Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Bloodflame666 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:33 pm

I have a Prime Signature with a 2m Black mounted currently and I've never been very pleased with its performance, especially on records cut close to the labels. It's worth mentioning that this cartridge is about a year or so old and it was on my previous table which was an RPM5 Carbon. Anyway, I'm thinking of moving to a different cartridge and the Star has my interest. I'm currently using a Musical Surroundings Phonomena II+ phonostage which is adjustable for LO cartridges. My question is 2 part...first, will my phonostage be able to offer the correct gain and other settings to accommodate the Star? Secondly, will this possibly track better than my 2m Black? Thanks!
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby babybird » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:44 pm

I can't answer all of your questions but recently adopted a new MIMC Star and love it. I suspect your MS phono pre should be able to handle this cart with no problem given its extensive settings/adjustments. Don't have experience with 2M Black for comparison but can't imagine you wouldn't be satisfied with the MIMC. I am currently running my at a theoretical 66 db of gain, with loading set at 470 ohms using the Vision Q phono stage from Van Austine Audio.

BTW the MIMC Star is extremely quiet, noticeably more so than the VPI Zephyr.
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Bloodflame666 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 5:58 pm

And that's exactly what's scaring me. You have yours set to 66db of gain and my phonostage only offers a maximum of 60db. Soundsmith recommends 58-64 do but I'm very nervous that mine will be too quiet for this cartridge or underpower it
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby babybird » Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:39 pm

Understood, but allow me to add a few other comments. Upon initially receiving the MIMC I was running it via my Emotiva XPS-1, which BTW plays extremely well for such a modest cost and is also rated at 60 db of gain. However once I received the Vision Q with settings of 54, 60, 66 db of gain set at 60 db it clearly did not play at the same volume as the XPS-1 by roughly 1-3 db, strange enough. So over the last couple of days I changed the setting to 66 db of gain, but in the process it became obvious that the instructions for this phono stage did not jive with the actual DIP switch settings which makes me inclined to believe all 3 of them might have been wired incorrectly. The point I'm trying to make is I'm really not sure what gain I am currently using and will need to run a series of pink noise test to determine what those 3 DIP switches actually represent vs the manual instructions.

Regardless, at what I believed to be a 60 DB setting on this phono stage was not knocking my socks off compared to the diminutive XPS-1, better but not by leaps and bounds. Once I ramped it up regardless of its setting the whole thing just took off and became considerably more dynamic, involving etc etc even after turning the volume down considerably. This does not make sense to me why taking the gain up a notch by 6 db would do anything other than just change the volume. Not what you want to hear probably.

The long and short of it is the MIMC is one heck of a cartridge and can't recommend it enough, so much so I would change my phono stage to accommodate it. Heck at only $180 you could try the XPS-1 using a battery power supply as I did and be fine, or get the Vision Q. TAS gave this phono stage product of the year in 2016 and since then they have improved it and lowered the cost by $100.00. 30 day trial on either of these products.
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Brf » Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:00 pm

Bloodflame666 wrote:And that's exactly what's scaring me. You have yours set to 66db of gain and my phonostage only offers a maximum of 60db. Soundsmith recommends 58-64 do but I'm very nervous that mine will be too quiet for this cartridge or underpower it


You are missing one important factor in determining the appropriate phono stage gain factor is the input sensitivity of your power amplifier to reach its full power output.
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Bloodflame666 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 7:43 pm

I'm sorry. I am using a Parasound P5 preamp and a Parasound A21 power amp. KEF Q900 speakers.
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Brf » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:25 pm

Bloodflame666 wrote:I'm sorry. I am using a Parasound P5 preamp and a Parasound A21 power amp. KEF Q900 speakers.


The Parasound A21 has an input sensitivity of 1 volt to drive it to full power which is low when compared to most amplifiers. This means it take less output from your phono plus preamp gains stages for it to drive your amp to full power (this is a good thing for using lomc cartridges).

Your preamp does not specify the gain for the line output, therefore lets assume a very conservative 10db gain for your preamp's mc output. We then can calculate the total gain required to drive your amp's 1 volt input sensitivity by using a logirthmic expression.

20log (1.0 volt / 4e-5 volt) = 67db of total gain required.

Your phono stage provides 60db plus the preamp's conservative estimate of 10db gives you a total of 70db gain which is almost exactly what you need. I would not be too concerned about not having enough gain with the MIMC Star in your system.
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Bloodflame666 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:35 pm

Thanks for the response. I need to clear up if I'm supposed to be going from the phonostage to a line level input or into the MC phono input on my preamp. Your last response made it seem like I'm supposed to go into the phono input when I was always assuming I'd go into a normal input like the way I have my phonostage running right now.
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Brf » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:44 pm

Bloodflame666 wrote:Thanks for the response. I need to clear up if I'm supposed to be going from the phonostage to a line level input or into the MC phono input on my preamp. Your last response made it seem like I'm supposed to go into the phono input when I was always assuming I'd go into a normal input like the way I have my phonostage running right now.


Sorry, I was not clear, I meant to say that the line level input (post corrected) is conservatively rated for 10db. Yes, your phono stage gets connected to a line level input, not the mc input.
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Re: Soundsmith MIMC Star???

Postby Bloodflame666 » Thu Aug 24, 2017 8:49 pm

Thank you
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