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  • SUT or FET

    Given the choice between a super-high-end SUT or a very low-noise, high-gain FET pre-preamp, what would you prefer for a very-low-output MC cartridge then going into an MM phono preamp with passive RIAA EQ? Thanks very much.
    Transrotor Rossini Turntable w/Jelco SA-750DB
    Audio Note Io Gold Cart. w/AN-S9 SUT
    Audio Note CDT-Four Transport/Woo WDS-1 DAC
    Ayre QX-5 Twenty Dig. Hub & 13” MacBook Pro w/Roon w/Melco N1A NAS
    AN OTO Phono SE Signature Int. Amp w/AN-E SEC Silver Speakers w/Murata Super Tweeters
    Purple J-Corder 1520 R2R and Nakamichi Dragon Cassette Deck
    PSAudio P10 AC Regen./Equi=Tech Bal. Transformer
    Harmonic Technology, Audio Note, Kondo Sound Labs, Stealth, AQ Cables
    Woo GES w/Sfax SR-507 Headphones

  • #2
    A SUT would be preferable, however you need two high quality phono ICs with a SUT setup. Please do not leave that out of the cost for different approaches. Also, when you run more than one IC, you run into the chance of picking up noise and/or adding unwanted coloration.

    The simplest approach would be to replace your phono preamp with a unit with built-in high levels of gain (>= 70db). The phono preamp with all of this built-in simplifies the issues of noise pickup and extra phono ICs.

    I have found that very LOMC cartridges are quite prone to picking up EM noise. In my case, I had to run the two phono ICs through conduit that was grounded to the phono ground. It can be considerably expensive trying to stomp out EM pickup. And very frustrating.

    Maybe you will be lucky but many people live with low level hum pickup. It doesn't have to be that way, even in the most EM prone environments.

    Ed
    Life is analog...digital is just samples thereof
    https://www.edsstuff.org

    Analog: Walnut VPI Prime TT, HRX Pulley + 3 Belt Drive + ADS Speed Ctrl, 3D Dual Pivot Assy, Tru Lift, HW-40 Feet
    Analog 2: Ortofon Windfeld Ti + Bob's Devices VPI Sky 30 Stepup + Liberty Audio B2B-1 Phono Preamp, Stereo Squares Dust Cover, Wayne's Audio Peripheral Ring
    Analog Care: VPI MW-1, Kirmuss KA-RC-1, Record Doctor V, Hunt EDA VI Brush, AQ Brush, Discwasher Record Care Kit
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    Wires: Kimber Hero ICs, Kimber 8TC Speaker Cables, AQ Leopard Phono IC, Pangea Silver USB Cables, StraightWire Expressivo ICs
    Power: Furman Elite 15 PFi

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Galileo View Post
      Given the choice between a super-high-end SUT or a very low-noise, high-gain FET pre-preamp, what would you prefer for a very-low-output MC cartridge then going into an MM phono preamp with passive RIAA EQ? Thanks very much.
      I would say SUT but there's a catch, you need to find the right one that matches your cartridge and sounds good too.

      david
      Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
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      • #4
        if tube phono stages are desired, SUTs are commonplace with LOMC carts and used to good effect. At the top of my head Doshi, Herron, Audible Illusions, Manley, ARC and VTL have tube-based phono stages that employ FETs in lieu of SUTs, I'm probably missing others. I've lots of experience w/ LOMC carts going both ways (SUT vs non-SUT) with both tube and SS phono stages. There are no hard fast rules, like most things, it just depends...besides, there weren't many FET head amps produced. i owned the Klyne SK2a and Mark Levinson JC-1 (John Curl designed) and both noisier than a SUT solution. I believe Electrocompaniet still makes a FET based head amp but I have no experience with it. Music Reference offers one by special order, the RM4 utilizing 6DJ8 tubes that can achieve an astonishing 80+ db/sn ratio and 30 db of gain--IMO ts the best sounding of the lot between it, the klyne and Levinson.


        A great challenge of life: Knowing enough to think you are right, but not knowing enough to know when when you are wrong - Neil deGrasse Tyson

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        • #5
          I have an Electrocompaniet MCII Head amp from the 80's. Don't know if it uses FET or Bipolar transistors but looking at the board it has 11 transistors per channel. Mine is very quiet with freedom from any hum or hiss, one big advantage of this is it has sockets for resistors for adjusting gain and input z so its easy to match up with any MC cart.

          P,S. I use a voltage gain of 10 and an input Z of 270 ohms with a
          shelter 501 mk II Cart.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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          • #6
            Ive always gotten my best results with a SUT but, as mentioned above, matching is critical.
            SME 10/IV, Lyra Kleos, Koetsu Blavk Goldline, Cotter Mk. 2L sut, Naim cd 3.5 2/ flatcap 2, Audioengine D2 WiFi dac (for streaming from iMac desktop), Plinius Hautonga, Totem Forest Signature, MIT Shotgun S1 phono, S3 (cd player), SL3 (dac), MIT StyleLink Plus usb, Shotgun S1 speaker cable with AQ jumpers, RGPC Substation and1200S, Marigo Ultra and Reference power cords, Burson Soloist, Focal Elear with Silver Dragon wire or Hifiman HE560 with clone ZMF Universe sheepskin pads and Furutech/Mogami wire, VPI 16.5 and other miscellaneous and sundry widgets, thingamabobs and doodads.

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            • #7
              My only experience with SUT was a denon unit that was sensitive to picking up hum, my head amp doesn't have that problem.
              Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (St) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (St) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (St) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (M) , Luxman Tonearm (M) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (M) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-300 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

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              • #8
                The issue is that today you won't find a stand alone head amp to do what you want to do. I'm not saying they don't exist- but they are not part of the offerings you will normally find.

                The market has gone to separate RIAA stages and separate line stages. You can get separate SUTs but separate active head-amps might be vintage today.

                SUTs are easy- that is, they can be specified and wound quite easily by 3rd parties and they find themselves in equipment today because designing a really good active RIAA pre amp with enough gain and low noise is very difficult and expensive. A cheap SUT is easily installed.

                Good SUTs are difficult. Most of reasonably priced one's are dreck. Most people still don't understand reflected impedance and the gain matching you need for a good SUT in your system.

                Good active gain stages are even more difficult FET or otherwise ... IMO a "properly" designed active gain stage without any help from a SUT is preferable. Now an active gain stage is going to take just as much engineering effort as a quality SUT... .lots of engineering chops to do it correctly.

                Now this is my experience. YMMV and all that - finding a SUT will be easy as we have succumbed to it. A good fully active RIAA is tough deal to find.


                Front end: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
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                Amps: Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2
                Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
                Speakers: Quad ESL 57, Beveridge Model 3 DD amps, REL S/2 x 2
                Otari 5050BXII, DeHavilland 222

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