Finally bought a new Turntable!


Hello All,
Well I done did it now, I bought myself a new Turntable.
After much research and talking back and forth on forums, looking at various models, I finally decided on a Mofi Studiodeck with the Hana SL MC Cartridge.
I bought it from a local Hi-Fi shop that gave me a 10% discount on the table and a 15% discount on the cart.
I have only had about a week so far and have not had a chance to play a much music yet. Just a few tracks here and there.
This does bring me to a question that I have for the community.

After initially playing a few tracks, I felt I had to turn up the volume a bit more compared to b4 when playing the same tracks on my Denon DP-300f, which seemed to have a bigger impact at lower volumes.

I had the shop configure my Phono Pre-Amp (Sim Audio 110lp V2) and the gain was set to 60db.

I set it to 66db and RIAA Curve. I think that improved the sound a bit more.
But what I want to know, for the particular cart that I have on the table, what are the other recommended settings?
I know the manufacturer have their suggested settings and ultimately, I probably have to try different settings and play a lot of music until I feel I have found the sweet spot but wanted to ask you all if you have any suggestions or opinions.
One other very specific question that I have is, Does making changes to the phono pre-amp have any negative effects on the system? Meaning, could I potentially do any harm to the system?
I appreciate any feedback.
jay73
I assume the Hana SL is a low output cart? Your phono stage at 60db isn’t as much gain as you were use to. Even set to 66db, probably not enough gain for that low output MC cart. If your Hana’s specs are .3mv output, you probably need at least 68db of gain.

You’re not going to hurt anything. Does the Sim have a higher gain setting? If so, try that. You’re OK to run it now, it will just probably have some noise by having to run at higher volume settings to compensate for the difference you were use to from your other set-up.
Thanks for the feedback.
The output is 0.5mv and I believe my preamp tops out at 66db.
I will continue to play music this weekend to see how things sound. Perhaps in the near future, I may have to upgrade to a better phono preamp.
Keep in mind the volume dial, particularly the number its pointed at, is the least significant thing in all of audio. All you need is enough gain to reach your loudest level. If you can do that then whether you're at 6 or Spinal Tap 11 makes no difference. It would however be pretty cool to have a volume that went to 11. 
It would however be pretty cool to have a volume that went to 11.

My Modwright LS 100 goes to 11.
I have the Hana SL with a Pass XP-15, gain is set at 66 and loading at 500. As you suggested, I had to try several combinations of settings  before I found the best sound for my system.
What phono cable are you using? It may be too high capacitance?

Remember, the components aren’t broken in yet. Play the new Hana for at least 50 hours before making any rash decisions. The break-in period can be one of a learning period if you let it.
If it sounds good and your volume control is further along than it was, you've less carbon track in the way of the music which is a good thing.
Get a good step-up transformer. That is what I always use with mc cartridges. Lower noise floor and increased dynamics! The Bellari SUT is a good recommendation (I have one, along with a Mike Sanders and several others).
You can't harm anything in your system by using different setting at your phono stage, you can't harm a cartridge using different settings. 

First thing to do it to use 47k Ohm and 66db Gain on your Sim Audio 
Yes, 47k Ohm for MC, not 100 Ohm or 475 Ohm.

If you like the sound stay with 47k Ohm 

66db is more than adequate gain for the Hana SL. Are you using a separate line stage? If so, active or passive? If active, it probably adds yet more gain. If passive do you know if the impedance match is ok? What amplifier and speaker? All of these factors affect SPL and dynamics. But you do have plenty of phono gain. 
I've never turned my LS 100 to 11, I was afraid my drummer friend might explode...

http://modwright.com/cms/resources/ls10002-w1000h680.jpg

Jay, I think you have already gotten all the important tips.

What the volume is set at means nothing as long as the background
  noise is acceptable and the loudness goes as high as you want. 
66 dB is plenty of gain for your cartridge.
If you can change the load start at 47K and work your way down.   Experiment as much as you like. You can not hurt anything.
Unless you have very old records the RIAA curve is mandatory. 

