Configuring my system.. component opinions.

Hey All-
I have been a silent reader & student of this forum for a while and value all of your insights and opinions greatly.
I am re-configuring my system and need some advice. I listen to vinyl 70% of the time, apple laptop/iPod 20% of the time, and Radio (..remember radio?) 10% of the time. I use two turntables- Technics SL-1200 and SL-1300. Mostly I listen to rock, jazz, country. I sold my old Mac C29 preamp, but aim to continue using my MC2500 power amp (500x2). I currently use a pair of Spendor A5's, and my listening room is pretty large (40ft x 40ft)- I live in an open warehouse loft in Brooklyn.
My questions:
What are my options as a "preamp" component to get the 2 turntable sources, the tuner source, and a DAC into my MC2500? I probably prefer tube, but simplicity in source selection, reliability, and overall quality are more important in decision making. Is a pair of phono preamp AND a preamp smarter? Price is always a consideration, but I am willing to splurge on a piece that will last me a while.
Could I do "better" with the style of music I prefer (Grateful Dead, WIlco, Coltrane), the powerful MC2500, and my large listening area with a different set of speakers - or are the Spendor A5's a pretty good match.
Thank you all so much for any insights you may have!
For tube pream you should try to find CAT JL1(might or mightnot have phono). It's the ultimate tube unit that hard to beat at 10x price to pay.
If you need MC phonostage I'd recommend choosing solid state. High gain tube devices are noisy in general. One of the best contenders I know of is Violectric( This phonostage will have two analogue inputs one is balanced and another is unbalanced. For the balanced connection all you need to do is to convert your unbalanced tonearm to 5-din connector where 4 dins are for +-2ch and 5th is ground. For the unbalanced connection you need to speak to manufacturer(they're quite flexible customizing their product) to install toggle switch between two inputs so you don't run them at the same time.

Having in mind that you listen computer audio, there are excellent choices of multi-format USB-DAC preamps that do the great preamp job with high quality volume control such as Antelope Audio Zodiac, Burson etc... Meaning you can also have DAC-preamp with external phonostage for your rig.

P.S. Dont forget to click on UK flag once you get to if you don't speak/read german:-)
H,Tudor , welcome aboard.As you mentioned you have been a reader of these forums for a while so I'm sure you are ready for numerous suggestions that will then turn into arguments
I guess that's part of this crazy hobby we all love.
Your 40X40 room may cause a problem.
Being you live in Brooklyn, you have MANY knowledgeable and trustworthy dealers that you should visit.
Many of these dealers are set up in lofts so you can get an idea of speaker placement in large rooms.
Also you will hear what amp(s) work well with the new speaker or with your existing speaker.
Now that you read the forums go out and listen.
Have fun and the best of luck

I recently just completed building a tube preamp that I will be marketing commercially soon. It is a direct heated triode, transformer coupled preamp. Since you live in Brooklyn, I could bring over the prototype for you to hear in your system. I don't think you find anything like it. If you are interested, let me know


We are also working on a phono stage similiar in design plus we do repair and modifications for all components.
Hey Peter, there is a thread in the Audio Asylum Amp/preamp forum looking for someone who can handle Counterpoint repairs. I recommended you, but I don't know how they would get in touch with you. Maybe you could go over there and post your contact info.

Thanks so much guys! I'm gonna go hit a few hifi stores in town this weekend and check out some options. I'll keep you posted - and if y'all have more suggestions, I am all ears...

My contact information is on the Alta Vista Audio website. But I can be reached at

Once you have a preamp, I'd recommend changing your speakers. Your room is big, and I'm guessing that your small floorstanders are getting lost in it. You have enough power to drive just about anything. I'd be tempted to try Shahinian Obelisks. I haven't heard them, but people rave about their room-filling sound. My room is small, though, and others certainly have more experience with speakers that would work well in a large room like yours and will have different recommendations.
What about the new Mac C 48 preamp? I just purchased mine from the Upgrade Company and am extremely happy with it. It might give you everything you need, especially the built-in DAC which I feel is better than the W4S DAC.

You can also custom tailor the sound for your room/speakers with the 5 band tone control.

Have fun!
Marakanetz, I think you mean SL-1. JL-1s are mono amplifiers.
The Musical Surroundings Super Nova would be my first suggestion for multi-phono inputs. After that multiple phono stages get pricey. At the same Musical Surroundings site the Aesthetix Rhea is worth a look at.

Tube phono can be noisy with the gain up and no signal. The degree at which that changes to quiet when the stylist contacts the groove can be the measure of design.
One of the most fabulous phono stages is in the MFA Luminescence preamplifier (all tube version). Incredibly noisy at idle and microphonic to the touch beyond belief. Once in play nothing I've heard (which isn't saying much) even comes close to the organic and stunning dynamics produced. That evolution continues here:

Square rooms may require more sound absorption as opposed to the preferred reflection control. In any event the distance between the speakers should be the same distance to your ears at the listening position as a starting point for square rooms. Refer to the speaker manufacture as to the amount of toe in as a starting point.
40 X 40 open loft? I'd suggest hiring a contractor to build a sturdy wall to provide better dimensional room acoustics, shouldn't be too expensive.