Calculating total capacitance

I would be very grateful if someone could provide me with the final cap pf rating when using the Rega P9(supplied rca cables-70pf?)and the Rega Exact 2 MM cartridge,the cap of which I have not been able to find.

I have a Steelhead phono which I would really like to dial in to the above combo.

So far I've done a lot of experimenting,and I am looking for some consensus.

So fellow Steelheads,if you have used your phono with a Rega set up like mine, what cap setting did you prefer or would you suggest?

At present I am using 55 db gain, 47K, and the default 150pf.

All opinions would be valued and appreciated.
The total capacitance adds up in your case if you find out the cartridge capacitance.
From ballpark estimate point I would increase the load capacitance if adjustable.
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Dialing up the cap values to 550 pf , to my ears , so far as it is a cop out(half way from 0 to max)is OK.

What I have found is that adding more gives more body but you loose the upper high details.

Too little and you hear too much surface noise and the music lacks the body, so I settled for right in the middle.

I really like the Steel head, it replaced a Sutherland PHD, which was also a decent phono stage with it's own good points,but different from this phono stage.

I'm really just a set it and forget it type of person the older I get, the less patience I have, hence the Rega set up.

Setting it by ear is fine,but so far, each lp requires a different tweek of the dials , what works on some lps doesn't sound as good on others.

This is not finding a fault with the unit, in fact it is a real plus.

I am wondering if other steelhead owners have experienced the same thing.
In other words, do you dial in different settings for different lps?
According to this loading calculator

minimum capacitance loading is the best.

But since everyone's sonic taste is different, it is best to make adjustment by ear.
Thanks for the link, I'll go back and do some more dial tuning in the low pf range, although I felt when I did this before that the sound had too much sizzle in the upper range which elevated the groove noise.
I just had my first small adventure in capacitance loading. I have had an Audio Technica AT150MLX for about 3 years. I always used it with a Cambridge 640P which, to my knowledge, adds no capacitance to the load. I dunno, maybe it's set at 100 pF. Anyway, it's non-adjustable and I just plugged and played.

This week I got a Jolida JD 9A, a tubed phono stage with a battery of DIP switches. Three are for setting gain level, four per channel are for setting resistance load from 100 to 1000 ohms for LOMC's, and four per channel are for setting capacitance for MMs. Audio Technica recommends that the AT150MLX see a load "between 100 and 200 pf." According to Technics there is about 100 pF in my turntable's built-in interconnect. Last night I set the Jolida's capacitance to 100 pF for a total of 200. I listened for about 3 hrs and felt that there was just a little too much emphasis on body resonance and not quite enough air and transient attack. This morning I decided to turn all the capacitance off. When the needle hit the vinyl it was immediately apparent that this was a bit low--too much transient attack and air, not enough body.

So I set the DIP switches to 47pF, for a total capacitive load of 147pF, and this was *just right*. It is well balanced. Transients are sharp and the Jolida and the NOS tubes I stuck in there are showing their stuff with plenty of jump, while there is ambience and resonance aplenty with a very rich presentation.

Now YMMV, but for my rig, with this cart, interconnect, and preamp, 100 pF was too little and 200 was too much. Fortunately there was a 47pF setting which dialed in a very addictive sound. The best validation is that my wife likes it as well. Women have better HF sensitivity, so if the capacitance were too low it'd drive her out of the room (and makes my shoulders go up as well).

I was originally considering a Musical Surroundings Phonomena II, but the deal-killer was that in MM mode you can only set the capacitance to either 200 or 300 pF on that unit. As I found out today, either of those settings would have been too much and I made the right decision for my situation.

Update 7 hours later: Man, you just have to keep your ears on all the interdependencies at all times. I just swapped out the entry level aftermarket power cord I installed on the Jolida phono stage for a 2006 PS Audio Prelude power cord, and I'm getting a richer, fuller sound with more bottom to the tonal balance (which I like). So always remember, it doesn't all come down to capacitance (or with LOMC's, impedance).
I agree about power cords, my steelhead has a Shunyata Annaconda Helix into a Hydra 8 power conditioner on a 10 guage dedicated line, 30 amp breaker.

Also no cap is just too bright,still fidlling with cap settings.

One other thing I tried was running my Audio Aero Capitole cd player into the MC 2 input and activating the Line button.

I was expecting a compromised sound, but I think it's better than straight into my amp using the Capitole volume control.

The capacitance loading options on the Steelhead are almost like EQ controls.
If an LP sounds thin, bump up the pF, too fat, drop it down.

To some folks, and I counted myself as one, who don't like to fuss, this cap option is really a great feature.

There are some new favourite lps now that I can dial them in properly.

I never knew how tied down you are when you are at the mercy of fixed cap settings on phono stages.

The steelhead experience is something else.

I know I should replace the 6922(I have some Seimans gold pins lying around)but it sounds so good now I don't want to push my luck.
With higher output moving magnets it is possible to use a capacitor to load them, but IME you get a more open sound if you use a resistance instead, since the cap will have the effect of rolling off the highs.

The issue here is that the cartridge rings, which is a form of harmonic distortion. The cap rolls off the highs, and so absorbs a lot of the ringing distortion. But if you load with a resistance of the right value, the highs are not rolled off, but you are able to electrically damp the coils in the cartridge so they don't ring. Most of the moving magnets I have tried like higher values- 20,000 ohms or more (usually the stock value in the preamp is 47,000 ohms) but I have seen a few that loaded quite well around 8,000 ohms.

The advantage of this technique is you can get the loading to really work right without tradeoffs that often accompany the capacitive method.

You will need some sort of variable resistance that can be operated across the input connection of the phono preamp (I've used stereo volume controls from Radio Shack, wired as reostats). However since you have a certain amount of capacitance in the interconnect cable, the result is actually a combination of the two.
Thanks very much Atma Sphere,I really believe that what I am talking about is indeed the cartridge ringing.
When I up the cap value, the sound is more silent, almost digital quiet, but some of the "air" is missing.

I'll start to experiment with the resistance, and back down on the cap.
Yes, I think you will find it easier to hit that 'sweet spot'. Please report back on your findings :)
I tried backing off from 47 K and went to 200, but the sound just got very dull and volume level dropped.
I've set things at 150pf and so far so good.

I think I"ll take a break and just listen for awhile, get a good fix on this setting and then try some more settings.
I know my cartridge isn't High end, but it is a nice fit on my Rega 1000 arm, and I like the way it sounds,so in all likelyhood I am not utilizing the steelheads full potential.
Lacee, 200 ohms would be **way** too low! I would start with something much higher, perhaps 20,000 ohms. Certainly you should not experience a drop in volume! If that occurs, you need a higher value. Note that this only applies to moving magnet cartridges.
Yes it was with a MM, and the 200 is the selection just 1 click before 47K.
As I stated, I like the settings that I am using now,47K, 150pf, which is a default setting that seems to work for me.
Thanks for all the help.