Great Table for the money. Sei Gesund (use it in good health)
Listen to chakster and mijostyn, especially about experimenting with impedance loading. Your comment about needing to turn it up to get the same impact at lower volume could well be due to loading. With high impedance loading of 47k for example the sound from a MC is fast dynamic and extended. With some maybe even a little too fast and extended. When that is the case we "load" it with a lower impedance, down into the hundreds or even tens of ohms. There is no right or wrong, its really one of the many fine and wonderful (if a bit mysterious) ways we have of tailoring and fine tuning analog playback.
There is a “wrong” load resistance. For optimal transfer of the signal theory says the load resistance should be ~10X the internal resistance of the MC cartridge. Above 10x (e.g. 47K ohms) is also no problem. When the load resistor falls below a value that yields the 10x ratio, you gradually begin to lose signal voltage to ground and the high frequency response starts to roll off. Many do this on purpose to tame the treble a bit. But when you get near to a ratio of 1:1 (load resistance = internal resistance of cartridge), you lose 50% of signal voltage to ground and treble is severely affected. I think Hana SL has internal R = 30 ohms. So stay at or above 300 ohms for load resistance. In reality you could get away with 200 ohms if it sounds best to your ears.
So currently, I set my preamp to 0pf, 475ohm, 66db and RIAA Curve.

I think it sounds better but need to spend more time and let it break in.

I was reading the owner's manual for the SimAudio Moon 310lp (one step above my preamp) and it states that 47K ohms should not be used with MC Carts and that capacitance should be set at 0pf.

One question, the impedance loading, the higher the ohm setting, does that mean potentially lower volume or higher or does it not affect the volume?
No effect until you get near to or below the internal resistance of the cartridge.
The load resistance effects the phono section so possibly Sim knows their design goes unstable at 47K, but otherwise what they wrote is hogwash. If you like it, it’s good. A sign of instability would be exaggerated ticks and pops.
Seems like most Audiogoners like a whack of gain with their MC cartridges. 

With most systems with an active linestage/preamp upstream I would likely find that 66 dB of gain with a .5 mV cartridge would make my ears bleed. I'm using around that, or perhaps 1 or 2 dB more with a .18 mV cartridge and around 60 dB with a .35 mV cartridge. I have the ability to increase gain easily with both cartridges and don't as they simply do not sound as good with more gain. 

OP's phono stage only has ability to load at 10/100/475 and 47K so the likely load setting choices are 475 or wide open at 47K with the Hana SL. 

Louder is not always better, although it's often initially perceived that way. 

If I was the OP I'd give a really hard listen to the 60 db setting again, ignoring entirely where you need to have the volume set on the linestage as long as you can achieve desired SPL's. 


I want to make sure I understand something clearly, some of you are referring to line stage?

Could you define that?

The output of my phono preamp goes to the input of my integrated amp (one of the inputs).

Is the input considered the line stage?

Thnx
A linestage is basically just a control center. A integrated is a control center plus an amplifier. (sometimes a phono stage is included) in one unit.
I have never associated cartridge settings in the way I read above. I've experienced a cartridge set at certain load settings and had inferior results but that did not affect volume output.
I don’t know who said that the load resistance will affect the gain, except as I noted where the load resistance is nearly equal to, equal to, or less than the internal resistance of the cartridge. When the load resistance equals the internal resistance of the cartridge, there will be a loss of 50% of the signal voltage to ground. In most cases, that is not done. At typical settings of the input resistance, we all agree there is no affect on gain.

hdm, I quite agree with you, even 60db of gain is probably adequate for the Hana. Especially if the line stage section of the integrated amp adds still more gain.
Jay, by definition we assume that an “integrated amplifier” has on one chassis both a line stage and an amplifier. A line stage takes signal from several sources, eg, a phono stage, CD player, tuner, TV, etc, and allows you to select among them for feeding the amplifier section. Sometimes the line stage section adds gain to any signal passing through it. Sometimes not. You might want to check the specs on yours to find out. But listening is the best criterion to go by.
Thanks for the clarification on line stage, I was a little confused on that before.
Well so far so good, I have left my settings on what I mentioned earlier ( 0pf, 475ohm, 66db and RIAA Curve).
Music sounds better then when I started.
But...
I have to be honest and mention this and I realize the equipment has not fully broken in yet. When I upgraded my from Denon dp-300 with Ortofon 2M Blue to this new TT/Cart combo, I guess I was expecting a bit of a revelation but as good as it sounds, I don't feel it is leaps and bounds over my existing TT.
I realize it is also due to the overall system as a whole that makes a difference and my system is not really high end and therefore not extremely resolving.
I've listed my equipment in other posts but here it is again:
- Vincent SV-500 Integrated Amp- Simaudio 110 LP V2 Phono Preamp- Martin Logan Motion 40 Speakers
That's probably all that matters with LP playback.
Just basic interconnects at the moment.
Perhaps with my system, no matter what TT I get, they will all sound similar.
This does make me want to keep my Denon around, maybe I will use it for a 2nd system.
Just basic interconnects at the moment.
Perhaps with my system, no matter what TT I get, they will all sound similar.

