upgrading the TT.

 

JJ

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Thanks guys.  I've made Matty an offer.  That thread is a bit confused.   Not sure if I'm first I'm the queue now. 

 

I've just dropped the kontrapunkt on King of Blue - Miles Davis.  Just switched the loading to 47k on the mani.  It's sounds bloody good so any improvement will surprise me.... but hey,  this is the itch that needs scratching I guess.  Then I'll know. 

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2 hours ago, Fubar990 said:

G'day All

 

Do I buy a sub $1K phono stage (and would that be better than my Schitt Mani) and stay with my Orotofon Kontrapunkt A MC Cart, or revert back to MM?  That is the question.

 

I had a Project Debut with Ortofon Blue MM mounted.  Phono stage was (and still is) a Schitt Mani, which I have been very impressed with.  I upgraded the TT to a Project Xtension 9 Evolution mid last year.  It has the Kontrapunkt A (very limited info I have found on the net about it) mounted.  It and Mani work well, but I am getting the impression that I am not doing the Kontrapunkt A justice.  I have the Mani loading the cart at 47ohm, 59db gain.  

 

Now, I like vinyl and I am enjoying it, but I don't think I am up for $1k+ in phono stage.  If that be the case, do I revert to MM (maybe a Nagoaka or Bronze or something) and keep the Mani?  I understand the Mani is a very good MM stage...but probably isn't the pick for MC.

 

Your expert thoughts and experiences greatly appreciated.

 

Cheers

Aaron

 

My view is that, as the specs for the Kontrapunkt A say:  Recommended load impedance 50-500 Ohm - ie. 10-100x the coil impedance

 

- you are not giving your Kontrapunkt A a chance to shine by using the Mani's 47 ohm loading setting.  :(

 

From looking at an on-line review of the Schiit Mani, it seems that the only load options you have - whether you are running MM or MC - are:

  • 47K, and
  • 47 ohms.

 

This is pretty pathetic - but then ... it is only a USD129 phono stage!  :thumb:

 

If you're interested in experimenting to get a better sound from your excellent Kontrapunkt A:

  1. select the 47K load option, and
  2. I will send you:
  • a pair of RCA 'T' connectors, and
  • a stash of loading plugs between 47 ohms and 470 ohms.

 

All you need to do is to pay postage to you and back.  :)

 

You stick the 'T' connectors into the Mani's input RCA sockets.  Phono cable goes into one of the inputs - and a load resistor goes into the other input (this load res acts in parallel with the selected 47K value, to deliver a different load to the cartridge).

 

What do I  get out of this exercise?  Simples  :) :

  1. someone else will understand how important the correct load is for MC carts ( a crusade of mine!  :lol: , and
  2. given you've heard how your Kontrapunkt A sounds better with the right loading ... you might like to replace your Mani with a phono stage that can give you that loading option.  (My 'Muse' does this - except that it's a bit more than your budget.  :(  Given this, though ... using 47K on your Mani plus the 'T' connectors plus the right load plugs ... will give you a lot better sound than you're getting at present.)

 

Regards,

Andy

 

 

Edited by andyr
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22 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

My view is that, as the specs for the Kontrapunkt A say:  Recommended load impedance 50-500 Ohm - ie. 10-100x the coil impedance

 

- you are not giving your Kontrapunkt A a chance to shine by using the Mani's 47 ohm loading setting.  :(

 

From looking at an on-line review of the Schiit Mani, it seems that the only load options you have - whether you are running MM or MC - are:

  • 47K, and
  • 47 ohms.

 

This is pretty pathetic - but then ... it is only a USD129 phono stage!  :thumb:

 

If you're interested in experimenting to get a better sound from your excellent Kontrapunkt A:

  1. select the 47K load option, and
  2. I will send you:
  • a pair of RCA 'T' connectors, and
  • a stash of loading plugs between 47 ohms and 470 ohms.

