Grado phono preamp?

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Baumli

Grado phono preamp?
« on: 5 May 2017, 01:00 am »
Dear folks,

Some years ago I met an old fellow in his early 80s who loved music, and I got him set up with an entry-level high-end system. Old and cheap two-way Vandersteen's, a Dahlquist subwoofer and crossover, an old solid state ARC for his Vandersteen's and a Quatro (using one channel) for his sub. An old AR tt, a cheap Sony CD player, and my cast-off wire. He worked as a machinist out of his home, and lived to age 93. His wife said he did about 4 hours of machine work in his basement, and listened to music later that evening, before he went to bed the night he died in his sleep. Not a bad way to go. Functional up to the end with a peaceful death. (The last couple of years he couldn't use his turntable because he had developed quite a tremor. "The shakes," he called it.)

Well, he is long-gone, but now I know another old gentleman I met at the library who is wanting to get set up that way. He is 80, and because he already has a Grado headphone amp, he wants to find a Grado phono pre-amp. I'm going to help him set up an entire system--again, a cheap one. But I have no idea where to find a Grado phono pre-amp. I haven't seen one for sale in ages, and I've never even heard one. The factory no longer makes them. Should I discourage him from getting it, or is it a decent phono pre-amp? Any advice would be appreciated. And if anybody has one they are wanting to part with, please let me know.

Thanks to all!

Francis Baumli

electricbear

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #1 on: 5 May 2017, 01:47 pm »
I haven't seen a Grado for years. For an inexpensive phono pre I have sold quite a few of the Emotiva XPS-1. They run $179 but Emotiva quite often run specials where you can get them as low as $129. I haven't looked to see what they go for on the used market.

dB Cooper

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #2 on: 5 May 2017, 01:56 pm »
Maybe an Orbit TT with the optional phono pre would be a good choice- decent budget TT without the potential headaches of going the vintage route.

Baumli

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #3 on: 5 May 2017, 08:04 pm »
Dear folks,

Thank you for your suggestions. The Orbit tt is okay, for a budget rig, but its phono pre definitely is not to my taste. Plus, my friend already has a very decent tt (an older AR) so he is set up in that realm.

And as for the Emotiva XPS-1, yes, that is a very fine phono preamp. Maybe I'll steer him in that direction if he can't find a Grado. As for finding a Grado, they made a version which took two 9-volt batteries and one which plugged in. The former one was less expensive, but its internal contacts for the batteries weren't sturdy and caused problems. We'll look for a while. One other phono preamp which interested him is the Thorens MM-002. I'd never even heard of this one so I have no idea as to its quality. It is MM only, which is fine for this use, and very compact. Has anyone heard this one?

Thank you for your help!

Very best,

Francis Baumli

daves

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Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #4 on: 5 May 2017, 08:23 pm »
Francis, Gabe has loaned my his custom kit built Hagerman coronet MM phono preamp, which is quite good, and the pre your friend should get. I am running it with the Thorens TD 125, and it is very, very nice. I just got the Fairchild amp, so I am berift of funds, while your acquaintance has the good fortune to be in the hunt for this exact pre.

mjmsound

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Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #5 on: 5 May 2017, 10:46 pm »
I built a cornet by Hagerman a number of years ago. I love the sound of it. It is a very nice MM phono pre.

Baumli

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #6 on: 5 May 2017, 10:50 pm »
Dear Dave,

Well, I'm not sure your phono preamp would work if it's what I think the "Cornet" is. He, and his wife, are considering moving into an assisted living facility. Revelation: For these old, clumsy, untrustworthy people they allow absolutely nothing, I mean nothing, in those places with a tube in it because tubes might cause a burn or a fire. Many of these places won't allow a cook stove either, although they will allow a microwave. This was a problem with a great-uncle (now deceased). He had an old radio with just one tube, and they wouldn't let him keep it. (He tried to reason with them, and explain that a TV is more likely to cause a fire than a radio with a tube in it, but ... "reason"? In this modern world?)

So my friend is unwilling to risk anything with tubes, even though he's not yet sure where they will move. Plus, he's got his heart set on a Grado, so he wants to look for one--at least for a while. So ... does this Hagerman "Cornet" have tubes in it or not?

