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How to get the best Phono Signal?
#1
I've been living with my Devialet amp for nearly a year and I love it. Bought second hand as an Expert 120, it is now upgraded to Expert 220 Pro.

I have an issue with Phono input. When the amp was a 120, I found that, with the limitations on settings for my Ortofon Kontra B M/C cartridge, the internal Phono stage was noisy with an unacceptable level of hiss which is understandable considering the low voltage output of the cartridge. Using my valve Phono stage, which included SUT's and then fed in as line stage produced a much quieter hiss free sound, albeit a little characteristically coloured courtesy of the valve Phono stage.

After upgrade to 220 Pro, with the ability to set the cartridge specs more accurately within Phono stage set up, I was hopeful that the sound would be much improved, but sadly although a little better, it is still generally hissy and again when my valve Phono stage is incorporated, this problem goes away.

Being relatively new to Devialet, I recall my friend (a member here) having similar problems when he first started using these amps several years ago. He found his low output M/C cartridge sounded best when a pair of SUT's were in the signal line. He has progressed rapidly and now uses mono blocked 1000 Pro's and has no noise problems with his low output cart plumbed directly into his Devialets.

Therefore, and apologies if this has been covered before I joined the forum, is my experience typical of having a noisy Phono stage when direct coupled from my M/C cartridge into the 220 Pro? 

Does the 1000 Pro have a much better and quieter Phono stage compared to the lower level models?

Would my best option be to remove the SUT's from my powered valve Phono stage (to avoid the sound colouration) and passively introduce them between cartridge and Devialet 220 Pro M/M stage input?

I am a DIYer, so this is an easy option for me. 

All advise gratefully received and many thanks in anticipation.
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#2
I see that the output of your cartridge is 0.47 mV. It has been noted that cartridges  with low output will induce hiss. Have you tried adjusting the gain and loading? You can do this on the fly with the remote, as you are probably aware. You might be able to find a balance that works.
Project Eperience X Pack with Ortofon Rondo Red MC, Oppo BDP 105D, Sonos Connect, QNAP HS251+ NAS, Mutec MC-3+USB, Mac 5K running Roon, iPad Pro 12.9" for remote control. Devialet 440 Pro, Sonus faber Olympica ll, Rupert Neve Designs headphone amp.Denon AH-D5000, Sennheiser HD600 and HD800 with Cardas cable,  Van Den Hul The First Ultimate interconnects, GSP Audio Spatia speaker cable.
South Coast England
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#3
I can only offer the following, which is that using my D440 Pro with an Ortofon Cadenza Black which is a relatively low output cartridge, I have no issues with hiss. It was an item I was mindful to test because I had read of some other experiences similar to yours on this forum.

As you noted, others on this forum resolved the issue by using a SUT. This would seem to be your best option at this point in time.

Ortofon Cadenza Black - Output voltage at 1000 Hz, 5cm/sec. - .33 mV

BTW I also use it with a Miyajima Zero mono cartridge with no hiss issues - Output voltage .4mV

Sorry there is not a straightforward solution that does not require another Devialet or a SUT. 

I assume you have already experimented with your cartridge settings in the configurator?

p.s. I note your cartridge is slightly higher in output than either of mine at .47 mV.
Roon ROCK | Intel NUC6i5SYH/AIR3/Ethernet | VPI Avenger | Devialet 440 Pro | Vivid Audio Giya G3 
Synology NAS | DH Labs  D-110 & Q10 Signature Bi-Wire |  Silver Circle Audio Pure Power One 5.0 | Stillpoint Apertures
West of the Rockies, US
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#4
I too have a Cadenza Black.  It does produce some hiss if you turn the volume up without a record playing, but at normal listening levels I do not notice it.  That said, clearly some hiss is there and it cannot be beneficial to sound quality.  I did measure the hiss levels when I had a D800, as follows:

Turn the amp on, select phono, at -40dB, all is quiet.  Up the volume to 0dB and you can hear the hiss very clearly.  Using an iPhone app and the phone roughly in the listening position, it recorded about 36dB as background silence (silence is quite noisy in terms of dB's)  Upping the volume until the app reached 50dB, I checked the Dev and it was on about +2dB

To put the above into perspective, if I played music at +2dB, this would equate to something well into the 110 to 120dB range, so quite loud.

If the hiss does bother you, and based on a few reports from others, an SUT should work well and resolve the issue 100%.
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - microRendu - Mutec MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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#5
IME the quietest Devialet phono stage was the D-Premier, though I didn't use my 800 long without the SUT.
I use an Ortofon T3000 SUT with my O d'A and Ortofon A90.
Devialet Original d'Atelier 44, Goldmund Reference/T3f /Ortofon A90, Goldmund Mimesis 36+ & Chord Blu, iMac/Air, Meridian Control 15, Lynx Theta, Tune Audio Anima, Goldmund Epilog 1&2, REL Studio. Dialog, Silver Phantoms, Branch stands, copper cables (mainly).