 

All you need to do is to pay postage to you and back.  :)

 

You stick the 'T' connectors into the Mani's input RCA sockets.  Phono cable goes into one of the inputs - and a load resistor goes into the other input (this load res acts in parallel with the selected 47K value, to deliver a different load to the cartridge).

 

What do I  get out of this exercise?  Simples  :) :

  1. someone else will understand how important the correct load is for MC carts ( a crusade of mine!  :lol: , and
  2. given you've heard how your Kontrapunkt A sounds better with the right loading ... you might like to replace your Mani with a phono stage that can give you that loading option.  (My 'Muse' does this - except that it's a bit more than your budget.  :(  Given this, though ... using 47K on your Mani plus the 'T' connectors plus the right load plugs ... will give you a lot better sound than you're getting at present.)

 

Regards,

Andy

 

 

Andy

 

Just heard back from Matt.   I'm 3rd in the queue so it's not going to happen. 

 

I love your idea and wonder if I could buy such a solution from you as a stop gap.   As you say,  I do notice an improvement using the 47k loading and it's good... but I'm assuming closer to a sweet spot resonance load for the cart will be better.

 

I appreciate the opportunity to test,  but if there's an option to buy,  that might be perfect for the time being. 

 

Thanks heaps

A

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Not sure if this Musical Surroundings Nova II  is still available, the listing has expired, but you would have to spend a lot more than this to get a better outcome. This was mine, I did spend a lot more, so I know ?

 

Check out some reviews

 

 

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Guest jakeyb77

There are plenty of great phono stages sub $1000 used that have bested many $$$ ones I have heard. There are a few topics on here. 
The Musical Surroundings ones are great. 
I would seriously suggest the Nova above. 
They are dead quiet and fully adjustable.... and battery powered if you like. 

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2 hours ago, Fubar990 said:

 

As you say,  I do notice an improvement using the 47k loading and it's good... but I'm assuming closer to a sweet spot resonance load for the cart will be better.

 

 

That is very interesting, F.  Yes 47K can certainly work for some MCs ... but IME, it's a bit high.  Sure you get a wonderful openness to the sound ... but the bass - at least with my Benz LP - was a bit flabby!  :(  I preferred 3K3.

 

2 hours ago, Fubar990 said:

I love your idea and wonder if I could buy such a solution from you as a stop gap.  

 

I appreciate the opportunity to test,  but if there's an option to buy,  that might be perfect for the time being. 

 

 

Certainly, F!  :thumb:

 

I suggest you try out the many cheap loading reses I can send you - and then, when you've decided which value resistor sounds best to you ... I can make up a quality resistor of this value.

 

Send me a PM if you'd like to go ahead.  :)  Using 47K plus a load res with your Mani will deliver you a significantly better sound IMO - so you may decide you don't need (at this stage) to change your phono stage.

 

Andy

 

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37 minutes ago, andyr said:

 

That is very interesting, F.  Yes 47K can certainly work for some MCs ... but IME, it's a bit high.  Sure you get a wonderful openness to the sound ... but the bass - at least with my Benz LP - was a bit flabby!  :(  I preferred 3K3.

 

 

Certainly, F!  :thumb:

 

I suggest you try out the many cheap loading reses I can send you - and then, when you've decided which value resistor sounds best to you ... I can make up a quality resistor of this value.

 

Send me a PM if you'd like to go ahead.  :)  Using 47K plus a load res with your Mani will deliver you a significantly better sound IMO - so you may decide you don't need (at this stage) to change your phono stage.

 

Andy

 

Thanks Andy

 

Bugger.  Now I have a decision to make.   I'm in touch with @lumholtzi about his Nova II which sounds very enticing.... and he's a great bloke too.... providing tonnes of info,  some of which has not been in favour of his sale to me, the honesty I really appreciate..... one of the great things about this site.   Now I've also got your offer to consider which is equally as generous. 

