BRINKMANN: Fein phono stage, and Lyra, and more

Hello, I found your website while researching the Brinkmann Fein phono stage. I just purchased a used unit from a dealer who was not too familiar with it and I am looking for advice on a cartridge that would work well with it. Unfortunately my budget will not allow the Brinkmann EMT.

Do you have any suggestions? I've received one so far for Lyra as being a good match. I am also curious why you demo the Brinkmann tables with an Ayre phono stage -- can you give me some insight in general into the Fein?

Thank you and best regards,


Hello Mr R.

This is part 1 of a two-part answer. Part 2 follows shortly.

First, I should explain that although I was a serious Brinkmann retailer for some while, until I gave up wresting with the UK importer (the experience was unsatisfactory, although I hasten to add that my decision was no reflection on the Brinkmann company, staff or products) I only stocked the turntable, arm and cartridge. That’s the extent of my direct personal experience there.

However, during my visits to Helmut Brinkmann in Germany to discuss ideas with him and to listen to his various developments, I did hear the Fein. This was of course in the context of the full Brinkmann system, including the truly wonderful Lumen White Silver Flame loudspeakers, which subsequently I bought for my own use.

Anyway, within that context, the Fein sound great. Other than that, I can’t comment with anything worthwhile.

In other systems elsewhere in the world I have heard various Lyra cartridges, in every instance, these too sounded magnificent. I can’t envisage how a Lyra might not be an excellent match with the Fein. On the other hand, there are always slight risks with this kind of thing. Sumiko cartridges I find always offer very good value. I’ve been particularly impressed by their Blackbird model. Certainly worth investigating.

Re the Ayre Phono Stage, at that time I was experimenting with what I believe was the world’s first fully balanced (XLR) vinyl replay system. My Brinkmann 10.5 arm was wired by Helmut for balanced operation and the outputs terminated in XLR connectors beautifully recessed into the massive arm bass. My venerable Meridian M1 active speakers were driven in balanced mode from a modified Meridian 101b – and the phono stage, the only one available in those days with XLR inputs and outputs was, by default, the Ayre. It wasn’t a compromise though. The system was magnificent and the experiment was judged by all who heard it to be a totally success.

For commercial reasons though, this proved to be a one-off. When I resigned dealing with the UK importers for Brinkmann, who were importers for Ayre too, that was pretty much that.

More later



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