What is the phono gain of the Herron? Does it have a linestage built-in? If so, what is the additional gain afforded by the linestage? If you want your question answered, you need to supply the minimal data needed in order to do it. On the other hand, Herron is alive and well; why not call them and ask about the Grado?
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Yes, talk to Keith. The VTPH-2 is adjustable depending upon the tube compliment installed. This allows you to dial in the gain to match your other sources and/or optimize performance with a given cartridge and overall system. For example, you will need to consider the gain of any linestage preamp and/or speaker sensitivity when deciding whether to go with the high or low gain tube set or mm or mc input. I am totally confident that if you pose your question to Keith and provide him with the specs of your other components he will be able to guide you.
Are you presently using a MM cartridge that provides a higher output? If so, let us know its output rating, and give us some idea of the highest position at which you normally set your volume control. For example, if it is a rotary control its minimum position may be 7 o'clock; its maximum position may be 5 o'clock, and the highest position you normally set it to when playing records may be 12 o'clock.
Then, with no music playing, try to determine how much further you can turn up the volume control (e.g., what clock position you can turn it to) before hiss levels become objectionable, or you reach the maximum possible setting (whichever occurs first).
You should certainly talk to Keith, but providing us (and perhaps him) with that information may also be helpful (if, as I say, you are presently using a higher output MM).
Check out the Gain Calculator at the KAB website
I have two Grado Wood body cartridges, The high output Reference Sonata1 (5mv) and the low output Statement Sonata1 (0.5mv). The lower output cartridge is in my opinion light years superior to the high output version. If you can provide the gain, it's a great cartridge. The only problem I ran into with the low output Sonata1 was from my old phono stage (Grado PH1) which had too much hiss on the high gain setting while using any low output cartridge. I upgraded my phono stage to a Jolida JD9, which has much more gain, and is quieter too.
So if your Heron can provide sufficient, quiet gain, I think the low output version that VPI offers may really surprise you. I have no desire to listen to my high output Sonata1, it just sits there collecting dust.
I think Grado makes a version just for VPI that has more output than my Statement. It may also be shielded to prevent the hum most "non VPI" Grado's suffer when used with VPI turntables (the motors are apparently not shielded).
I wouldn't go with a high gain cartridge again, and the Grado version should work fine with most preamps. Just check out the calculator on the KAB website
I am using Clear Audio Aurum Beta which is 2.5mv output and my volume is on 9'oclock. If grado's out put is 1.5mv. Does it mean I have to move the volume up around 12 o'clock?My guess would be more like 10:30 or 11 o'clock. The difference between 2.5 and 1.5 mv is only about 4.4 db. There may or may not be an additional 3 db of difference because different test standards exist, as discussed in this thread.
I believe that volume control rotation from 9 to 12 o'clock typically corresponds to a volume change in the area of roughly 12 to 14 db or so.