Advice sought; phono stages for 52

I’ve been using a 62/72 for a year or so, my turntable is a Gyrodec with SMEIV and Kontrapunkt h. I experimented with the Naim phono cards and tried the NA323K, which had been recapped recently, sadly I preferred my Graham Slee ElevatorEXP/ReflexM.

I’ve just bought a NAC52 and am wondering if I should fit 523K phono cards.
Since I preferred the other phono stage over the 323 is it likely I would also prefer it over the 523K? Anyone have a view?

Hi Stephen,
We used to have a Kontrapunkt B cartridge. When Naim serviced the pre-amp, they changed the boards from K to the other MC option (S?). I therefore wonder whether the non-K version would be a better match. Naim’s Service Dept will be able to advise you on this.

When the Kontrapunkt B became a Dynavector XX-2, Dynavector’s P75 phono stage proved to be an upgrade on the internal Naim phono boards. This may not apply with your current cartridge though.

Hope this helps, if only a bit, BF

I started out running my old NAC52 with the internal boards (NA523K). Moving up to a Prefix K (powered from the NAC52’s dedicated AUX2 feed) was a substantial performance upgrade. Only issue with the Gyrodec is that the Prefix needs to sit on the table just under the deck. You’ll also need the SME connector terminated version of the Prefix (or get one fitted) for use with Linn, SME and similarly equipped arms.

Another option might be a Superline, which you can also power very nicely from the NAC52 AUX2. On the NAC52, like the NAC552, this is fed from a dedicated section of the power supply.

When I had my 52, I first started off with the built in boards and found these to be quite good, especially for the price.
But as always you decide that things could be better and so I invested in a stageline and ran that at first off my 52, to be honest waste of time and money, so added a hicap to run it, not much difference but it was a bit better, I started like this for some time with my rega rp6 as it sounded fine and was a good stage to be at with the tt.
It wasn’t till I got my rega p8 that I felt I needed to better it and so ended up with a superline and supercap and must say its wonderful, a lovely warm detailed sound.
So if I was doing it all again I would, use the built in boards and then if the time comes jump up to a superline and run it off the 52 until funds allow for a supercap

I run a Vertere Phono-1 into my 52, from my taste it’s a big step up from the Roksan Artaxerxes it replaced, and that had been a big step up from the phono boards (probably in a 72 back then).

Thank you, I hadn’t thought about using a prefix. I’m not so bothered about having the prefix box under the Gyrodec and I think the SME and Linn arms use the same 5 pin connector so it should be plug and play…

Greatly reducing the ‘low signal’ path length would certainly make sense from an SQ perspective. I guess since the Aux2 connector has its own feed from the Supercap that there’s no gain to be had from using a HiCap?

Suspect that I could sell the Graham Slee stuff and comfortably pay for a Prefix.
(This is an example of HiFi economics, I claim that something makes sense but I know that the Graham Slee stuff is most likely to go into storage rather than be sold to realise the funds to pay for recent upgrades…)

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I have extensive experience with the Graham Slee MM phono stages, including the Reflex, and really like them. In my opinion, the weak link in your current setup is the Elevator head amp, which I have tried. I get much better results with a quality step-up transformer. Currently I’m running the Accession MM with a Bob’s Devices Sky 40 SUT, and the sound is simply superb. I realize you may prefer to go the Naim route, just a thought.

I’ve found a prefix K on an auction site, will give this a try first (since if better it would certainly simplify things, removing a couple of small boxes, two power supplies and quite a bit of cabling). If it isn’t any better I’ll have a think about using a SUT.


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