Pre-Preamp?


I'm investigating replacing my Audio Research SP-11 preamp with a PrimaLuna Dialogue Premium Preamplifier. The PrimaLuna has only 10db of gain, so a pre-preamp is required for my 0.28mV output MC cartridge. I'm looking for recommendations. Can anyone help?
daveaj255
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If by preamp you mean phono stage then: Herron VTPH-2A
What’s your budget? You need a phono preamp for MC. The general consensus is that the Herron VTPH-2A is top of the game at the lower end of the higher end pricing. Next down is the Manley Chinook.
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HI Dave- the Prima Luna Dialog Pre has NO phono stage at all, so you need to get a separate phono stage, another pair of interconnects, and a power cord in order to use your turntable with that preamp.  Take a look at a Rogue RP-5 which does have a good phono stage built in that will handle your cartridge without all the extra cables and hassle.
If by preamp you mean phono stage then: Herron VTPH-2A

+1 on this, it has up to 60db of gain, a few of my customers have these with my passive preamp, say it’s the best their vinyl has sounded..

Cheers George
Thank you all for your responses. I'm looking at the specs and reviews of the Herron VTPH-2A (see: http://www.herronaudio.com/vtph2specs.html ) and am impressed. It seems that this would be great into the PrimaLuna for analog and my DAC into the PrimaLuna for digital. I'll admit this is becoming expensive for a 70 year old (me, I mean). My SP-11 is 33 years old so how much is that in pre-amp years? LOL.
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Thanks, elizabeth. I needed that. Now and then I need to be brought back to my senses. I haven't given up the thought of seeing what's out there, but not exactly as interested in making a move. I'm the original owner of the SP-11 and bought it at the same time as the bulk of my equipment lo those many years ago. Thanks again to all who have responded. I really appreciate your assistance. That Herron VTPH-2A phono preamp sure looks nice. Plenty of gain for a low-output MC cartridge, too.
Elizabeth has a point. I was thinking of the lesser SP9. Tube rolling your SP11 and upgrading the caps would give a new lease of life to your ARC amp.
I agree with Elizabeth - the SP-11 is a terrific preamp and may be worth keeping. I bought mine new - trading in an SP-10 - and used it for decades before replacing it a few years ago with a Ref 5SE. I sold the SP-11 to a friend who still uses it in his system and it sounds great. My main reason for upgrading wasn't disappointment in the sound, but the desire to have remote control. I am not familiar with the Prima Luna, but it doesn't seem like an upgrade to me.
My SP-11 is 33 years old so how much is that in pre-amp years? LOL.
@daveaj255 The thing is, when electronics get that old, its prudent to have the power supply filter capacitors replaced to maintain reliability. They tend to fail slowly and its common for them to take the power transformer with them at some point, which would be a really expensive repair if you can even get the part! So it you plan to keep the preamp get the power supply serviced. Also make sure you instruct the technician doing the work to be careful to get values as close to original as possible- the regulators in the SP-10 and SP-11 were unstable to say the least- its not a good idea to do something that might set them off.
Keep that SP11! Don't replace it with a Ch*nese - made preamp! Have a competent tech replace some power supply caps, if need be! It already has an excellent phono stage!
And if you need more gain for your mc cartridge, then get a good mc step up transformer - which I do and recommend!
The best mc SUT I have (of the five) is probably the Quicksilver (Mike Sanders).
daveaj255

Get the superb 60db high gain Herron VTPH-2A and get a preamp like this with little or no gain.
Such as the Schiit Freya, it has the best mechanical volume control made remote, xlr or se inputs and outputs, and you can choose between active solid state, active tube or passive operation, whatever you think sounds best in your system.
If you don’t like it after 15 days you can send it back.
https://www.schiit.com/products/freya

Cheers George


Keep the ARC unit! You will be decidedly unhappy with most other units unless you spend serious money. People have to resist the impetus to change. You wind up wasting a lot of money for minor improvements if even that. If you have money burning a hole in your pocket look at the weakest link in the chain which is usually the cartridge/tonearm or the speakers. Adding subs correctly will make a huge difference as will up grading your speakers. In terms of electronics amplifiers make the biggest difference because they have to interact with the speakers which may or may not be easy depending on the speakers you have. If you can afford room control go for it. That will improve your imaging significantly.
Speakers? Full Range Apogees. Amps? Fully restored ARC D-250 MkII Servo for the midrange and treble ribbons, restored Krell KSA-100 direct-driving the bass ribbons. Signals split by a custom-built Apogee active crossover. The listening room was specially built in 1985, is 27' x 17' x 11' and was co-designed by me, my builder, and Leo Spiegel from Apogee. Lots of room treatment, too, including several ASC Tube Traps. The strategically placed SONEX has deteriorated and I'm looking into other available 3" thick treatment - at least 64 sq ft of it, which actually gets lost on those large walls - none on the wall behind the Apogees, however! I tried that - what a huge mistake THAT was. Interconnects are all MIT. The SP-11 never had sufficient gain for my Madrigal Carnegie 1's 0.28mV output. The tonearm is an Eminent Technology ET-2. The turntable is a SOTA Star Sapphire. I've always had to turn up the gain and level controls on the SP-11 to get a room-filling volume and then the background noise was too high for my tastes. Yes, I should have gotten a phono preamp of sufficient gain, but was hampered by the fact that my dealer (Golden Gramophone in Akron, Ohio) decided to close up shop about 15 years ago. I'm legally blind and haven't driven for over 25 years. Wow, why did I write this book? My apologies for rambling so. Yes, I've been proud of my room and audio gear, all of which I'm the original owner. 17 eye surgeries have occurred since the room was built and the room has literally saved my sanity. By the way, I'll be 70 in a month. ;^)
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