Was it louder in the store? you shouldnt have any trouble with volume running he Rega Fono into the Jolida as you are using a MM cartridge with plenty of output unless the Jolida input sensitivity is very low.
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Geoff, not sure if it's clear that the LOWER the input sensitivity number is, the more sensitive the amp is, and the higher the volume level that will result from a given input, at a given volume control setting. 600 mv presumably represents the input signal level that is required to drive the amp to its maximum power rating, **with the volume control turned up all the way.**
As you indicated, some integrated amps have rated sensitivities in the area of 1 volt or more. I would expect those to often have problems when used with phono sources, though, depending on the power rating of the amp and the sensitivity of the speakers. Many other integrateds are much more sensitive, down to 200 mv or even less. Keep in mind that separate power amps often have sensitivities in the area of 1 to 1.5 volts, and the line-stage preamps they would be used with often provide gains in the area of 10 to 20 db, corresponding to a voltage multiplication of 3 to 10 times.
Your cartridge has a rated nominal output of 4 mv. The phono stage provides a gain factor of 100 (corresponding to 40 db). So under the standard cartridge test conditions, which represent a high volume level in the recording, the integrated amp will see an input of 400 mv, less than what is required to drive the amp to full power with the volume control turned all the way up. Really loud volume peaks in some recordings will cause the cartridge to put out significantly more than 4 mv, so at those times you will be able to drive the amp to full power. But I don't think it is surprising that you generally have to set the volume control at or near the top of its range.
A follow-up to my previous post. A reasonable way of introducing additional gain into the system might be to insert a one-tube line stage between the phono stage and the integrated amp. The ASL Line One being an example. I had one in my system temporarily some years ago, and it seemed reasonably uncolored and neutral.
This assumes that utilizing the additional gain will not result in your amplifier being asked to supply more power than it is capable of. What speakers are you using?
Al thank you so much for your post. That helped a ton. I pretty much just dove into vinyl with no research or anything, so I didn't even think to look up things like input sensitivity. I will research some amps & line stages & see what would be a good fit. I've kind of been looking at new amps anyway :) Thanks again for your help! Btw, I'm using klipsch rf-52's.
Let's remember first that the further a volume pot is turned down, the less linear it is. If you can run the volume pot wide open, that is the closest that you can get to no volume pot at all. So no need to worry about running the volume pot at that top of its range.
The real problem is with the CD mandated output of 2V. They set this as a standard so that the CD would sound louder than other line level sources, such as tuners, tape decks, Elcasette decks, etc. And louder than most MM cartridges played into the standard phono gain of 40db. Why? Louder was better in the showroom. First generation CDs sounded pathetic, but it was one way to showcase "perfect sound forever".
What to do? Simple, turn up the volume, there is nothing wrong with your rig. Most rigs that have both CD replay and LP replay will have the CD sound louder, mine certainly does.
Viridian, I fully agree with your post. I believe the digital era is sacrificing music quality for volume. A great example is all of the digi pak remasters of great classic rock albums you'd see at Best Buy & such. I blindly bought a copy of the Police "Zenyatta Mondatta" because it was cheap. Sounded terrible.
But I grew up with CD's & I like my music loud, so there lies my issue. I love the life & dynamics in vinyl that you just cannot achieve listening to a cd or mp3. I would just enjoy it more at a louder volume.
Has anyone else experienced newer pressed vinyls seem quieter than new ones? I recently got some Mars Volta albums that seem really quiet compared to a lot of older stuff that I have.
I have to crank the level for LPs using a pretty standard output SS preamp (Kavent S-33) with a Cambridge 640P phono pre...balanced out into a Jolida 502P. That said, it's the same level adjustment difference as my SS power amp had and I mute when LPs finish anyway. I would worry if I ran out of knob (a highly technical term) on the preamp, but it's still clean. The Adventures of Knob Turner.
09-11-12: Geoffj85Looks like a good choice, in terms of the specs and based on this review. It should certainly resolve the volume issue. And your 96 db speakers should be able to reach sound pressure levels in the area of 105 to 110 db at typical listening distances, with 60 watts, so I don't think you'll be running out of amplifier power as a result of introducing the additional gain.
The JD9's provision of adjustable load capacitance should also be a useful feature, to optimize frequency response flatness in the treble region.