Believe it or not, my choice to your solution would be either Rane TTM56S or Pioneer DJM-750. Both DJ mixers have outstanding MM phonostages having the fact you want to use one output for CD recorder.
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The Quasar has been on my radar for some time now, however the two outputs are a low and a high output. The MM input provides 50 dB of gain, which should work well with my Denon DL-160 @ ~ 2 mv, but the low output is listed in the specs at 220mv, and the high output at 775 mv. I'm not sure whether I could use the Quasar the way I have in mind.
I see that the Ray Samuels XR-10B has two outputs, but $4500 is a little much for me! Thanks guys.
The 50 dB figure presumably applies to the 775 mv output, which means that the gain to the 220 mv output would be 39 dB. That may be reasonable for use with a 2 mv cartridge, depending on the sensitivity and noise performance of the Tascam recorder. (I suspect you would want to use the 775 mv output for the main signal path, given the relatively low 6 dB gain of your preamp, unless your power amp is particularly sensitive).
What specific model is the Tascam recorder?
P.S: I see that the 775 mv output is spec’d as having a very low 22 ohm output impedance. Which suggests that use of a splitter at that output, and using that output to drive both the recorder and the preamp, would stand an excellent chance of providing fine results, if the 39 dB gain of the other output proves to be inadequate for the recorder.
My belief has long been that the bad rap splitters and y-adapters often get is in most cases not due to the splitters or y-adapters themselves, but is most often the result of the component supplying the signal being unable to drive both destination components and/or both sets of cables with good results, and perhaps in some cases the result of ground loop issues involving the three interconnected components.
The Tascam is a CD-RW5000, which is getting a little long-in-the-tooth, but still works quite well. I use it to make CD's for the car and I'm not too picky about ultimate fidelity, so will probably continue to use it 'til it quits. When recording from a CD I, of course, do that directly via coax.
I had thought of using splitters, but I'm never sure when it's OK to do so. That would be worth a shot now that I know I won't blow anything up! I noticed that the Jolidas also have a high and low output.
Well, that gives me a bit more to work with. Thanks Al.
I found the manual for the recorder here. As you can see on page 23, the unbalanced analog input is spec’d based on a nominal input level of -10 dbV, which is about 316 mv, that in turn allowing 16 db of headroom relative to the 2 volt clipping level of that input.
The 39 db gain of the Quasar’s low level output will boost the 1.6 mv nominal output of your cartridge (under the standard test conditions) to 143 mv. Particularly loud transients on some recordings may of course exceed the standard test conditions significantly.
143 mv is about 7 db less than the 316 mv the recorder is nominally spec’d to work with. The manual for the recorder indicates that when the input level control is at the 2 o’clock position the signal level is neither boosted nor cut, so I would expect that you could raise the position of the control enough to provide 7 db of additional gain. I have no way of being certain, though, as to whether the recorder’s noise performance would still be good at that higher setting, although 7 db of additional gain doesn’t seem like a great deal.
So I think that there is a reasonably good chance that approach would work out. But if it doesn’t, using a splitter on the Quasar's high level output, such as this one, should work well in this particular case.
As I said initially, though, I have no knowledge of the Quasar’s sonics.
Good luck, however you decide to proceed. Regards,
If I understand your requirements correctly, the new Musical Fidelity MX-VINL may very well meet your requirements precisely. It supports two separate switch-selectable phono inputs, one balanced (Mini-XLR/DIN) and one unbalanced (RCA), and also features two outputs, again one fully balanced XLR and one unbalanced RCA, both of which are powered at the same time. It also features selectable MM/MC cartridge loading (which I find to be essential) and an external power supply. Retail is $999.
I've found no reviews of the MX-VINL yet, but it looks like a sweet unit and an excellent value. It is generally available in the US. FWIW, I've been using its predecessor, the MF M1-ViNL in a demanding and highly analytical studio application for several years and I've been very satisfied with its performance. I suspect you'd have to spend several times the price of the MX-VINL to obtain any appreciable improvement in overall performance.
I think you’ve got something there. I’ll have to check into the output specs of the MX-VYNL and check compatibility with the inputs on the W4S and Tascam, but I do have balanced and unbalanced inputs on both, so there’s an excellent chance that may just be the ticket. Thank you for your input.
By the way, are the outputs on your M1-VINL also simultaneously active? I may want to get one of those.
Linn Linto has 2 line outs. And I think it sounds very good too.It would not be suitable, though, for use with a high output cartridge such as the OP's DL-160, as its gain, input impedance, and input capacitance are all only suitable for use with LOMCs. Also, often (and probably more often than not) components providing two sets of line-level output jacks drive both sets of jacks from the same output stage, and simply jumper the two sets of jacks together inside the rear panel. Which would be little different than using a pair of the splitters I linked to above on a single pair of output jacks.
Interesting suggestion by LP2CD, which does indeed look promising. The one question I would have, which would not be a show-stopper regardless of the answer, is if the XLR and RCA outputs are driven from separate output stages. That is not stated anywhere in the manual or at the website, and in many cases components providing both kinds of outputs simply wire the signal pin on the RCA connector directly to one of the two signal pins on the XLR connector.
That wouldn’t be a major issue in this case, assuming the unit’s unspecified output impedance is not unusually high, but it would be nice to know if the two sets of connectors are separately driven. If not, the consequence would be that the balanced connection would be slightly unbalanced, as a result of the differing loads on its two signals. Which in turn would to some degree reduce the noise rejection and perhaps other advantages the balanced connection would otherwise be able to provide. That would be especially true if the balanced connection were used for the main signal path and the RCA connection for the recorder, given the recorder’s low 10K input impedance (the W4S preamp has a 60K input impedance).
But regardless of that answer, as I said the MX-VYNL looks like a very promising candidate.
The user's manual for the M1-ViNL is silent concerning simultaneous use of both the balanced and unbalanced outputs. There is no switching provision. But one reviewer noted this: "There are both single-ended and balanced outputs, the latter generated with a phase splitter -- this is not a balanced circuit." I've only ever used the balanced out, and in fact I have no easy way to test the unbalanced in simultaneous usage. But I would, ahem, assume they are both active at the same time. That said, the fact that the balanced out is "synthesized" and split from the unbalance might make me a bit wary.
While I have no reason whatsoever to complain about its performance, that ersatz balanced out is one reason why I'm considering the MX-VINL myself, as it is supposedly fully balanced. What's more, unlike the M1-ViNL, the MX-VINL uses an external power supply (a "wall-wart" no doubt...) that produces an input of 500mA @ 12V. That would seem to make it very easy and cheap to substitute an 8 C-cell series battery pack for the power supply.
The quasi-balanced and unbalanced outputs of the M1 VINL are concurrently active. They sound exactly the same and the output levels are identical, too. I suppose if one were archiving their vinyl and listening at the same time this would be a handy feature, as is the ability to connect two turntables--as long as one is using a MM and the other a MC cartridge.
Success! I pulled the trigger on a used Heed Quasar and hooked it up this morning. It works great with my W4S, as well as the Tascam, and sounds VERY nice; better than the phono stage in my Van Alstine Transcendence Seven I was using.
Thanks, Al, for your in-depth analysis of the Quasar's potential compatibility. It was what I needed to make the decision, and a good decision it was.