MMF-5 in a Home Theater Setup...

I must confess that, since day one, I've been a sucker for the cheap-thrill-multi-channel-echo-ambience stuff. Had all sorts of multi band equalizers, reverb amps, and "ambience expander" headphones back in the day and, naturally, gravitated to multi channel home theater when that medium came to be and the heart of my system today is a mid 90's Sony ES reciever running its dozen or so "soundfields" thru a pair of JBL L-65s up front and a small pair of Advents (much later vintage) for the rear channels. Anyhow, my old turntable recently bit the dust after 25 years and I replaced it with a Music Hall MMF-5...stock cartridge out of the box, no mods. To make a long story short, I've fallen in love! I haven't played a CD since this thing arrived several weeks ago and I got it hooked up. My question is this.....Would the MMF-5 in this type of system benefit from some sort of enhanced phono stage/pre-amp/etc. up and above just running it thru the Sony's phono input? I've been looking at the little Bellari tube preamp as well as the Creek OB-something-or-other-15 with temptations of upgrading the cartridge at some point in the future but don't know if what I'm considering would be like spending $7500 for Ferrari Enzo floormats to put in a Chevy Monte Carlo............
No. It is not likely. That being said, the Bellari is cheap and easy to resell if you don't hear and like the difference.
It's floor mats. Others may differ, but I think that if you're exclusively playing vinyl your rig is perfectly matched to your system. I had the same issue, started out with a Rega P5 TT into my HT system (Yamaha RX 2250 or something like that). The TT sounded great! I invested $450 in a used phonostage and I could tell the difference. It was better, but the angels didn't weep or anything.

That said, if you want to pick up a tube preamp to have some more fun, go for it!
I would get a tube per for the music side and bypass it for HT also get a budget stage if the tube pre doesnt have it, without much risk I my part I am sure you will be thrilled with could do this for under $1000.
Hi. I'm in a somewhat similar situation, listening to audio via a Yamaha RX-V2400 HT receiver. I've auditioned numerous budget phono stages this past year and IN MY SYSTEM here's what I found.

The internal phono stage is comparable to these: NAD PP-2, Parasound zPhono, Rotel RQ-970BX.

These phono stages sound better than the internal stage but aren't worth the "upgrade" money: Grado PH-1, Musical Surroundings Phonomena. Don't get me wrong. Both of these sounded much better than the Yammie's phono stage but FOR MY BUDGET (and my marriage) they were too much money to be worth it.

These phono stages sound better and FOR ME are worth the money: TC-760LC, Cambridge Audio 640P, Bellari VP-129. I finally settled on the Bellari -- it seems to me that the tube flavor really balances the SS HT receiver's sterility.

Good luck.

I have an MMF-5 as a second table. Upgrade that Goldring to the 1022 and you'll have even more love.

My main table is a VPI Aries with JMW 10.5 and Van den Hul Frog.


Paul :-)
Thanks everyone for the input!

On researching the Bellari VP-129, I ran across an article which stated one needed to let the tube warm up for around 20 minutes to be able to use this preamp......Not ever having dealt with vacuum tube equipment, I gotta ask you guys - Was this a typo or am I missing something in the translation??? I could believe 20 seconds or so a lot easier as could I also believe one might need to initially "burn in" something of this nature for 20 minutes the first time out of the box but 20 minutes warm up time every time I wanna spin a platter?????? This little preamp certainly looks tempting but I'm far too attention-span-challenged for any half hour warm ups!
The Bellari doesn't have a power switch-just leave it on. Yes , it does sound better after warming up. I'm very happy with mine(matched with a mmf-5se and silver interconnects). The headphone stage in the Bellari is OK , as well.
Tubes do sound fuller and richer after 20-30 minutes of warm up, but that doesn't mean they don't play right after you power them up. They play just fine.

FWIW, SS components also sound better after they warm up. That's why most good SS components have a standby power mode.

Frankly, in a Chevy Monte Carlo system ;-) you may not hear huge differences anyway. It certainly isn't worth worrying about. My tube preamp and amp actually do retail for more than a new Monte Carlo, but I don't pre-warm them or avoid listening until they're "perfect". I bought 'em to enjoy the music. I just don't do any audio-geeky critical listening for the first couple of LP sides. I do enjoyable music listening intead!

Note that leaving tubes powered up will shorten tube life, and if you're on a budget...

I like the advice already given about buying a tube based preamp w/ phono. You can get a used c-j PV-11 or similar for $500-700. Something like that would stomp any HT receiver into the dust for music and, as has also been said, if you don't like it you can resell for little loss. That's the beauty of Audiogon, you can try stuff you couldn't afford new for very little risk.

Enjoy the new phono and the music!