Rega P5 line level low output...

Hi all.

I have a Rega P5 with Exact II cartridge. I have previously been running it into the phono input of my Denon AVR4806CI-MKII. From the beginning, I've noticed that I'm having to pay the records at significantly higher volume compared to any other input on the receiver.

A friend who has the Rega moving magnet preamp lent it to me, and while I can detect huge improvements in the sound quality, the input level is exactly the same.

That is: the receiver maxes out at 0dB volume. Below that, volume is represented in negative dB. Normally, I wind up within a range of -15 to -12 dB for other sources. The records, however, are always playing so softly that -6 dB is about the minimum playing level. And sometimes, I'm having to turn it up to max. That can't be good.

I have ordered a Bellari VP530 phono preamp and replaced its stock tube with a much better one. But they've not arrived yet.

And I'm using a different non-phono input with the Rega preamp. Don't really want to double up on the RIAA eq.

What I'm wondering is--is this sort of thing typical?

What can I do to increase the line-level input? Is it a cartridge thing? I'd rather not have ANOTHER piece of gear in the system.....

Thanks for any advice.


PS--Yes, I'm trying to do home theater and high-end analog at the same time. It's not an ideal situation. But the preamp signal from the Denon is running to a BAT VK-200 which drives my front two channels.
This is completely normal and of no consequence at all. Just turn up the volume. There is nothing you can really do to equalize the volume with the other sources, except perhaps putting attenuators in line with your other sources, which is going to have some other undesired effects. If you want to go this way, google "Rothwell attenuators". But really, I'd just live with it.

Actually turning it up to max might be very good. If your receiver has a conventional volume control pot that is motorized, the higher up it is turned, the more linear it becomes, until at maximum, it is almost completely out of the circuit and maximally linear. Remember a volume pot doesn't add gain, it can only throw away signal.

And another cartridge is not likely to help, as the output of the Rega cartridges is actally at the very high end of output voltage compared to most MM cartridges.
The 'reason' is way baack when the Cd was introduced, the powers that be decided to make the output of the Cd player MUCH bigger than the other formats at that time.
Most formats output a quarter to one half volt. The Cd was introduced with an output of two volts.
This has carried on through all the other digital formats.
So the FM and Cassette and TT are at a lower volume than Cd DVD DAC etc.

It was a bad idea. But it is what it is.
I agree with the other responders, but I think having the separate phone pre will help - you may find that the Bellari will boost the signal more than your built-in one does. I have a Bellari with my P5, and it works great - I have no volume difference between that and my CD player, though that could also be because the CD player is a Rega as well. The Bellaris work well with the Regas sound-wise, too. There are a whole lot of folks who have that combo.
Thank y'all for your responses.

I feel some better about this now.

I got the upgraded tube for the Bellari yesterday, a 12AX7 Telefunken Diamond Base.

The Bellari itself should arrive today.

I'll post updates after I've listened.
The problem is actually with Dennon receiver that has poor input dynamic characteristics and probably extreamly low input impedance. High line level output components may do much better job than even tube phonostage. I strongly suggest having for music a dedicated line preamp.

Can you tell precisely which introduced CD player(s) had 2V output.
I think the high resolution/quality models that came in mid-90's started having this kind of output level but not before.
Most of conventional consumer CD players have < 1V outputs

Yeah, I'm leaning that way. I'll have to figure out unity gain, since my current setup includes home theater as well.

But I've been thinking about BAT VK-3i with phono stage, or some such. (I think I recall one of those....)

If you get Vk-3i(super!), you won't need Bellari at all.
IMHO, the Bellari 530 is the worst possible choice in this situation. Why? Because the gain is the lowest of almost any available phono stage, at a paltry 30db. The standard gain for MM phono preamps is 40db, a full 10db greater.
The Exact 2 actually has one of the higher outputs you'll find out there. Other cartridges put out even less output than the Rega.
Says that in my first post in the thread....just read.