Finding my way home (The 2020 Analog upgrade plan)

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
So as The 2019 plan is almost complete, I find myself thinking about the next phase. It is kind of daunting and to be honest. I have no idea where to begin. Even though I do not intend to start the plan until next year. It is not a small undertaking and due to what I estimate to be the cost, I really don’t want to make costly mistakes.

I have achieved a great amount of success with my system up to this point. I have achieved a level of sound reproduction that I have only heard in other systems. I have reached my mountain top. My CD and Digital playback is at a very high level. While I can see the next rung, I don’t necessarily feel the need to reach for it yet. This is completely foreign to me and I admit that I love it! But there is just one part of my system that has fallen behind.

My Vinyl playback has fallen behind. Admittedly my weakest area of audio. I grew up with CD’s and cassette tapes. I missed the Vinyl heydays and so never really appreciated it much for home stereo enjoyment. My introduction to Vinyl was aspiring to become a DJ. And my first deck(s) where a pair of used Technics 1200’s Mk II’s in a cart case with a mixer.

House and early Hip Hop where my thing. Free style music too! Played house parties and eventually graduated to bars, lounges and small clubs. Made it to the bigger clubs as a side room DJ playing the main room between sets for bigger names DJs. Loved those gigs and loved the energy and the crowd. But most of all, I loved the the craft of a good clean mix. But those days are behind me now.

So being an enthusiastic participant in the Vinyl renaissance, I want to elevate my Vinyl playback system to align with the rest of my system. While my last set up was decent, it just didn’t measure up. So I decided to scrap it and start over. The only component that remains are a few carts and my enhanced Lounge Audio LCR Mk. III and Copla MC head amp. I am still mulling over selling the last remaining items for a clean start.

The Lounge stack is quite good and I really appreciate what it does. I have a backup table that I will use for now or I have a line on a decent Japanese market Direct Drive Kenwood. But this will be a placeholder while I formulate my plan. Can’t be completely without now can I?

If you have stayed with my ramble this long. Thanks. I will be picking your collective brains for ideas and thoughts while I ponder the next move.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
So. I have been thinking about what I want and where I want to go. Basically, I would like to end up with 2 tables. One belt drive and one Direct drive. I may not get both in the same year. I only have so much money to shovel into this furnace of a hobby.

Being that I know I want to run 2 tables, I am also committed to getting a Phono pre with at least 2 inputs. This is why as much as I love the Lounge stack, I know it can’t stay. I do not want to have two Phono pre’s unless one is a back up. I have narrowed down the choices to three.

1. Gold Note Audio PH-10 and PSU-10.
2. Cyrus Audio Phono Signature and PSX-R2
3. Luxman EQ-500

Each one of these choices meet my criteria and are well regarded. They are all more expensive than any Phono Pre I have ever owned. Heck. The Luxman if bought new would be higher in cost than some amps and pre amps that I own. It is a wish list item for sure. But I include it because it’s good to dream and aspire. The Gold note is achievable. The Cyrus is a little bit of a stretch but still feasible.

Anyone have any experience with any of these?
 
Two inputs? Why not just build an input switcher with two dpdt switches (or a single 4pdt)? It could live in a small box in the back of the phono unit. Or get fancy and use latching relays and a pushbutton on a wire running up to the front of things.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
I had my tech add a secnd input to the back of one of my phono pre-amps, but there was room for it and it isn't an incredibly expensive unit in terms of resale value. Works like a charm, though.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
Two inputs? Why not just build an input switcher with two dpdt switches (or a single 4pdt)? It could live in a small box in the back of the phono unit. Or get fancy and use latching relays and a pushbutton on a wire running up to the front of things.
That would require me to have the skills to accomplish that. Also, I didn’t even know that could be an option to be honest. It really didn’t occur to me to ask Robert Morin if he could add an input.....Something to ponder. I will say that if the goal is to surpass the Lounge Stack, why not add the multiple inputs as a requirement? An email will be going out to the folks at Lounge.
 
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fiddlefye

Senior Member
That would require me to have the skills to accomplish that. Also, I didn’t even know that could be an option to be honest. It really didn’t occur to me to ask Mark Morin if he could add an input.....Something to ponder. I will say that if the goal is to surpass the Lounge Stack, why not add the multiple inputs as a requirement? An email will be going out to the folks at Lounge.
We just added a second input with duplicated resistor ladder and a really high quality switch. I've since added a second phono pre, but I think I'll end up with the two arms on one table and a second table dedicated to mono so its all good.

In looking at DD drives are you thinking about the used market or new? I can certainly recommend a Denon DP-80 in the used category - mine has delicacy, drive and meat-on-the-bones all in equal measure. Every time I put a record on I am amazed at what it does and what is doesn't do. From what I gather most of the big companies produced something in the same general level.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
So far the only consideration has been a Yamaha 2000GT. I can’t for personal reasons do a Technics SP-10.

