How do I know if my turntable has a pre-amp?
Mar 23, 2005 at 10:55 PM Thread Starter Post #1 of 18

skylark

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Hi; I am new here.
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I have a basic Technics turntable -- a Technics FG Servo, Model #SL-BD22 -- and need to know how to tell if it has a pre-amp. Can I look at it and determine that visually?

My old stereo receiver recently died. Now I am faced with the choice of fixing the old one, or buying a new stereo receiver: with or without purchasing a separate phono pre-amp. (Or buy an older style receiver that has a phono input.)

The choice would be much simpler if I knew if the turntable I currently own has or doesn't have a pre-amp.

Thanks in advance.
 
Mar 23, 2005 at 11:02 PM Post #2 of 18

Pappucho

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A preamp is just that, something that goes before amplification and offers some sort of attenuation (volume control). I don't know of any turntables that have a built in volume control. Usually your source (in this case your turntable) would plug into a volume adjusting device (preamp, integrated amplifier, or receiver) which has amplification (integrated amplifier, receiver) or doesn't (preamp then connected to an amplifier) before outputing to your speakers. You will need to find a suitable preamp with a phono line in. Most new main stream receivers do not.
 
Mar 24, 2005 at 12:28 AM Post #3 of 18

immtbiker

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Are you talking pre-amp...or phono stage? A phono stage's job is to take the signal and return it to RIAA standards. You will need a pre-amp or receiver that has a phono stage, or buy an additional component.
A phono stage does not have a volume control.

Here is a link on the specs for your TT. No pre-amp or phono stage built-in.

http://www.dealtime.com/xPF-Technics_SL_BD22
 
Mar 24, 2005 at 8:10 AM Post #4 of 18

skylark

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Thanks for your replies.
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Pappucho, thanks for the advice. Yes, I have noticed that the more modern receivers tend to lack phono inputs, unless they are either really pricey, or unless they are bare-bones basics. I imagine I'll be looking for one with newer technologies and buy a separate pre-amp.

immtbiker, from what you describe, I would want a pre-amp that includes a phono stage instead of getting a separate phono stage device. Thanks for the link to the info on my turntable, and for clarifying what a phono stage is.

I'm concerned with getting a quality pre-amp, and could use any advice on brands, etc. I don't know what I'm doing as I'm not very technical, but I saw one pre-amp for $40 and wonder about the distortion on something priced that low. All I need is a basic unit to get the job done; no frills and nothing spectacular, as the rest of my equipment is fairly basic. Any advice on what to buy would be appreciated.

As far as my equipment goes, I have:

* A Sony Trinitron TV, Model KV-27V55, with an S-Video In and composite video for Video 1, 2, and 3, and one pair of RCA L & R audio out;

* A Sony DVD player Model #DVP-NS315 with S-Video Out, component video out, and Digital Coaxial Out (PCM/DTS/Dolby Digital);

* A Sony VCR SLV-N900 with composite video and cable box control;

* A Scientific Atlanta DVR cable box model Explorer 8300 (for regular television sets, not high-definition ones) with an S-Video Out and digital audio out;

* A pair of Bose 401 speakers, 4 ohm;

* Technics turntable model SL-BD22.

* Tape deck but it's currently not hooked up.

* Stereo receiver: none.

* Pre-amp with phono stage: none.

I have only been using RCA cables, no S-Video. My speaker wire is 14-gauge, I believe.

I do not currently have the S-Video connected as I didn't start reading about stereo glossary terms until yesterday and didn't know it might improve my picture.

The other item I could use advice on is a stereo receiver that won't break the bank (under $300). I am looking at possibly the Onkyo TX-SR502; the specs are here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...I3PQR8RQULHFF1

If my equipment can't handle even a receiver of this type, however, it's better to know it now and I'll just buy a less expensive model with a phono-in.

Thank you.
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Mar 24, 2005 at 8:19 AM Post #5 of 18

PsychoZX

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skylark
I do not currently have the S-Video connected


You should fix that. You'll notice a big jump in quality.
 
Mar 24, 2005 at 3:21 PM Post #8 of 18

Nak Man

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Quote:

Originally Posted by skylark
I am looking at possibly the Onkyo TX-SR502; the specs are here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...I3PQR8RQULHFF1


This one doesn't have phono input, but you can add $40 phono preamp to use them. I can't imagine something inside current AVRs that will seriously outperform el cheapo phono stage.

I'd like to suggest older onkyo Dolby receivers (414, 515 ??) but I'm sure you'll miss 502's DTS feature more than phono input.
 
Mar 24, 2005 at 6:15 PM Post #9 of 18

lini

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skylark: You mentioned "stereo receiver" several times, but the one you quoted is a multichannel av receiver. So maybe you'd better look into the TX-8011/8211/8511 models - all of these come with a built-in phono stage (which should be good enough for your Technics,.at least as long as you don't upgrade to a much better cartridge...).

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini
 
Mar 24, 2005 at 6:53 PM Post #10 of 18

Nak Man

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Hi Lini, considering he listed Sony tv first and dvd second, big chance he meant to use avr. If not, I agree with you that those TXs would be a better solution in terms of phono stage.

Edit : ooops, I didn't see any center speaker. So you may be right.
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Mar 26, 2005 at 6:45 AM Post #12 of 18

skylark

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Thanks, everyone, for your replies.
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It sounds like I need two devices, one for powering my turntable and an AVR to take advantage of new technology. (a) Possibly two receivers; one vintage for the turntable and an AVR for my TV, DVD, digital cable box, Bose speakers. (b) Possibly one AVR and a pre-amp for the turntable.

