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Quad QC 24P (tubes, retail appr. EUR 1,5k) had this myself and have been very satisfied with it, apart from one tube that went bad very early but that was fortunately replaced without much ado.
Another overachiever in the same price range but solid state, however, make sure to audition this when you have the opportunity:
Cleardaudio Balance+ (mind the "+", should you look at used offers); interesting and worthwhile is the possibility to upgrade to battery power with the ACCU+ unit (EUR 0,5k)
Unfortunately, you didn't specify your budget, what price bracket are you thinking of?
I once tried this (going direct from phonostage to power amps) with an NYAL Moscode SuperIt, which has its own volume controls. It sounded absolutely awful -- thin, wiry, two-dimensional -- compared to running the unit through a decent active linestage. Just be sure that whatever phono preamp you get will not suffer in direct mode. Dave
Hi, I think the consenus thought here is a linestage is desireable with a phono stage. Just yields a better sound.
Not sure your price range or needs, but their are several preamps with very good built in phono stages.
-Some of the BAT preamps have a phono card option
-Several vintage Audio Research preamps
You are not limited to a phono preamp with built in volume control. You can use any phono preamp you like just add a pair of high quality stepped attenuators such as Goldpoint etc.. between your preamp and amp, just as you would if you were adding a full function pre but without its sound coloration, useless controls and added distortion. Its all you need.
I have been using my Blue Circle 707 with an Audio Synthesis passive preamp and it works fine. Line stages have their pluses and minuses but you will get a higher level of performance cheaper with passive IF THE REST OF YOUR SYSTEM IS COMPATIBLE WITH IT. It helps to have an amp with reasonably high sensitivity and check the impedance of the units and keep the cables short. The Creek 22 passive is about $500 and it will compete with active preamps 10x the price in a system compatible with it.
great advise from everyone. learned about some interesting products i didn't know were out there. i think trying a passive pre might be the way to go since a phono pre with volume probably just adds one of them. not limited in my premap choice if using a good passive. might just have to buy one one a listen for myself! thanks....
Our preamps were designed as stand-alone phono reproducers. The line stage provides that last bit of gain to drive an amplifier to full output, but the big deal is that it is also designed to be able to control the interconnect, which (IMO) is an essential function.
By 'control the interconnect', I mean that when the interconnect is controlled, you will no longer hear differences between cables!
Stanwal, that's exactly my impression of transistors. Both technologies have colorations. Either way the goal is true neutrality. The extremes of tubes are overly lush, the extremes of transistors are overly harsh and dry, yet two preamps that exhibit those characteristics can be put side by side on the bench and be found to have the same bandwidth.
I don't think the truth lies in the middle either, but getting rid of the colorations of either technology will get you a lot, lot closer.
My judgement on tubes was arrived at by comparing my two tube preamps and my transistor one with my two passive preamps. The transistor lacks the "depth" of the tube units but is closer to the passive. The first time I heard a transistor amp in Nov. 1963 the first thing I noticed was that the notes seemed to be more separate than my Dynaco MK 4. A recent review of the Creek passive noted something similar. At first the reviewer thought the passive lacked something an expensive tube preamp had but he finally concluded that the tube was filling up the space between the notes. This is exactly what I hear, but we all hear differently.
Stanwal, What I hear is that tubes will play the low level detail- room ambiance and the like, the same things that the transistors (in general) seem to miss. So IMO, the tube is not filling the space, the space instead is filled with low level detail.
I have heard equipment with 'fat' images too. That seems to be a purview of both tubes and transistors. It seems to me that a lot depends on the quality of the equipment, although the last time I heard something guilty of that charge it was a German transistor line stage that retailed for $25,000. It was built very well- it just couldn't bring home the bacon.