Cambridge Audio 540p phono stage vs. Marantz 2245 phono stage

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by jimdandy, Feb 5, 2010.

  1. jimdandy

    jimdandy Receiver or wife - hmm...

    Thought I'd post this as I've read a few threads wondering if a new seperate phono stage would sound better than a phono stage from a vintage receiver.

    I honestly could not tell the difference between my Marantz 2245 phono stage and the 540p. Now, the 2245 has been completely restored by AK member Catrafter and I've only been listening to the 540p for a couple days. Apparently, there is a break-in period for new phono pre-amps. But as of now, they're on the same level as far as I can hear (they both sound good).

    I will say the 540p sounds much better than the phono stage in my new Yamaha AX-497 integrated amp and that is where I'm using it.

    Just thought I'd share my experience.
  2. DrMux

    DrMux Welcome to the Gig.

    I'm interested in phono stages myself. I've been looking into different models under $200. I was pretty much set on a tube model for $175, but Audio Advisor tech tells me the NAD PP2 would be the way to go. At this point I have no idea but will keep looking and reading. Right now I'm using a Pioneer SX-780 but could really used the space it's taking up for something else so I can run them through my tube power amp.
  3. HypnoToad

    HypnoToad Ms Puss Puss Subscriber

    I have a 540P and it sounds better than the one in my Yamaha CR-1020 and Luxman L-430 but can't compete with my ProJect Tube Box II but that's in a different price range.

    For the price its a good unit and the 640P is supposed to be even better.
  4. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    The cartridge, turntable before the pre as well as the resolution of the amp and speakers after it will also play into how much of a difference you notice between phono preamps. I'm not dissing your just may be that a phono pre of the quality of that in the 2245 is exactly on par with your cartridge, turntable, amp and speakers. Or it could be exactly as you described, that the two phono pres are of equal quality...

    There are so many variables in what we all run.
  5. DrMux

    DrMux Welcome to the Gig.

    I just found this link. I'm getting the one rated against the NAD. Price is better. And I like to try something different.
  6. MWalt

    MWalt AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Hmmmm...surprising. I have the 640p as well as a fully restored 2245 and the Cambridge was better. Much better. Not dissing the 2245, but also I found this to be the case with my Marantz 1060, Kenwood KA-9100 and my Pioneer SA-8800. All my vintage stuff have phono sections that sound nice, but none compared at all with the 640P. The 640P does spec better than the 540p though.
  7. fastbike

    fastbike Well-Known Member

    I'm very surprised the AA rep recommended the NAD instead of the Cambridge 640p.

  8. ohenry

    ohenry New Member

    It will be interesting to see what you think of it. I bought one for my girlfriend and I was impressed, but I wasn't willing or able to compare it with other preamps in her system.
  9. Stanton681EEES

    Stanton681EEES Addicted Member

    Get yourself a Cambridge 640P it will kill either of the ones you mentioned.
  10. vinyl1

    vinyl1 Super Member

    Wouldn't you have to plug the 540p into the Marantz to get a fair comparison? The phono stage may not be the only thing in the Yamaha that is crappy.
  11. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    The DB Systems DB-8 phono pre (available only online or, in my case, very nice fellow AKer) destroyed my NAD pp-2 sonically. Nothing against the PP-2, as it in turn was better than almost all my built in phono pres, but it is not the go-to pre as that link described.
  12. bsujeep

    bsujeep Go Boise State!!! Subscriber

    Interesting, I borrowed a TC-750 from a friend to use until I save up for a tube phono pre. We hooked it up to some very nice equipment (sumiko blackbird, promitheus TVC SE, DIY EL84 SET amp, and crites upgraded Khorns) to give it a shot and it surprised both of us. It was not up to the Graham Slee era gold, but was very listenable.

    I took it home and noticed a pretty good buzz from the wall wart it comes with and got a goofy idea that worked very nicely. I used an old computer power supply and cut off an old wall wart that had the same size pin for the TC-750 and wired it to the 12 volt rails on the computer power supply. Very quiet now with just a faint hum at max volume that I can only hear right next to the woofer. It won't compete with high dollar stuff, but it beats all the built in's that I have.
  13. avole

    avole Banned

    I thought the PP2 was nothing special - shut in sound, not particularly dynamic, al in all a bit grey. The basic Pro-ject was better, but the Fono mini was easily the best.

    Have just bought the 640p as the mini is MM only. According to the tests in the German HiFi mags which rate for quality irrespective of budget it's up there with the best and much, much better than the PP3.
  14. Netdewt

    Netdewt Active Member

    Everyone says this. I have the 540P and I like it a lot. First TT and first phono pre. It was cheap enough that I can get something else later. I will never run a MC cart, I'm too cheap, so I don't care about the better specs on the 640P. Why does everyone bother recommending a phono pre way outside the given price range?

    I think it depends on what you want it for.
  15. MWalt

    MWalt AK Subscriber Subscriber

    Simply because the 640P sounds better than the 540P. Thus, the better specs. If the the 540 is priced right for you and works for you then great. You are not comparing apples to apples with the 640 and 540.
  16. Stanton681EEES

    Stanton681EEES Addicted Member

    It's not just better specs it's because the sound of the 640P is so much better. Plus the OP asked and we gave him our opinions. If you happy with yours then who cares
  17. Netdewt

    Netdewt Active Member

    Everything I've read about the 540P was very good. For someone looking in the $100 price range, it is an excellent phono pre. I'm sure the same goes for the 640P in the $200 price range.
  18. REDone

    REDone Super Member

    UK prices for 540 - £60 & for 640 - £100

    how much flexibility in loading is there with these?
  19. DrMux

    DrMux Welcome to the Gig.

    I was also surprised the NAD was recommended by AA over the 640. Maybe they have too many NAD's in stock and need to push some.

    Looks like I'm going with the Cambridge 640 unless someone can talk me into the Rolls tube preamp.
  20. JohnVF

    JohnVF Banned

    It may just be me, but I never trust a review or recommendation from any site that also sells the gear. This stems from me never trusting the recommendation of a salesman at an audio store (if I don't know them personally), as often they seem to, um, 'magically' only recommend the gear they carry, and everything else sucks. This is of course not a universal truth, but i've experienced it.

    I posted a few comments about the Rolls 129 in the other thread. If you get a good one and have a fairly high gain cart, it's nice, if you get one that hums, too bad. I have read that the VP-130 doesn't experience the hum problems of the 129, but my experience with the 129 has made me a non-believer.

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