With "just basic interconnects" then yes, they will all sound similar. Please don't tell me "just basic interconnects" is your term for the freebie patch cords manufacturers still throw in the box along with their equally worthless rubber power cords? That's not a question. If that's what it is I really don't want to know.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKcAYMb5uk4

Haha, too late Millercarbon, you already indirectly did ask the question and so the answer is, Yes, that is my term for freebie patch cords....Basic Interconnects (is that so bad), hehe.

Thanks for the visual, lol.

Thanks
Try the 47k setting and let us know what you think
Also Roberjeman always has excellent advice. If I had MC I would get a SUT as he pointed out
Yes, that is my term for freebie patch cords....Basic Interconnects (is that so bad)

Yes. The horror. Patch cords are bad. And to quote the great philosopher Huey Lewis, "Cool is the rule, but sometimes bad is bad." With patch cords, bad is bad. Have you not read my posts? I’ve only told the story three times at least. Not about to repeat it again so soon.

So here’s what you do. You have to replace all your freebie plastic patch cords and rubber power cords. Between your table, cartridge and phono stage you’ve got a $2500 analog front end. That is crying out for a worthy interconnect.

On that note this is your lucky day! Check this out! https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisa0d1h-synergistic-research-designers-reference-rca-1m-interconn... You get this and I personally guarantee you will be astounded at the transformation. This was their best interconnect back in the day. I heard it back in the day. I had the one just down from this in my system as recently as last year. Best of all this one uses Active Shielding. This is awesome because the wall wart power supply can be modded by Michael Spallone for peanuts and as good as it will sound when you get it- and it will be beyond good!- it will be a whole lot better when he upgrades the diodes and cap in the MPC. But again, even if you do nothing and use it as its being offered for sale right now you will be one very happy camper.

Seriously. Designers Reference! $375! This is a total no-brainer! This is not me being witty or kidding or anything. This is me being dead serious. Do not let this one get away!
Even better- just realized I bought SR interconnect from this same seller. Even more highly recommended now!
Hmmm, weird, my hana EL sounds perfectly fine at 60 db/ 400 ohm loading. It's got same specs as the SL version. How loud do you want it? Lps are generally not going to be as loud as a cd. I have more than enough travel left on the volume control. In fact at about 10 or 11 o'clock it is plenty loud for me. Using phenomena 11+ phono stage, and also tried with pro-ject tube box ds2. Both yield same results, perfect. 
@audioguy85 
I have to correct the typo in my earlier post. I run the gain with Hana SL at 56 and load at 500.
The main reason the OP has to go so deep into the volume pot is the Vincent integrated. It has an input sensitivity of 425 mV, the result being that he is going to have to probably run 75-85% full out on the volume pot to achieve higher SPL's. (I have a Shengya integrated-Shengya manufactures the Vincent product-with a 375 mV input sensitivity so I'm in a similar position). 

With a similar, or even lower powered integrated with an input sensitivity of, say, 200-250 mV, he might never go past half way on the volume pot. But that does not necessarily mean that it will sound better. 

While it may see a bit weird, I will reiterate what I said earlier in the thread for the OP. Turn it up, even if you're at 9 out of 10 on the volume pot, and if you can achieve the volume/SPL's you want to, don't worry about it. You will certainly not be hurting your amp-it is designed to function this way-or anything else in your system. 

Go back to 60 dB and try it out even if you have to almost max the integrated out. I would bet that you will have much better sound quality. 

Just be sure to turn things back down before playing a CD!
First thing is get it run in. 50 hours has been mentioned, treat this as a minimum. You have a lot of adjustment options with your tone arm and a stylus that likes to be set just right to give its best, hopefully the dealer will have got it close but once run in you may be able to improve on that. Play some music for an hour to get everything warmed up before judging any changes from loading (475 on a Hana SL sound reasonable to me but try up and down from there for any improvement) to tweaking the arm settings, setup tools are useful but listening should be the final judge. From the review I read the Studiodeck should be quite forward in presentation with the Hana SL lending a bit of refinement..
I might have to clarify something, maybe I made it sound like I had to turn up the volume very high. That is not what I meant, initially I mean that I had to turn it up a little higher then I had to when I was using my Denon.
But after adjusting the preamp a bit, I think I am closer to what I had before.
Millercarbon, thanks for the recommendations on the cables. Had a question though, wouldn't I need 2 pairs of cables, one coming from the TT to Preamp and 2nd going from Preamp to Integrated Amp?
If I were to get the cables you recommended, I would still need to get one more pair I believe?