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Integrated amp by itself or integrated amp + pre-amp.

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greggydoom's picture
Joined: 18 Dec 2011
Posts: 6

Hi everyone,

I'm interested in getting a better sound out of my records at some point in the next few months and was planning on possibly getting a dedicated pre-amp. 

My setup is currently a Project RPM 1.3 (genie) with ortofon 2M red cartridge. My amp is an old rotel ra960bx (pretty good, but my next upgrade is going to be to a ra10 as my current amp has a dodgy left channel whish can cut out and distort, especially through the phono stage) and a pair of Monitor Audio bronze BX2's.

What I was wondering is whether the built in phono stage within an amp such as the Rotel RA10 (or other similarily priced amps) are decent enough at this level of hifi gear? Or would I notice a definate improvement if I was to spend lets say around £100 on a new pre-amp to add to the setup? Something like a Cambridge audio 651P.

Please excuse me if this seems obvious, I am relatively new to hifi and have tried to look for the answer through searching the forums and google but to no real result. 

Thanks for your help 


Al ears's picture
Joined: 23 Nov 2008
Posts: 2432
RE: Integrated amp by itself or integrated amp + pre-amp.


If you are going for the Rotel then forget about the CA 651P.

You will only really benefit from a pre-amp should you go down the moving coil route.

Your money would be better spent upgrading the cartridge itself.


Origin Live Aurora Gold+Illustrious Mk2 arm+Zyx R100-02/Stello CDT200+Stello DA220 dac/Tom Evans Groove Anniversary phono amp/Tom Evans Vibe preamp/Linear A power amp/Acoustic Zen Adagios/Chord cables/Oppo 105EU.

nopiano's picture
Joined: 15 Feb 2009
Posts: 1059
RE: Integrated amp by itself or integrated amp + pre-amp.

I agree with Alears.  The phono stage in the Rotel is quite good enough for your source.  Aim to improve the cartridge and turntable before worrying about the amp. It should do justice to a tt system up to around £1000.


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