 

So,  I'll say this.   I have other hobbies that prevent me from getting too deep into vinyl.   I bought the xtensiom 9 because it was nice and a step up from the debut carbon.   It's likely end game for me as a tt.  It just happened to have the kontra A on it.... so I was thinking the mani is now not worthy.   Once I've got something that is,  for under $1k, that'll probably be end game too..... Then I need to buy more records. 

 

So,  on that basis,  what do I do?   The nova sounds attractive for the money... do I dive on it,  or do I try this first?.   @lumholtzi, chime in too if you wish.... you've already been so helpful and I already owe you several ales. 

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sorry all ... distracted cataloging disks on discogs (finally !!)

 

 

So yes the unit comes with a wallwart that powers it up and charges it.   You can use it straight away in 'non-battery' mode and it's all good.  When its fully charged a different light comes on and you can flip between the dc input or the battery .... however, you don't have to wait.   it runs really well while it's not fully charged and it works off the battery, but really I'd leave it charge up for several hours or overnight before you went full tilt on the battery .

 

But as I said before. It's a pretty good phono regardless.  Hey, It's not top of the line, but to get that you need to spend stupid $$$ that are way beyond my beer budget 'hobby' limit too !!!  The Nova sounds  fine on the wallwart, and the gain in SQ from battery mode really can be a little academic, that's unless you are really getting in the 'zone' and settling in for a session .... well, at least that was my approach to using the battery mode.

 

My thoughts and limited experience are that Andy is correct ... the load makes a huge difference to MC carts, I suppose as their outputs are really low  ... perhaps take up his offer & play around if you like ? ... and/or put an ad in the 'wanted to buy' borrow short-term a MC phono stage locally in Sydney before you commit .... there are friendly folk around who might loan you something for a while, and a nice bottle of vino can go along way  .... just a thought !  ?

 

I'd also consider experimenting with the interconnects where you can. With such low level outputs, they can make a huge difference in my limited experience ... they can close various parts of the sound off, or allow it to shine.  .... it's all about experimenting to find synergies in gear that make it sound right for you.

 

that's my two bobs worth for the moment :) 

 

 

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9 hours ago, lumholtzii said:

sorry all ... distracted cataloging disks on discogs (finally !!)

 

 

So yes the unit comes with a wallwart that powers it up and charges it.   You can use it straight away in 'non-battery' mode and it's all good.  When its fully charged a different light comes on and you can flip between the dc input or the battery .... however, you don't have to wait.   it runs really well while it's not fully charged and it works off the battery, but really I'd leave it charge up for several hours or overnight before you went full tilt on the battery .

 

But as I said before. It's a pretty good phono regardless.  Hey, It's not top of the line, but to get that you need to spend stupid $$$ that are way beyond my beer budget 'hobby' limit too !!!  The Nova sounds  fine on the wallwart, and the gain in SQ from battery mode really can be a little academic, that's unless you are really getting in the 'zone' and settling in for a session .... well, at least that was my approach to using the battery mode.

 

My thoughts and limited experience are that Andy is correct ... the load makes a huge difference to MC carts, I suppose as their outputs are really low  ... perhaps take up his offer & play around if you like ? ... and/or put an ad in the 'wanted to buy' borrow short-term a MC phono stage locally in Sydney before you commit .... there are friendly folk around who might loan you something for a while, and a nice bottle of vino can go along way  .... just a thought !  ?

 

I'd also consider experimenting with the interconnects where you can. With such low level outputs, they can make a huge difference in my limited experience ... they can close various parts of the sound off, or allow it to shine.  .... it's all about experimenting to find synergies in gear that make it sound right for you.

 

that's my two bobs worth for the moment :) 

 

 

I've pm'd you this morning mate.  I think I am going to go ahead with the nova.

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10 hours ago, andyr said:

 

That is very interesting, F.  Yes 47K can certainly work for some MCs ... but IME, it's a bit high.  Sure you get a wonderful openness to the sound ... but the bass - at least with my Benz LP - was a bit flabby!  :(  I preferred 3K3.

