Phono amplifier dilema

G’day Everybody,

I am tossing around the idea of purchasing an entry level turntable, a Project X1 to play my wife’s 70’s and 80’s rock. The turntable is not an issue. Though the question is:

  1. Do I upgrade my Nait XS 2 amplifier to a Supernait 3?

or

  1. Keep the Nait XS 2, Flatcap XS and purchase a Naim Stageline.

That is if I am able to sell the Nait XS 2.

Warm regards,

Paul.

You could buy one of the Rega or Project Turntables with the phono stage built in. No need to upgrade the amp or add an external phono stage if you go this route.

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Thank you James. I should have mentioned that HIFI components are located in aTV stand with 4 pigeon holes wide and two high. There is also a 50" Pioneer Plasma Flatscreen sitting on top.

Thus the turntable will have to be mounted on the wall. I have measured the distance between the turnable output and Stageline input and it is a little over 3 metres. My local HIFI store has high quality RCA leads in 3 and 5 metre lengths. Unfortunately the Rega players do not come with detachable leads and the leads that do come with the player are only 90 cm long.

I apologise for leaving this out.

I am sorry James, could you please inform me which Project player has Phono Stage built in?

Warm regards,

Paul.

Hi Paul - the Rega Planar 1 plus has detachable leads to the phono stage in its base so this isn’t an issue.

Planar 1 Plus

James

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Yes, a good call by James; I think HH is still enjoying a Rega Planar 1 Plus with his Naim system, so that would be a great choice, and no need for an additional phono stage as it has one already built-in. Perfect for occasional LP playback.

However, if you’re set on the Pro-Ject X1 then I guess whether you upgrade to a Supernait 3 or stick with what you have and get a separate phono stage will mostly depend on how well the SN3 will work with the rest of your kit, and whether it’s the best way to spend the extra funds. What’s the rest of the system? What’s your primary source? Is it still CD via the CD5xs+FC2xs?

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Thank you for this James. I was not aware that the Rega RP1 had detachable leads. I was talking to my dealer yesterday and he was recommending the Rega Plannar 3. Then he mentioned that the leads were not detachable. I will most certainly check this. I new I came to the right place.

Warm regards,

Paul.

Your dealer is correct - the RP3 will have fixed leads (as will the RP1 - it’s the Plus model that has the built in phono stage). It’s just a quick way for people to add a turntable to a system as all the bits you need are built in. As Richard points out, you need to work out how much you use it and whether it’s worth spending more. For occasional use the Rega Planar 1 plus would be ideal. If Nigel’s (@hungryhalibut) looking in i’m sure he can add some real world experience of this deck.

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Paul, You great big galah, you don’t need to consider changing your amp if you fancy a turntable!

Best, Chris

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He doesn’t have to, but I can see the appeal of going down to 1 box amp instead of up to a 3 box.

G’day Chris, thank you for your comment. I have had this annoying niggle that my Nait XS 2 does not have enough headroom or reserve power for my extremely inefficient Celestron SL6Si speakers at 84 dBSPL speakers.

I was originally thinking that I had to purchase a Naim Stageline due to the turntable selection criteria. Though as it turns out there is a Rega Planar 1 Plus which fits the bill.

Whilst I have everyone’s attention. I do have a novelty “Floating Record Player” that has a line out. It plays the LP’s vertically. Well almost, maybe a setback of 85 degrees to the horizontal. I will give this a go first. Unless everyone thinks I would be better off withe Planar 1Plus.

Warm regards,

The Galah : )

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I reckon you’ll be better off with the Rega…

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Those Celestions are all about low colouration and refinement. They were certainly interesting (and in some ways ground-breaking) in their day, but needed huge amounts of power to wake up, and even then they were not the most exciting listen. I’ve had two pairs of original SL6s through my hands (still have one pair somewhere) and they remain for me, a frustrating speaker, but one I know still has quite a following. However, they do need lots of grunt to get going…

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Dear Richard,

It is a love hate relationship with the Celestrons’. I dream of purchasing something else though they cost so much in their day that I cannot come to part with them and they look so good as well.

Warm regards,

Paul.

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Yes, the Planar 1 Plus is jolly good. I use mine very occasionally and it’s fine for that purpose and never sounds cheap even though the rest of my system is pretty reasonable. I have the so called performance pack on mine - the Bias 2 cartridge, felt mat and white belt, which gives a good lift over the standard deck. The price is just over £400 all in. It lives on a Rega wall shelf, which is neat and tidy and the best way to accommodate it.

As others have said, you plug the phono leads into its built in phono stage, which sits beneath the deck. So it would simply be a matter of getting some longer leads. Whether it’s a good alternative to the X1 I don’t know. The Project is twice the price so you’d expect it to be better. It’s really a question of what’s ‘good enough’. I like the simplicity of Rega decks.

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Thank you H.H. I will most likely go down the path of the Rega Planar1 Plus. I have also taken note of your recommendations to the cartridge, felt mat and white belt.

If you do not mind? I will copy your post and pass it onto my dealer.

Warm regards,

Paul…Oops, Galah.

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If funds are tight Schiit Mani for £140 is a bargain and I preferred it over the Rega Fono and also the Arcam rPhono

When Which? tested these decks the Rega came top and was rated best buy. Decks from Trio and Audio Technica did OK too (rated Recommended). Pro-Ject was not recommended owing to poor performace especially speed stability. I would definitely go for a Rega or Technics TT in preference to Pro-Ject. However, the proof is always in the listening.

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Dear Billy,

Thank you for your post. Funds are not an issue within reason. The limiting factor is the physical setup. My dealer was recommending a Rega Planar 3 with a Naim Stageline. It turns out the Rega Turntables other than the Rega Planar 1, do not have removable phono cables. Thus he recommended the Project X1 which does have removable phono cables.

Due to the setup is part of a TV storage unit. The turntable has to be mounted on the wall and this will require phono cables of at least 3.5 metres. My dealer only sells leads for my situation in 3 metres, too short or 5 metres. He is going to perform a test if the Project X1 can still provide a necessary strong signal to a Naim Stage line. Though the members on this forum have kindly directed me to the Planar 1 Plus which has its on phono amplifier which would solve my issue.

I have emailed him H.H’s response and I will see what next week brings.

No rush, planning is half the fun.

Warm regards,

Paul.

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In this scenario, you are best to have the long interconnect after the phono stage, so an integrated phono stage with the record player makes most sense.

I would not want to have such tiny signals as the ones coming straight off the LP going down 5 metres of cable! It will have a marked impact on the capacitance for one thing!

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If a Planar 3 is in your budget I would go for that.

Frankly, I can’t imagine relying on a tonearm without adjustable bias as that will severely limit your cartridge choices (or performance should you go outside the range) down the road.