SuperLine + Rega RP10 + what cartridge?

Hello - I want to upgrade my phonostage to the SuperLine, which I know only takes MC cartridges. The turntable (Rega RP 10) has the factory tone arm, but currently with a MM cartridge I purchased and had installed (Ortofon 2M black). That was the best I could do at the time, however, I'd like to upgrade. 

Any seasoned Rega RP 10 owners out there who can recommend a good cartridge that will match up nicely with the SuperLine? 

The system runs through a SuperNait2 and I'm planning on having the SuperLine powered through the SuperNait2 connection to save buying a separate power supply.

Will I notice a difference?

Thanks, as always.....

Original Post

Why do you prefer the Superline. I think powering it with a Supernait may not do it full justice. Why not drop your sights a little and concentrate on a decent MC cartridge. In essence I agree with Adam.  

p.s. If I had a Superline I'd be looking at a HiCap to power it at the very least; preferably a S.Cap with Burndy.

Hi Paulie,

The Superline really comes into its own when powered by its own Supercap DR. I found it to be hobbled when powered off my NAC52, which itself was powered by a Naim serviced olive Supercap.

When driven off my 52, it was a bit better, but only a bit better, than the Dynavector P75 phono stage that I was also using at the time with a DV XX-2 mk 2 cartridge. However, the Superline +SCDR was simply phenomenal with the XX-2 cartridge in the same system. I was fortunate to have the Superline for over 2 weeks in order to try these combinations before finally deciding what to do.

Hope this helps, FT

Thanks for the info -- Adam, your suggestion to spend on a cartridge rather than phono stage seems like a good one  I'm presently using a Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE II. Would this, in your view, be up to the Rega Apheta 2? Is it comparable to the SuperLine? Cheers.

Paulie posted:

Thanks for the info -- Adam, your suggestion to spend on a cartridge rather than phono stage seems like a good one  I'm presently using a Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE II. Would this, in your view, be up to the Rega Apheta 2? Is it comparable to the SuperLine? Cheers.

Unfortunately I don't know your phono stage so cannot reliably comment on it.

Adam Zielinski posted:
Paulie posted:

Thanks for the info -- Adam, your suggestion to spend on a cartridge rather than phono stage seems like a good one  I'm presently using a Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE II. Would this, in your view, be up to the Rega Apheta 2? Is it comparable to the SuperLine? Cheers.

Unfortunately I don't know your phono stage so cannot reliably comment on it.

Isn't the Lehmann his phono stage?

Sorry Adam; misread your reply.

Paulie, I much preferred the Stageline (with Flatcap2) to the original Lehmann Black Cube.  I'm not sure about the SE II version of the Black Cube, as I haven't heard it, but price-wise it still seems to be competing in the Stageline+psu level of the market, rather than the much higher strata of the Superline.

We had a customer buy an RP10 with a Dynavector 20x2L. Into a Dynavector P75, it was magic.   The XX2 should also be a fine combination. Personally I love the Superline. I think it goes way beyond most phono stages. Another one to look at is the Cyrus Signature, very fine especially with the PSXR. 

Frank.

Paulie posted:

Thanks all. Not a lot of live for the Alpheta 2, it would seem. Perhaps Dynavector in the way forward. 

My RP10 came with an Apheta 2, factory pre-installed. The cartridge died after 1 month (one of the channels simply stopped working). So as a courtesy I was offered an Aphelion. 

Aphelion is a much better cartridge,  more transparent and neutral. One could almost 'accuse' it of being warm .

Don't get me wrong - Apheta 2 is a brilliant piece of kit. Very detailed and insightful. If you can get one you will love what it does.

Paulie posted:

Thanks all. Not a lot of live for the Alpheta 2, it would seem. Perhaps Dynavector in the way forward. 

Audition is the only way forward, with the in my view critical viewpoint that the phonostage that works best with one cartridge might not be the best for another.

Good luck.

Chris

As a P75 user who plans to upgrade my phono stage one day I find it hard to fathom that a Superline powered off a Supernait 2 would only be marginally better than a P75 powered off a wall wart power supply.  Yes I can accept that it may sound amazing powered by a Supercap, but surely all that lovingly engineered electronics inside the SuperLine should be considerably superior to my little P-75?  If not the P-75 is either a remarkable bit of kit for the money or the Superline isn't. So which is it?  

Yes of course system balance is important but that is not the issue here.  Simple question, does a Superline really need a SuperCap to considerably improve on a P-75? 

Personally I find that suggestion difficult to accept and think that it might be little more than hyperbole.

King Size posted:

Yes of course system balance is important but that is not the issue here.  Simple question, does a Superline really need a SuperCap to considerably improve on a P-75? 

Personally I find that suggestion difficult to accept and think that it might be little more than hyperbole.

Dunno... I don't use either of those

I originally used a P75 Mk II before going for a Superline. The former really is an excellent phono stage, but I found in my system the Superline, even powered by a 552, was considerably better. I'd gone to a Radkial/Urika before the advent of the DR conversions but a "standard" Supercap was a greater improvement still. Of course, a lot depends on your own system.

