Stageline S or Stageline K?

Hey all,

i’ll be finally upgrade my Rega P1 plus to a Rega P3 and i’ll be getting a Denon DL103R cartridge.

i was thinking of getting a Stageline but which of the 2 Stageline will be ideal, and what is the difference between S and K?

Thank you!

Different loadings for the cartridge to be used. If I recall, the rule of thumb used to be K for Linn cartridges, and S for virtually everything else.

Someone will be along shortly no doubt to confirm this, or to set me straight!

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Confirming that statement to be correct :+1:

There you go…

The Denon has an output impedance of 14 ohms with quite a low output of 025 mv.
There is a lot of opinions on getting the best out of it.
One option is to use a quality sut with a mm stage but that will cost you a lot more.
Will the stageline S have enough gain at 60db ?

Stageline S for low output as 0,25 MV of the Denon dl103r.

I use the S for my Denon 301 mkII and 103s. Sounds great. The loading is perfect for me.

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I’ve used a K Stageline and K Prefix with a 103 and an ESCO 103 and it worked just fine.

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I used to have on board “S” boards (in NAC92) using a 0.3mv Denon Ml304. It worked fine but the uplift made the output mismatched with other line-level input such as my CD5. To get an equivalent output to the CD5 with volume at around 9 o’clock position it would have to be nearer to 12 o’clock. Not too much of an issue but it did bring the noise floor up to audible levels.

The “K” board won’t help with this as the uplift is the same.

Ditto, but with the Linn and Lyra cartridges.

CD is always higher than other inputs due to the red book specified 2V output (which Naim adhere to), whereas other line level sources are usually under 1V. Some digital sources from some makers even exceed 2V…

Yes I agree but the “S” boards with a 0.3mv MC Cart was on the quiet side of all my inputs. Not a huge issue and still sounded good but it was not at the same level as other inputs.

I have a Hana 0.5mv MC Cart now and that is about right. I have also tried an old ADC MC1.5 MC Cart at 0.9mv which was almost the same level as the CD5.

I still think the Stageline or onboard “S” or “K” boards are one of Naim’s bargains in terms of cost Vs benefit. The Stageline is better than many costlier Phono stages by quite a margin and as one might expect a good match for Naim amplification.


but is there a sonic difference between K and S?

Does it not depend on the cartridges? Obvious, right?

Anyway, there must have different sonic characteristics, otherwise there won’t be K vs S?


I asked a question about the Stageline K a while back and got some useful help:

I’m very happy with the Stageline K, although one day I’d like to replace it with a Superline.

This thread was useful too:

Only if the cartridge used requires the profile if the “S” or “K” as I understood it the "K originally was for Linn Cartridges and the “S” for everything else but of course with MCs they all have slightly different specs of output and loadings. You need to choose a cartridge first.

All things being equal unless a cartridge needs the “K” spec I would go for the “S” as being more likely to match many more cartridges,

thank you all for your suggestions, i’ve decided to go for a stageline S. but now, the question is…. chrome bumper hicap or olive hicap. i’ve got both. i just had to ask. i’m waiting for my phono to arrive in about 2 months.

In terms of aesthetics, I would choose an Olive front unit most times. I also think Olive series stuff was good quality.

However, one’s ears are the best judge and if you have both then some listening tests will be the way to go and use the one that makes the Stageline sound the best.

Just start with power from AUX2, add another cap later if you want a bit more detail and don’t mind sacrificing a bit of coherence to get it.

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