I know all I had to do was get a phono pre but I do not rely on reviews for audio anymore, unless it was from someone who's ears I trust. I wanted to hear something before I purchased it and what my ears like so far is the Jolida JD-9 tubed phono pre that we had hooked up to Sparky at the 'fest last year [borrowed from Jerry]. Well, Jerry really liked the sound of the vinyl rig I had going on at the 'fest so I let him borrow the entire vinyl portion of the rig to play with at home.
When I went down to Florida to visit James and pick up the Polk SDA 1C's, I stopped by Jerry's place [enjoyed a fine evening] and picked the vinyl rig back up. Only thing was that I was back to where I was. I had no phono pre. Well, my brother in arms hooked me up with some $130.00 USB phono pre that lets you preserve your vinyl to a digital medium. I was not interested in doing that but this could be used just as a phono pre until I can scrape up the cashola for a Jolida JD-9 or other phono pre I hear that may trump the Jolida. This would at the very least give me vinyl back in the rig until then.
So, I get home from my trip and hook it all up. Sounded like crap. Farted around with it for about an hour and no matter what I did, it sounded like crap. It had a ground hum, the bass was non existent, crackling right and left and an overall sound that made BOSE sound like the cream of the crop. I just lost interest, figuring that this particular phono pre just wasn't compatible with my rig and left it alone for months.
Fast forward to today. I was on the phone with Jerry and I mentioned to him what went down. After a short conversation, I decided to give it another whirl. Came home, hooked the TT back up, adjusted the tonearm and went to play an album. Same thing. So, I tried to actually give a rat's ass this time and I started troubleshooting. It turned out to be a compromised IC. After repairing the IC, I tried once again and this time it sounded WONDERFUL!
Been listening to vinyl ever since. It's great to be back! Listening to a 180g version of Donald Fagan's "Morph the Cat" as I type this. Best part about today is that I just doubled my music library again. I have 5 boxes of LP's I have been collecting over the years, many of which I have not even heard yet.
The best way to enjoy digital music reproduction is to never listen to a good analogue reproduction.