Connect 78 rpm turntable to Vinnie Rossi L2i SE amp?

Hi, this is a very niche question and I'm wondering if anyone has advice: my wife, a filmmaker, needs to play some old 78 rpm records in order to decide which to digitize for a new project. The audio system is great -- built around a Vinnie Rossi L2i SE integrated amp -- but the setup is digital only and lacks a phono stage. The Vinnie Rossi stage costs $3500 and is supposed to be great but way out of her budget.  I know we could opt for one of those suitcase record players from our childhoods but I'm hoping for a solution that's better quality and ideally can be run thru the audio system.  I should add that I know nothing about turntables, so please be gentle! 


Get an old Dual TT with the 78 speed. I remember reading in Stereophile years ago about a phono stage/equalizer dedicated to optimize 78 playback. Might have been written by the late Art Dudley. Check the Stereophile archives. Grado makes stylii for 78's - get one with a Grado mono cartridge.

I found a Dual 1214 on eBay that might work. Seller cindedward-4 in New Hampshire has one for $119 + $35 shipping. I sent a message asking if it has the 78 speed. Awaiting a reply.

@yogiboy +1! I see you beat me to the finish line! Good work! I still like the idea of using a vintage Dual with the 78 speed!

That phono stage for 78's really intrigued me when I read about it in Stereophile. Wish I could remember more!

@jasonbourne71 Thanks much! The OP would still need a phono preamp. For under 500 bucks he can get the whole Kit and Kaboodle brand new! What you think?

Thank you all, this is hugely helpful! Apologies if this is a dumb question, but how would you connect the turntable to the amp (again, without the modular phono stage)?

You plug in the RCA cables from the table to the RCA inputs to the amp. Since that table has a phono stage you will not need to do anything else!

@yogiboy : what about phono equalization? 78's used a variety of different EQ curves! I wish I could remember the name of the phono stage with selectible EQ curves discussed in that Stereophile article! A modern era RIAA curve would be far from optimal for 78's.

That Pioneer TT with phono stage only has the modern RIAA equalization curve. A poor choice for optimal 78 playback!

If your wife is going to have a PRO service do the transfers (and not you) then just buy a cheap "new" all-in-one player that will allow her to listen/sample the music (if it's not already available online).



@yogiboy : I think it was the Sentec EQ11 reviewed in the October 2014 Stereophile that caught my attention. Thanks for posting Herb Reichert’s review of the Sunvalley 1616D! That is one tasty tube preamp! Herb also mentioned he had a modded Dynaco PAS-3X and liked it. I have one too! Mine is the DKL Labs version from the late 70’s.

The OP should consider getting the Sentec EQ11 if he/she is serious about collecting and archiving 78’s. I still favor the Dual 1214 over the Pioneer for sonics - and it's half the price!

@ jasonbourne71

I doubt that the OP ( a self- admitted novice ) wants a used 50 year old turntable from Ebay.

Thank you all very much for your suggestions!  I myself don't have the skills to rehab an old turntable and don't have the budget to buy something like the Sentec new. The Dual 1214, if in good working condition, and the Grado both seem to be good ideas and definitely in budget.  Alternately, is there anyone in NYC or Dutchess County who would be willing to help put something together for a fee? 

For the transfers, she will definitely hire a pro to do them. If the records are great -- they are old family records, some possibly rare -- and we want to listen to them for fun, then we''ll definitely consider higher end alternatives. 

I will look more closely at various suggestions over the weekend.  Thank you again!

With 78s, the biggest factor is stylus size. You need a 2.5 or 3 mil stylus. There are a lot of options, but the easiest off-the-shelf solution these days is this:

Dual turntables are OK, but I wasn’t much of a fan when I had one. You’re better off with something direct drive like an Audio-Technica LP120 or the Technics 1200 mk 7. The best 78 tables made are the Technics SP-15s or SP-10 mk3 / SP-10R.

Phono stages built into turntables are absolute hot garbage. Don't use them.

EQ curves are another thing that most ’vinyl’ people don’t understand when it comes to 78s. Complicated to say the least, also somewhat difficult to ascertain for the older stuff. A lot of the ’book’ values are plain wrong and need to be carefully tuned by ear.

The most accessible off-the-shelf solution is the Parks Puffin preamp. Almost every conventional suggestion I’ve seen over the years for 78 preamps tends to be nowhere near audiophile-quality due to a bunch of crap in the signal chain, cheap build. For true archival quality, you need both adjustible turnover and rolloff curves, not just a few cherry-picked approximate options. The best off-the-shelf EQ unit is the TImestep T-03EQ made by Dave Cawley in the UK (MSRP ~$3k).

If you’re running it through an RIAA preamp, you may need to reverse-engineer it on the back end to fit the correct EQ curve. The treble may or may not be underrecorded, and the bass may be too high. Depends on the record. Generally, too, some high-output 78 cartridges will not be a good match for higher-end preamps which are geared toward moving coil cartridges. You need to check the specs of everything to ensure you’re not clipping the living hell out of the preamp. You only make that mistake once.

If this is too overwhelming (this is just barely scratching the surface), consider hiring a professional to do it correctly.

Here is a link to a sizable online library of 78 recordings.

Perhaps your wife can find/listen to some of the recordings there. 

I did not try the search function (just listened to a few), but assume that it works.

If the 78's are early on through the 50's there really isn't a simple way the achieve "good" sonics from them @ home without addressing the phono preamp and the various EQ's used (along with the TT/cartridge).





Thank you all for your excellent advice. As a first step, we're going to buy something cheap just to be able to listen to what's on the recordings -- some are unlabelled, some are even home recordings from a family of musicians, and my wife just wants to see what's there, and to know what's worth sending to a pro for digitizing for the film.  Later we'll decide if we want a better setup to play through our audio system, in which case I'll start with your advice.  Much appreciated!