The Cambridge Audio 640P is quite excellent and well within your price range. Do not cheap out and get the 540, it is not in the same league.
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Hopefully the hum is not comming from your receiver. Re hook up all ground wires. Also it may be ground loop hum. If you have a 3 prong plug.. plug it into a 2 prong plug and plug that into your power source. I also have a Nagaoka MP11 on a Linn Sondek 12 I recently bought. It came with a Basik LV X tone arm. How do you like the Nagaoka? This is new to me. Thanks
+1 on the Cambridge 640P. It was such an improvement over my previous (an Amber Model 17) that I ended up upgrading everything else to match its resolution and musicality. It's crazy how good this phono stage is for its price. I read one review that preferred it slightly over the $450 Graham Slee, so I suppose you'd need to spend $750 for the Dynavector or $925 for the Slee Era Gold to get a noticeably better-sounding unit.
For under $200, the CA 640P is an easy recommend! You might stumble onto a used unit that may do this or that a little better, but the CA does everything quite respectably!!!
You may want to consider upgrading the HK to a 2-channel unit that has a healthy phono pre built in? ...just a thought.
Even though I suggested the Cambridge, I would second an X-LP if you are buying used. Having owned both, I think that one, or the other, will have more appeal, however. The X-LP is richer, more liquid, softer and nicely dimensional. The 640P is a bit sharper, with better defined leading edges and attack, a bit thiner, yet a bit more focused. Funny enough, the biggest problem with either one seems to be a less than developed deep bass. I suppose that you have to pay a bit more for that. I liked the Gram Slee Gram Amp 2SE as well, if you don't care about MC.
STAY AWAY FROM THE 640P PLEASE!!!
see my thread named Phono Pre Amp?
Thanks for your suggestions and I did purchase the 640p and the p must stand for Piece. The build quality is terrible and had nothing but hum after i hooked it up.
anyway it is on its way back from where it came from.
back to that drawing board and thats what i get for being cheap and trying to hide it from the wife. LOL
and again thank you!
I recently bought the music hall pa 1.2 for 130 brand new and its awesome better than the nad i had.
let me continue sorry i was at work i just needed to get my point across.
Lets start off with one there is a lot of BS in hifi. I has the NAD pp2 and i was on a mission to improve my phono pre amp. during my quest i found there are more opinions about and etc. Please read below some facts.
1. the 640p build quality is terrible and instant hum
2. the nad build quality is very good but very basic inside
3. the music hall pa 1.2 build quality is very good and there has been some thought behind the electronics inside for this specific price range.
is the music hall pa1.2 the best in the world no not at all but for under 200 you get a no fuss piece of equipment that opens things up nicely but then again this is my opinion.
I just wanted to let you know what i found with the 640p.
11-13-08: ThegoldenearThe occasional bad unit in any product line is inevitable. That doesn't mean that your one experience makes the whole product line categorically bad.
There are many, many satisfied customers--and reviewers--of the Cambridge 640P. According to the review I read at TNT, as well as my own experience, the 640P is exceptionally quiet, especially for the money.
If you heard lots of hum, there was probably a bad solder joint or a broken wire.
I've been using a 640P for nearly 7 months. It's dead quiet, not to mention dynamic, detailed, fast, extended, rhythmic, and tuneful.
11-21-08: Jim_liedekaGetting a Cambridge 640P prompted me to get a more resolving cartridge AND speakers, and every upgrade has simply shown me how clean, quiet, and musical this phono unit is.
I went from a 2004 closeout Mirage Omnisat sat/sub system to a brand new pair of Mirage OMD-15 full range floorstanders. I also upgraded the amplification chain. The Cambridge did not disappoint as the resolution of its surrounding components improved.