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#6
I use a Koetsu Black Goldline via a 1:10 step up transformer with Lundahl LL9226 transformers into my 220 Pro configured as MM.

I find that using the MC cartridge into the SUT is near silent with no signal and I can't detect any difference in sound quality with the transformers in between the cartridge and the Devialet.

However this will of course depend on the quality of the transformers you are using. Lundahl LL9226 is a top quality step up transformer.

My only reservation is that it's a bit of an unknown what the actual input impedance of the Devialet phono stage is when configured as an MM input with the loading set as 'high'. This will of course have an implication on the reflected load the cartridge sees via the SUT. I have asked this question on this forum, but so far no one has been able to answer my question.

I have always preferred to load the cartridge on the primary side of the transformer. So at the moment I'm unable to tell exactly how the cartridge is loaded, but it sounds excellent to my ears.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
VortexBox running Roon, Devialet 220 pro. Logitech Transporter. Palmer 2.5 Turntable. Harbeth M30.1
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#7
Thanks guy's for some really helpful replies. A special thanks to 'disarmamant' as your system closely resembles mine and as It happens I also use Lundahl SUT's. As suggested, I will have a play with making adjustments to settings on the fly, but the consensus seems to be to use SUT's before the amp. That's fine with me and I can rip the Lundahl's out of my valve Phono stage and insert them passively before the amp.

This does however really beg the question, how good is the Devialet phono stage? As ever, is it an 'low budget' after thought? Maybe the company considers that few of their customers will need a quality integrated M/C phono stage, but to fail to supply it is a nonsense considering the high quality of the rest of their amp inputs. One of the main reasons (in addition to sound quality) I moved to Devialet was to get rid of lots of component boxes and racks. The best Phono stages do not require SUT's. Admittedly these days, my music is mostly streamed through roon, but I also, no doubt like many, have an extensive vinyl collection that is not available online owing to its age. I still want to listen to this music reproduced as best as possible. I would like Devialet to address that wish.
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#8
(07-Sep-2017, 21:12)Greg Wrote: Thanks guy's for some really helpful replies. A special thanks to 'disarmamant' as your system closely resembles mine and as It happens I also use Lundahl SUT's. As suggested, I will have a play with making adjustments to settings on the fly, but the consensus seems to be to use SUT's before the amp. That's fine with me and I can rip the Lundahl's out of my valve Phono stage and insert them passively before the amp.

This does however really beg the question, how good is the Devialet phono stage? As ever, is it an 'low budget' after thought? Maybe the company considers that few of their customers will need a quality integrated M/C phono stage, but to fail to supply it is a nonsense considering the high quality of the rest of their amp inputs. One of the main reasons (in addition to sound quality) I moved to Devialet was to get rid of lots of component boxes and racks. The best Phono stages do not require SUT's. Admittedly these days, my music is mostly streamed through roon, but I also, no doubt like many, have an extensive vinyl collection that is not available online owing to its age. I still want to listen to this music reproduced as best as possible. I would like Devialet to address that wish.
My view is that hiss issues apart, the Devialet phono stage is superb.  Others share this view, others do not, some light reading and clues in the threads linked below, happy reading!


https://devialetchat.com/showthread.php?...ght=groove

https://devialetchat.com/showthread.php?...ght=groove

https://devialetchat.com/showthread.php?...ght=groove
1000 Pro - KEF Blade - microRendu - Mutec MC3+USB - Pro-Ject Signature 12
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#9
(07-Sep-2017, 21:12)Greg Wrote:
This does however really beg the question, how good is the Devialet phono stage? As ever, is it an 'low budget' after thought?

I don't think the Devialet phono stage is a 'low budget afterthought', far from it. Just look at how configurable it is for different cartridges and different EQ curves. Try and find a budget phono stage with the same features.

I think the implentation of the phono stage in the Devialet took quite some effort on behalf of the designers, who I believe took the decision at the outset to provide a top class phono amplifier.
VortexBox running Roon, Devialet 220 pro. Logitech Transporter. Palmer 2.5 Turntable. Harbeth M30.1
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#10
I think the phono stage is very good, but for a simpler life I have in the end sold my SUT and moved to an offboard stage (DV75 for now, experimenting with others). It works well, the hiss issue has completely gone. If your cart/SUT works for you then great. I think you need to experiment and your dealer should be able to help.
Rega RP8/DV20xL; Intel Win10 NUC + Roon + AIR; Devialet 440 Pro; PMC 20.26
Chord interconnects and speaker cable
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