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Phono Stage advice?

Hi All

I have just got a new phono stage which is a Croft RIAA. Overall i am happy with it, the bass and midrange is such an improvement over the Rega fono mini i was using but the treble seems to be rolled off compared to the Rega therefore has less detail, cymbals and hi hats etc are now less audible. I can turn the treble up a bit on the amp which balances up the sound nicely but i was just wondering is that just characteristics of a valve phono stage and i just live with it or is there anything i can do to improve it? 

I know it is quite new so maybe needs a bit of running in. If there is anyone can help or has knowledge on this i would be very grateful for your input. If i could just get the treble detail of the fono the sound would be just about perfect. 

Thanks in advance

Ed 

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

edplaysdrums42 wrote:

 I can turn the treble up a bit on the amp which balances up the sound nicely but i was just wondering is that just characteristics of a valve phono stage 

 

Hi Ed. Nope to the above quote. Just like owt else, (amps,speakers whathaveyou), valve phonos can be voiced any which way.

Im guessing that this was a blind buy or you didnt do any back to back demming ?.

If you find yourself still lusting for the 'treble detail' after a while then mibbe a cart change should be the order of the day. Or is it poss to do an exchange ?.

However, i would give it a while for your lugs to get used to the different presentation.

 

 

 

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

 

Hi Ed, I have the croft integrated, as Floyd has intimated, thats how they are, as I wanted a warmer sound, it suites me, but I do remember being aware when I first got it that the cymbals etc., were 'recessed', as I say, I prefer it that way.  However, I would not say less detailed, just where they should be in IMHO towards the back of the sound stage as part of the whole. Don’t forget, Glen voices his amps to his liking, he is that type of guy, it’s this individual approach that I like, he does not bow to commercial and modern presures, my personal view of course.

There is no doubt the Croft did 'run in' over 40 or 50 hours, in fact I would say it is still getting better, the roundness of the sound has improved over time, especially at the base end with more detail and perceived extension, these improvements are subtle after 15 months regular, at least 2/3hr daily use, I notice the changes most when things go 'off' . . . Like the other week, a floor spike came loose, not grounding properly. The sound was obviously compromised, tracked down the problem, fixed it, sat back and appreciated just how enjoyable and involving the system has become . . . In this instance, putting it down to the amp, cable, speaker combination . . . as I was listening to Spotify at the time.

CJSF

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

CJSF wrote:

 Don’t forget, Glen voices his amps to his liking, he is that type of guy, it’s this individual approach that I like, he does not bow to commercial and modern presures, my personal view of course.

Good and valid point CJ. IIRC Glenn is quite fond of Decca carts, nuff said.

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

Hi Fella's 

Thanks for your responses, much appreciated. I spoke to my dealer about it today and he was surprised at my findings. I am sure that i still need to get used to the different presentation and let it run in. Because of where my TT is i have a 5 meter interconnect from the output to the amp, this may be a factor. My friendly dealer is going to contact Glenn croft regarding this and how how suitable my amp will be with it. 

Thanks again

Ed.  Smile

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

Cool regs your dealer Ed. I was going to suggest that you gave Glenn a call yourself tbh. After i while i suspect that the next time you listen to a SS phono you will think "bloody hell thats a bit forward/bright sounding". 

Theres a chance that your phono isnt all that happy with your cart byraway , mibbe mention what you are using to your dealer. Although if he is worth his salt he should have asked you that anyways. Smile

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

Hi Ed,  Certainly my intigrated became more detailed and smooth over the initial 40-50hrs., run in period . . . and as I say, getting better with age, IMHO.

In my previous life I used 4/5m interconects from pre to power, however that was EAR kit including the EAR 'HEAD mc transformer' . . . so maybe thats not like for like?

CJSF

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

Might I ask how you are connecting the Croft into the Luxman and why the need for the Croft?

Is the phono stage in the Luxman no good?

 

Motto: Never pay full price for anything, there is always room to haggle!

Tom Evans Audio Design amplification / Acoustic Zen speakers.

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

Alears wrote:

Might I ask how you are connecting the Croft into the Luxman and why the need for the Croft?

Is the phono stage in the Luxman no good?

Good question.......I am unable to get the TT anywhere near the amp because of limited space and young children at home so it is on top of sideboard type thing at about chest height with the phono stage next to it. I am running a 5m interconnect from the output of the Croft to the amp. 

The phono stage on the Luxman is pretty good but it sounds naff and picks up interference running a low level signal from the cart 5 meters to the amp, hence why i am using a seperate phono stage. 

Cheers, Ed

 

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

floyd droid wrote:

Theres a chance that your phono isnt all that happy with your cart byraway , mibbe mention what you are using to your dealer. Although if he is worth his salt he should have asked you that anyways. Smile

I have read that the 2M black is a good match with the Croft, its not something i have discussed with him though. I think thats something i will address in due course when funds allow. 

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

CJSF wrote:

Hi Ed,  Certainly my intigrated became more detailed and smooth over the initial 40-50hrs., run in period . . . and as I say, getting better with age, IMHO.

In my previous life I used 4/5m interconects from pre to power, however that was EAR kit including the EAR 'HEAD mc transformer' . . . so maybe thats not like for like?

