Berning TF-10 MC active loading

Discussion in 'Tube Audio' started by jwrosenthal, Apr 16, 2018 at 12:12 PM.

  1. jwrosenthal

    jwrosenthal AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Grettings all,

    So I took delivery of my TF-10 last week and it really is an awesome preamp- won’t bash anything else I own, but I will say it’s the best preamp I have.

    I reached out to David before I bought it and asked about the “H” modification which designated one of the 3 phono inputs as a high gain MC stage. He said all I have to do is drop a pair of film resistors in there to get the right loading.

    At first I expects a small transistor board but he did a 12ax7/fet driven pre-pre in this thing (he mounted it vertically against the phono stage- very clever). I see where the 47k resistors are (right at the top) and he installed two sets of gold rings right in front of them for adding the loading resistors.

    I am assuming I can slip resistors of the correct value in there and either bend the legs or solder if I want it semi-permanent. I have read the threads and see the calculations for adding resistors in a high gain 47k phono stage to get the correct loading, but I suck at math and got very confused. So can I ask someone to either make it really easy for me to figure out which resistors I need or tell me which to get.

    I understand that an SUT (which is what I currently use for my cartridges) is different loading than an active stage which only confuses it more for me (its greater than 10x if I understand correctly).

    The three cartridges I would like to play with on this preamp are the Denon DL103 which wants a >40ohm load, The DL103R which wants >14ohm, and the Ort SPU Classic GME MkII which wants >10ohms.

    Obviously I would like to learn how to fish, but if someone can tell me which fish to buy to get me going that would be awesome.
    Thanks,
    James
    C6B223A5-194A-4BD0-AEF8-871BAF369E39.jpeg 7272BE95-A117-4E56-9A3B-C2CA4F35465E.jpeg
     

     

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  2. Dirk Willims

    Dirk Willims AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey JW, I too received my TF-10 alledged to have all the upgrades, but didn't receive any doc's confirming said upgrades.

    I also received a David Berning HZ270 tube amp, upgraded with documents. Hmmmm. Fantastic, cool, groovy, orgasmic, truly really good sound. Both are years old, but then that's what I was after, older well documented interesting kit. Think Berning gear fits that bill.

    I do have a problem, I don't know what really really good kit sounds like. I only own a few tube set ups, this clearly sounds better then the couple I've got here. I own a Quicksilver tube pre amp,and associated equipment.

    My second set is a Dynaco 70 tube amp, PAS3 pre and the FM-3 Kit.

    As stated the Berning kit is just better, and I don't know how to explain that difference. Did I mention I'm new at this audio stuff, been at it for a solid year. Buying stuff like a drunk sailor with know real direction.

    I attacked the sound issue in what I thought was a logical way. I purchased many many sets of what I know,to,be historically proven reasonably priced speakers. Are their better speakers out their, o yea, those will never being my stable, unless I hit the lottery.

    Congrats on your new gear.

    Dirk Williams
     
  3. jwrosenthal

    jwrosenthal AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Hey Dirk, glad you’ve joined the fold. I started at this 30 years ago as a teen when I inherited my father’s 1974 stereo system of a Marantz 2250b, Dual 1228 turntable, and Warfedale W40 speakers. That system stayed with me until around 2000 (and among my friends, I always has the best stereo) when I got bitten by the bug after hearing an older SS Mcintosh system and knew it could get better.
    I won’t go into what I have had since and now but like you it was a journey. Also like you, I am attracted to iconic pieces of audio gear, the TF-10 being one of them- the preamp that knocked ARC sideways back in the 80’s.

    I am lucky enough to have a few friends that have been at this a very long time so have been able to borrow and listen and really get an idea of what has been and what is in the world of hi-fi.
    Get social with the audio community because your eyes and ears will open up with the more exposure you get. Eventually you will develop your “aural esthetic” as I like to call it, which is essentially what you like in your sound. I have friends with mega $$$$ systems who know how to put a system together, and all of them sound great but most of them just don’t scratch my inner ear itch. It’s about finding what scratches that itch and building your system to deliver that. When you hit that goal-of identifying YOUR sound, and matching components to bring you that sound, the wanderlust will ease. Many people get hung up on specs and linearity and “what’s correct”, but it all comes down to how it sound to you. One mans tubby is another’s lush. Another’s holographic detail is another’s etched and exaggerated. Just go after what you like.

