what does it mean?
As Chakster is trying to say, and I think you got it, the cartridge needs to be a good match for the tonearm, in terms of its compliance and the tonearm effective mass. Likewise, mate the phono stage to the cartridge, in terms of the cartridge internal resistance and signal voltage output and the gain and input impedance of the phono stage. Beyond these needs, there is no rule for mating a cartridge to a turntable or a phono stage to a turntable.The turntable has a very simple job to do: rotate at a constant speed and not resonate. (I know there's more to it but that's the basics.)
Hi Chakster, you’re right :)
Using 2 turntables with 4 tonearms i have Gold Note PH-10 with two inputs and each input can be set to MM or MC with adjustable gain and loading. This is one of the modern high-nd phono stage i could recommend for use with a turntable with 2 tonearms connected to one phono stage (balanced output is also there if needed). This is solid state phono stage with optional external power supply PSU-10.
If your line level preamp has many inputs you can buy many phono stages (just like you gonna do with tonearms and cartridges). There are some very modest but high quality phono stages on the market. I like JLTi for example.
If you have unlimited budget and like Japanese high-end you could try this VIDA.
If you are headed to three arms and possibly even more carts of unknown type consider a double AudioSpecials Phonolab. (Caveat: I have a bias as I sell this product, so will refrain from subjective comment)
The Phonolab is a twin phono preamp (two preamps configurable for either MC or MM, and can be changed later due to modular card system). Gain and load adjustable. rca + balanced inputs and rca + balanced outputs. The power supply for the Phonolab can power a second Phonolab, giving you 4 inputs and the price for the second Phonolab is less as it's ordered sans ps...
This avoids switching at the input which is preferable.
Best in your search.
It is not necessary to use ONE phono stage for all your cartridges, especially if you don't know yet which phono stage you like the most.
It's much better to try at least a few separately, because it can be a Solid State, Tube, Current-Injection, Hybrid .. etc ... and they are all different. Also it can be an MM phono and external SUT or Headamp for your MC cartridges. Nobody knows what you like and no one can tell you what's the best.
Tavish design phono preamps are a good choice. I’m running the classic model and using a jensen step up transformer to a Hana EL moving coil mounted to a 9" pro-ject carbon fiber/aluminum tonearm on the classic turntable. I’m utilizing the MM input of the tavish, which operates in full tube mode. Whereas the MC input utilizes jfets along with the tubes. This all gets dumped into a Sugden A21se class A integrated driving some Tannoy Eatons. I’m eventually buying either a thorens td 1600 or a linn lp12....someday.....but for now I’m happy..
DS Audio phono2 has 3 completely discrete stereo phono circuits on one chassis. Independent gain and load settings for each. SE or true balanced output for each. Mono switch for each. Cost no object construction. Superb SQ.
edit: Sorry, I have the name of the manufacturer wrong, apparently. I am currently making an inquiry so I can supply the correct name. I only know that the model is called the phono2.
+1 to @chakster , he is right, keeping your options open
If you have to choose although I’m not an owner I heard the DSA is exceptionally good +1 @lewm if cost not object.
I have an Atmasphere phono stage plus preamp which is gorgeous and really doesn't push me to look into it other options at the moment
Since I have owned and used an atma-sphere MP1 for more than 20 years, with upgrades along the way, of course I also endorse that unit as being superb. But I thought the OP wanted at least two and maybe three phono sections on one chassis. This the MP1 cannot do. Several years ago the designer of the DSA phono II brought his unit to my living room and we compared it to the MP1. For that reason I can say that the DSA phono II is excellent. However, it is costly.
Had an MP-3, now an MP-1 the phono stage is superb, I would say the MP-3 for the money IMO is one of the best preamps outthere, the MP-1 is more refined and obviously costly, I don’t know what Ralph did but sometimes I miss my MP-3 over my MP-1, as good as my MP-1 is, my former MP-3 had "something" which made it special (but I went through system changes so I don’t really can’t compare with same conditions)
A local dealer have DSA’s and I heard it is excellent but yes pricey.With the MP-1 Ralph will give you the ability to control gain etc. old fashion way with attenuation and resistors for cart loading, the gain on his preamps and the "delicacy" of sound is amazing.Beware, if you have RFI issues the Atma phono stage is so sensitive that if the TT cable is not of good quality will pickup RFI and you could hear a radio station coming out of your speakers, that’s what you get with a top class phono stage
I bought the MA240s in "kit" form from Ralph back in the late 90s. My pair were among the last ones he made, and I wanted to assemble the circuit such that each 6C33C could be separately biased, which required 3 separate driver tubes, one for each pair of output tubes. At that time, I knew very little about circuit design or tubes or how to read a schematic, even. But I found a local guy who put the amplifiers together for me. (MA240 essentially equals an MA2 with 6C33Cs instead of a gaggle of 6AS7s.) Then I started studying tube electronics from books and with input from anyone who would talk to me, including a lot from Ralph. Over the years I have made many further mods, including I have now reduced the output tube count by using four 7241 triodes per channel, instead of six 6C33Cs. Gives about the same power but requires fewer tubes all around. My Sound Lab 845PXs are modified as well. Sorry for off topic.
I don't think your problems with RFI are likely to be due to something in the MP1 circuit. Ralph makes a point about the fact that his units are relatively cable insensitive. I've certainly never had a problem with hum or RFI, and I don't use megabuck cables; I make my cables in fact.
Your journey with the MA240's is amazing, I have the "gaggle" of 6AS7G's but I'm happy with them, the MA-1's are good in their own way.
My existing current Technics has single ended connections into adapter cables going balanced into the MP-1 that's why the RFI issue, if the connection would be balanced yes definitely the problem will be gone and YES his units are cable insensitive, I went replacing cables and trying different ones and if you keep "true" balanced end to end the cable makes no difference, a home made Mogami with Neutrik connectors is good enough.
Since the output from the cartridge can be treated as balanced, why not just put XLR connectors on the ends of your phono cables? (You do need to use cables that provide two wires for the audio signal and a third wire for ground or if no third wire, which is not necessarily needed, you just connect the shield to pin1 of the XLR. Pin1 is ground.) Does your tonearm terminate in a DIN connector from which you run a cable with female DIN at one end and RCAs at the other? That's easy to change. If you contact me privately, I would be happy to help. I am stealing the thread by going off topic.
Thank you, I will keep your offer in mind, the only reason I haven't done it yet is I have a stock Technics 1210 mk5 which I'm selling, thought on modifying it with the DIN connector but since I'm selling it and getting a different TT and tonearm I will modify it on the one I'm getting. Single ended connections are a magnet for RFI, with a specific cartridge Stanton (track master?) the DJ one I get a radio station on the left speaker, change the cart to DL301 and I don't get radio. Turn on my digital rig with either cart and I get popping sounds on my right speaker like a faulty tube.Sorry to the OP for all the OT comments.
Thanks again Lew, appreciate it.