Upgraditis


I'm sitting in the sweet spot...listening to one of the truly sublime albums of all time...composition, performance and production...Tea For The Tillerman.

Ortofon 2m Blue on a Rega RP3 with ttpsu, groovetracer ref, subplatter, assymeyrical counterweight, white belt.  Cambridge 651p phono stage.  Very happy with it all (subplatter made a phenomenal difference, btw)

just looking for for that bit of atmosphere I've heard in my favorite dealer's sound room.  So where can I find it? Go up to the 2m black?  Phono stage?  Acrylic platter?  Or is it elsewhere in the system?  Odyssey Candela and Khartago extreme into B&W CDM1 SE's. ..mid range audio quest wiring throughout. 

Any my input would be much appreciated.  This system is mighty close to where I'd want to go.  Modest by most standards here, but feels like an old favorite flannel shirt, ya know?
lwal22
Try a Lounge Audio phono stage, Might give you what you are missing for relatively small $$ after you sell the Cambridge..
ATB,
Mark

I agree with the phono stage advice. Based on your cartridge and components, you might want to try:

Jolida JD 9 Mk 2 ($700-$900)
Graham Slee  Gram Amp 2 ($400)
The EAR 834 (or anything by EAR, actually) ($600)

These should mate well with your MM cartridge.
I had the 2M Bronze and replaced it with the Black. Major upgrade. It would be much better than the Blue
Alan
Not an upgrade but more a different flavour and perhaps one of the best presentations available at great value. Try the Denon DL-110. It is used in Japanese broadcast for years. Not the last word in resolution but just a great balanced engaging sound that makes vinyl blossom to my ears.
I love my 2M Black.  It's a good bit of change for a MM though.  
To get the atmosphere it took me to getting the source right.  

And also some killer speaker wire from aq.
Good call, @joey_v : maybe try some good speaker wire or IC from Clear Day. Paul will allow you to try out the wires. They hold their own against Acoustic Zens.
I agree with an upgrade to the phono stage.  As nice as the Cambridge is, it's only a $200 phono stage.

I really like the phono stage below.  It's a tube unit that will definitely get you the atmosphere and ambiance you are looking for.  It's pretty well priced also.

http://www.musicalparadise.ca/store/index.php?route=product/product&path=66&product_id=68
Before doing any upgrades, you might want to try the less than obvious and get your room under control. After that, then concentrate on anything in the system that vibrates. Micro vibrations smear the sound. Here's some things that work:

1. http://highend-electronics.com/products/shakti-hallograph-1

2.  http://highend-electronics.com/products/synergistic-research-black-quantum-fuses

3. http://highend-electronics.com/products/sr-hft-high-frequency-transformer

4.  http://highend-electronics.com/products/synergistic-research-pht-phono-transducer

5.  http://www.originlive.com/turntable-belts-replacement-new.html

6.  If you have any tubes in the system, check these out:
http://herbiesaudiolab.net/rx.htm

These six tweaks will transform your existing system and take it way beyond your expectations. 

OP
As nice as the Cambridge is, it's only a $200 phono stage.

So...his entire system is budget...
So...his entire system is budget...

His system is far from "budget". His table with all the upgrades is pretty decent. He also has a nice preamp and amp. IMHO, a sweet little system that could definitely use a better phono stage.
thanks for all the good input... the consensus seems to be that the Cambridge is a weak point.  I'm going to see what I can find used around 400-500.
Room treatment is intriguing, though I think my room is fairly good as is. 15x 22 asymmetrical, slanted ceiling and effectively damped at 1st reflections.  Also diffused in the corners.  Balance of rug an hardwood.
Equipment well isolated on a good stand with flagstone shelf under the TT.

Wondering about AC power.  I have a dedicated 10 amp line to the system from my panel.  Does anyone have a thought on the effectiveness of improving power cords on a system at this level?

OP.. those are some pretty esoteric devices and a bit out of my budget in some cases. Maybe if my basic system were a bit more sophisticated...
I have the Herbie's platter mat, very effective. I'll give the tube dampers a shot too.  The Rega white belt does make a difference, albeit small.  Do you think OL belt goes further?


jmho i would look at room treatment ,i use gik they are very helpful.It has been one of the biggest sound changes on any system throughout my life.Next would be you phono stage,nice set up though 
good luck ...

To Mofimadness, have you heard the MP-1P  sold by Musical Paradise???. Their shipping cost is off the scale for such a small box. Also, $499 is hardly bargain basement.  The pre-amp interior circuits and wiring look clean, but who makes this product??

To varyat, Have you heard this Lounge Audio  phono pre-amp??  How good is it.??  
Also, do you get two drinks for the cover charge, and is their piano man??  
@sunnyjim, I own the Musical Paradise MP-1P and it is indeed and excellent unit for the money. The reason the shipping is so much is because it ships from Canada. A single LP shipped from Canada is $15, so the $60 price is about right. I’m sure these are made in China for Musical Paradise.  Some of the units are actually shipped from their factory in China, if not in stock.

It’s extremely well made with top quality parts and sounds wonderful.

I have also owned the Lounge Audio phono stage and can attest to it’s superb performance also. At $300, it’s a great buy.
At $300, the Lounge is a steal..
I purchased one for my son ( LP12/Naim Nait2, Linn Kans ) and we were very happy with it. Ended up buying another one as a gift for my nephew ( Rega RP3, Rega Brio,Wharfdale bookshelf ) - he loves it as well. This is a fun phono and punches well above its' asking price...
ATB,
Mark
While th thinking about an upgrade to the Cambridge, it occurred to me to try my old PSA 4.6 - just as a phono stage- feeding the Candela from the tape out.  
Very nice. And improving as it runs in, having been in a closet for a long time. 

Got to give it a a few days to settle in.   Still on the hunt for that budget stage that'll hit the sweet spot between warmth and detail.
The PS Audio 4.6 is a great little preamp with a very nice phono stage.  If you like the sound, save your money and just use it.
A tube phono just might be the cure for upgraditis. This one is $400 shipped!

http://parksaudiollc.com/budgiepreamp.html

To Mofi madness and varyat  thanks for the information. Unfortunately, the Lounge Audio phono pre-amp is only MM. I am not sure it could do high output  MC's like Sumiko BP-2 or Dynavector 10X5  But I will check with them. 

The Muiscal Paradise  phono- pre is too expensive with shipping  for my current analog needs   Cheers.