    I bought the Berning to fill a certain hole in one of my systems. The speakers and amp I am using in that room are Urei studio monitors (and matching 300w/ch commercial amp) from 1984- reference monitors in the truest form of the word. I wanted a preamp of that period that could match them as a reference, and the Berning is exactly that.

    James
     
  4. jwrosenthal

    jwrosenthal AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Ok, so I heard back from David Berning and this is what he wrote:


    “Hi James,

    The resistors that are there are 47k. As you suspect, the pins are for plugging in other loading resistors. in general, most MC cartridges are loaded at a much lower value of resistor, so that the 47k becomes negligible and a parallel-resistor equation is not needed. Most 1/4-watt resistors have small enough wire leads so that they can plug in to the pins without soldering.”

    So in talking with a few people, it appears that if I need the loading to be say 470ohms for my Denon DL103, I just get two 470k resistors and drop them in...could it be that easy?!
     
  5. Dirk Willims

    Dirk Willims AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Good morning, James. Congrats, I've emailedBerning a couple times, and got zero responses. Ain't no thing, wasn't looking for a new BFF, just hoping to connect should I need work done.

    As far as your last post, no idea what your talking about. I want my music, to be very very good music. I'm learning!

    Have a good one.

    Dirk
     
  6. jwrosenthal

    jwrosenthal AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If you want to use a low output moving coil cartridge on your turntable, you usually have to use a step-up transformer to bring the signal up to that of a moving magnet .5mv), which then gets plugged into the phono input on your preamp. The “H” modification on these preamps was the addition of an active moving coil gain board that steps up the signal actively rather than passively like a step up transformer (mine is Phono3). The other 2 phono inputs are regular MM.

    The issue though with moving coil cartridges is that they have a lower impedance than standard moving magnets (47kohme) and need to be “loaded down” with resistance to get the frequency response back to where the manufacturer wants it, so he included 4 little pins in which you can insert resistors for the correct value to match up with the cartridge you choose to use. It’s a very nice feature which I was unclear how to use until I got his response. I have a Denon DL103 plugged into the active gain stage now and it sounds excellent even at the regular 47k, but it was a little peaky in the midrange abs a little hard on top-which I assume when loading down to around 470k would bring the sound back to where the cartridge should be.

    James
     
  7. Dirk Willims

    Dirk Willims AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    James,,right now I'm running a Fluance 81 TT, off of my Quicksilver integrated tube amp. Sounds awesome. I just purchased a Yamaha PH -800 Yamaha TT, which will mate with the Berning amp/pre amp. The Yamaha isn't here yet.

    My stereos apart right now, trying to figure out a new room set up, with the shape, and SQuare foot of the room. Running stacked Cornwalls, is presenting a problem.

    Thank you. I'll eventually get it figured out.

    Dirk
     
  8. jwrosenthal

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    Be careful of impedance running two pairs of speakers if they are on the same amp. Also if they are stacked you may be having some sympathetic cabinet vibration issues so dampening between them (like a sheet of sorbothane) may help. Also, if don’t already have the top one inverted so the tweeters are more in line, that will definitely change your image. I’m personally not a fan of multiple speaker set-ups. I prefer a very simple set up and even avoid running a sub if I can help it (although my Urei’s roll off at 80hz so I run twin passive subs with an active xover and 300w/ch amp to fill the bottom end in). I think the more you complicate things, the more room there is for frustration.
     
  9. Dirk Willims

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    James, I'm not running stacked Cornwalls with the 270, that's a different system. Right now in running a set of Maganpens MG IIs. These units are horsepower hungry, thinking their not a solid match. I can't find my data sheets for the TF-10 might and the HZ270 amp may, be lite on raw power which these Maggie's crave.

    Also I've just discovered another issue. My tape units, cassette and CD has zero output? Wondering if I'm doing something wrong. Using a Kycera cd unit, and a Nakashimi cassette unit.

    Can you share exactly how you have your Tape related units plumbed in. Is their a sequence on the tf10 front panel I'm not selecting correctly.

