Upgrade phono stage?


Have an AudioNote M1 phono MM.  It still delivers great music!  I don't know if I should upgrade the phono stage part.  Purchase a stand alone phono stage and run it through the aux inputs?  

Gear, George Wright mono blocks 2a3 (set)
          Audio Note M1 phono MM
          Jager Speakers (Bottlehead)
          Rega P3
robertod2a3
Nice system. Have you rolled the tubes? A pair of Telefunkens will bring new life to the phono amp. Then the ECC82 line amp tube. Also try them without the shields on.
You could try a sale or return Schiit Mani phono from Amazon for $149 into the Aux input to get an idea of where you’re at.
Longer term, I’d be looking at upgrading your turntable though.
Thanks for your ideas.  I have tried rolling tubes, not so good luck.   NOS so expensive I tried new stock, big mistake. I will look at School Mani see where I stand. Definitely need to upgrade TT looking at Rega P6. Thanks again.
Your system sounds really nice.  Best upgrade path I would suggest is to switch to an MC cart.  Add SUT (like Bob's Devices) or active head-amp (like a Piccolo2).  Also try some tube dampers (even simple o-rings can make a difference).  
Thanks, I have thought about MC..but didn't want to change my system.  Your suggestions are an addition to my system sounds good, thanks again.
What's your cartridge?
exact MM cart.

@robertod2a3 I think you'd be better with another cartridge and your Audio Note phono stage. The exact cartridge offered by Rega (by default) to keep the price low. You can find much better MM or MI cartridge from respected cartridge manufacturer, Rega is not a cartridge manufacturer anyway. 

 



Thanks...what carts MM would you recommend for my rega plannar 3?
Nagaoka. Pick one. Any one.
Thanks...what carts MM would you recommend for my rega plannar 3?

I'm one of those audiogonners that prefer Vintage MM cartridges from the Golden Age Of Analog. I was a bit disappointed with very expensive modern LOMC cartridges (but i paid my dues to try them) and i discovered some old gold. Thanks to audiogon contributors, almost every MM/MI cartridges have been discussed on audiogon over the years. 10 years ago those forgotten MM cartridges were cheap, today they are not so cheap anymore (this is the only problem), some people use audiogon as a guide to the world of vintage MM and MI. 

Personally i'm a big fan of Stanton and Pickering cartridges, but they made so many models, i don't want to talk about entry level models, i'd like to mention about 3 models from the top for each brand. If it's Stanton then 881, 980 and 981. My favorite, however, is Stanton CS-100 WOS (collector's series 100). If it's Pickering then XSV-3000, 4500, 7500. Those cartridges with Stereohedron and Stereohedron II diamonds are real killers! Mr.Stanton bought the company from Mr.Pickering. Both passed away long time ago, but Mr.Stanton sold his company when he retired. There is nothing interesting coming from Stanton under new ownership, only cheap professional cartridges. But in the 70's/80's Stanton designed some amazing cartridges, only MM and MI. You can use them on your tonearm, they are normally no more than 30cu @10Hz, some models have lower compliance. 

More very interesting cartridges coming from Japan:

Victor (overseas branded JVC) models like Victor X-1IIe and X-1II, those cartridges are mid compliance and perfect for the arm you have. They have very strong reputation, search audiogon and you will find why. 

Audio-Technica is also great cartridges with many unique features, the AT-ML 150, 170 and 180 is what i like a lot, but the top models like AT-ML180 are very expensive today (and very rare). 

Grace is very popular, my personal choice is hard to find LEVEL II and F14, but more affordable is F-9 and almost everyone is happy with it, depends on the stylus profile. 

There are more unknown cartridges that i like, but i don't think you will find anything about them online. 



  



Thanks for your response, it is very interesting reading.  What kind of costs are we talking about for the Stanton and Pickering cartridges.  I'm thinking of upgrading my TT to a new Rega P6 and add one of the above mentioned cartridges.
Thanks
Based on my experience Stanton/Pickering starts from $350 for models like 881s or XSV3000 and goes up to $700+ for top of the line models like 981 or 7500 nowadays. It is interesting that apart from traditional high output MM (about 3.2 mV) there are low impedance and low output (0.06 mV) MM versions. The low impedance versions can be used only with MC phono stages or MC Headamp (or very high gain phono stages).

When you’re looking for Stanton (or Pickering) make sure it is not the low impedance "LZS" low output version, this version is not compatible with your MM phono stage.

Send me PM and i will email you another interesting review by B.V. Pisha (same critic who reviewed top of the line Technics cartridges).

P.S. Mr. Fremer interviewed Mr. Pickering and uploaded audiofile, it was very interesting for me to hear the voice of the genius. I hope you can google it. It was his last interview and he was over 90 y.o.. He said he wasn’t happy that he sold the company to Stanton who was his plant manager before.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge on cartridges.
Chakster, Buried somewhere I still have one of my old Stanton 681EE cartridges brush and all. In it's day it was a great cartridge (brush removed) In no way is it a match for something like the Ortofon 2M Black never mind the Clearaudio MM cartridges or the current crop of Audio Technica cartridges. Some things are better left in the past.
Chakster, u have any MM you would like to part with?  I've looked at a few stand alone phono stages, Decware and Bottlehead....
Thank goodness I spoke for his Audio Technica ML150 OCC. 
Chakster, when I asked part with, I was willing to purchase. NVM, I found a couple for sale.  should get them this weekend.  Thanks.
@mijostin

Buried somewhere I still have one of my old Stanton 681EE cartridges brush and all. In it’s day it was a great cartridge (brush removed) In no way is it a match for something like the Ortofon 2M Black never mind the Clearaudio MM cartridges or the current crop of Audio Technica cartridges.

Let me show you something: Vintage Stanton Catalog for nearly all models, except my favorite Signature Model (Collector’s Series 100) released later on.

As you can see there is 681 series, then 881 series and on top there is 980-981 series.

You’re referring to entry-level model, which is also good, but not the best at all, your "E" does not even have Stereohedron stylus which is the key to the magic of Stanton/Pickering sweet sound (like a master tape). This is one of the best profiles in the history. It’s not Elliptical, it’s LINE CONTACT type with expanded contact area.

If you want to try Stanton or Pickering find Stanton 981 or Pickering 75000, those cartridges are High-End and highly regarded on audiogon by many owners.

ClearAudio MM generator is nothing but a cheap Audio-Technica generator, it’s been said years ago in MM thread on audiogon. That German company is not a cartridge manufacturer, they use parts from AT. But ClearAudio is expensive!

The Audio-Technica is nice company, their carts are reasonably priced.




@robertod2a3

Chakster, u have any MM you would like to part with?

Since i’ve been buying’ every "cartridge of the month" mentioned in old MM thread on audiogon i ended up with some serious stuff in multiple samples (like many of us on here). Many NOS samples not even opened yet. Some working horses (MM) are always in use in comparison with LOMC on my two Luxman PD-444 with 4 different tonearms. If you need help PM me.



@samzx12


Thank goodness I spoke for his Audio Technica ML150 OCC.


Let us know what you think when you will get one