PyschoZX, I will definitely do this, probably when I get my new receiver. I can go to Radio Shack and buy the cables and see what kind of result this yields now, before a new receiver is in the mix. I am interested to see how this will affect my picture since I use a fiberoptics cable box on an analog television. Being very new at all of this, I am hoping I will be able to see a visible difference. (i.e., perhaps I will gain a greater advantage from the cable box's digital channels than I am currently seeing.)

The Smokester, thanks for the recommendation for those two specific phono stages; however, they are definitely out of reach for my budget. I imagine I would be looking for something in the pre-amp/phono stage for under $100. I'd be curious to know what something in the $40-$50 range gets: whether (a) decent performance or (b) noticeable distortion.

joelongwood, I have considered what you have said, since there have been so many leaps in technology since I last acquired a receiver. Heck, my Technics receiver was given to me probably more than 20 years ago. I find the new AVR technology useful and desirable, if my equipment can handle it. Perhaps I could get something like the model you recommended strictly for use with my turntable. Or, if a $40 pre-amp will do the same type of basic, serviceable job, that would be fine with me. However, if I would notice a difference in sound quality between a $40 pre-amp and a vintage stereo receiver, I'd prefer to buy a vintage just to use for the turntable and then an AVR as my primary receiver to take advantage of new technology.

Nak_Man, now that my vintage receiver has failed and I have looked around, I admit I am very curious about all of the newer features, such as DTS. I've read about DTS in some online audio/video glossaries, and I'm hoping my older equipment might be able to take advantage of it and other technologies if powered by an AVR. (Also just FYI, I'm a "she," not a he.
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since probably more men than women frequent a board such as this.
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) You're correct in your intuition about what I tend to use the most: I watch more TV (sci-fi) and DVDs (Japanese anime) than listen to vinyl. I'm more likely to lean toward spending $ for a low-end AVR than a vintage model (unless I buy a vintage model in place of a pre-amp, but overall my turntable is of secondary concern). I don't have a proper surround-sound system; just a left and right speaker, but I suppose you could say I use my TV for the center speaker, and have no rear speakers. The Bose speakers I have are "direct reflecting," which doesn't mean much except part of them bounces off the wall, creating more bass. I don't have a separate subwoofer. If by an "el cheapo" phono stage you mean something like a $40 pre-amp, I'd be curious on opinions re: whether the quality of a pre-amp at that price range ranks as good -- for purposes of the turntable only -- as the older vintage Onkyos you mentioned, or any vintage anyone wants to compare it to).

lini, you're correct; I used the term stereo receiver, mostly because it's been so long since I've looked around that that was the only thing that was available last I checked! Thanks for clarifying. I'll check the models you mention as possibly an alternative to a pre-amp. I haven't upgraded to a better cartridge; it's the basic cartridge; I don't have the $. If I had the $ I'd spend it toward better TV pic/sound or better DVD pic/sound since I use those more.

immtbiker, thanks for the PM.

Since I grew up on vinyl and am accustomed to its anomalies, for my turntable solution, I don't need spectacular; just something that sounds good will do. Having grown up in the snap-crackle-pop era, I don't expect vinyl to sound perfect. However, having it sound great without breaking the bank would be nice. "Great" to me may mean something different than to someone who grew up in the digital era. Give me an old-fashioned equalizer (not necessary, but fun) built-in to a vintage stereo receiver and something I can crank a little without distortion and I'm happy. For the rest of my home entertainment solution, it sounds like a new AVR receiver would best suit my primary needs: watching TV and DVDs through my Bose speakers, and through my digital hard drive cable box. Live pause is a beautiful thing! I'm wondering if some AVRs have built-in equalizers, like some of the vintage stereo receivers used to. I'd love an equalizer that could work on all of my individual components, but I could always add that later.

Something else I thought of: if the speakers are connected to the AVR, would the vintage receiver handling the turntable need some sort of pass-through device for the speakers? As far as I know, a vintage receiver has no way to pass-through its signal to another receiver so that the vintage one could handle the turntable and let the AVR handle my one pair of speakers ... but I truly have no idea.

Budget: Ideally around $300 for the AVR, and if a $40 pre-amp would do the job, I'd be thrilled. Otherwise I'll spend a bit more on the pre-amp or get a separate, vintage receiver for the turntable.

Thanks, everyone, for making me feel at home here, even if I am not much of a audio technical person, I appreciate the friendly replies.
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Mar 26, 2005 at 7:28 AM Post #13 of 18

lini

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skylark: Oh, don't let us confuse and distract you (especially, when you're on a budget - Head-Fi will always come up with a lot of good suggestions to break that...
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), and no worries - there still are quite a few av receivers out there with integrated phono stages, though that feature is more and more phasing out... For example, you could look into the Yamaha RX-V750.

Greetings from Hannover!

Manfred / lini

P.S.: Speaking of good suggestions, replacing that stock cartridge with some Audio-Technica AT311EP or AT316EP should be a good idea, if you can dig up some US$ 50 - 70 for that purpose...
 
Mar 26, 2005 at 2:46 PM Post #15 of 18

cpw

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One of my employees just got a Sony AV receiver w/out phono stage and bought the batt pwrd stage from Radio Shack for his Technics TT. He's pretty happy w/ it. Don't get too hung up on a built in phono stage if you find a deal on a receiver you like.
CPW
 

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