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Full output (Read 4707 times)
Barnharty
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Full output
06/09/17 at 05:46:14
 
What does it mean for a source to have full output? Say if I have a low output Phono cartridge with a phono preamp that doesn't quite bring it up to Line level, what am I missing out on by having to use more volume on my amplifier to compensate?

My amp is the super Zen Select. The only source I use is my Rega RP3 and a lounge audio LCR Phono pre, which has 42db output for my mm cartridge which outputs 5.5mv. I believe this puts it slightly below line level. Would I benefit from a higher output Phono pre. Is there a limit to how much or will it generally just sound better with more output?

I had an email exchange with the owner and builder of lounge audio and he said the more of your volume knob on your amp you use, the better it'll sound:

"Whenever a volume pot is used to severely knock down the volume level of your music, it eats up energy to do that.  Along with it, goes your micro-dynamics.

Really expensive volume controls do less damage in this way but, to get meaningful sonic payoff, takes really expensive parts like stepped attenuators."

So, wouldn't having lower phono gain and using more of your amp volume knob provide better sound? I'm confused by this.

Thanks
Brandon
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maddog07
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Re: Full output
Reply #1 - 06/09/17 at 18:34:33
 
do a search on the forum for "gain riding".  Zenmaster Steve has expounded on this several times and how it can be used to "tailor" the sound, i.e. high gain from a source squeezed down coming into the amp creates a completely different sound than low gain from a source "pumped up" coming into an amp.  Of course it depends on attenuator/device doing the gain control.  Most people would agree that a stepped attenuator sounds "different" than conductive plastic film volume pots.  The chip volume controls like the MUSES 72320, depending on implementation, are another variation yet, that to my ears are very neutral in the components I've heard with them...  if we can possibly know for certain what "neutral" really is...!!!!  
Smiley
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva XMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Wyred STP-SE, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, Cary SLI-80, DM945's.....
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4krow
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IMAGINE WHIRLLED
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Re: Full output
Reply #2 - 06/09/17 at 20:14:18
 
Well put Maddog,

 It is another chance for experimentation. I used to own a CSP a long time ago, and truthfully, I got lost adjusting the gain controls, and others, that seemed to make all sorts of differences. If I only had one source, then that would be much easier to set it and forget it.
 My 'feeling' about a low output phono cartridge would be that I prefer to have a just a bit of amplification rather than to use any attenuation.
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Archie
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Re: Full output
Reply #3 - 06/09/17 at 21:38:13
 
Quote:
So, wouldn't having lower phono gain and using more of your amp volume knob provide better sound? I'm confused by this.


If I understand correctly, Steve's amps need 2 volts input to give full output at full volume.  Without my CSP3 to boost voltage from my phono stage (currently 1 volt out), I can't get as loud as with my CD player which puts out 2 volts.  I have more "density" to the sound when I use the CSP3 and "ride the gain" or squeeze down the more than 2 volts output of the CSP3 (up to 30 volts, I think).

So unless you get 2 volts our of your phono stage, I think you wont get the full potential out of your Zen Select.  Can anyone confirm this?  It's just my understanding.
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stone_of_tone
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Re: Full output
Reply #4 - 06/11/17 at 17:43:37
 
6 of one and half dozen of the other.

.....depends on the music too, whether well recorded and mastered or not.


I run my ZDSD direct and adjust the input gain on my ZMA.

...then switch to....

I run my TEAC NT-503 via preamp unbalanced/out 6 volts and run the input of the ZMA, anywhere between 11 o'clock to 3 o'clock (6 o'clock is 0 input gain on the ZMA). ZBIT coming.....to use the balanced out of my NT: two fixed choices and pre-out/12 volt. I get to ride up to 10 volts on the ZBIT to RCA input of my ZMA.

...then switch to....

I also have coming next week: Audio Research LS-2B MKII with Remote volume control. CLASSIC Pre it is .....and with one 6922...to sweetly tube roll.  


I find the versatility indispensable.   Let your ears tell you what the music is saying.....and lock it in accordingly (for that Recording).

I'm excited about my LS-2B MKII coming! (6H30 tubes are not for me~6922 in this Pre.....heaven).

Voltage output and input gain playing......1995 with my AA gear (Audio Alchemy ~ adjustable voltage output)....was when I first had the light bulb go off.....and to drive Class A Tube Amps....pleeease..........the only way to go.
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Decware ZDSD DAC
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Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
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maddog07
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Posts: 575
Re: Full output
Reply #5 - 06/22/17 at 22:41:15
 
Owned an ARC LS-2BmkII back in the mid 90's.... It will be interesting to hear your impression - I won't spoil your listening experience by offering you my opinion/experience with it.  
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Decware Torii MK3, Wyred4Sound DAC2, Theta Digital Miles, Emotiva XMC-1, Emotiva XPA-5, Aesthetix Calypso, Wyred STP-SE, Martin Logan Vista, Audio Nirvana 12" Alnico's, PS Audio PW P5, Goertz, Kimber, Nordost and DIY wires, PSA pwr cords, Cary SLI-80, DM945's.....
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stone_of_tone
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Listen Often/Listen
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Re: Full output
Reply #6 - 06/24/17 at 15:51:59
 
Maddog, certainly give your remembrance of it.

For me, I could not pass up the deal on it and glad I got it, so far. I just rolled my Mullard in it and need to roll my other NOS tubes too, in her.

Of course, for me, I will never fully like a Line Stage in my path. Fun, just to spice it up with this different dynamic. I had 6H30 based ARC and did not like it. This 6922 single tube gig, I like.

If I end up selling this fall or winter .... It's a win~win. .......gives me funds towards my 6C33C Mono's.
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Room Treats-M.Green & mine
Sony TPort
Illuminati D60
Shunyata Z-Alpha DigPcord
Decware ZDSD DAC
Kimber Select KS1030
XLOProPcord
Decware ZMA/25th Mods
Kimber Select KS6063
Acoustic Zen Adagio/Modified
Kimber PK10 Palladian from wall
to PS Audio P3
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