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I have the Senn 6xx paired with Little Dot MK IV SE pluged into an Audio Technica LP120 turntable (in bypass mode with it's built in phono amp bypassed) and as a phono amplification is more demanding than just amping a DAC, I can hear it moderately loud when the volume on the LD is on max (the LD is on x10 amplification config which is for higher impedence) - am I doing something wrong? can a phono pre-amp help getting a louder sound? is using DarkVoice 336SE (with better tubes of course) will be louder on high impedence headphones than LD without pre-amp?
I will appreciate any insight any of you might have...
If I understand correctly, you're bypassing the phono-amp.
Not amplifying the audio coming out of the turntable(bypassing the LP 120's phono-amp) is probably the issue. The phono-amp inside the LP 120 is designed to amplify the signal coming off the table before it heads to the speaker/headphone amp.
TURN DOWN the volume on the Dark Voice, turn on the phono-amp, and then inch the Dark Voice's volume pot up.
Not turning down the volume on the Dark Voice before turning on the phono-amp, could destroy your cans.
Hopefully this helps.
Thank you for your response - I may have not explained best the currrent configuration i have and my question - I am currently using a Little Dot MK IV SE not the DV, but the thing is that using the on-board phono-amp on the LP120 causes the sound to be REALY bad , therefore I am wondering if the DV (which some says has some more power with high impedence headphones) with upgraded tubes is better than buying another pre-amp to add in-between the Little Dot and the LP-120?
No sarcasm meant, but what kind of sound does the phono-amp make when turned on?
Is it like a buzzing that drowns out the sound of the music playing?
Thanks for responding.
It is not something like buzzing or humming it is just making it sound muddy and compressed like it does some sort of manipulation on the sound / filter it.
This is why the internet is full of people who take it out completely for this model (LP120).
So as I suspected it is a matter of amplification.
Therefore the question is whether changing from Little Dot to DarkVoice would have any effect on amping the sound more than the Little Dot, without adding another amplification device to the chain...
Got it. I figured it was an issue with your phono-stage.
Good luck and post your findings. I'd be interested in hearing what the end game solution was/is.
I would suggest investing in a phono pre over a different amp. By going with a good phono pre you can rest assured, knowing that your turntable will be producing a well amplified sound no matter what device it's attached to.
Got any suggestions regarding a good phono pre-amp?
I was considering:
U-Turn Pluto (MM Only) - 99$
Pro-Ject Phono Box E (MM Only) - 60$
Pro-Ject Phono Box DC (MM/MC) - 99$
Pro-Ject Phono Box S (MM Only) - 178$
Emotiva Audio XPS-1 (MM/MC) - 179$
Schiit Mani (MM/MC) - 129$
I am currently using MM cartridge Ortofon 2M Red, but getting a pre-amp that support both will not restrict my choices cartridge-wise.
Also, the Emotiva XPS-1 and the Schiit Mani are the most versatile and allows both MM and MC and also allows you to control the gain.
Hmm well it's tough to suggest but if you don't want to get to crazy in terms of budget then anything simple (from a reputable brand) should do the trick. If you're considering something to MC down the line then I would suggest increasing the budget so that it's on par with the quality of MC cartridge that you end up with (the road I went down). When I was in the process of inquiring about MM phono pre's though the guys at the shop were all basically saying not to stress about the difference between something that's 100 - 300, crazy variants in sound wont necessarily happen there, as long as it's not noisy you'll be fine. That being said Pro-Ject Phono Box S, Cambridge Audio CP1, are known to be good but you could easily get away with a Pro-Ject Phono Box MM and be just as happy until you're ready to invest towards a good MC setup.
Hopefully that's helpful.
As I understand MC needs much more amplification than MM and you cannot change the stylus, but its pros over the MM is that it is more sensitive and there is no wear or need for replacing it every 2-3 years.
But overall on most reliable sources it is suggested that a pre-amp that is solely designed for MM will be used with MM cartridge and a pre-amp that is solely desiged for MC will be used with MC, or going completly off the budget with a device that has circutry dedicated for each type and not some sort of combination.
By the way what pre-amp are you using with your MC currently and which MC cartridge did you get?
Im using the Denon DL-103R paired with the Lehmann Audio Black Cube. The Black Cube allows for MM as well so I had purchased it prior to picking up the 103R but definitely was a good investment imo on either setup.
So I did some more testing with the built-in preamp in the LP120 and found that the bad sound quality was the speakers fault - I did not test the built-in preamp with the 6xx as I it was really bad when i used the same config but with the speakers at the end (LP120 -> built-in preamp -> Little Dot -> Logitech Z323 (usually hooked to my computer and more of a "gaming" speakers than casual listening speakers)), so now I went back to testing it with the 6xx before purchasing another preamp and guess what? the sound is not that bad, it is defintely more tuned and warm than without the preamp, and produces sound that is loud enough and good enough to live with for some time until i'm budget-ready for the big next step in my setup.
Not familiar with that turntable, but I think that bypassing internal pre-phono requires another RIAA stage. Without that stage, it would be a very poor listening experience... And definitely you have to bring those tiny millivolts coming from the cartridge way higher before routing them to headphone amp.
Yeah, that was exactly the issue, I bypassed the internal Phono Amp with another Amp that's not a Phono Amp, which in reality caused exactly what you described as a very poor listening experience.
Now it's connected this way:
Turntable (with the internal phono amp on) --> LittleDot MK IV SE (on 90% volume) --> Schiit Jotunheim (pre-amp RCA input, used for volume control + balanced output) --> Headphones.
The sound is really warm and you can just keep listening for hours on the HD6xx, but I would like to explore the monitor option.
Any recommendations for monitors (passive or active) for this setup that will work well with both digital media through a DAC and Vinyl with the warm tube sound?
(I have 3-Pin XLR and RCA outputs, I also have an XLR adapter to the standard banana connectors and XLR adapter to TRS 1/4").
The part I don't understand is why you're routing turntable output to LD before entering in preamp... You're adding noise where you shouldn't. Are you doing this to gain some dB? What cartridge is installed on turntable? Ever thought about a legacy turntable paired with a good legacy preamp with a built-in or external phono stage? I read AT specs and, really, LP 120 doesn't shine in S/N ratio and other measures. A 40 years old entry level turntable would literally blow away the younger one.
Let me clarify- I bought this turntable specifically as this model has a built in phono amp (yes it has a not-so-good S/N ratio but it was to reduce cost at the time) which I plan to to remove completely (there are a lot of guides online) and use a better phono amp, just like with an older turntable.
As per the current configuration the sound from the turntable does go through the built in phono amp first before getting into the LD and then goes to the Jotunheim pre-in so I can connect XLR outputs and balanced headphones, it is not required for the amplification.
I have my doubts as per chaining another amp which is not necessary but according to some Q&A I found online it should work when connected to the pre-in on the Jotunheim - if you have any insight on that I'll be glad to hear it.
BTW this is a MM cartridge.
Thanks for the additional info. So LD is used more like a tube buffer than a head amp, correct? Sure it works, even if it's not an ideal setup but it seems you need XLR so putting LD after Schiit is out of the question. Maybe you could get rid of the volume control stage on LD to eliminate some noise, sort of a fixed gain. Glad to hear you're on the vinyl road... Tons of records, phono stages and other toys are just a few clicks away, lol.