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romax

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Hi guys. I am new to the forum but I have actually been browsing through it for about a year. This is a great forum and you all make it that way (with the support of the webmaster of course ;) ).
Anyway, here is my question.
I bought a new pair of Ascent i last year. Since that set me back moneywise, I had to kinda go easy on the equipment. I power them with a Rotel RB1080 and the preamp is a Rotel RC1070, both purchased brand new last year as well. While I am very happy with the system in general, I am aware of the fact that the preamp at this moment is the weakest link ( I mainly listen to classical music records via a VPI SuperScout).
My budget at the moment is limited to about $1000, which probably forces me to look at the used market.
First of all, spending only that much am I going to hear a difference over the Rotel preamp? Any specific brands I should look at?
I considered the CJ PV10B, but the reviews weren't too ecstatic.
I guess what I'm looking for is better soundstage, lower noise floor ( a phono input would be a must), tighter bass. How about those Bottlehead kits?
Thanks a lot,
Max
 

twich54

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Max, welcome, if you can find it (one sold a couple of months back on the "Gon") an ARC SP-9mkII modded by Steve Huntley of Great Northern. I had one, my son's got it now, one of my weak moments ! Anyway dollar for dollar one of the best pre-amps I ever own and it had a damn good phono stage.
Even if you could locate just a SP-9mkII, easily less than a grand and down the road went the mod route, you'd be a "Happy Camper" for sure.

Good Luck !!
 

jfm

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Hi Dave... I've always been curious about GNSC. What mods did Steve do on your preamp? Thanks!
 

twich54

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jfm said:
Hi Dave... I've always been curious about GNSC. What mods did Steve do on your preamp? Thanks!

If memory serves me he offered a Refrence and Standard upgrade where the ref changed out power supply along with caps, resistors and various other signal path upgrades. haven't check his website in awhile, I suspect it's all in there though. back when i had mine done, 2002 I believe, it was around $6-700.
 

risabet

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Stretch your budget and check out an EAR 834P MC/MM for a basically phono only system this might be the device of choice. If you use a MM cartridge than the 834P/MM might be just the ticket.
 

Jeff Zaret

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Max,
Welcome
I had a similar setup a while back. I had the Rotel 1090 amp and the 1070 preamp. I did trade in my Rotel preamp on a used CJ PV10BL(?) It was the one without the phono preamp. I was a noticeable improvement. I had to get an outboard phono preamp and it was very musical. If you can get one of the PV10's with the phono preamp section it will be a great step. I have since changed my preamp again to the CJ Premier 17LS2. :D

I think a tube preamp would be the next move and whether you go with a CJ, ARC or one of the many others out there you will be pleased. This will probably give you the "best bang" for you money at this point. Considering your current spending limits - welcome to the real world- :) I believe the CJ would be fine.

There is no shame in buying used equipment which a quality product like the CJ's, ARC's and others represent. I think most of us would agree here that most of us "sick-o's" take care of their equipment so even when we sell or buy used stuff it is in really good shape.

Jeff :cool:
 

Statman

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jfm said:
Hi Dave... I've always been curious about GNSC. What mods did Steve do on your preamp? Thanks!

Steve is the master of modifying. For those that don't know he worked for years at Audio Research and knows the product line inside and out! I have personally used him to modify my ARC equipment in the past and can say he's worth it! He briefly had moved out here to sunny So Cal but moved back to the cold and has settled back in there.

Back to the question at hand I would suggest trying to find an ARC SP14 preamp. I had the SP9 MKII and while it is good the phono stage in the 14 is better. More resolute, a little wider in the soundstaging and more neutral sounding. The 9 series of preamps were changed at least twice to try and "update" them to current ARC house sound for that time period. Just my 2 cents.
 

romax

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Thnks for the suggestions. In particular I like the idea of getting just a phono preamp like the EAR 834P. That way when I get the HT processor (part of a future upgrade) I won't have to worry about the phono input.
For now it will still have to run thru the aux input of the Rotel though.
Is it still going to be worth it?
Also, nobody commented on the Bottlehead kits. Anybody familiar with them?
 
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