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
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Why anyone would believe book cases, books, DVDs, LPs, CDs would be good for the sound is beyond me. No offense to anyone. The truth is that all of those things are bad for the sound, the more of them the worse the sound.

If it doesn’t make sense, it’s not true. - Judge Judy
cleeds, I was not aware that DC on the AC power line could cause a transformer to hum.  What would be the mechanism of that, I wonder?  In any case, even if DC is the cause, the end result is a hum caused by mechanical vibration of the transformer the energy of which is transmitted to the chassis resulting in its amplification to the point of being audible.  So, it is not necessary to search for an electrical grounding problem per se.
I did a very quick websearch.  Apparently there are products on the market that can block DC on the AC line.  One was made by PS Audio and is now discontinued, the "Humbuster III".  One other is still made by Emotiva.  I suppose that one transformer can be more sensitive to this phenomenon than another, because rarely does anyone with a multi-component system report that ALL his or her transformers have a mechanical hum.  For example, me.  Each monoblock in one of my systems has two massive power transformers, one for the input stage and the other for the output stage and tube filaments.  Only one of the total of 4 transformers has a faint mechanical hum, which is not audible at my listening position.  Yet both amplifiers, my phono stage, and my preamplifiers, turntables, etc, are supplied by the same dedicated AC line.  This has been going on for 20 years, at least. I've never measured DC offset.

There was a dissenting opinion stemming from a thread here on Audiogon Forums.  One guy claimed that DC on the AC does not cause hum but IS not a good thing, can cause the transformer to overheat. 

If DC is on your AC, it is probably coming from some contaminating source in your house. You can identify the source by closing circuit breakers until you find the circuit that is producing DC on the line. The hum will vanish when that breaker is thrown. This cannot be applicable to my system, because it runs on a single dedicated AC line. Nothing else is plugged into it.

Still, you don't NEED to have DC on your AC if you have transformer hum.  It can be simply a consequence of poor mechanical isolation or loose transformer laminations or loose coil, in the case of a toroid.

If DC is on your AC, it is probably coming from some contaminating source in your house ...
Oh no, it's almost always the utility that is the source. I'm not sure what leads you to think otherwise.