.. A Conundrom....

If you've been following my thread regarding my Benz Ebony LP, I can tell you that it sounds better, but not wonderful even yet. Here's my question. On all inputs of my Ayre K1xe, the volume control is most comfortable for listening at about 12:o clock...maybe 1 for rock music on CD, or FM. The output of the Ebony LP is .36 mv or so. When I adjust the preamp for low output moving coils (the instructions say "for less than 1 mv") the volume control resides about 8 or 9 in rotation. Doesn't that indicate that something is screwy?? I suspect the cartridge is a high output Astatic in Ebony dress....
Your suspicions may be correct regarding the possibility of a higher output cartridge, but obviously I have no clue about that, so I won't bother to address that part of your post. (Good luck with that if you're unfortunately correct!)

However, before giving up, I would change the resisters on the phono card to decrease the gain in the K-1xe. (This will push the volume control higher for your phono section, up closer to the 12 o'clock position that you like.) I don't know if you realize it, but when Ayre did the Evolution upgrade to the K-1x, it actually increased the maximum gain from 60 (as listed in the manual), to 70 db. (In case you are wondering, I got this information directly from Charles Hansen himself via a Audio Asylum post a couple of years ago). It can't hurt, and who knows, maybe it will solve your problem.

Now, with that being said, I recently upgraded my Shelter 90X (0.60 mv output), to a Dynavector XV-1S (0.30 mv output). I tend to listen at pretty realistic sound levels, and with the Shelter, my volume control was typically around the 9:00 position. However, after the change to the Dynavector, I typically run around 10:00 to 10:30. (So, it does sound like you might have a cartridge with 0.60 - 0.80 mv output.)

Good Luck, and hang in there!
Wouldn't the change from the 12 o'clock position to the 9 o'clock position be in keeping with the extra gain provided by the low output MC setting?

The volume control on my preamp is generally at 8 or 9 o'clock, and I get levels around 90 dB measured at 8 feet from the speakers. This is using a .8mV MC cart.
Thanks Kurt_tank... Its odd that Ayre didn't change their owners manual. Also, I was speaking about this very issue to Mike W - who is in charge of production at Ayre who didn't mention this to me. I do thank you for that information however, will adjust the resistors, and get back with the results. This is exactly what is so valuable about these discussions. Thanks again Stan
Wow what a difference. It sounds absolutely effortless now, whereas it sounded as though it was shouting before. What a difference!! Thanks Kurt_tank.
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