Replacing components, Please weigh in!


Hi Audiogoners! I’ve been a member here for a long time and lurked in the forums on and off over the years, but this is my first query here so hopefully you’ll go easy on me!

I want to improve the sound quality of my relatively modest stereo analog system. I have two components that I think are weak links in my system and I’d love to hear recommendations on replacement components that will complement what I already have (i.e., I don’t want to make new purchases that outperform the components I am satisfied with). 

Here’s what I’ve got:

  1. Project 2 Xperience — turntable
  2. Dynavector P-75 — phono pre
  3. Dynavector 17D3 — cartridge
  4. Meadowlark Audio Kestrel (first generation) — speakers
  5. Nakamichi RE10 — receiver
  6. Audioquest King Cobra & MIT cables

I think the weakest links in my chain are the Nakamichi RE10 receiver and the Dynavector p-75 phono preamp. Both these components have either a fan or an audible hum that annoy the heck out of me. I want a system that is QUIET. 

First Question — I’ve been seeing a lot of love here for the Herron VTPH-2A, Stanley Chinook, and Allnic H1202. My question is: I want to squeeze the most performance out of my speakers and cart as possible without overshooting — are these preamps going to outperform my speakers and turntable? If you think one of them is a good fit, which one do you think is the best for me?

Second Question — I get really overwhelmed reading about amps b/c I really don’t understand the technology and for me it’s like being an English major in a room full of engineers (I’m the former English major — Audiogon is the room full of engineers)! I am truly a low-information junior audiophile. Can anyone point me in the right direction for amps I should be looking at that will be a good fit for my Meadowlark Kestrels? 

I listen to mostly rock and pop from the 70’s and 80’s on clean, original vinyl. My room is 12.5’ wide x 18.5’ long, with a large archway to another room interrupting the long side (sad space, I know). Ceiling is 7’10”. Does this info help you weigh in? Maybe? 

Thanks for your thoughts, this junior audiophile appreciates them! 


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Hi Elizabeth, 
I didn’t include price because I honestly don’t know what price point is most in line with the components I want to keep. Let’s say no more than 5k for both components together. But will 5k worth of phono pre and integrated amp outperform the components I want to keep? What do you think?
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Keep the Dynavector phono stage. No need to replace it! Just add a ground wire from your turntable to it. This should. eliminate him! All turntables need to be grounded to the phono/preamp. Any old wire will do - no effect on sound quality!
Don't waste your money! Get a nice vintage NAD integrated amp, like a 3020 or later model. A few hundred dollars will do! NAD (and its cousin Proton) made some of the best sounding hi-fi gear. Competitive with today's four-figure stuff! I own both NAD and Proton gear! Superb sound for low, low cost! 
As an addition to the grounding SOME turntables need the motor grounding to the phono stage as well, my Nottingham TT I have to run two separate ground wires from it to the phono to make sure no ground loop hum.

Now I used to own and run a Dynavector P75 mk3 which was deathly quiet, never heard any hum from it at all so I might agree that you still have some type of ground loop somewhere.

You did not say which version of the P75 you have but I found it was a very fair phono with a lot of loading and gain options by way of internal jumpers.

However if you just also feel it is time for a change ( as a lot of us do after a while) then I can recommend the Manley Chinook which I have been enjoying for the past week now.

There are a LOT of great integrated amps out there to choose from, are you looking for new or used?

Ayre AX7E springs to mind, any of the Hegel integrateds are great bang for the buck and very solid performers. No phono in these but as at present your amp does not have a phono and you are used to a separate phono amp I figure that should not be an issue.

There are some great choices out there and it can be overwhelming indeed.