Dire Straits’ Communique sounds so good on vinyl.
I was so stoked to enter the realm of music on vinyl. I just wasn’t getting the results I expected. Over the course of two weeks I obsessed about it, trying to narrow down the issue and pouring over Internet forums, trying to figure out why the quality of the sound was poor. I was eventually able to solve it once and for all — I borrowed a solid state preamplifier from a photographer friend, Alan. Suddenly the music became much clearer, more lively, and far less distorted. It turned out that the phono preamp section in my Denon AVR-3310ci was doing a horrible job. Like all moving magnet type turntable cartridges, my Ortofon OM 5E outputs only 400 millivolts, far below the expected power on line-in inputs on the Denon. You solve this by introducing a pre-amplifier stage, where the voltage is amplified around one hundred times. An analog amplifier then brings the level up high enough to power the speakers. I also learned that many A/V receivers have a “Pure Direct” mode, where they channel the signal through a purely analog amplifier and shut down unneeded components to help reduce interference. It’s the cleanest possible output from an analog input on the Denon.
After a glut of research on forums, I narrowed my choice down to the Chinese-made Yaqin MS-22B preamp. These are made in Hong Kong. There is a distributor in Canada who imports them, QCs all units, then sells them with a warranty. That’s where I sourced mine from.
My analog gear now sounds spectacular. Here’s what I have now:
- Pro-Ject Debut III, with an Ortofon OM 5E cartridge
- Yaqin MS-22B PreAmp
- Denon AVR-3310ci
- Energy Pro Series 1.5 bookshelf speakers
- Polk PSW350 subwoofer
There are a few more tweaks I will make to the system, but from this point on it’s mostly collecting vinyl to play.