Phono preamps

Hi All,

I have a small budget, and Im considering two unis, the NAD PP2, Parasound PPH100, and the Rotel RQ-970BX. Any feedback on them? Any other units I should consider under about $200? I have an older micro seiki turntable, a new Arcam AVR 300 receiver, and I tend to prefer moving coil cartridges.

Thanks in adavnce.

The new Parasound Zphono retails for $150 and is better than the original PPH-100 plus you can switch between MM and MC with the push of a button instead of opening it up and moving jumpers. It's the best cheap phono stage I've heard.
Hey, no fair, that's three, not two. Please add the Musical Fidelity X-LP to your list. It is a bit smoother sounding than the Rotel with a bit more bloom.
Iv'e owned older Parasound PPH-100 which I did not care for and a couple of $1,000 preamps. The new Bellini single tube amp that I heard seems to be very good for the asking ($200?) price. I have actually listned to the Bellini and it is very listenable, would probably lend itself well to some other tubes brands as well. Let us know what you do and how it works out, good luck, Mike.
For the price, it's hard to beat the Bellari VP-129. Sounds much more expensive than it is. There's one for sale for $200 brand new.
If you are considering used, the Lehmann's Black Cube is just a hair more than that price point. I'll have one for sale shortly. Let me know if you are interested.
Stay away from the NAD. I had one about a week and returned it. Not much better than a hand held transistor radio...
A phono preamp around the $200 price point that can also do MC is a bit of a challenge. The only other one I can immediately think of is a Goldring. I think the model number is PA-100. Strictly speaking, it's a MM unit, but it is competent with high output MC cartridges. I can't comment on its performance relative to the other units mentioned.
I also owned the Parasound PPH-100 and I would look elsewhere. I was using a high output MC cartridge, the gain was barely OK but the sound was very dull and uninvolving. For about the same money I would go with the Bellari mentioned above.
Thanks so much to all of you. I'm making a move on the Bellari. I'm still open to opinions if that one falls through.

Bellari fell through; I was too late; still open to advice/suggestions/offers/etc.

the rustler
Hi All,

I just called and spoke with a technician at Rolls/Bellari. He said that their phono preamp "cannot work with moving coil cartridges." (!) What am I to make of this, given that some report using them with good results?

The Bellari does not provide enough gain for low output moving coils. I believe it has only 30 db gain (which may possibly be increased by tube rolling) and it may not have enough for high output moving coils putting out 2-2.5 mv. Do some research at the Vinyl Asylum at Audioasylum with respect to how much gain you are going to require which is dependent on how much output the cartridge has. If you have a phono stage with adjustable gain, that will give you flexibility with respect to a range of cartridges that will be compatible. No such adjustable gain and you'll require careful matching of the cartridge to the stage. If you don't have adjustable gain, you are, in effect, going to be restricted to cartridges having a certain output that will match up well with whatever stage you buy. There are other more complicated solutions (step-up transformers, etc.) but at this stage I'd suggest you do your homework on the above. Vinyl is not simple, but it is worth the effort; you're going to have to learn a bit to function in the vinyl world.