Guidance on preamp between Chinook and McCormack DNA-125

Hi everyone,

Slowly piecing my system together with all the great input I get here.  I recently picked up a Manley Chinook Phono Stage and I'm extremely impressed by it.  I will be running it with a McCormack DNA-125 power amp, but I still don't have a pre-amp selected.  I'm not looking for specific recommendations, but rather trying to find the specs that I should be looking for to avoid any overload and/or impedance mismatches.  The Chinook has 45/60db of gain, and I'm currently running a 1.8v HOMC with 45db of gain.  The specs on the DNA-125:

Input Impedance: 100 kOhms
Input Sensitivity: 1.0 Vrms
Voltage Gain: 30 dB

If I'm not mistaken this is fairly high gain.  What specs should I be looking for in a preamp?  Is a passive a consideration?  

I appreciate any help you can provide a "separates newbie".   

Thanks, Scott

Hi Scott,

From a technical standpoint the Chinook and the DNA-125 should provide you with a good deal of versatility with respect to selection of a preamp.

Impedance compatibility at both the input and output of the preamp will be a non-issue in virtually all cases, with both active and passive preamps, given the low output impedance of the Chinook and the high input impedance of the McCormack.  Of course, the interconnects to and from a passive preamp (especially from) should be kept short and/or have low capacitance per unit length.

Yes, the gain of the DNA-125 is a bit on the high side, but as long as the gain of the preamp isn't particularly high (e.g., significantly more than say 12 db or so) you should be fine.  But if you foresee the possibility of ever going to a MM cartridge having significantly higher output than your present cartridge, preamp gain that is in single digits (or zero, in the case of a passive) would tend to be preferable.

Best regards,
-- Al
Thanks, Al.  I was looking at the new Rogue RP-1, which has only 7db line gain, so that appears to be a perfect match.  Thanks for your insight.

Best, Scott
Ok smrex13. How about looking at a Manley Labs Jumbo Shrimp for a outrageously awesome sounding front end! The Chinook mates perfectly with the Jumbo Shrimp. The Shrimp will drive your McCormack amp into audio bliss, no problem. This is what I use and it is remarkable indeed.

Matt M
Matt - just minutes ago I bought a used (non-Jumbo) shrimp with a lot of tubes to play with.  Too good a deal to pass up.  One day maybe I'll move up to a Jumbo, but for now I'll be happy with my Shrimp.  Can't wait!
smrex13,  I've been impressed by a Jumbo Shrimp (what a name choice!) for more than a year now.  

If you are pleased with the Shrimp, Manley may then be able to upgrade it to Jumbo status.  Check with EveAnna, I believe she will give you straight answers. 

Pryso - yeah, what a name!.  Of course, here on the west coast it would be a Prawn :)  

Will give the Shrimp some time and then look to upgrade if possible, assuming I like it.  

Thanks, Scott
Awesome choice :-)
Thanks, guys!  Just got the Manley an hour ago while home for lunch - sounds phenomenal cold off the Fedex truck.  Can't wait to hear it after it warms up.  The McCormack amp hadn't been powered up in weeks, either.  So they are both cold and sounding great!  

Best, Scott