    FYI, I tried both separately,

    Regarding these Maggie's, I've got I've got the volume maxed, and I'm using a Luxman digital tuner, so for now it's FM radio. Sounds dam good, for FM radio. but thinking I'm going to pull these Maggie's, run a set of klipsch Heareseys for trouble shooting.

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks in advance.

    Dirk
     

     

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  10. WhiteSE

    WhiteSE Is Lute Gluten Free?? Subscriber

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    Excellent choice in preamps!!!
     
  11. jwrosenthal

    jwrosenthal AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I’m enjoying it. I have run an ARC L7 w/ Lehman Decade phono, my RM-5, and an AI Modulus in this same system and I honesty think the Berning is the best I have heard. No, it’s not as inky black as the ARC, or as punchy as the A.I., but it is truly uncolored and has fantastic linearity and imaging.
     
  12. jwrosenthal

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    i actually haven’t tried the tape inputs on my TF10 yet (just running CD and vinyl so far), but it may have to do with multiple knobs and the setting of them. I will check it out in the coming days as I do have a couple analog sources that I have yet to plug in. Is the CD makes sound on the aux but not on tape? I know looking at the schematic that the tape path has its own set of 4-tubes (12 tubes in this sucker!!!), so I assume they are on a different circuit than the line stage .
    As for the Maggie’s, yeah- I have a pair- they are power hogs. I had them in my MC2205 (200w/ch) and I would tack the meters and go into power guard at lively but not ear blistering volume. I honestly thing you need at least 300w/ch to drive them to real volume, but they were classically paired with ARC amps at a lowly 100w or less of tube power so not sure how that worked. Bottom line is they are 5ohm speakers so you need to run an amp that can handle a consistent 4ohm load without blinking.

    I would say throw something like a 300w/ch Bryston on them with a good tube preamp and you get the best of both worlds.
     
  13. Dirk Willims

    Dirk Willims AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks for the reply. I'm thinking I've got something messed up on the front plate. As for big amps, I'm thinking the biggest I've got is an ADS P-4 no idea what kind of watts it pushes. Pushing a ADS,CC-4 a CD player and a kenwood KD2055, With issues.

    Got a Dynaco 70 and pre, and the SS version with the PAT4 and the AM/FM SS tuner, for a future project.

    Unless I, messing up, Pre amp output, to Player output .
    And pre amp input to player input. ? Correct

    Dirk
     
  14. Dirk Willims

    Dirk Willims AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    James when I first started purchasing gear it was receivers and integrated amps. For some reason no great SS amps. Trying to correct that.

    On another note my Yamaha turntable arrives here Monday afternoon. I'm excited.

    Dirk
     
  15. jwrosenthal

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    If you aren’t familiar with setting up a turntable (which I assume you are as you have a Michell- I do too and you have to know how to set up a turntable to own one), PM me.

    Tape output of the tape deck into tape input on the preamp. Tape input on the tape deck to tape output on the preamp if you want to record otherwise just leave the cable out. CD player into Aux or tape input on the preamp.

    On the Berning front: “Selector” should be at the big dot top center of the “Monitor” and “Tape Copy” when using the left “selector” knob for phono, tuner, aux1 or Aux2 (this is what I have mine on and use just phono and Aux1)

    When using the “Monitor” knob, you should be able to select the input you want and the “Tape Copy” should be at 1-2 most likely, but I haven’t tested it yet.

    I went down the same road as you- just over a much longer period of time. I have staples in my collection that get rotated in and out, and a bunch of stuff that just sits (like recievers and int-amps) which will end up in Bartertown, Audiogon or eBay in the near future.
    The difference between a hoarder and a collector is curation- beware of becoming a hoarder in this hobby.

    The learning curve is steep and you seem to be moving at a rapid rate, but you need to hone in on what will suit your needs and avoid just buying everything that looks cool or was reviewed well-that’s how you become a hoarder, and the purge is just as important as the acquisition- if not moreso to keep things in use.
    1 or 2 really good solid state power amps can be useful for a miriad of thing from driving difficult speakers like the Maggie’s or using as
    passive sub amps like I do, but all can do duty as a primary amp. Tube amps have their limitations and sometimes high current is what’s needed for the job. My Klipschorns are legendary for being “able” to be driven with 1 watt flea powered amps, but they love high powered solid state amps, so having a variety of gear to mix and match is helpful.
     
