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Cartridge/phono stage compatibility

Discussion in 'audio' started by MikeMA, Aug 5, 2022.

  1. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    I'm currently running an AT33PTG MC cartridge -> SME 309/Michell Gyrodec -> EAR834P Deluxe phono stage -> Jadis Orchestra amp -> Harbeth HLP3-ESR speakers.

    I think it all sounds very good indeed, but I'm thinking it's about time I changed the cartridge. It's well over ten years old and I had it retipped by ESCO with a Paratrace stylus about five years ago. Although it doesn't sound to me as though its worn, and it doesn't get heavy use, I fancy a change :)

    On the assumption that the phono stage is probably the limiting factor, my question is this: is the EAR834P Deluxe good enough to use with something like a Benz Micro Ref S MC cart, or should I lower my sights and stick with something closer to the AT33PTG, which I've been very happy with? I really don't want to splash out on a new phono stage with all the associated angst that will entail.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2022
    Tarzan likes this.
  2. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    The built in SUT's are the weak link.
    Vinny likes this.
  3. Vinny

    Vinny pfm Member

    Having been round the loop......................

    SUTs are a lottery, which a lot of onboard MC stages use, into their MM stage.

    I have run through several SUTs and head amp's into my Croft Micro MM stage (same general topology as EAR MM stage) and about all that I could recommend is that you experiment, but I reckon head amp's are more likely to suit most cart's/tastes.
  4. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Mike, I’m sure that’s a really nice system. If the cart doesn’t sound worn I’d wait until it does. Why do you fancy a change?
    Tim Jones likes this.
  5. Bairnstorm

    Bairnstorm pfm Member

    I run a Ref S with a VTL inboard phono and Rothwell SUT. Your phono will suit it fine as will your system. Let it bed in for at least 30 hours. It is very very very quiet in the groove and gets better after 100 hours. You will be surprised how good a vinyl can sound.
  6. Mashman

    Mashman Active Member

    The 834P is a nice phono stage. I used Bent Audio copper step ups with mine and I can confirm that the internal step ups are probably a weak point. Certainly much better with the Stevens and Billington transformers in the Bent Audio. But if you are happy as is then avoid this minefield and chance of introducing hum. The 834P also responds to valve damper rings. Herbies are my favourite. Really improve clarity.
    Tarzan likes this.
  7. Tarzan

    Tarzan pfm Member

    The EAR 834P is a very nice phono stage and as others have said a new SUT may well be the way forward, my audio fwend has this phono stage and it is a lovely thing, he told it responded well to NOS valves and a poncy power cord.

    That said what is your budget?

  8. MikeMA

    MikeMA pfm Member

    No fixed budget in mind, but thinking about it I'd not want to go much over, say, £3k for a cart and new SUT, on the basis that anything over that might start to show up shortcomings in the rest of my system and I really don't want to go down that particular rabbit hole, plus I'm also currently splashing out on the total refurbishment of a QUAD 33/303/FM3 centred second system, and I can't cope with too much excitement all at once.

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