Hi, I never like the idea of switches between the cartridge and the phono stage...less connections is usually the best approach.
As far as your other question...some good phono stages with volume controls like the Aesthetix Io Eclipse and some good phono stages with multiple inputs Nagra VPS, Aesthetix Rhea and Allnic H3000&5000 come to mind...
Harder to find multiple inputs and a volume control....
I have been playing with an Aesthetix Janus. It is a good old-fashioned "full-function" preamplifier, which is what we used to call a "preamplifier", period. It has adjustable phono gain and phono resistive loading, so you can use any cartridge your heart desires. And it has a nifty remote control which allows you to control volume and many other functions from your seat. It also has both balanced and SE outputs and inputs, galore. It's a great tool; you can probably find a second-hand one for under $3000. One box does all. Note that the linestage section is a truly active device; many/most of the ones mentioned here (Manley, Allnic, for example) are really fancy phono stages with the option of using the volume control as a passive linestage. Passive linestages have their good and bad features. The bad part is that they are extremely sensitive to input and output impedance, interconnect length and capacitance. I would not think of such a device as a real full-function preamp. Great phono stages but not a "real" preamp.
The Aesthetix Io Eclipse with volume control can be special ordered to have 2 phono inputs (instead of the normal 1 phono + 1 line level inputs)!
A correction on what Lewm said above - the steelhead linestage input is not passive. The volume control is followed by an active "white follower" circuit, like the phono inputs. You can verify that on Manley's website.
I also use ASR electronics: Emitter II and Basis Exclusive.
The Basis Exclusive has actually two independent phono-pres
with RCA and XLR connectors by each and MC and MM inputs.
So you can use two balanced and two unbalanced tonearms
but you will need to switch for either kind in the inside
of the pre.
For my other TT and tonearm in my second system I bought
the Jasmine LP 2 phono-stage. There is a new model with
2 connectors for two tonearms.Not in the Basis league but
very good. The price is about $600. This is in my case a
more practical solution for the third tonearm.
Io Eclipse is top notch, to be sure, but it does not have an actual linestage built in, I don't think. The volume control is optionally useable as a passive attenuator for high level input devices, like CDPs and tuners, etc. Caveats go with that. Can sound great, if impedance matching and capacitance are attended to.
If I understand correctly, the volume of the IO is positioned in front of the final output buffer stage. The line input, of course, has to be connected in front of the volume control so it is actually buffered and should have no impedance issues.
However, if you order an IO with 2 phono inputs, there will be no line level input!
So I am zero for two on the Io and the Steelhead. Except to note that most actual linestages confer some gain on the signal, as well as impedance buffering. However in most cases the added gain is superfluous, I admit. Thanks for the corrections.
Except to note that most actual linestages confer some gain on the signal, as well as impedance buffering
Hi Lewm, yes the IO by itself doesn't really have the linestage gain. While, with phono input, the IO should have enough gain to directly drive the power amp, experienced users like Albert Porter commented that adding the accompany Callisto linestage to the IO would yield further benefits.
I have both the IO and the Callisto with me, but since I only got the IO recently, it is still running in. I would certainly compare the IO vs IO + Callisto combo once the run in is completed.
Nandric did you connect 4 arms to exclusive. Is it safe to do it, i am not sure, but if it is, very nice :) finding a same league performer is a pain.
I have found two electronics. One of them is EMT Jpa 66
Different kind of animal. Very pricey, i did not find a cahnce to listen but it looks like a last investment...
Not a cheap one but nearly free beside emt. Monk audio phono pre amp.
It has 3 inputs, as many settings as you wish for, also riaa eq. For this price it is a gift. I do not know its sonic abilities, but if it is average, it makes a good choice for a lots of sustem.
Allnic which i have no idea. I have seen them in many good systems , and very experienced audiophiles are using. But no distributor in my country, i have no chance to listen. May be in munich high end show which i m planning to attend.
Searching universe is going on. :)
Altanpsx, I used the Reed 2A (on an armpod) and Triplanar VII with my Kuzma S.R. Both unbalanced first. But I got some interferance between their common ground. So when I bought the Reed 3 P I asked for the balanced wiring. Lucky me no interferance anymore. So one of the (two) pres is switched in balanced mode the other in the unbalanced (RCA) mode. It is impossible in my case to use 4 tonearms with my Kuzma but if you can I see no other problem then switching between them which is an annoying job to do by Basis Exclusive because one need to open the cover and mess with all those switches.
makes a phono stage that has plug in input/output modules and a volume control. You can mix and match up to three input modules.
Nandric i agree with you, also using multiple cartridge needs a different
settings is a pain.
Using a rca accepted tonearms is another solution. Long enough rca may
easily switch fro, arm to arm.
If asr had a volume control i do not look for another phono pre, which hard
to find :)
Onhwy61 i know octave electronics, i had listened them as a system, and i
did not like them.