Phono stage/ riaa


Hi
Alot of interesting reading here about concerned vinyl- people thinking about doing whats been feeling so wrong all these years, digitilization.

I went to a sonos dealer today to try to ease my troubled mind. Planned setup is Rega rp3 - phono stage- cable to play 5. Phono stage thoughts are on a Heed questar. Later probably another play 5 wirelessly. I have been worried about a drop in sound quality, but reading here told me I should not worry too much. The dealer told me there was no use going for a better phono stage because play 5 wouldnt care about riaa quality because of the digitilization process. He recommended basic Pro ject Phono Box mm.

What do you think, does phono stage quality matter?

12 replies

Let's see... nearly every recording from the past three decades was done in the digital domain. Playing it back via vinyl-> Sonos means it's been converted to analog, then back to digital, then back to analog again. The DAC and ADC conversions aren't a big deal, but the phono cartridge and RIAA equalization, plus the huge amount of amplification required to boost the analog signal to line level adds all kinds of coloration, and the noise floor is no where near that of a pure digital playback chain. IOW, why bother?
As long as your installed cartridge is MM, the recommended box is more than adequate. Phono stages are a commodity.
Thanks. I dont know why I bother, but family, wires, dogs, space and kids play role and want sonos. And if I could set up the TT in my livingroom, instead of the garage, Im willing to compromize a little. But if it sounds like garbage, than I'll rethink.

Another issue with the phono stage.. Is it recommended with a volume/ output knob?
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Just my .02: I've been an avid record collector (and turntable collector) for longer than I really care to admit. I still have several, but in a home-away-from-home place I have, I just set up an Audio Technica AT-LP1240 (which has a built in preamp) with a simple RCA to 3.5mm cable running from the turntable to a Play 5. Where I have that turntable set up, I've also got a Playbar, two Play 1s and a Sub for a t.v. set up. When it comes time to play records, I remove the sub only from that TV setup and add it to the Play 5 for the turntable. I was very reluctant to go this route, have long used receivers/amps (tube, solid state, etc.) and passive speakers. But, I pulled the trigger and I am glad I did. I do miss the ability to control volume without using my iPhone or iPad, and I also miss the ability to use headphones, but the sound is just fine, as is the volume level. I also appreciate being able to send the music to other rooms/Sonos speakers I have in that house. I still might add a little external pre-amp, run the turntable to it and then the RCA to 3.5 from the preamp to the Play 5 just, for nothing else, to get a volume knob and headphone jack. All in all, it's been a good move to this kind of setup, particularly in that beach house where space is precious. Not sure this in anyway touched on your concerns, but wanted to share with a fellow record enthusiast.
I do miss the ability to control volume without using my iPhone or iPad
You can control the volume via the hard buttons on every Sonos unit as well.
For the OP: the sound can be quite decent, if the LP is of good quality; it is certainly not garbage, with a correctly set up modern day TT. And you don't need volume control on the phono box seeing that Sonos gives you two ways to change sound levels.
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I do miss the ability to control volume without using my iPhone or iPad
You can control the volume via the hard buttons on every Sonos unit as well.


Yes and no. In my case, I cannot. I have the Play 5 placed atop a top shelf, with the line in running from the turntable being hidden. Access to the volume control, which is on the top of the Play 5, is thereby prohibited. Thus, as a practical matter and to paint a COMPLETE picture, while Sonos may want to give you the warm fuzzies by stating that you can control the volume with "hard buttons," if anyone is going to place the Play 5 unit in a location such they cannot reach the top of the unit, or access to it is difficult or limited, they will not be able to control the volume with the "hard buttons." Thus, as I stated, I miss being able to control the volume without resorting to my iPhone or iPad.
Sonos may want to give you the warm fuzzies by stating that you can control the volume with "hard buttons," if anyone is going to place the Play 5 unit in a location such they cannot reach the top of the unit, or access to it is difficult or limited, they will not be able to control the volume with the "hard buttons."
Umm...that applies to any bit of audio hardware that offers on body volume controls, not just someone "wanting" to give you warm fuzzies! What alternative would you like Sonos to offer?

I find these to be immensely useful. On every zone in my home.
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This is not about "alternatives." (And no need for quotations around "wanting.") It's very simple - it's an incomplete picture to state "you can control the volume via the hard buttons on every Sonos unit as well" and leave it at that. There is a caveat to that statement. Yes, they are there. Yes, they can control volume. NO, they are not always practical, useful or beneficial. My statement stands as an accurate bit of end-user experience, offered for any who have a situation similar to mine wherein the unit will be placed in such a location that the "hard buttons" cannot be utilized/reached in the setup necessary for a given user's needs. At this point, any further diatribe on such a simple commentary and observation as this is as asinine as suggesting that the buttons will always, constantly be of benefit to a given user.
Lol. As asinine/misleading as initially giving the impression that hard buttons are not available because you choose to place your unit such that they are not accessible to you.
Access to the volume control, which is on the top of the Play 5, is thereby prohibited.

So, you've chosen to block off access to the buttons, and then complain that you can't use them? Sounds rather illogical, to me...
Hi
Jaded old guy gets the issue correct. Anyone with the historical roots of vinyl entertainment appreciates the master volume knob instead of the button on each sonos speaker or the app. Totally understand why a speaker is tucked away nicely in a shelf instead of the middle of the table.

Anyways, still looking for that perfect phono stage with preferable a good master volume knob and headphone out. There are not many combined phono stage/ headphone amps out there on the market, especially the European. Turntable lab PH01, Bellari vp130 and Music Hall pa 2.2 are nice but hard to get in Europe. US made might also have voltage and frequency differences. and the Furutech ADL GT40 is a DAC in addition. Clearaudio has an alternative with phono out, but pricey. The new Music Hall is a beauty, but expensive as well.
Any knows of something to recommend?
Is separate phono stage and headphone amp to recommend (price matters)?
Does the multi units like Furutech and Music Hall with DAC and ADC conversion add an aspect when hooking up to sonos?
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Any knows of something to recommend?
Is separate phono stage and headphone amp to recommend (price matters)?
Does the multi units like Furutech and Music Hall with DAC and ADC conversion add an aspect when hooking up to sonos?


An older post but I figured I would try and bring the general topic back up as I am curious to see what the community's experience has been with dedicated phono stages. I currently have a Pro-Ject Phono Box S as a phono stage. Anybody in the community have any good/bad experiences using other brands or models coupled with using Sonos speakers? It seems logical to me that better phono stage amplification will produce a better signal to then be cast out to the system, but curious to hear people's thoughts.

Cheers!

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