Dave, when you go into an assisted-living facility, you must realize that you'll have to get rid of your Fairchild amps and all that other tube gear. At which point you can entrust all that tube gear to me. Instead of going into assisted-living, I'll have about 20 bimbos waiting on me night and day. Surely they can be trained to handle a Fairchild without burning their lips. I mean, their fingers.

So do tell me: Does the Hagerman "Cornet" have tubes or not?


Thank you.

Francis Baumli

daves

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Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #7 on: 5 May 2017, 11:55 pm »
Francis, it has 23 tubes, five(5) Fairchild amps and their matching tube preamps, and sixteen Thorens TD124 turntables with special SME tonearms, all driven off a vintage tube regulated power supply I dredged out of a foundry in southern Illinois. Alas, this is not to be...

jibzilla

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 46
Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #8 on: 14 May 2017, 03:33 pm »
Hagerman Bugle 2. No tubes and sounds amazing for the price.

Baumli

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #9 on: 14 May 2017, 05:47 pm »
Dear Godzilla,

Thank you for the suggestion. That was one I myself recommended. But my friend has found a Denon, and plans to use that, until he finds a Grado. (Which I doubt he'll ever find.)

But thank you for the recommendation. It is a worthy piece of gear. Tiny but mighty.

All the best,

Francis Baumli

Magnus

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Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #10 on: 15 May 2017, 01:49 pm »
Francis,
    I had to sell some audio gear off to defray some expenses. I should've rolled the dice and put them online here or on Craigslist for a better return. However, my timetable was tight, so I sold them to Alpha-Tech. Included was a Grado PH1. I think it's a great phono preamp, and matched really well with my Grado cart. It had a super wide soundstage, plus the needed impact I expect in the classical works I enjoy. He might still have it, or you could check with Wylie at the Speaker and Stereo Store. He may have some, despite them no longer being made.
   
Sincerely,
Steven

Baumli

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #11 on: 15 May 2017, 06:19 pm »
Dear Steven,

Thank you for the suggestion. I'll contact Wylie, but since his store no longer exists, do you know his current phone #?

As for the one you gave to Zaw, did it plug in, or was it run by batteries?

I look forward to hearing from you, and again, am grateful for your suggestion.

All the best,

Francis Baumli

kentj1948

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #12 on: 15 May 2017, 06:27 pm »
Here is the link to the Speaker and Stereo store ad on Craigslist.  I am sure the contact information is there somewhere.  Kent

https://stlouis.craigslist.org/ele/6112888510.html

dcbingaman

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #13 on: 16 May 2017, 12:50 pm »
Hi, Francis.  Grado PH-1's are hard to find.  Another good, low cost phono preamp is the IFi iPhono.  I had one and it was stellar.  There is one on Audio Mart now for $225.00 - good buy.  Here is the URL: http://www.usaudiomart.com/details/649330368-ifi-phono-preamp/

Baumli

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #14 on: 16 May 2017, 05:46 pm »
Thank you for the suggestion. I think my friend now feels that he is all set with this Denon, though hoping still to find a  Grado. I haven't even heard of this brand, so nevertheless will look in to it.

Very best,

Francis Baumli

Magnus

  • Jr. Member
  • Posts: 14
Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #15 on: 17 May 2017, 06:28 pm »
Dear Steven,

Thank you for the suggestion. I'll contact Wylie, but since his store no longer exists, do you know his current phone #?

As for the one you gave to Zaw, did it plug in, or was it run by batteries?

I look forward to hearing from you, and again, am grateful for your suggestion.

All the best,

Francis Baumli
Hi Francis,
    It didn't run on batteries, it was AC powered.

Baumli

Re: Grado phono preamp?
« Reply #16 on: 17 May 2017, 09:37 pm »
Dear Magnus,

I did contact Alpha-Tech, and it appears we will be making a deal. So I am grateful to you for steering my friend toward this one.

This is what is great about our site. Such a store of information, in a varied group of people, and we're all neighbors who help each other.

So thank you, again. And thanks to all!

Very best,

Francis Baumli