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JohnNB's picture
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Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

I have an Thorens TD160 tt with a Logic Basic tonearm played through a Roksan Kandy amp and a Rega Mini Phono stage into Spendor SP1 speakers. I recently replaced an Orofon cartirdge with a Golding 2100. The Ortofon was lively and bright and I'm dissappointed with the dull sound of the Goldring. Can anyone advise if I should go for a different phono stage to liven up the sound from the cartridge, or should I replace the cartridge?

 

JohnNB

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

JohnNB wrote:

I have an Thorens TD160 tt with a Logic Basic tonearm played through a Roksan Kandy amp and a Rega Mini Phono stage into Spendor SP1 speakers. I recently replaced an Orofon cartirdge with a Golding 2100. The Ortofon was lively and bright and I'm dissappointed with the dull sound of the Goldring. Can anyone advise if I should go for a different phono stage to liven up the sound from the cartridge, or should I replace the cartridge?

 

JohnNB

Shouldn't feel the need for a outboard phono stage as the Kandys built-in one is pretty good. I presume you purchased the "Mini" from a high street/online Rega dealer, and I rather think this is a budget-influence buy. Certainly the Mini is a entry-level type of stage, so you'll need to hear what other stages/carts can do.

In this instance I'm deliberately avoiding names as this may colour your view of any potential upgrade.

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

plastic penguin wrote:

JohnNB wrote:

I have an Thorens TD160 tt with a Logic Basic tonearm played through a Roksan Kandy amp and a Rega Mini Phono stage into Spendor SP1 speakers. I recently replaced an Orofon cartirdge with a Golding 2100. The Ortofon was lively and bright and I'm dissappointed with the dull sound of the Goldring. Can anyone advise if I should go for a different phono stage to liven up the sound from the cartridge, or should I replace the cartridge?

 

JohnNB

Shouldn't feel the need for a outboard phono stage as the Kandys built-in one is pretty good. I presume you purchased the "Mini" from a high street/online Rega dealer, and I rather think this is a budget-influence buy. Certainly the Mini is a entry-level type of stage, so you'll need to hear what other stages/carts can do.

In this instance I'm deliberately avoiding names as this may colour your view of any potential upgrade.

I concur PP. Not too sure why the OP would want the Rega Mini as the inbuilt one in the Roksan is far better. You'd only need this if it didn't have an inbuilt phono stage or intended to go moving coil cartridge at some stage.

If a big change in the SQ is required then a change of cartridge is the only way to go. Try a Nagaoka. Smile

Also I'd like to know just how he is connecting that Rega Mini to the Roksan as this could be where the problem lies.

 

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

I bought the Rega Mini on the strength of the review, and on the principle that separate phono stages are generally better than in-built ones. The dealer also said that the Kandy's phono stage was good, but the Rega Mini sounds better to my ears. The sound staging is bigger and there's more detail. I'll try going direct into the Kandy again though in case I was willing the Mini to sound better!

 

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

Thanks All Ears

I think the Rega Mini sounds better than the Kandy's own phono stage, but I'll try again to see if I was being biased having made the purchase! I have the Rega Mini connected to the Kandy with an Atlas Element Inergra cable, which I use throughout my system. Do you think a different inter-connect would change the sound much, and if so, do you recommend anything? The only Nagoka in What Hi Fi is £500, which is a bit more than I had planned to spend, but if you think it would get a better sound from my Spendors I'll consider it.

JohnNB

 

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

Forget changing the cable, unless it has some gross anomoly, it is not going to change a dull cart to bright. I would suggest you ensure the goldring is set up properly, and tracking at the best vtf for your system. If it still sounds dull, then I would suggest that you have a preferance for the ortlfons brighter house sound. If that is the case then look at moving back to ortofon,maybe a bronze.

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

Sorry but just noticed an error in my original post. My tonearm is a Linn Basic (maybe you worked that out!)

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

is the Fono the £80 unit or the £200 unit?

I struggled to even find the difference between the £200 Fono and my old Elicit's in built phono, so really cant understand why you went this route.

Sell the Fono use the Roksan stage and buy yourself a Nagaoka cart, 3 to choose from MP110,150,200

 

Michell / Icon Audio / Kudos

 

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

Sell the Fono use the Roksan stage and buy yourself a Nagaoka cart, 3 to choose from MP110,150,200

 

Michell / Icon Audio / Kudos

 

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

Sorry, double post

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

I agree with the general thrust here, though the Rega is a great little unit. When I got mine the dealer said it was hard to beat until you spent nearer five hundred GBP on a pre preamp. But it does seem to be nedless here.

The snag these days is in auditioning pickups. I date from a time when you could audition several, even if compromising by using removeable head shells. I used Duals and SMEs.  I remember Nagaokas too, though have no experience of current models. Worth checking before going for another change, that the new cart is properly aligned and set.  And I vaguely recall that Goldring series is made by Nagaoka, but will need to check that out fully.

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

Hi Steve,

I have the £80 Fono. Since getting advice that the Kandy's phono stage is good I've plugged the tt straight into the amp. I'll spend a few days listening then switch back to the Fono to compare.  Must admit though that there was no discernable difference in sound initially. I'll keep you posted.

JohnNB

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

The Goldring was set up by a professional, so I assume it's set up correctly. I'm trying the Kandy's phono stage at the moment. I'm not convinced now that the Rga Fono sounds better like I initially thought, but will compare them again. People seem to be advising against using an external phono stage, which surprises me as I thought it was better to separate the phono stage from the amp. The Nagaoka cartridge seems to have a lot of fans, so maybe I'll wait till the stylus in the Goldring needs replacing then audition (if possible) a Nagaoka. I was also under the impression that better quality cartridges were MC, but looking at the prices I notice that there are some expensive MM cartridges also. Any thoughts on this and what the pros and cons are of MC against MM?

JohnNB

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

JohnNB wrote:
Any thoughts on this and what the pros and cons are of MC against MM?

JohnNB

Good question Smile

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

That's an easy one: turntable.

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RE: Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

nima wrote:

Upgrade Cartridge or Phono Stage?

That's an easy one: turntable.

I am glad you said that, as I was thinking the same. And definitely if going the MC route in the future!

Krell CD and amp, Michell/Rega/Grado record player, Hitachi and Sony tuners, Nakamichi cassette, SBT streamer, Sonus faber spkrs.  

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