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Old 6th March 2016, 09:46 AM   #1
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Default Phono preamp recommendations wanted

I'd like to build a phono preamp to significantly better the Rotel RQ970BX which I have had for many years. I want it to only be MM compatible and also solid state. Ideally it would be in kit form but as a minimum available as an unpopulated pcb. Is there an acknowledged leader, or leaders, in this field?
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Old 6th March 2016, 02:43 PM   #2
mjf is offline mjf  Austria
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hello.
what is inside the rotel 970, an opamp phonopre or one with transistors?

did you have a look at passlabs....... pearl phono......?
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Old 6th March 2016, 02:58 PM   #3
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According to this Burson Audio – Rotel RQ-970BX phono preamp mod with Burson Supreme Op-amps it has NE5534A

I will take a look at the Passlabs Pearl, thanks.

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hello.
what is inside the rotel 970, an opamp phonopre or one with transistors?

did you have a look at passlabs....... pearl phono......?
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Old 6th March 2016, 03:01 PM   #4
djoffe is offline djoffe  United States
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This kit is the phono preamp section of the Akitika PR-101 preamp. You can buy it separately, and pair it with a +/-12V regulated supply.

Phono Preamp
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Old 6th March 2016, 03:32 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djoffe View Post
This kit is the phono preamp section of the Akitika PR-101 preamp. You can buy it separately, and pair it with a +/-12V regulated supply.

Phono Preamp
That does look very tempting! Thanks for the link, I will look further. I could easily use my existing Rotel box and PSU I guess but will it be a lot better sounding?
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Old 6th March 2016, 03:37 PM   #6
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by delapoer View Post
That does look very tempting! Thanks for the link, I will look further. I could easily use my existing Rotel box and PSU I guess but will it be a lot better sounding?
Probably not significantly different- Rotel's phono stage is pretty decent, and likely Dan's is as well. For MM, the big neglected factor is cartridge loading. Get that right and you've got half the battle won.
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Old 6th March 2016, 04:05 PM   #7
djoffe is offline djoffe  United States
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The Akitika phono preamp has selectable cartridge loading. It also uses "electronic cooling", so the noise is quite low.
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Old 6th March 2016, 04:24 PM   #8
sreten is offline sreten  United Kingdom
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Hi,

Guessing something will be a lot better sounding - is simply guessing.

YMMV but IMHO any decent piece of amplifier kit is hard to significantly better.
Better is more usually better system matching, and that is very hard to predict.

The Rotel has a discrete LTP input driving an AD744 in the first stage
and that drives a NE5534 second stage. Service manual is here :
B&W Group North America Service & Support - Service Manuals

Replacing all signal, not power supply, electrolytic caps is an idea,
(but of course you could replace all of the electrolytics), upping the
values as modern electrolytic capacitors are smaller and much better
than the older types due to the advent of switching power supplies.

Panasonic types are well rated I understand.

rgds, sreten.

Last edited by sreten; 6th March 2016 at 04:32 PM.
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Old 6th March 2016, 04:58 PM   #9
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I knew that the Rotel was well thought of but I guessed there would be upgrades in sound quality by now. I had thought of replacing some components with more accurate ones.

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Originally Posted by SY View Post
Probably not significantly different- Rotel's phono stage is pretty decent, and likely Dan's is as well. For MM, the big neglected factor is cartridge loading. Get that right and you've got half the battle won.
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Old 6th March 2016, 05:01 PM   #10
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I had thought that, since the Rotel was a pretty modest price, there would be generally recognised better designs. Thanks for the link, I will study the diagram. I had also thought of replacing some components in the Rotel with more modern ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sreten View Post
Hi,

Guessing something will be a lot better sounding - is simply guessing.

YMMV but IMHO any decent piece of amplifier kit is hard to significantly better.
Better is more usually better system matching, and that is very hard to predict.

The Rotel has a discrete LTP input driving an AD744 in the first stage
and that drives a NE5534 second stage. Service manual is here :
B&W Group North America Service & Support - Service Manuals

Replacing all signal, not power supply, electrolytic caps is an idea,
(but of course you could replace all of the electrolytics), upping the
values as modern electrolytic capacitors are smaller and much better
than the older types due to the advent of switching power supplies.

Panasonic types are well rated I understand.

rgds, sreten.
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