Phono stage

Just looking for some opinions on whether
A 2nd hand superline would be a worthwhile upgrade over my linn linto 25th anniversary edition ?
Rest of my system is lp12 alphason hr 100s mcs, hana ml , nac 82 , hicap olive , snaxo olive, hicap ,
2 x nap 250 cb , sbl mk 2 .

I had a Linnto into an 82 for many years it was better than many now suggest. However, a second-hand Superline was much better (once I had played around with the loading plugs to get the right choices) - more transparency, more vigour, more bass control, more stereo, less background noise and less sibilance.

Having said that, my old 82/HC/250 is now in Tasmania - the main system has a 52/SC/300DR and a Stiletto’d LP12 now.

For Tas, I am thinking of shipping down my old LP12, as I am a vinyl junkie. I thought that that would mean lots of expense on another Superline or compromising with a Prefix or Linnto. However, I was advised to hunt down the little Dynavector P75 - Mark 4 as a lower cost option.

It turns out to be an absolute gem, and the little wall-wart power supply is all it needs (so I don’t have to keep my spare Hicap either). It’s more flexible than a Supercap too, and less sensitive to having a mobile phone plonked down next to it.

For SQ, I’d rate it as a bit below my Supercap with my 52 (a synergistic combo imho), but well ahead of the other phono stages I have heard in recent years, including a Rega Aria or the equivalent Trilogy.

It’s been a while since I heard a Urika but my recollection suggests less boogie and less detail than a Superline (but also less interference-prone) - if that is fair, then the Dynavector probably beats if for SQ too.

You can even find them second-hand on eBay…

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Well, any second-hand Superline is probably about ready for a service. That could bring the total close to the cost of a new one!

Honestly, the Linto is a great phono stage and I think a Superline plus service would be overkill for your present system.

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A second hand Superline is rarer than a blue lobster. Unless you actually know of one you can get your hands on, the decision might be made for you.

There is a fairly recent Superline for sale for £2200 (perhaps a little high) today.

To use it with an 82, you will also want a Hicap - probably another £ 400 for an older one or more if it has been serviced in the last couple of years - you could easily spend £700, taking the total bill to not far short of £3000. It is a great phone stage, but that looks like overkill into an 82.

A Linto is very decent for SQ and costs perhaps £600 second hand.

The Dynavector P75 mark 4 is smaller, a bit more flexible and imho a little better for SQ than a Linto and costs about the same.

Both the latter are easier to find than a Superline (and Hicap) and less likely to need a service.

Good luck!

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I have found a recent superline at my local hi fi dealer hence my query, i have a spare hicap already so thats not an issue . I can get the superline for £1400 with my linto in part ex .
I have plans to replace the 82 with a 52 at some point. Ive always followed the ethos of rubbish in rubbish out so feel that the better the source signal is the better the final sq will be

If you plan to get a 52, there is no question in my mind that the Superline is the right answer.

Extensive A-/B tests showed us that getting the air-plug and powering the Superline from the 52 (not the Hicap that an 82 needs) were the ideal finishing touches.

Im more or less sure about the superline but another question is , if i get an olive supercap can i power the superline and the 82 from it until i find a 52 ?

Unfortunately you can’t power the 82 and Superline from the Supercap at the same time.

The 52 has a powered Aux 2 input that will take signal from a Superline and power it. An 82 doesn’t, so you need a Hicap (or Supercap) just for the Superline. When you get a 52, that Hicap becomes redundant. That’s annoying but olive Hicaps are not expensive and can be sold easily when not needed - you can treat it as renting one until a 52 arrives.

I’d suggest getting the 52 first (it’ll be good with a Linto), and then powering a Superline from it when you get that.

If you don’t know when a 52 will arrive (esp now that the POTS8 upgrade is not available on any that have not had it), then you either buy a Hicap for the Superline and sell it later - or you forget about a Superline for now.

As mentioned, imho SL with power from 52 beats SL with power from Hicap, which beats Dynavector (plugged into the wall), which beats Linto (ditto). However, all are good and to my ear the 52 beats the 82 by more than the gap between SL and Linto.

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Are you convinced that it makes sense to buy a Superline and use a HiCap, when you are intending to buy an NAC 52?

The internal phono boards which can be fitted into the 52 are fantastic. I’ve used one for over 30 years, and have never felt the need to use an external supply.

I’d respectfully disagree - the internal boards are certainly decent, but even a Prefix and most certainly a superline were big steps up for me.



Can I suggest you borrow a Superline and try it? I am not suggesting that the Naim boards are bad but…

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I tried it at Grahams HiFi many years ago and thought that, if there were a difference, it wasn’t worth the added financial outlay and extra box count to justify the cost. I have quite enough Naim boxes on my equipment shelves, as the photo that I posted recently proves pretty well.

The electronics are the same - whether they be in a separate ‘box’, or inside the preamp - so it’s a complication that I’m happy to avoid.


That may be true for something like the Stageline vs internal boards, but the Superline is a rather different beast, especially with its ability to fully utilise a Supercap. Still if you’ve tried it and didn’t feel the need to change then that’s all the matters.

I think the internal boards were more like a Prefix, but I may be wrong.

In any event, I sympathise on box count and can only agree that it would be strange to pay from an ‘upgrade’ that you don’t notice when listening. To me, swapping to a Superline wasn’t in that category, but many possible changes are. YMMV as they say.

As a separate point, I see a Superline for sale today for about £1200.

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The 282 has a powered Aux 2 socket but it’s ability to power a Superline is not as optimal as a 252/Supercap. But it would serve as an interim solution if your ultimate intention is a supercap powered 52/252 or a 552.

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