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! 


D0f93b43 0e60 44a3 9a9f 68555e863a37amy_oneshanti
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.
How about this NAD 3125 integrated amp for $98.99 + $28.12 shipping from Maryland? Ebay seller is "filippie" with very good feedback and lots of electronic gear for sale.
Amy, all you need is a Parasound Hint 6. It is complete with a built in phono stage and everything you could possibly want in the future. You can read reviews on it. At $3000.00 it is a 180 watt per channel bargain.
I promise you will love it!
What I see mentioned twice is a concern about one thing outperforming another. Rest assured one thing will always outperform another.

Its true there’s a strong tendency to get the best results from a good balance rather than spending too much on one thing or having one component that is way better than another.

This is mostly true in the end however.

Along the way, which is where you seem to be, you shouldn’t shy away from buying one thing that is a lot better than everything else. Assuming of course you really love it. And will be doing the same with something else a year or so down the line. Then this is a great way to eventually have a really impressive system. While enjoying it all along the way.

I am one of those Herron fans. My opinion, the Herron phono stage is so good its one of a very few things you can say one and done. Its gonna outlast you. And if anything better comes along it will be so slightly better and for so much more you’ll merely smile smugly and congratulate yourself on your wisdom and go and look at something else.

That’s the kind of thing you want to be looking at. That’s what I do.

But you want to be flexible too. In your case, that receiver, doesn’t matter what it is, there are no good receivers. Period. They are all so bad that if you go looking for say an integrated amp it really doesn’t matter what you do, it will be a lot better. Then if instead of throwing a dart you actually do a little work and audition and find something really good like say Prima Luna well then that is gonna be night and day. That is gonna be like the Herron something to keep and enjoy and build a system around and never a second thought.

That’s what you want: Outperform. You want exactly what will be a lot better than what you have. So when you get done replacing all your underperfomers your whole system will be an outperformer.

Got it?