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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: What Is The Minimum for an "Acceptable" Phono Stage?
Post Subject: The "Least" ApproachPosted by Paul S on: 3/2/2013
Rowuk, we do not disagree about the "battery/dynamics" equation.  As you know, the "accepted notion" from the pundits is that "battery phono stages lack dynamics", and the one expensive unit I've heard did seem lethargic, albeit in a "salon".  However, I'm sure you noticed that I had the remark in quotes, since I, too, think this is only a matter of implementations and/or applications to date rather than any limitations inherent in battery power sources, per se.  Although I am skeptical about the particularly small battery driving Nagra's 9V unit, I know my own DAC works quite well with a "motorcycle" battery.  Even if one needs an extra 20 dB to scrub for RIAA correction (versus a DAC), it should be only a matter of more current, which should only mean a larger reservoir would do the trick, since batteries, generally speaking, are actually excellent at curent delivery.  In fact, they are pretty much the gold standard in this regard.

The only full-scale battery recording and playback I have been around was for filming, and for film sound.  Results from this stuff winds up on par with "plugged in" equipment, but I do not ass-u-me that these aplications translate straight across to high-demands hi-fi Music playback.  But, given the power demands of the "professional" battery powered equipment I've seen, a home phono stage should be a piece of cake, by comparison.

Just now, the only all-SS phono stage I know of that is really good is the stupidly "overbuilt" -  and definitely overpriced -  Boulder 2008.  And I have reasons to believe that even this unit was - ultimately - a "happy accident" for its creators.  But I am also aware that there has been a lot of trickle-down from ongoing R&D in "discrete circuitry", and op amps in general.  I think there might actually be advantages from using smaller, "discrete" components, and less power generally, for a phono stage; which is to say, use as little power as gets the job done, and design accordingly.  However, like I said before, I am leery about "working on" this stuff, so I hope it is already "out there", somewhere.

As for "technical superiority", IMO the only gauge for this is end results, and never mind the "Techno" or Steam Punk aesthetics.   For my purposes, audible and "use" results are then entered into the ultimate cost/benefit equation.  Not to mention that - ironically -  the "over-engineered" stuff is almost always critically flawed, to begin with.

Best regards,
Paul S

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