I really need to post about the silly way that I was robbed of my beloved SP-10MkII. But I just can’t right now.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
So far the only consideration has been a Yamaha 2000GT. I can’t for personal reasons do a Technics SP-10.

I really need to post about the silly way that I was robbed of my beloved SP-10MkII. But I just can’t right now.
I don't like the sound of that pain, not at all. I've never had anyone mess with me in terms of audio gear. Other things, yes, audio no. The 2000GT is supposed to be a marvelous system table. I'm more into the separate drive/plinth/arm idea, but that is the direction I've gone.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
I don't like the sound of that pain, not at all. I've never had anyone mess with me in terms of audio gear. Other things, yes, audio no. The 2000GT is supposed to be a marvelous system table. I'm more into the separate drive/plinth/arm idea, but that is the direction I've gone.
Hence why ultimately, I would love to have two tables. Each a different but equally satisfying path to my destination. If money where not a limitation. I could easily see myself with say a Palmer 2.5 LP and a Technics SP-1000R.
 

fiddlefye

Senior Member
Hence why ultimately, I would love to have two tables. Each a different but equally satisfying path to my destination. If money where not a limitation. I could easily see myself with say a Palmer 2.5 LP and a Technics SP-1000R.
I just had a look at the Palmer. Interesting beast I'd not encountered before. The new line of Technics would be (to me) the obvious choice if one wants a new DD... and could afford one. I've not had the pleasure of hearing one, but have done some reading and there are some interesting parallels technically do the DP-80, far more than with the previous SP-10 series.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
I had thought hard about the GT-2000, but they had gone up so dramatically in cost, that it didn't seem a reasonable risk anymore. And God knows what the shipping folks might do to it. And I'm sure there are at least a couple of unobtainable parts in it just waiting to crap out on me. That's how my luck goes anyway.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
I had thought hard about the GT-2000, but they had gone up so dramatically in cost, that it didn't seem a reasonable risk anymore. And God knows what the shipping folks might do to it. And I'm sure there are at least a couple of unobtainable parts in it just waiting to crap out on me. That's how my luck goes anyway.
All concerns that I share. There are parts available and they are still quite popular and loved in Japan. I have to really think it through though. There are definitely many risks involved should I proceed with this option. Of course I could pay an even higher premium and go through Hifido. There packing is legendary.
 

Prime Minister

Site Owner
Staff member
Back to your original post, I've probably got about 20 hours of listening time into a Luxman EQ-500. It's not only beautiful, it's just wonderful sounding. Most of the time it was being driven by a Transfiguration Proteus, and it a marriage made in heaven. I'm out of the phono preamp hunt since I got the ASR, but if I was looking for that one final phono preamp, that would certainly do it.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
Is there something about your Sapphire that keeps you from considering moving up the Sota Line?
Not at all. A nova or Cosmos is definitely a contender. As a matter of fact, I originally toyed with upgrading my Sota. But the costs can quickly add up if you are not careful or I would end up trading in the original towards a newer model. I offered it up for sale instead because I really wanted to pass it along to someone who wanted to upgrade from where they were in the journey. To that end I was successful and the Sota is going to a well deserved new home. The New Sotas while similar in appearance are radically changed with very interesting and well thought out engineering. Definitely a contender.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
One of the biggest revelations and perhaps most daunting challenges is the cost of it all. I have built my system piece meal one step at a time. But it has cost me. Nothing has been a score or a fluke. I wish I could say that it was one of those deals you read about where you found a Super car in a barn for the price of a Corolla. But that has not been my luck or experience.

Every step and misstep has cost me. I expect this endeavor to be no different. That’s why It gets the full plan treatment and why I am beginning so early on it. Things will be sold and sacrifices will be made to get there. The ends must justify the means. This is all I will day about this part of the hobby for me.

The Luxman is my end point. If I get it, it will be with the knowledge that unless my lifestyle changed significantly for the better, this is where I put my Phono pre hat. But what a place to land. Having heard a few systems at shows and one home system has convinced me that it is one of the finest phono stages on the market. I Am smitten by it.

The Cyrus intrigued me because of all the technology involved. The British Hi-Fi press rave about it. But I fear that there is not robust support for it here in the states.

The Gold Note is a mystery to me. But if the sound is anything close to the build quality, I am willing to give it a try. The case work is down right stunning in appearance. It also meets my criteria and comes in at a lower cost than the other two options.
 

airdronian

Junior Member
The Gold Note I have seen but not tried. It apparently has a boatload of settings available, and can be updated via firmware.

At the beginning of March they announced Rutherford Audio as the US distributor, who displayed some of the line @ Axpona.
 

S0und Dragon

Junior Member
A question for the haven. Am I even correct in looking for a Phono pre first? Or should one of the tables be the first purchase? Being that I have a decent phono stage and a choice of mediocre tables, I just don’t know where to start.....
 

GuyK

Junior Member
I'm more of an opportunist. If I were in this position, if either piece you are considering came up, I'd grab it and use it, and wait for the other piece to present itself.
 
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