You might look into a bob's devices SUT. He makes very good performing units for the money. I used one on his SUT's for a 103R and it did a great job.
agree with Swampwalker, but still believe that having one-piece high gain stage is more beneficial than two-pieces and even more financially efficient in some cases. I also don't believe that going super-low out cartridge with all SUTs and highest-gain possible stages would stand next to cartridge with sufficient output for single-piece phonostage or phono-board. Denon cartridge + Denon SUT looks to me that there's better cartridge for the money with sufficient output.
Fedocable- Marakanetz MAY be correct but if there are import limitations it might not be possible to find a sufficiently high gain full function pre-amp or phono stage. Using the KAB gain calculator, a cart w 0.2 mV output requires about 64 dB of gain. The Pro-ject Tube Box II provides 60 dB of gain. Pretty much any active pre-amp will provide the additional 5-10 dB gain from the line stage, so inadequate gain may not be the problem. I'm assuming you have switched the selector on the back of the Tube Box to MC and are running the output of the Tube Box into a line level input of a pre-amp.
Oh, I didn't know about the KAB gain calculator, thanks for the info! So my impressions were correct: for a 0.18mV -that could even be less, who knows- you should require no less than 70dB. That would put the Clearaudio Nano preamp -a third option I was considering- in a dangerous zone, since it gives 67dB of gain. It seems I'll be safer with the Denon SUT (or the Micro Seiki!) and my Tube Box. Later on I can always reach for a better preamp.
Btw, of course: the Tube Box is switched to "MC" and it's connected to a line level input. And the sound is horribly weak.
So, having ruled out the Clearaudio, I'm back at square one: Denon SUT or Micro Seiki head-amp? Why do you think that the head-amp could give better results, Swampwalker? The problem is that there are absolutely NO opinions about this unit on the internet -only some specs... The seller tells me it's a "single ended class A" -I don't really know what that means, in case it's good.
Fedocable- Your welcome. I suggested the head-amp because in a highly resolving system, I have preferred a high gain active phono stage vs. a xformer. I have very little technical expertise in this area, but I am told that one of the reasons is that xformers can "ring". Also, load matching is critical; I have heard differences in sound between only a couple of ohms in a xformer that has the the ability to swap in different values. I don't think (but really don't know) if that is an issue w the head-amp. Finally, the "step up" effect of the xformer also "steps up" any artifacts from the cable that is upstream of it. The 30 dB gain of the Micro seki is more than adequate and should allow you to run it into the MM side of the project (30 + 40 = 70 dB), which would tend to lower tube noise (if any). It's battery operated so no AC noise issues and has outstanding S/N spec (-120 dB). All that being said, a properly matched xformer can give very good results.
Yes: the head-amp seems riskier, but could also give better results. But keep in mind that -on the papers- Denon's cart and SUT are made for each other: the SUT can be set to 40ohms, which is supposed to be the internal impedance of the cart. And the SUT would go too into the MM input of the preamp, lowering tube noise. But despite all that the Micro keeps attracting me -the attraction of unknown, I guess.
Well, you know that 60 dB of gain is not enough, so you'd have to use the MC input which would give you 80 dB, which might very well be too much, depending on how much gain your line stage and amp supplies, room size, etc. If that were the case, you'd end up operating at the extreme low end of the line stage's attenuator, which generally is not a good thing in terms of channel matching. It also would create a big problem if your line stage uses a stepped attenuator and or has a logarithmic attenuation curve.
Looking at some comments on-line about the amp you are using, there are some suggestions that the gain steps are a bit large at the lower end of the scale, so I think that 80 DB of phono gain would be too much; leaving you wanting more fine control of volume. So that would argue for the Micro Seki into the MM input.