My vintage MX110Z tuner preamplifier has two phono inputs, which is not enough to accomodate the three tonearms I have in play on my Thorens TD-124 and Classic 301.
I’ve got the Audio MusiKraft Denon DL-103 / Schick tonearm / Auditorium 23 SUT going into one phono input, and my Ortofon SPU Classic GM MkII stereo phono cartridge / Pete Riggle Audio Engineering Woody SPU tonearm / Intact Audio SUT going into the other phono input, which leaves my Ortofon SPU Mono CG 25 Di MkII mono phono cartridge / Schick tonearm combination without a home to plug into.
Of course, I could just unplug one setup and substitute the other when I wanted to listen to the mono front end, but I didn’t want to do that.
So I began to consider various options people had recommended to me, from the inexpensive Luxman AS-4III Line Selector (~$100 USD) to the relatively expensive Manley SKIPJACK RCA Switcher ($1650 USD), and with a couple in between.
Any time one considers this sort of switching device the concern is how much will it degrade the signal quality.
Even if the device itself does not degrade the signal significantly, you’re still adding in an extra set of interconnects to the mix, which will have some effect.
The more expensive switchers like the Manley are said to not degrade the signal significantly if at all, whereas the cheaper ones are said to cause more degradation.
I had been told by someone with ears that I trust that the Luxman AS-4III causes very little degradation, so I was curious to hear for myself what a less expensive switcher like the Luxman AS-4III would perform like in my system.
I ordered one off of eBay for $106.27 USD, shipping included, from seller “fun-stuff-Japan”.
The Luxman AS-4III Line Selector has four user selectable inputs, and one output.
Until I come up with a better arrangement, the Luxman is sitting atop my Intact Audio SUTs.
I’ve got my Ortofon SPU Classic GM MkII stereo phono cartridge / Pete Riggle Audio Engineering Woody SPU tonearm / Intact Audio SUT going into the Line 1 input, my Ortofon SPU Mono CG 25 Di MkII mono phono cartridge / Schick tonearm combination going into the Line 2 input, and the output from the Luxman is connected to my MX110Z phono input with a Belden 8402 microphone cable interconnect (grounded at the source end).
You select which line you want to listen to by depressing the switch for the desired line input.
To minimize signal degradation I put the Luxman AS-4III in the circuit after it had been stepped-up with the Intact Audio SUTs.
The Ortofon SPU Mono CG 25 Di MkII mono phono cartridge / Schick tonearm combination has a high enough output that it doesn’t need a SUT to step-up the signal, so I plugged it directly into the Luxman AS-4III.
I thought I’d give my Ortofon SPU Classic GM MkII stereo phono cartridge / Pete Riggle Audio Engineering Woody SPU tonearm / Intact Audio SUT that is going into the Line 1 input a test run with Anouar Brahem’s excellent Blue Maqams LP.
Anouar Brahem’s Blue Maqams LP sounded great through the Luxman AS-4III, and if it was causing any degradation to the album it was minimal.
On Gillian Welch’s The Harrow & The Harvest album I thought I was hearing a little more degradation, adding a slight amount of additional presence and forwardness to the overall presentation in the vocal region, but still it sounded pretty good overall.
Although, to be fair, part of that difference in sound I’m hearing is due in part to the extra pair of interconnects, as well as the Luxman AS-4III Line Switcher.
So, I’d say the Luxman AS-4III Line Switcher is working pretty well, my first impressions are positive, and the price is certainly right at about $100 USD.
I’ll report back after I get some more listening time in on the Luxman AS-4III Line Switcher, and I’ll tell you how it fares with the Ortofon SPU Mono CG 25 Di MkII mono phono cartridge / Schick tonearm combination playing some mono records.
Update: I got my Ortofon SPU Mono CG 25 Di MkII mono phono cartridge setup after having it removed from the system for a while, and I was looking forward to listening to some mono LPs!
First up was Billie Holiday’s Body & Soul.
Body & Soul sounded really nice, and exhibited a slight amount of forwardness that I heard on The Harrow & The Harvest, but to a lesser extent, so maybe things are settling in a bit.
I also noticed that I’m getting a little bit of hum from my mono setup, so I’m going to have to play with the grounding a bit to sort it out.
Another terrific mono record is Lester Young’s Le Dernier Message from Sam Records, and it sounds naturally musical via the Luxman and is a pleasure to listen to.
Ok, that’s it for now, but much more to come!
As always, thanks for stopping by, and may the tone be with you!