Moving from phono boards to a cheap phono (MC) amp

Posted by: Kevin-W on 10 January 2019

Hi all

In my NAC 72 I have MC boards (323s of some sort I think - I need to have a look), feeding a Linn Klyde cart. At some stage later this year I mean to move to a Krystal.

My question is, should I get an external phono stage? I'm guessing that most will offer an improvement on the boards - but at what price point? If, say, I've only got 150-200 to spend, will that offer an audible improvement over what I've got? Or should I just stick with the status quo for now and wait until I can spend a bit more (maybe on a Stageline or secondhand Linto)?

Thx

Posted on: 10 January 2019 by Richard Dane

Kevin, I'd stick with what you have - NA323K boards should be a great match with the Krystal.  If you want to go further then a secondhand Prefix K would be a great move, but remember it will need a power supply like a Hicap.

Posted on: 10 January 2019 by Kevin-W

Thanks Richard. I think I might wait until I have more funds then.

Posted on: 11 January 2019 by Japtimscarlet

Sorry but I would offer the alternative advice that

Removing the boards from your 72 will help it deliver it's best and using say ..a linn Linto would be another step up over the boards in the 72 ...just my 2p worth ..

Posted on: 11 January 2019 by Richard Dane

...except a Linto will cost rather more than the 100-200 that is currently available.

With more funds, a Prefix should cost around 150-200 plus a Hicap, so similar cost to a Linto. 

Posted on: 11 January 2019 by Ardbeg10y

And don't forget that having the internal cards saves you a lot on cabling and the potential related risks. In my experience, it has always been a challenge to handle all the cabling / setup and however the performance of all kind of dedicated boxes could be higher, the simple solution can also perform exceptionally well.

Simplicity!

Posted on: 11 January 2019 by Kevin-W

Yes, thanks all - I'll stick with what I have until more funds become available at the end of the year.

Posted on: 11 January 2019 by Bob the Builder

A Rega Fono MC for 250 would improve on those boards IMO of course. 

Posted on: 11 January 2019 by Foot tapper
Kevin-W posted:

Yes, thanks all - I'll stick with what I have until more funds become available at the end of the year.

Hi Kevin,

Good move.  When looking to move on from NAC32.5 with internal phono boards, it soon became evident that the internal boards were really rather lovely.  It took 600 of Dynavector P75, a Naim Prefix + Hicap or similar for us to hear materially better reproduction of music.

Hope this helps, FT

Posted on: 12 January 2019 by Bob the Builder

I tried several sets of boards in a 72, 102 and an 82 both 3 and 5 series K and S and my Trichord Dino even bare without the upgraded PSU was always better. 

For the money those Naim boards are fantastic value and of course if such things bother you are one less box.