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on June 20, 2007
Recently I sold off my high end stereo preamp and power amp to transition to a multichannel home theater environment. The stereo preamp had a very nice phono stage and after reviewing the specs and prices on countless generic and hybrid phono preamps I decided to take a chance on the ART DJ Pre II. Am I glad I did. Even though I was prepared to drop some serious cash on one of the more esorteric audiophile preamps I had wondered whether any inexpensive phono preamp could provide reasonable playback quality.

As I'm now streaming audio and video to my home theatre from my home computer network (via wired ethernet) I wanted a simple device that would enable me to playback and/or digitize my LP collection (numbering over 1000 albums). After interfacing the ART DJ Pre II to my home brew computer's Audigy 2 music card via a quality shielded mini-cable and adjusting and matching the signal levels appropriately on both the preamp and my computer software I was pleasantly surprised at the purity of reproduction.

While this arrangement may not approach the most sophisticated levels of vinyl reproduction possible, for one who attends live orchestral music concerts and plays SACD's on a regular basis the ART DJ comes darn close. When adding the fact that I've avoided spending several thousand dollars on an audiophile quality phono preamp I'm left with a very pleasant smile on my face.
55 comments90 of 92 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 15, 2013
I've been using the ART DJPRE II for about four months. Now that I have everything configured, the sound is breathtaking. It rivals other phono preamps costing thousands of dollars. NOTE: Be sure to connect the DJPRE GROUND terminal to your phonograph GROUND terminal via a separate grounding wire (spade lug terminals recommended). Also, be certain your phono is connected to a good earth GROUND. It DOES matter!

The real trick to get exceptional sound out of this little gem is to feed it what it likes best... that is a diet of PURE 12 volt DC. For a cost of about $30 you can build your own 12 volt PURE DC power supply. I've posted a picture that shows the details about how to do this. This little simple DIY project also gives you the ability to conveniently turn the unit on/off from the front. This is a feature other reviewers have noticed the DJPRE II is missing and would sure be nice to have.

UPDATE Nov 2, 2013: Amazon moved the picture(s) I posted. To see picture(s) click on hyperlink of my reviewer name, then select the tab for "Images," and on that page scroll down and select hyperlink for "Image Gallery." You will find picture(s) and DIY instructions there.

Initially, I'll admit I was a little disappointed. While the sound was very good, there was a subtle but yet unmistakable 60 Hz hum that I just couldn't get rid of. All the grounding tricks in the world, and believe me, as a retired military electronics engineer, I know MANY grounding and RF/EMI shielding techniques, I could not eliminate the hum. I just couldn't live with the unwanted noise. The unit's only drawback turns out to be its own supplied power adapter/converter. The unit's operating voltage is spec'd at 9 to 12 volts (AC or DC). The DJPRE II that I received from Amazon was supplied with a 120V AC to 9V AC adapter. NOTE: As of the writing of this review Amazon Product Features says "12V DC (Adapter included)" - a little discrepancy, but no big deal.

I tried using other power adapters (I have many). I tried 12V DC, 9V AC (supplied with unit), and just to see how rugged this little dude is, I even tried a 15V DC adapter. The DJPRE II performed about the same, regardless of the power adapter used. That low level but annoying 60Hz hum was there in every instance.

I began researching the high end audiophile grade phono preamps costing between $2000 to $7000. Being a technical engineer, I check out the spec's very diligently. I noticed that some of the high-end preamps, although connected to a regular 120V AC wall outlet, actually use an internal relay switch that switches to internal "battery power when operating" and then when not in use, the internal battery is charged by the standard line voltage (converted and rectified to DC of course).

After a trip to my local electronics retailer, about $30 in miscellaneous parts, and a little creative ingenuity along with a can of spray paint and my prototype build time, I was ready to try out my theory. I plugged my custom built PURE 12V DC power supply into the DJPRE II and I was instantly transported to musical nirvana (and NO 60 Hz hum)!

FURTHER INSIGHT: If you check out the photos I posted, you will see that my system uses a non-resonant Sumiko HS12 headshell mounted with a Lyra Delos MC (moving coil) cartridge, that is fed to an Ortofon Verto step-up transformer where it is converted to the MM (moving magnet) output level required as input for the ART DJPRE II. The ART DJPRE II is NOT able to use a high-end, low voltage (typically .5 mV or less) MC cartridge output directly. The ART DJPRE II is designed for use with MM cartridges, output loading: 47 kOhm / 100 to 200 pF. The output range for MM cartridges is usually somewhere between 4 to 9 mV.