King Size posted:

Yes of course system balance is important but that is not the issue here.  Simple question, does a Superline really need a SuperCap to considerably improve on a P-75? 

Personally I find that suggestion difficult to accept and think that it might be little more than hyperbole.

Hi King Size,
I understand and respect your perspective and perhaps your scepticism about this.  If you have tried both phono stages in your system, then I respect your view even more.

In May 2014, I started a thread on this forum called "the perils of a quick Superline demo", which summarises my findings at the time.  You are welcome to read it.  I stand by those findings, while respecting that others may draw a different conclusion.

Does the P75 punch far above its price point?  When paired with a Dynavector MC cartridge, yes it does, remarkably so.  Does it do so with other cartridges?  I have never tried so don't know.

Did a Superline with the optimum Naim z foil airplug resistor, powered off my 52/Supercap convey more music than the P75?  Yes.  In my view it was a bit better but it was an incremental improvement, not a step change and I was looking for a step change.  

Would the Superline sound even better when powered off a 552?  Probably but I couldn't try that combination - TonyM has first hand experience there.  

Did the Superline + Supercap DR sound a bit better still?  No.  It sounded absolutely stunningly musical.  Glorious to these cloth ears.

I subsequently auditioned phono stages from Rega, Trilogy, Whest, Aurorasound and the 3 box Paradise phono stage.  Of all those, the Paradise stage floated my boat more than any of the others, all with the same Dynavector XX-2 cartridge.

So that has been my first hand experience and I apologise if it comes across as hyperbole.  It is not intended.

Having said all of the above, if I had a Rega RP10 and was looking for exceptional value for money, I'd buy an Alpheta 2 and Aria phono stage.  I've heard this combination twice and it sounded thoroughly, enjoyably musical on both occasions.  The Aphelion is even better, but at a price (except for Adam, who has done remarkably well by those lovely people at Rega).

Hope this helps, FT

Thanks for taking the time FT, your answer is much appreciated and helps put things into perspective.  

I run a P9 with a 20-x2L into the P75 and would love to get my hands on the previous incarnation of the IOS (i.e. the pre-Reference version) but they rarely appear on the second hand market.  When the time to upgrade comes I will look to move further up the DV range and pair with a suitable phono stage (all the ones you mention are of interest).  If that phono stage is a Superline I think that a separate HiCap is about as far as i'd be willing to go.  An all rega front (deck, cart and phono stage) is also an option.

 

Hi King Size,
J.N. used to have one of the £1500 pre-battleship IOS phono stages, so can provide you with first hand experience of owning one.  I had a brief audition of one about 6 years ago, when deciding which turntable to buy back then.  It went very well with a DV XX-2 mk 2.

Of all the phono stages that I have tried, the SL + SCDR was the most gloriously engaging, captivating and thoroughly enjoyable.
This was even better as I recall than the phono stage that I did end up buying, which was the Moon 310LP/320S.  This came in a close second (yes, really).  The Paradise was third (if you can source one at all now), with the others some way behind.

I haven't tried a Linn Ulrika, as I don't possess a Linn LP12 anymore.  Equally, I didn't want to go down the valve route, so didn't try Acoustic Research, Tron, Allnic etc.

Happy auditioning, when the time comes.  I found the difference between phono stages to be surprisingly large, until I did a quick mental calculation and worked out that a phono stage amplifies an MC cartridge voltage by about 3000 times to get it to 1 volt.  By way of contrast, the pre-amp & power amp between them multiply the voltage by a further factor of about err 3 at normal listening levels.

Yet we what we all spend on the amplifier is many multiples of what we spend on a phono stage.

Doesn't it make you wonder if we have got that the right way round ...

Best regards, FT 

To be fair, the Apheta2 is a remarkable cartridge. It's a tremendous improvement over the original which could be magical one moment and non-committal the next. Really weird. The 2 fixes that and comes across with a well balanced fresh sound that will leave many more expensive cartridges floundering in many respects. It remains unforgiving so ancillary equipment has to be sympathetic. For example, it's not a particularly good match with the P75, but a very good one with the Aria. I tried a Superline but only had a little time for this and found there to be good potential. Some playing around with loading would provide dividends methinks.

On the subject of powering the Superline, I find that powering it directly off my 282/Hicap is a step change from the likes of the P75/Aria. Perhaps the powered input is better thought out in the Classic range, or my expectations are lower. I would be unhappy going back to one of the lower phono stages, good as they are. Admittedly, the Supercap alternative keeps eating away at me...

Frank.

I always liked the powered input for the superline over a directly connected hicap, this with a 282/hicap or SCdr. I didn't get the burndy to connect the supercap to the superline until after I'd Replaced the 282 and at first tried using the freed up SC connected to the superline by Snaic but still prefered the powered input, until I got the correct burndy, then there was no contest.

Paulie posted:

Thanks all. Not a lot of live for the Alpheta 2, it would seem. Perhaps Dynavector in the way forward. 

