Buy the Bellari MT502 stepup transformer ($499). Made here in the USA. This will boost your MC's output to 4 mv - a more practical level for use with the MM phono stage! I own one and can recommend it!
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When you say you want more juice, does that mean that, with the volume turned all the way up, you don't have enough volume? The .4mv output and 60 db of gain from the Manley should work, even if that means cranking the volume knob up more than with the AIda. There is nothing wrong, by the way, operating near the top of the volume control range; that is actually where volume controls work the best (they sound better and have more even channel balance). Do you know if the linestage this feeds into has gain too? If you really need more gain, that would mean using a step up transformer and feeding the output to the moving magnet input of the Manley.
If by more juice you mean the cartridge doesn't sound as lively, and you are not necessarily talking about ultimate volume level, that is a different issue. It might well be the case that the Koetsu just sounds a little mellow by its nature. To some extent, the sound can be changed by changing load, by changing the setup (change in VTA/SRA particularly) or by trying different tubes in the Manley.
You moved from a high output cartridge to a low output one. Change the gain from 45 dB to 60 dB and you’ll be fine. I use the ART9, at 0.5 mv and it works great!
If you still feel that isn’t enough (I doubt you will, given the 0.6 mv of your cart), then you can send it to Manley for the latest update. That adds two extra gain settings of 50 and 65 dB of gain for only $75.
Yes. I just learned about phone stages and gain. Got to be aware of that. You also need to be aware of the max gain your preamp can handle. I have an Ortofon 2M Black and was running it through a Simaudio Moon 310LP which through the balanced outs runs at 48dB. No issues. I was going to “upgrade” to the Parasound JC3+. But I was getting electrical distortion in time with the music. Through the balanced outs on the Parasound it produces 54dB of gain. Somewhere in between 49-54dB is the threshold of my system preamp where is can be overdriven by the phono preamp. I am waiting for delivery of my new phono stage which will have 48dB from its balanced outputs. If you use single ended outputs exclusively this is less of an issue as single endeds have about 6dB less gain. Bottomline: figure out what your preamp’s threshold is and avoid picking a phono stage which will overdrive it.
Koetsus love a good SUT. They will sound more dynamic and alive into a good SUT than even a good JFET MC stage (like your Chinook) - I own a Sonic Frontiers Line 1 SE+ and Herron VTPH-2A, with which to compare JFET stages to various SUTs on various Koetsu Platinums.
The sound quality differential obviously increases as you improve SUT quality, and decreases as you improve JFET stage quality (to be fair the Herron’s MC stage is excellent) - but I have come to a very strong preference for SUT’s.
The 0.4mV and 5 ohm Koetsu will probably be ideal for a 30x ratio; as low as 15x and up to 40x will also work fine. A Bob’s Devices Sky 30 should be a good match for not too much of money - I’ve used the Sky 40 quite successfully. The older CineMag 1131 is almost as good, if you find a good deal. The Lundahl LL 1931 (16x) is quite good, and well priced (K&K Audio) but I’ve tended to prefer the Sky - it’s close enough that your preference may differ. The Lundahl LL 9206 is decent, and cheap, but the LL 1931 and all Blue-label CineMags are noticeably superior. The best I’ve yet heard is the EAR MC-3 (using its highest, 30x gain setting - now superseded by MC-4 which may not have the same 30x setting?). It handily beats the CineMags and Lundahls on a Koetsu. Really nice device; highly recommended. Combined with the tube MM stage of my VAC Renaissance, it’s heaven on earth. I run an Innovation (now Master Innovation) too. And I’ve got a late-version Koetsu SUT arriving this week; supposedly it should be even better yet. On tonearms - the Fidelity Research FR64 (fx or better yet S) will open up your Koetsu even more.
Use your Chinook at its 45dB gain with the best SUT you can get hold of. I think it will impress you.
Edit: I assumed you were running your Chinook at 60+ dB without a SUT. That's easily the FIRST thing you should change if you haven't already; it will be huge. Even still, I prefer a good SUT with MM gain (40-46 dB) over a full active MC stage, regardless of its gain.