I highly recommend this product if you are willing to build a very simple 12V DC power supply. I guarantee you will be amazed at the sound quality that fully complies with RIAA standards. Happy listening to all.
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44 comments34 of 35 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 5, 2010
If you're looking for a good phono pre-amp under $100 then this is worth looking at. The sound decent to good (not terrific to incredible) and if you have a lower gain output cartridge (moving coils instead of moving magnets) then there's a good amount of gain to give you more output. Though if you have a moving coil cartridge you're probably not looking at a preamp this cheap. On the downside, there is a power light on the face of the unit that is on as long as the unit is plugged in and it's pretty bright. There's no power switch to turn the unit off, so it's constantly consuming power unless you unplug it. Which I would think would be bad for the longevity of the unit. Also, to make it smaller they've put the DC power converter on the power plug of the unit which means it's got a pretty big wall wart. Overall I feel good about the purchase and the sound is respectable for the price. I just wish it had a power button and I don't understand the need for a power light if the unit is always on when plugged in.
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44 comments48 of 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on August 6, 2007
Our Kenwood receiver and turntable are probably 14 or 15 years old in excellent condition, but I upgraded the receiver. As goes technology, the turntable was not compatible with the new receiver.

The ART DJ Pre II Phono Preamp was just what my home theater sales associate recommended, not by brand, but he told me what I needed and boy was it the ticket.

I just plugged it in and I was back in action.

User friendly for the over 50, excellent product.
11 comment48 of 54 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 7, 2012
I really like the way this pre-amp brings vinyl to life. It goes perfectly with my Grado Prestige Black phono cartridge.

I deducted one star for the blinding Eye of Sauron that lights up my living room day and night.
33 comments13 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on January 11, 2007
I'm really happy with this puppy. My records never sounded so good and I especially like the input gain control. My old preamp only had a low-med-high gain switch which didn't allow precise input levels. If you use different cartridges/turntables, you'll appreciate the gain control.

Not exactly sure what the capacitance switch does as I can't tell any difference in either setting. It may help with some cartridges. The rumble filter might work with some turntables but doesn't seem to make any difference with my DUAL which has extremely low rumble. The yellow lights are pretty anyway.

I'm no expert but I think this is a very good buy. Very well made and I think you'd have to spend a lot more money to improve the sound. BTW, I use several DUAL turntables, Ortofon cartridges, M-Audio USB external sound device, Monster cables.
33 comments41 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 7, 2009
I purchased this product specifically for the adjustable gain and clip signal LED for use with an early 80s relatively high-end vintage turntable with a very modern receiver. I was having issues where clipping, which is not necessarily audible and can vary greatly between different LPs, was triggering my receiver's protection circuit. Other preamps with an adjustable gain and switchable impendence with subsonic filters if needed, can cost considerably more than this unit's $50 price tag. As far I a can tell, other than similar products from ART, this may very well be the only unit on the market with a visual clip signal, which is a great feature for quick fine-tuning of individual LPs. So far, this unit fits my needs perfectly. The LEDs are very bright, but I keep this unit relatively out of sight, yet readily accessible. I cannot tell you how this unit compares to audiophile grade ones running $300 - $1,500, but I have owned a couple of different preamps and from what I can tell with the use of a Grado Gold1 cartridge, the music remains detailed and the range remains dynamic.
11 comment18 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on May 30, 2008
I bought this product several months ago to transfer my LPs to digital files. The preamp produces a clean amplification, with the added benefit of several tunning options. With Gain Trim you can adjust the amplification according to the volume of the source.

You can also adjust the Input Capacity to either 100 and 200 pFarads.

One of the most useful setting it has is a Low Cut (High Pass) filter that allows all frequencies above 80 Hz to pass while blocking lower frecuencies. This gadget, when turned on, will kill the annoying rumble of your LP player. My LP player (a Technics) had a low frequency noise that is cut when you use the Low Cut producing a cleaner recording. A great gadget.

By the way I use Audacity as my recording software together with this amplifier and this works just fine.

A great purchase.
0Comment11 of 12 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on October 7, 2014
This is a pretty sweet little pre-amp, tightly built, I don't always use the gain adjustment, but have found it useful in the past. The blue light is kind of annoying b/c of the lack of an on - off switch, but you can always just unplug it or kill the power. The thing that bothers me about this unit (and I admit it may just be mine) is that I have noticed a significant imbalance in the L and R RCA outputs. I've checked everything, balanced vs. unbalanced cables, RCA to RCA, RCA to 1/4, switching cables out, etc, the left/right is just way off. It's basically made this device unusable, and I've received pretty much no customer support. Sorry ARTDJ that lands a nice 1/5.
0Comment6 of 6 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on March 31, 2012
After spending a few dollars (thousands) on many different phono preamplifiers over the years, I am simply amazed at the sound of this little phono preamp. I have used "high end" tube phono preamps to the "entry level" type including the Parasound Zphono, Music Fidelity V-LPS w/V-PSU Power Supply (not really entry level after adding the upgrade power supply unit) and the "very entry level" audio-technica AT-PEQ3. I am currently listening to the ART DJPRE II which prompted me to write this review. Simply put, very musical, transparent, fast, everything is there. Having features like gain trim control, analog input capacitance switching and switchable low cut filter are just icing on the cake. To my ear I it betters phono preamps of up to $1,000.00 maybe more. For well under a hundred dollars simply amazing.
44 comments16 of 20 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

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