I have an Apheta 2 and like it very much.  In comparison to the original Apheta it's a much better cartridge.  I'm using a Stageline powered by my SN2 which works surprisingly well.  My dealer loaned me an Aria for a week a while back and whilst there were some differences, especially in sound stage, I didn't feel that it offered much of an upgrade on my Stageline 

Paulie posted:

HEY DAYJAY --

Thanks. That sounds like a similar configuration to what I'm leaning towards. What load plug did you end up using (if any)?

 

Thanks....

Hi Paulie, no load plug it was simply plug and play and all appears to work very well together.  I wanted to try the Aria just to see if there would be an improvement from using the same companies stage but there certainly wasn't enough to make it an upgrade.  The Stageline, in my view, is bloody good for what it costs.

The Stageline comes preconfigured for load, hence you buy a Stageline S for most MCs or a Stageline K for MCs with Linn-like load needs or an E for those with higher output (but still very much MC output) or N for MM cartridges. You cannot reconfigure the Stageline afterwards as far as I know.

If memory serves I tried both my own 453 and the standard 500 plug, and I think the 453 was better. Most likely, the best would be a 400 plug since that is the same as the setting on the IOS Ref for that cartridge.

Frank.

Yes. I understand RE: the Stageline. I'm definitely opting for the Superline and didn't know whether or not there was a suggestion for the load plug with the Apheta 2. I'm a newbie as far as this high end a phonostage and cartridge - thus, my curiosity about the effect of the load plugs. The stage I have now (Lehmann black cube II) is a plug and play. No load adjustments. 

Do a search for "Superline Loading Thread".....set aside plenty of time to read it  . The Superline is a very flexible pre with standard plugs provided  and  specific load plugs have come available for specific cartridges over the years.

ATB,

Mark

Looking for a new phono set up is an ordeal but the effort is worth it.  My experience is presented below.

The Superline is world class and a relative bargain.  It will likely be your last phono stage.  The real question is the optimal match for the Rega arm if you are committed to it.   I recommend you consult your favorite cartridge manufacturer directly to see what matches best.  Don't just take the dealer's word.  When I bought the Kleos SL, I contacted Lyra for their recommendation given my Moerch DP6 red dot arm and my years with the Helikon.   They knew immediately what to avoid and we gravitated to the Kleos.  There are only a few Lyra dealers in the US, maybe ten or twelve, and some do no business and can never get your order filled.  There is only one or two Lyra dealers who also carry Naim.   You should identify the cartridge family you like, and see if you can find a low gain option with mass that will work well with the Rega.   You might try Benz, or Dynavector, or you could contact Lyra and they would make a candid recommendation.   Tell them I sent you.  You can easily reach the CEO or the designer and you can contact me for their coordinates.

The Superline makes the Kleos SL optimal in my case because of its 64DB of gain which is what the Kleos SL requires.  The variable load and capacitance plugs make it easy to optimize with whatever cartridge you select, provided that cartridge works with the arm mass and does not have too much gain for the Superline.  I recall the Rega arm as rather heavy, which is a feature with certain higher end Lyras and a defect with others.   The red dot Moerch is on the lighter end of the spectrum, and I did not want to spend the money for an additional arm wand upgrade, so Lyra recommended the cheaper Kleos, given my constraints.  The high end Lyra cartridges require more arm mass to sound their best, evidently.    You can call your favorite cartridge house and they will likely know with conviction what you should do.  This level of obsession is required to optimize your phono setup.   The financial commitment can snowball in a hurry if you are not selective.

The Superline outclasses any phono stage I have had by a long way, and it is readily available as a demo for under $2500.  The Supernait II can handle it.    The self powered option from a Naim preamp is part of the Superline's appeal.   Keep it until you can upgrade to the HiCap, or better yet, the Supercap DR.   Together, they represent the best phono section available according to Hi Fi Critic, and I have to agree.    You could change out everything else in your system and the Superline can remain the anchor of the phono section for many years.   Congratulations on the Superline.  You and I have the best, and the upside from a bare Superline is available at incremental expense and substantial.   That should be a good feeling.  

Have fun and good luck with the path forward.

Christopher_M posted:
Paulie posted:

I'm definitely opting for the Superline.....

But why ignore the obvious, demonstrable synergy between an Apheta 2 and Rega phonostage, such as Aria, or better, IOS?

C.

Exactly! Why agonise over alternatives, if REGA do make perfectly capable phonostages that match Rega cartridges. 

Especially as the amp being used is SuperNait2.

Christopher_M posted:

Thank you Adam. My operative word was 'demonstrable'. And I wonder if that's where the problem lies.....

Chris

Quite likely 

Both Apheta 2 and Aphelion are high output MC cartridges. Rega Aria and Rega iOS are designed to match them perfectly, via adjustable gain settings. Not many phono stages do that.

Typically manufacturers focus on load and capacitance settings. Rega adds gain, with Aria having pre-sets for their cartridges.

Also there is a visual synergy between Rega's components: Aria and RP10's power supply are housed in identical cases.

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