  16. Dirk Willims

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    Up and running, lil Stevie Ray" Cant Stand The heat!".. Thank you so very much. I knew I was doing something wrong, just couldn't work,thru it. Kept insisting on in in/ out out!

    Agree my last serious purchase this spring will be the Yamaha 800 TT. I've got far to many hobbies to stay focused on audio gear from here until Oct. then back into the stereo loop. I should mention I've got a room jam packed with stuff. A Yamaha 800 amp, " I need a c800 pre for it, and a couple Kool JVC high end four track intigrated amps, again need to round up pre amps for them. Bought them cuz the lights were bitchen, and I like running four speakers. As a young man was a navy jet mechanic, then into the gun world. My ears don't know what their hearing. They just know the noise is special.

    Interestingly enough I had purchased aHH Scott Tube tuner to go with this Berning set up, sounds like a big stinky pile a poo! Switched to a digital luxman, and for tuner music sounds pretty darned nice.

    Thank you James.
     
  17. Dirk Willims

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    O yea, wanted to mention this combo of the Berning HZ270 tube pre and the Berning TF-10 tube pre is pretty darned special.im really really digging it. It's just different, and I don't know enough to explain the differences.

    Dirk
     

     

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  18. jwrosenthal

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    The Scott tuners are notorious for drifting and always need service. There are a few around that know how to align them, I would reach out to Terry DeWick and see if he’ll do it. He specializes in McIntish but he may make an exception for a Scott.
    If you are looking for a great tube tuner, the McIntosh MR71 was about as good as it for short or a Marantz 10b. Again, they all need a good tech who knows how to rebuild and align them which is a black art. But the difference is totally worth it. I have a Magnum Dynalabs tuber and my MR71’s smoke it. It goes from just listening to the radio to really listening to a great analog source....even if the stations are are playing digital material.

    I used to like doing the matchy-match for all my gear but realized quickly that some companies did some things better than others. McIntosh for example makes one hell of a power amp but they can’t make a preamp to save their lives (but they are pretty). Denon makes a spectacular turntable but their electronics sound sterile and boring to me. Song ES made an outstanding CD Player but I haven’t met a Sont power amp that hasn’t blown up.

    Start mixing and matching and the world will open up for you.
     
  19. Dirk Willims

    Dirk Willims AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Living is southern Oregon, down south, on top of a mountain, not much chance of finding a tech here.
     
  20. Dirk Willims

    Dirk Willims AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've found a couple folks, they have some of my silver faced big number Marantz and Sansui gear, Receivers. I'm finding out that both are ex tweeters, and apparently both are doing crank again. Maybe 200.00 in cost of total purchases. We'll see how this shakes out.

    Mixing and matching I'm learning, it's fun. I think,like most when I started to get the audio bug, I was purchasing anything that caught my eye, depth direction were not the objective, just cool stuff, cheap. I'm 61 now and my life's changing. My career in law enforcement was not an easy one. Very physical, sadly the job was reacting to others actions.

    I'm broken, got aftermarket parts high and low, in my body, and I'm in severe pain daily. " the aftermarket parts don't hurt" everything around them does. I manage to stay active, have lots of fun hobbies. Living on top of a mountain in the boonies, makes for lots of opportunities, I often spend a portion of the day just watching the eagles fly. Over the lake.

    Anyway, after roughly a longish year of audio stuff, I'm refining my hunt, my definition and direction are more focused. I do a ton of research before I purchase anymore. My tastes and expiation's are clearly higher then when I caught the bug.

    I don't know if this is normal, initially I didn't care what a unit looked like, just had to sound good. Now my kit has to sound fantastic and look good on top of that.

    Think I've made the stereo snob level. Lol. No worries, it's just the family here, and they don't share my love of killer music. My children are in their early thirties now, have two grandsons, 9 and 4 that I spend at least 4 days a week guarding, so their parents can keep child care costs down. Both are smart, and love my music. We spend hours listening to classical and jazz while they do their school work. My wife's a retired public school teacher 35 years, so if the boys didn't bring home work home, she works with them. We're big on education and a quality life.

    Thanks for,sharing on the stereo kit. Your instrumental in my audiophile education. I'm learning. Your posts, your guidance is very helpful.

    Dirk
     

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