By Don Lindich
Week 5, 2015
Q. I decided to pull out my old Technics SL-B20 turntable and hook it up to the phono input on my Pioneer SC-25 receiver. Unfortunately, very, very, little sound comes out of the speakers. I am guessing this is because the receiver doesn’t have a “preamp” for the turntable.
Do I need a phono preamp, or would I be better off purchasing a new turntable with a built-in preamp? I will use it for a few hours a week until I build up my record collection again.
A. Since your receiver has a phono input, you already have a phono preamp. Any input labeled “phono” has the extra amplification and equalization needed for most phono cartridges. I checked to make sure and your SC-25 receiver does indeed have a phono preamp.
Cartridges are mechanical components that break down over time, and if you have not used your turntable in a long time it is the likely culprit.
First, make sure the tracking force is set to 1.5 grams. Do this by turning the counterweight to balance the tonearm so it is level. Once it is level, set the index ring to 0, then turn the weight so it reads 1.5. This may solve your problem.
If this does not work, try a new, inexpensive phono cartridge to get you by for now. Your turntable requires a P-Mount cartridge. The Audio-Technica AT92ECD can be purchased for under $20 online. Once you build up your vinyl collection you can shop for a better turntable.
CES 2015 Report: SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 Home Theater System
Based near Youngstown, Ohio, SVS Speakers has long been known for extremely high performance subwoofers that are also very affordable. They also apply their high value/high performance philosophy to home theater and stereo speakers, with admirable results. Especially noteworthy is the Prime series of satellite, bookshelf, and tower speakers. I was treated to a demonstration of the SVS Prime Satellite Home Theater System and was very impressed. The system has been racking up awards lately and I was anxious to hear it for myself.
The $999 SVS Prime Satellite system combines a subwoofer with five speakers. The speakers a bit bigger than the teacup-sized speakers found in most small systems, and it makes all the difference in the world. The larger woofers reproduce the midrange much more accurately than a tiny speaker can, creating a much fuller sound. The Prime Satellites come in either a simulated black ash finish or a gorgeous high-gloss piano black that costs $200 more. After seeing the piano black I think it is worth it, but I won’t argue with the budget-conscious who want to keep the cost of the system under $1,000.
The sound of the Prime Satellite system is tremendously clear, dynamic, and detailed, with impressive punch from the 300-watt subwoofer. It was driven by a modest Onkyo receiver, yet still attained a very high level of performance and sound quality. I was told by company reps that this was their intention. They wanted people to be able to buy the speaker system and combine it with a $300-$500 receiver and get truly great sound. They have succeeded!
I will have a review of the SVS Prime Tower speakers in an upcoming column. www.svssound.com.