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Newbie looking for opinions on phono amps

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Stefee View Drop Down
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    Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 8:28am
Hi all,
My current 2 channel system is as follows. 
Inspire Apollo T/T double plinth
Origin live Alliance arm
AT VM95ML cartridge
Project Phonobox SE/ Project Headbox SE
CA C500
CA P500 x 2
MA RS6

I am very pleased with the performance as the system exists for reproduction of my music choices (all genres except classical, reggae and hip hop).
My quest is, as always, is to improve detail retrieval and the overall musicality hence the following queries.
Could anyone advise if purchasing the basic GS phono amp will be an upgrade over the Project or would I have to go further up the food chain?
In your opinions would the presentation of the music change e.g. warmer, more clinical?
Any comments or opinions most warmly received. 
Stefan
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patientot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 11:01am
Hi Stefan,

I don't know where you are in the world, but if you are somewhere where you can take advantage of the loan program, I would recommend doing so. 

I haven't heard your specific phono preamp but I don't think it would be that tough to beat with a GSP unit. I would look into testing out the best model that you can afford in your home, with your system.

Re: bright/warm/etc. I would say my experience with the Reflex M is that it strives for "accurate" and high performance, not some sort of tuning the sound like you would with tone controls or a romantic sounding cartridge or set of speakers. Detail is much better than any other phono preamp I've used (I've been through a few) though it's not fake detail, if that make sense. You get what's on the record, and if your current unit has been masking anything, it will be revealed. 
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Stefee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stefee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 3:42pm
Hi Patientot,
Thanks for your reply and comments.
I am based in Hemel Hempstead UK and like the idea of trialling a unit.
I guess I am looking to maximise the ML cartridge which is quite a large step up from my old ones, so much more detail, separation and "feeling" to the vocals. Just listened to some Carpenters tracks and it was quite a revelation.
Will definitely look into the loan scheme but would be restricted to the entry level model for now. 
Stefan
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patientot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 5:26pm
I've not used the 95ML but I have been through several ML styli on a different AT cart. Agree that the ML shape pulls out an incredible amount of detail. One thing I would say is to consider the capacitance of your phono preamp with that cartridge. I don't know what the 95ML is like for this but many AT carts require very low capacitance to sound right. So when you choose a model to test, I would look for one that has 100pf rather than 200pf of input capacitance. 

It looks like the Graham Amp 2SE has 100pf but the Communicator is spec'd at 200pf. So you may want to consider testing the GA2SE rather than the Communicator, or maybe both simultaneously if it is possible. 

My 2 cents. I'm sure a loan coordinator for the UK will be able to help you out when you message them. 
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Stefee View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Stefee Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 6:07pm
Thanks for your knowledable input.
Will eventually trial a couple of units once I have replaced the damn dishwasher which greeted me with a small swimming pool when I got home. White goods trumps the HiFi unfortunately.
Regards
Stefan
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Fatmangolf Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 7:36pm
I've been in that situation myself Stefan and it made me think of the lyric "too busy with the washing of the dishes."
Jon

Open mind and ears, whilst owning GSP Genera, Accession, Elevator EXP, Solo ULDE, Proprius amps, Cusat50 cables, Lautus digital cable, Spatia cables and links, and a Majestic DAC.
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patientot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote patientot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11 Feb 2019 at 8:34pm
Originally posted by Stefee Stefee wrote:

Thanks for your knowledable input.
Will eventually trial a couple of units once I have replaced the damn dishwasher which greeted me with a small swimming pool when I got home. White goods trumps the HiFi unfortunately.
Regards
Stefan

Yikes! Good luck getting that fixed. Sounds like a huge PITA. 
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