CJSF

Hi CJ

Damn nice to hear from you again and thanks for your advice, i was hoping you would contribute regarding the Croft as you are a proud owner yourself. I'm certainly not panicking regarding the Croft, i'm sure i few tweeks here and there and and some time will sort things out. As you've said before i want to get the front end sorted as best i can. 

I'm still a little tempted to get a home dem of a Croft pre and power combo, I have heard many times that they go with Harbeth's well.

Cheers, Ed

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

edplaysdrums42 wrote:

Alears wrote:

Might I ask how you are connecting the Croft into the Luxman and why the need for the Croft?

Is the phono stage in the Luxman no good?

Good question.......I am unable to get the TT anywhere near the amp because of limited space and young children at home so it is on top of sideboard type thing at about chest height with the phono stage next to it. I am running a 5m interconnect from the output of the Croft to the amp. 

The phono stage on the Luxman is pretty good but it sounds naff and picks up interference running a low level signal from the cart 5 meters to the amp, hence why i am using a seperate phono stage. 

Cheers, Ed

 

I see. Long cable runs are never a good idea I feel (unless they are balanced XLR type).

Is there no chance you could employ a wall-mounted turntable shelf to get it closer to the amp? (Kid friendly and much better isolation for your Rega) Smile

 

Motto: Never pay full price for anything, there is always room to haggle!

Tom Evans Audio Design amplification / Acoustic Zen speakers.

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

edplaysdrums42 wrote:

Alears wrote:

Might I ask how you are connecting the Croft into the Luxman and why the need for the Croft?

Is the phono stage in the Luxman no good?

Good question.......I am unable to get the TT anywhere near the amp because of limited space and young children at home so it is on top of sideboard type thing at about chest height with the phono stage next to it. I am running a 5m interconnect from the output of the Croft to the amp. 

The phono stage on the Luxman is pretty good but it sounds naff and picks up interference running a low level signal from the cart 5 meters to the amp, hence why i am using a seperate phono stage. 

Cheers, Ed

 

Hi Ed, that 'sideboard type thing' worries me with a P3 . . . same situation I have with my P5. A problem with feedback in the early days, took a while for me to work out what the problem was, now sorted, but its only a fudge . . . very frustrating but rewarding in the end to beat the odds.

Do you get any 'muddy' feedback as you get the volume up loud! . . . say 50% of available volume control movement, at normal levels there is no 'apparent problem'?

If you are inclined, there are a few good tweaks that work, both on the TT and the way it is supported?

However, I'm about to go the whole hog and remove the sideboard cupboard from the equation? First job, find a suitable replacement, Hazel has never liked the current unit, so, its search the charity shops for an 'old sideboard type thingy' . . . or re model the existing unit? Then fashion a wall support for the TT, we have a hard wood coffee table that could be the sacrificial wood source.

CJSF

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RE: Phono Stage advice? RE: Phono Stage advice?

Alears wrote:

Is there no chance you could employ a wall-mounted turntable shelf to get it closer to the amp? (Kid friendly and much better isolation for your Rega) Smile

 

Good post Al. :clap: . Well worth the effort if at all poss Ed.

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

Alears wrote:

edplaysdrums42 wrote:

Alears wrote:

Might I ask how you are connecting the Croft into the Luxman and why the need for the Croft?

Is the phono stage in the Luxman no good?

Good question.......I am unable to get the TT anywhere near the amp because of limited space and young children at home so it is on top of sideboard type thing at about chest height with the phono stage next to it. I am running a 5m interconnect from the output of the Croft to the amp. 

The phono stage on the Luxman is pretty good but it sounds naff and picks up interference running a low level signal from the cart 5 meters to the amp, hence why i am using a seperate phono stage. 

Cheers, Ed

 

I see. Long cable runs are never a good idea I feel (unless they are balanced XLR type).

Is there no chance you could employ a wall-mounted turntable shelf to get it closer to the amp? (Kid friendly and much better isolation for your Rega) Smile

I've already thought of that and the only place i could put it would be just above the telly and it would look crap, i've tried running that one past the missus and it aint gonna happen. Unless i get a bigger house i haven't really got any other options. 

Thanks for your input though.

Cheers, Ed

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RE: Phono Stage advice?

Hi Ed,

I dont know what sort of arangement you have to suport your TT on your 'sideboard thingy' . . . however this is what I came up with after much tooing a frowing with different options and materials:

 

I used to have a granit slab, works well in other situations . . . as a TT interface, in this instance, it is pants! . . . The three mahogany support blocks are critical and need to be one at the front two at the back, the blocks are drilled and 6mm taped direct into the wood to take dumpy speaker type spikes, as isolation and leveling devices.  The best board is 'cheap chip board', chip board works better than MDF, I have tried both, the pic happens to be of my MDF board.  To break up standing waves in the board, I drilled 6 random 2" holes with a tank cutter in the middle area of the board.

The rosewood TT suport feet, £18 from eBay, are optional, their affect is subtle and the least obvious on sound quality, but they look nice . . .

This set up took me months of listening, thinking and trials to arrive at . . . however the benefits were worth the effort.  It is a fudge but it does work.

What support do you have Ed?

CJSF

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