Can someone point me in the right direction? LP player / Preamp / Dragonfly Red...


Relative newbie here.  I want to add a TT and start enjoying Vinyl.  Was looking at the AT-LP120 and have been reading up on pros/cons.  The built in preamp seems to be a low point, many have removed it though.  If I were to got this route, could I then input the sound directly into my iMac and out through my Dragonfly Red to my Amp?  

I have pretty descent sound right now from Audirvana / Dragonfly Red / (Sony 2 channel Amp (next upgrade) / Infinity Kappa 8.1's

Or should I output the LP player directly to the Amp?

Thanks for any guidance!
aqueousaris
TT > phonostage/preamp > amp. So you want a low-cost TT? How about vintage? I bought 3 Empires for a few hundred each! Still great belt-drive tables! And superior to any present day cheap TT! That's one way to go. Or for a bit more get a used (not abused) Technics 1200. They are plentiful! A great DD TT! Don't waste money on a cheap AT, Project ...  The 1200 (used) is the best bang-for-the-buck under-$1K TT! Truth! I have one in my collection. I paid about $650 + shipping. It will reward you with years of service! 
Buy a used NAD integrated amp (with phono stage). Sell or give away the Sony.
Add a cheap Grado cartridge to the 1200 and you'll have a good sounding system!
Appreciate the responses guys!  Is there a way, or a benefit, to running the TT through my iMac/Dragonfly Red?  Or does getting a TT mean I pretty much need a new amp with a Phono stage?  That unfortunately would give me pause as I've been paralyzed for months about what Amp to get!  lol  I must say that I find myself more comfortable with NEW equipment as opposed to used or vintage (I know...)  So I was leaning toward an Onkyo Integrated A-9010.  I'm on a budget here - wife has no idea what I've already spent haha!
The Onkyo is a good choice! I am a fan of their older gear! Is the Sony an integrated amp and are you using its volume control?
If you can afford it, get the Pioneer PLX1000 DD TT. Brand new $699 + free shipping from American Musical Supply. Excellent TT. Comparable to the old Technics 1200. I bought one. I wanted to try a brand-new TT. I put a Denon 103R mc cartridge on it. I like it very.much! 
For sound and build quality it beats any other under $1K TT! I have posted about it before on this site!
If your Sony has a phono stage, keep and use it. If not, add a Bellari tube phonostage ($350). No real need to discard the Sony!
Sony is a cheap STR-DH100 but it actually sounds pretty good.  I have the volume set to 50 and control the output via my computer.  I let Audirvana and DragonflyRed do all the SQ stuff. 

I have to beleive that the Onkyo Int would make a big difference in my sound.  Just hard to drop $400 when my setup sounds pretty damn good right now.  But I want a TT and that changes things...  

I actually prefer the idea of getting the AT-LP120 and upgrading bit by bit.  I know I would spend more over time but its easier to hide from the wife!  ;)  The Pro-jec Debut Carbon has great specs, but am not a fan of the look...  And to get a mint Technics 1200 would be like $1000+ so probably not going to work for me.

Researching if there is even a way to "input" Audio into my IMac 27" 2012 at all anyways.  I thought I could but not sure now.
If your Sony has a phono stage, keep and use it. If not, add a Bellari tube phonostage ($350). No real need to discard the Sony!

No phono stage on the Sony.  I will check out the Bellari - thanks!  At 350 though, its almost the Onkyo Int. which has the phono stage and LOTS of other SQ enhancing features.  

I guess there really is no point to running the Vinyl through my Computer to increase SQ via the DAC if I get a descent amp with a Phono stage right?  Especially if I have to buy converters and gear to do it?

Guess I was hoping for a shortcut to afford a TT now and get good-enough sound that I could upgrade later.  :(

I’m in agreement with those suggesting vintage gear. But, be forewarned that some of it, especially Technics SL-1200mk2 turntables are pretty much all thrashed by “dj” rappers. I know from my experience, I wanted the higher end SL-1700mk2 on which the 1200 is based. They are extremely rare in any condition, so when I saw one for sale a few months ago, I jumped at the opportunity. And yes, it was owned by a wannabe “dj” rapper that kicked the living £#£}¥ out of the poor thing. Determined, I bought it and set out to restore it with a new plinth, tonearm, Audio Technica VM540ML cartridge, mat, and 1200 feet and dustcover. It turned out very well, and I’ve got it connected to a customized NAD PP2 phono stage (upgraded 2 amp regulated power supply of my own design, and soon to get a Burson V6 Classic Duo discrete op-amp), pair of vintage NAD integrated amplifiers (3020i and 3225PE) in a bi-amp setup driving a pair of Energy Reference Connoisseur speakers. 

The whole system cost me around $2000,
and equals or betters performance of new systems over $10,000. You can do this also, with the same or similar gear. It will only take time and perseverance to set your goals and be on the lookout on Kijiji, EBay, etc...  for viable gear. 
Try Schiit Mani if you want good sounding, good value phono preamp. Pair with Nagaoka mp110 cart. Mani is 140 bucks including shipping fron Schiit Audio. Nagaoka cart about 120 bucks.
Just to be clear, you cant input a TT into your iMac and use the Mac as your controller. This is only done when somebody wants to convert vinyl to an audio file by using a A/D converter.

You need a phonostage that would plug into the Sony (and there are many costing less than $350) or go with the Onkyo as you first suggested. It has an input for a TT and looks to be of much higher quality than the Sony.