 

 

Certainly, F!  :thumb:

 

I suggest you try out the many cheap loading reses I can send you - and then, when you've decided which value resistor sounds best to you ... I can make up a quality resistor of this value.

 

Send me a PM if you'd like to go ahead.  :)  Using 47K plus a load res with your Mani will deliver you a significantly better sound IMO - so you may decide you don't need (at this stage) to change your phono stage.

 

Andy

 

Morning Andy

 

I think I have decided I am going to bite the bullet and go with the Musical Surroundings Nova II being offered for sale.   On reflection, it seems to address all of the requirements I stated in my first post.

 

Thanks again for all your advice.  It is much appreciated......and thank you all.  This is a great community.

 

A

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54 minutes ago, Fubar990 said:

Morning Andy

 

I think I have decided I am going to bite the bullet and go with the Musical Surroundings Nova II being offered for sale.   On reflection, it seems to address all of the requirements I stated in my first post.

 

Thanks again for all your advice.  It is much appreciated......and thank you all.  This is a great community.

 

A

 

Should be a great-sounding unit, F.

 

I notice it offers quite a range of cart loading, so you can have lots of fun experimenting with this.  :)

 

Andy

 

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1 hour ago, Fubar990 said:

Morning Andy

 

I think I have decided I am going to bite the bullet and go with the Musical Surroundings Nova II being offered for sale.   On reflection, it seems to address all of the requirements I stated in my first post.

 

Thanks again for all your advice.  It is much appreciated......and thank you all.  This is a great community.

 

A

Great choice. Hard to beat this phono at that price and its RRP. And it has so many loading options. Good luck

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1 hour ago, patjoy said:

Great choice. Hard to beat this phono at that price and its RRP. And it has so many loading options. Good luck

Thanks Patjoy.  Love your profile pic too....fabulous album and band.  I woud love to own some of the PT and SW stuff on vinyl, but it is bloody expensive, and I do tend to wonder what the point is of owning modern music on vinyl....much of it largely recorded and or transacted in the digital realm.  I know Steve Wilson is a bit of a purist, so some of his stuff probably is tracked to tape and then dropped to vinyl from tape.

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7 hours ago, Fubar990 said:

Thanks Patjoy.  Love your profile pic too....fabulous album and band.  I woud love to own some of the PT and SW stuff on vinyl, but it is bloody expensive, and I do tend to wonder what the point is of owning modern music on vinyl....much of it largely recorded and or transacted in the digital realm.  I know Steve Wilson is a bit of a purist, so some of his stuff probably is tracked to tape and then dropped to vinyl from tape.

Most of SW’s recordings are great. As a big fan one gets sucked into a vortex where you have to have everything he puts out and on all media. :D Luckily for me my wife thinks all my purchases are from the bargain bin. :) 

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Just to sign off here, and to thank you all for your contributions, the Musical Surroundings Nova II phono arrived yesterday.  Thanks for the encouragement Mark and to the rest if you too.  Thanks to you for your input/suggestion too Andy

 

So what happened?  

 

I dropped the kontrapunkt A on Peter Gabriel's "So" with the Mani plugged in.  Not horrible...just a bit cluttered and dull...switched to the Nova II, Wow.....hi hats at the beginning of Red Rain then it opened up...Gabriel's vocal in the room...., separation, clarity, sound stage.  That's what I hoped for and got it.  It's incredibly engaging. 

 

I've got the nominal 100ohm set at this point.  Might try some others down the track.

 

Lumholtzi has been fantastic and incredibly generous throughout.  Very happy I proceeded.

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You now realise:

  1.   what an over-marketed PoH (Hype!  :) ) the Mani is, @Fubar990:lol:
  2.  and how a phono stage can radically change your enjoyment of a cartridge!

 

As you probably know, the specs for your kontrapunkt A say, the loading recommendation is 50-500 ohms.  I recommend comparing a load of 500 ohms (against your current 100 ohms) - just to see how it sounds.  :)

 

Good luck,

Andy

 

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