Dear Eduard: I own Ikeda cartridge, not stepup transformer.But I can tell you that " the best stepup transformer is NO stepup transformer ". Change your preamp for a high gain preamp ( with built phono stage ) or change your phonocartridge. If you buy this mc-transformer you have to use adittional cables and conector ( and the transformer ) that always degrade the critical signal that comes from your phono cartridge.
Finally someone with a reaction. I allready have the Ikeda and the SpU gold and i want to combine with a Pulltec pc-10 phonostage. I was just curious if there were some persons using the Ikeda in their system. Thanks anyway, Eduard.
And an extra active gain stage does NOT add extra noise and distortions? What planet are you living on?
This is for John Tracy: I´m living in this planet. Maybe you don´t know wich is the difference between an outboard stepup transformer and a built-in phono stage. First, you can use the outboard stepup transformer only
if your preamp has a builtin phonostage ( RIIA equalization ). Can you understand this ? If you do, then you can see that if you use another stage ( step up transformer, conectors and extra-cables ), you really degraded the signal: this signal has to pass over many meters of wire inside the transformer, has to go trought additional RCA/XLR conectors and interconect cables. When you already have the built-in phono stage your signal goes more direct. This is not a complex science is only comun sense.
Forget your common sense BS and try opening your ears. Step ups are way better than active gain stages by a wide margin. Cartridges love transformers inductive load.
Dear Eduard: I forgot. The owner of Ikeda Labs is the former of Fidelity Research. A great companyRegards.
To vinyldoes. Dear friend: We are talking of two different issues. You are talking about: that you likes more the colored sound of a step up transformer ( noise, distortion, phase shift, contamination, additional conecctors/cables, etc ) and if this is the way in what your " open ears " likes this is up to you.
I'm talking about the best quality sound reproduction of the music. Any additional stage in the signal chain reproduction ( it does not matter the quality of that stage ) degraded the quality reproduction of this signal. Period.
By the way, my " closed ears " has an experience of more than 40 years with live music.
Excuse me Raul, but any system requires a certain amount of gain between cartridge and power amp, or between cartridge and line stage if you have one. The question is how is that gain best achieved? If you don't have a transformer you must have additional voltage gain. Extra components, longer signal path, more wiring, etc. You are spouting the 'simplicity' dogma without considering that your supposedly simpler solution suffers from the same problems in different guises.
There are indeed some very fine, indeed world class, high gain phono stages out there. Aesthetix, Boulder, Manley, etc. Unfortunately implementing them at a high level is difficult. Not many of us can afford to play at that level. If you can, with your 18 tonearm, good for you. Enjoy!
Fortunately there are also some very fine, world class stepups out there. Combining one of those with a top quality MM phono stage (which is MUCH easier to build than an equally quiet and linear high gain stage) is a more than viable option. In the large majority of cases it may even be the superior choice.
The best MC cartridges are very bad at putting out high voltage. Just look at their specs. To hook one up to a voltage-driven gain stage is like asking a car to fly. You may be able to do it, but it will cost you a lot of green. But an MC cartridge is very good at generating current. Voila! Why not load the cartridge to optimize what it's natively good at, then transform the excess current to the voltage we need? Properly implemented this maximizes the performance of the cartridge. Even if there are tradeoffs, the benefits can balance the potential detriments. There are no one-way streets in audio, and pure voltage gain is no exception.
I know about Mr Ikeda. In the past he did use Emt turntable, arm and cartridge with a Peerless transformerand a Marantz pre-amp. I think there are several solutions that can do the job. You will need gain and usually a transformer with preamp will give less noise then a tube-preamp that can do it on its own. In the past i did use a Hiraga pre pre with battery power supply with would give 24 millivolts at the entry of my Anzai Riaa stage which would drive my poweramp directly. So not so many active elements that could degrade the signal, Eduard.
"Any additional stage in the signal chain reproduction ( it does not matter the quality of that stage ) degraded the quality reproduction of this signal. Period."
You said it. My point exactly. If you don't use a transformer then you must employ either a tube or a transistor. Neither device is linear. Each will add noise and distortion. To say all transformers are bad and all active gain stages more desirable is crap. It all comes down to good engineering and design. Each method has its virtues and drawbacks. BTW, my phono preamp has one of those 'nasty' tranformers at the input AND at the output.
Dear Dougdeacon: I agree with you: there-are-no one way streets on audio and that a high gain phono stage has its own problems.
The issue here is ( for me ): wich way do less harm to the signal reproduction. If you have a preamp with a high gain built in phono stage that has a good design an a good execution of that design ( You named: Boulder. Yes, a very high price. ) this preamp do less harm that a preamp with a stepup transformer.
Now, the only way to hear an understand these issues is trying it. I already try, for several years, with step up transformers, head amps and outboard phono stages and I could find that the best quality audio reproduction from a low output moving coil is a preamp with a built in high gain phono stage.
This is my experience and that is what I want to shear with you all music lover people, no more than that.
Dear John: Please read my answer to Mr.Dougdeacon.
Perhaps we've beaten you up enough for now (on poor Eduard's nickel no less). As you just said, the results you prefer are the results you prefer - in your system and experience. That's a different perspective than a blanket statement that X is always and necessarily superior to Y.
I would never quarrel with your experiences (which exceed mine) or your perception of those experiences. To do either would be irrational.
Dear Eduard/Doug: Maybe the problem is in that both of you use tube electronics and in this way you have to use the step up transformer with a low output moving coil cartridge.
Tube electronics, per se, is another issue, but that is another history.
Best regards and enjoy the music.
There are plenty of high gain tube phono stages, from near entry level right up to the world-beating Aesthetix Io. Obviously it's true that mine and Eduard's don't happen to be among them. Thus this thread.
BTW, since you've become pretty active recently, why not list your system? I'm sure it's fairly impressive and it would give us some perspective on where you're coming from.
Apologies for the continual digressions on your thread. I wish I could say something (anything!) about the Ikeda stepup. My only experience is with my BentAudio Mu's, which get my highest recommendation BTW. Superb design and BQ, and their ability to change cartride loading quickly and easily is a huge benefit. FWIW.
Dear Eduard: As I told you I test severals step up transformers in the past. One of them was: Fidelity Research XF-2L ( an expensive unit ), this one was a first rate product between the differents step up transformers that I own in the time. Now, Mr. Ikeda was the designer on both step up transformer, what can I say: Ikeda transformer is a first rate unit.
Sorry I can't help you. The mark Ikeda is unknowed in America. Maybe if you try in a forum or e-bay in: Japan, Hongkong or other country in Asia, you can have the information,because in those countries the Ikeda is very well know.
Dear Doug: To list my system is not an ease task, because it need and explication at each chain stage. So I need some time to do this. I will do as soon is posible.