Just to be clear, you cant input a TT into your iMac and use the Mac as your controller. This is only done when somebody wants to convert vinyl to an audio file by using a A/D converter.

That's some info I was looking for - thanks!  Guess I need to start with the amp...  

Anyone know of a NEW amp that will play nice with my Infinity Kappa 8.1's.  They are 6 ohm but I hear they can drop to 2 ohm when pushed.  My research so far has led me to the Onkyo A-9010.  Oh, budget around $400...
They are 6 ohm, but really act more like a 4 ohm speaker with such a demanding load. The Onkyo specs only show a rating for 8 ohms. This usually means the amp doesn't have the power/current required to drive power hungry speakers like the Kappas. The 8.1 specs state a minimum of 50 watts.

What is the size of your room? And how did the Kappa's respond to your Sony?

I read that the Onkyo was stable down to 4 ohm.  And I thought I read the wattage would be closer to 66 WPC @ 4 ohm from that amp (I'm no Ohm wizard though)

Room size is 11x20 (with speakers on the short wall about 6" from each corner slightly angled in).  They respond pretty well to the Sony, which is supposedly 100WPC @ 8ohm.  

I've read everything from give them 300W to a 44WPC will make them thump.  Its very confusing...


You're right, specs vary online.
This one has a rating of 70w into 4 ohms.
https://www.cnet.com/news/low-costhigh-performance-contender-onkyo-a-9010-integrated-amplifier/

I think the real issue is that the Kappa's are more demanding than a 4 ohm speaker. I dont see an impedance curve which would show how often there is a demand for high power/current.
  The Onkyo will certainly drive your speakers, but you may be missing out on detail and texture in the bass frequencies. It's possible that the speaker's demand during peaks and transients may push the amp into clipping, which is distortion.

With this combo you are at the very minimum of what the speakers demand. Have you looked at the next model up the ladder?, I forget the model number.

I think the real issue is that the Kappa's are more demanding than a 4 ohm speaker. I dont see an impedance curve which would show how often there is a demand for high power/current.
  The Onkyo will certainly drive your speakers, but you may be missing out on detail and texture in the bass frequencies. It's possible that the speaker's demand during peaks and transients may push the amp into clipping, which is distortion.

With this combo you are at the very minimum of what the speakers demand. Have you looked at the next model up the ladder?, I forget the model number.

I certainly don't want to spend 400 and run into problems with clipping!  There is THIS I found last night and its 299...  https://www.ebay.com/itm/Onkyo-A-9050-Integrated-Stereo-Amplifier-Black-2x75W-Channel-MPN-A-9050/223...

Would this be a safer bet?  I appreciate your help, thank you!

A-9050 specs:
8 ohm 2 x 75 W/Ch
4 ohm 2 x 65 W/Ch

How can that be??

A-9010 specs:
8 ohm 2 x 44 W/Ch
4 ohm 2 x 60 W/Ch

(these specs are direct form Onkyo USA site)  
https://www.onkyousa.com/Products/prod_class.php?class=Amplifier&source=globalnav

TBH, in the world of amplifiers, that is a negligible difference in power between the 2 models.
  We've established that your Kappa's are basically a 4 ohm speaker, so we are not interested in the 8 ohm spec of 75 wpc. The speakers will be drawing higher current from the amp which relates to the 4 ohm spec. So the 9010 is rated at 60wpc and the 9050 is 65wpc,  they are basically the same power, even at 8 ohms. The difference between them is extra features on the 9050.


The Power Rating of the 8.1 is 40 to 300 watts RMS. That is a wide range and it would be to your benefit to move up to higher power and not be near the recommended minimum.
I agree.  Anyone know of a higher power Amp in the 400-500 range that is of some descent quality?  I don't need a Receiver, just an Integrated Amp, or a 2 Channel Amp.  

And isn't it strange though on the A-9050 that the 8 ohm rating is higher than the 4 ohm rating?  Shouldn't that be the other way around?
Suggest you look for a used integrated in the classified section or on US Audio mart dot com.

I visited a pretty amazing HiFi store today (was in AWE of all the gear connected and on display - stuff that's way out of my league unfortunately).  The owner was really knowledgeable and we spoke for some time about my setup and where I was trying to get.  I advised me to get the TT and a preamp now and start enjoying the LP's, then worry about the Amp later...  I bashed everything that wasn't American or British made lol and recommended the Rega P1 and Rega Fono Mini to get me into the game.  His prices were good and I want to support him.  I left convinced of his wisdom, but thought I ask here for input on that trajectory.  TT now and Amp later???  

lowrider57 TY for that link!  Bookmarked.
I advised me to get the TT and a preamp now and start enjoying the LP's, then worry about the Amp later...  I bashed everything...

That should read "He" and not "I" in both instances above.  No idea how that happened
Just thought I would give an update: I am enjoying music! I ended up getting the PLX 1000 and an Audio Technica VM760SLC Cartridge. I have a Pro-Ject Tube Box DS as a preamp and I just rolled my first tubes into it, a matched pair of 12AX7 Sylvania/Baldwin Reference Plus Grade NOS Tubes circa 1954 (only 10 hours on them and the sound is already warmer, smoother, with more texture through the midrange). My only issues have been STATIC! I have a funk firm achromat on order, as well as KAB dampener. Oh, and I also just bought a Yamaha AS801 which is in the mail. Can’t wait for that to arrive! I think I need a record washer to help get the static down... Anyhow I wanted to let you all know where I’m at and say thank you for all the help!  I've come a long way in a month.  :)