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vinyl: where do you get the best bang per buck?

Discussion in 'audio' started by Andy1912, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member


    I was just wondering of the following three, what is the order of importance re sound quality: a) cartridge; b) arm, and c) phono stage.

    The reason that I am asking is that I keep toying with the idea of upgrading my cartridge, and I'd really like to give a koetsu a go. However, I currently have a SME V arm which costs new about £2300; a DV17D3 karat cartridge which costs new about £700 new, and a Dynavector P75 mk II which costs about £600 new.These all sit on a SME 20/2 and a naim set-up (200 and 202 etc).

    You can see that already the P75 is the least costly of the three and if I were to go say bottom rung Koetsu then this would be about £1700, and about three times the cost of the phono stage.

    What do people think?

    Best wishes

  2. Darth Vader

    Darth Vader From the Dark Side

    I don't know about the rest of your kit but a good phono stage gives a huge improvement in sound. Mind you they will be in the £2K+ range new and about half price second hand.

    My phono stage is a Brinkmann Fein that has its own pre-amplification and volume control so I can now plug it straight into my power amps. Thus I no longer need a pre-amp and that released more funds. These cost circa £1K s/h ditto a TE Groove but without the volume control.

    My DAC also has in-built preamp and volume control so again plugs straight into the power amps. I just use a two way switch to select which source to use.


  3. Nic P

    Nic P pfm Member

    There is no hard and fast rule IMO. In your system I would look for a second hand TE Groove.

    Nic P

    YNWOAN 100% Analogue

    Turntable, then arm, then cartridge
  5. johncee

    johncee pfm Member

    Been fannying around with audio for the best part of 30 years, but only realised fairly recently that this old adage is in fact absolutely true.
  6. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    Thanks for that but where would you slot in the phono stage? My TT and arm are probably permanent fixtures for the foreseeable....


  7. Nic P

    Nic P pfm Member

    You have a top turntable, the top arm and a decent cartridge ... the phono stage is as important (possibly more so) than the cartridge. However even this is a simplification of the realities in any given vinyl replay system.

    Nic P
  8. roscoeiii

    roscoeiii Active Member

    Well Andy,

    The P75 may be the lowest cost component, but you likely have god synergy with the Dyna cart. I'd guess that you are using the P75 in Phono Enhancer (PE) mode [which is said to be even better with the lower impedance Dyna carts (XX-2, 20XL for example)]. So while in the abstract and based on prices, the P75 appears to be a weak link in the chain, the synergy between it and the Dyna cart, and the boost you get from PE mode may not be the case, or at least to the degree it may seem at first glance.

    Are you able to audition any of this gear, either in your system or at a dealer (who may let you bring in your current P75 or 17D3 for comparison)? A lot of variables at play and how they interact will be crucial. Synergy is everything.
  9. johncee

    johncee pfm Member

    Sorry andy, didn't read your original post carefully enough........
  10. paskinn

    paskinn pfm Member

    I use an all SME deck/arm system. I don't know the dynavector phonostage, but if it is first class then your best move (imo) would be a Koetsu. It is a natural partner to the SME combo, in every way, It will sound fabulous.
    Or, just to be naughty, you could save up and buy a second hand SME20-12. If you like the 9inch 20 then the 12 inch deck will give you a real shock. Still, as I said, a bit naughty.
    Finally, yes, deck, arm, cartridge. They all matter, but a great deck with a cheaper arm and cartridge will sound better than a great cartridge and arm on a cheaper deck. Sometimes the old advice is the best advice.
  11. flapland

    flapland pfm Member

    P75 is pretty good but a Whest PS30R blew it out of the water. OK I know its over twice or more the price list but if you call James at Whest direct you might be surprised what he can do. Of course other Phono Stages are available including Tom Evans Groove's at pretty good prices used.
  12. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    Thanks for that. It looks like I could get a Tom Evans Groove for about £1k, I guess a Whest PS30 would be quite a bit more?


  13. flapland

    flapland pfm Member

    More I suspect so but perhaps not as much as you might think for B stock item. Give James a bell and see what he can do. This is what I did.
  14. Elephantears

    Elephantears Trunkated Aesthete

    No one has mentioned synergy between phono stage and your amps. I can tell you that Tom Evans stages have a very good synergy with 202/200, although they don't match well with my other amps (UR Unico). However my tt, arm and art are all very different to yours.
  15. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    Yes I have the P75 in Dr T mode and that does seem a bit of a boost compared to other configurations. I'd probably buy second hand so a demo is unlikely, I guess. Thanks for your thoughts.
  16. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    That's interesting, do they work well with Naim?
  17. Andy1912

    Andy1912 pfm Member

    Thanks for that.
  18. MVV

    MVV pfm Member

    FWIW. I'm with the TT,arm, cart crew. Had LP12, Ekos, Akiva into TE microgrove plus into NAP 52 and upgraded to WTA GTA, Ortofon Cadenza Blue into 32.5 with K boards.
  19. Mattdcb

    Mattdcb pfm Member

    I'll second the Whest...

    I had a Benz PP1, demo'd a Whest PS30RDT SE, it didn't go back to the dealer and the PP1 went straight on ebay. It was bloody expensive, but it's a 'lifer' component for sure (well, for the time being anyway :))

    Deck is a DPS2, Schroder arm with a Benz SL Wood cartridge.
  20. John James

    John James pfm Member

    Another Whest user here, bottom of the range Whest Two, but was a revelation when I bought it, so much more detail and clarity. Makes me want to move up the range unfortunately for the bank balance :D

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