Levinson 320S Phono Module vs. Klyne 7PX


Just wanted to get your opinion on the above choices. Using a ML 320S linestage, will I have better sound using the dedicated phono module for the 320S, or a Klyne phono stage plugged into one of the 320S line inputs?

Thanks in advance for any opinions from the forum's analog gurus.
ca2284
I think the Klyne phono stages were showing their age back in the mid 90s.I would pursue other stages.
Go for a Klyne. Still one of the best sounding Phono Stages out there.
I have a No. 32 with the built-in phono stage. I bet it is the same stage as that in the 320. While it is certainly an ergonomic wonder (lots of practical adjustments done by remote control), it is not the best sounding stage to me. It presents a somewhat flat soundstage and has a bit of the mechanical, artificial sound to the leading edge of transients that is common to transistor gear. It is not "bad," but I don't think it is quite up to the standards of the linestage itself. I have not heard the Klyne in my own system, but I've heard it elsewhere and I think it is quite good for a solid state stage.

By the way, I currently use an Emotive Audio Epifania linestage with a Viva Fono phono stage (both use tubes). This is not as quiet as the No. 32, but they are astonishingly more natural sounding.
Its a no brainer. Klyne is established as a great phono stage whereas Levinson? It is merely an accomodation
Thanks for your responses. I went ahead and purchased/installed a brand new 320S phono module and ran it with signal for about 12 hours. I also hooked up the Klyne to the aux line input of the 320 and did an A/B. The Klyne outperforms the 320 module in terms of warmth and neutrality. The 320 module sounds bright and tinny compared to the Klyne, but seems to have more dynamics.

I'm not sure if it's a break in issue as the 320 module only has a tad over 12 hours of use whereas the Klyne has over 200 hours. Anyone know how many hours of break in it would take to obtain optimum sound from a Levinson phono stage? TIA.
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Ca2284,
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If you are able to put more hours on the Levinson (200 plus would be logical), please do another A/B between the Levinson and the Klyne and let us your impressions after the Levinson has had time to break in.
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The comments of bright and tinny are consistent with a SS unit lacking sufficient break-in although it might just be the sound of the Levinson.
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Rgds,
Larry
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Sure thing, Larry. My gut feel is that the Levinson will get better but probably not to the level of the Klyne. It'll take me a while to log 200 analog hours though. Oh -- one more thing I forgot to mention is that the Levinson has 2 selectable resistive settings 200 ohms and 47 kohms. However, you are able to customize load settings by installing a resistor of the desired value (no soldering required as there are screw on provisions). My unit is set at 200 ohms although the recommended setting for my cartridge (ZYX Airy3 Lo), is 100 ohms. I believe other ZYX owners prefer a 1kohm load.

Would using a 200 ohm setting versus 100 ohms make a huge impact in sound?
Ca2284,
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You can get the Purist Audio Phono Stage break-in CD (inexpensive) and use it to run your Levinson Phono stage 24/7 with the CD player on repeat and break it in within a matter of a couple of weeks or less.
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The loading on your Cartridge will make a significant difference in the sound. In general, the higher the load, the more pronounced the highs will be come until they get hot and sibilant.
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It would be well worth it to get several resistors with varying loads and experiment to find the sweet spot in your system with the Airy3. Did you get the Copper or Silver coiled version of the Airy3 ?
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I would not do the resistor trials until the Levinson is broken in.
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Rgds,
Larry
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There is a big difference between 100 and 200 ohm loading. Compared to 100 ohms, 200 will sound much brighter, thinner in the bass and more open and dynamic.

When comparing two different phono stages, you must try to optimize the sound from both. That may mean different setting on the two, as well as changing other adjustments, such as the VTA on the tonearm. I find that getting tonal balance, level of sibilance, trading off an open top end vs. excessive brightness, etc., is a balancing act that involves both the loading and the tonearm VTA setting. I would then compare the sound of the two performing at their best.

Each phono stage is different, with respect to what is optimum for a given cartridge and setup. With my ML Ref. No. 32 and Lyra Titan, the best setting was wide open (47k ohm loading) and VTA set low (tail down on the cartridge). With the Viva Fono, I am still experimenting, but it is something like 500 ohms and VTA near neutral (arm parallel to the record surface).

I am surprised that your phono stage only offered 200 and 47k, and the user selection of resistor because the stage in the Ref. No. 32 has far more options.
Ca2284,

First, the recommended impedance for a LO ZYX is 100 ohms or above, not 100 ohms specifically.

Second, I am not aware of many LO ZYX users who prefer a 1K load. Virtually every owner I've talked to (dozens) is somewhere between 100 and 250. My LO Airy 3 was in that range, as is my LO UNIverse.

Cello's sonic description of too-high loading was correct as far as it went, but an addional effect can be a looseness in the bass. However, I'd expect that simply going from 100 to 200 would make these differences in a fairly subtle way. My preamp has a switch and its present (soldered in) resistors are for 75 and 225 ohms. In our system 225 is better, and close to optimal. I wouldn't go any higher, and once in a while I switch to 75 to tame a really hot LP, like some of the tipped up Classic Records reissues.

You should experiment of course, since your phono stage makes that easy. That's a good feature. BTW, make sure to use the same resistor type for each value. The differences between resistors in this application are quite audible.

Doug
Thanks again for the responses. The adjustment pods for resistive settings are actually on the phono board itself. It also has 2 setting for capacitance (0 or +10), which I believe only impacts MM cartridges. I'll try to obtain some Vishay resistors of varying values and experient with them.

I'll also look into the Purist Audio burn in CD. This will greatly expedite things.

The person I know that uses a 1kohm setting on his ZYX Universe LO has all tubed pre and amplification driving high efficiency speakers. Not sure if that makes a difference but he swears he has the optimum setting with his gear.

Thanks again.