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MC phono preamp - which one?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm looking for a MC phono preamp for under $200. I was thinking of the Parasound PPH-100 Compact Phono Preamp. Anybody have any experience with the Parasound?
post #2 of 11
I noticed the Parasound supports high output MC only. This might not work with regular MC. If you have a phono preamp, you might want to get a MC step up transformer instead.
post #3 of 11
dvw is right, the Parasound is moving magnet or high-output moving coil only.

The least expensive Moving Coil pre-amp I know of is the Sumiko Pro-Ject Phono Box. It can be had for around $90, and isn't worth half of that, IMO. I'd offer to sell you mine, but I'd feel guilty taking money for it.

If you really want to get into moving coils, I think the entry level is something like the Creek OBH-9 ($249) or the Musical Fidelity X-LPS. I haven't heard either, so I can really make recommendations. I've got the MF X-LP2 dual mono phono amp, which is a nice basic phono amp that has MC gain, but is no longer made.

I think the advice to try a step-up transformer is good, if you already have a MM phono section, but I have no idea who makes them these days, or how much they cost.
post #4 of 11
I've just checked with An Ortofon step up transformer is $450 (wow, things are really getting expensive).

You might want to check on prices of an used one or go the preamp route.
post #5 of 11
$450?? Good grief! I've got an old Denon MC transformer that I use sometimes (if it's worth that much, it's going on sale NOW!). Something like that might be available on audiogon or ebay at a reasonable price. But once you get to that range, you're very close to something like the Lehmann Black Cube, at only three times the original price Acidtripwow was considering

Acidtripwow, I'd haunt the audiogon classifieds and see what turns up. However, low-output MC phono sections tend to be do most MC cartridges. Bear in mind that the Parasound is likely to sound fine with high-output MC, but so would any MM phono section.
post #6 of 11

Hirsch is right. I would just get MM instead. Also bear in mind that the stylus with MC is not replacable (only by factory).
post #7 of 11
Very hard question, most phono amps around $200 are sufficient for a cheap turntable. Question is, is that the performance you want? Headphones are not forgiving to distortion or lack of resolution in the phono chain.
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks, I didn't notice that about the Parasound. After looking at the specs of the Creek it's not much better. I have a mag somewhere with a comparison of 3 phono stages that I'll dig up and take a look at. $450 is more than I paid for the turntable so I don't think I'll go that high.
post #9 of 11

phono stage

Hi Acid....,

I've got the x-lps which I run with my x-psu. These turn up fairly often on ebay. I'm pretty happy with it for now. An alternative to the Parasound is the NAD which might be even a little less money and is readily available new and used.
I agree that it wouldn't make much sense to go as high as a used Cube (350?) unless you were planning a substantial turntable upgrade.

Some older preamps and integrateds have nice phono stages. I have an audio research sp-5 (for sale or trade!) whose phono stage sounds almost as good as the double Musical Fidelity setup on my rig.

Long live vinyl!
post #10 of 11
They are reasonably desireable on the used market, but are still found turning up pretty cheap. The NAD 7020 or 3020 Integrated amps.

They are the same, except that the 7020 has an AM/FM tuner in it. Otherwise, same amp, same phono stage, etc.

Anyway, the phono stage is quite high quality, and while I don't have a wonderful turntable, my cartidge is a reasonably fresh Grado black, which is at the bottom end of 'nice' cartidges. Anyway, the phono stage in my NAD 7020 is very nice, and is quite surprising for being a 20 year old integrated receiver. Also, the amp in it, while its only 20wpc, is nice too, and still puts out a very clean, warm sound.

Also, the headphone stage is pretty high quality too. You probably already have something better than it, but if you didn't already have a headphone amp, the NAD would be a step up from your usual afterthought headphone jack.

Anyway, something to think about, if you have the desire to go retro.

post #11 of 11

demos at

I just got (like everyone else, I suppose) the latest audioadvisor update. They have a few of demo Creeks in or near your price range!
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