Phono Stage Question
Mar 28, 2006 at 6:00 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 2

jumping jupiters

100+ Head-Fier
Apr 26, 2005
the vinyl rig is going through major reconstruction at the moment...last on the list is a dedicated phono stage. However I am quickly realizing that phono stages are nearly as expensive as pre amps with phono cards. For instance an Audible Illusions 3a is $1200 - $1400 used and others such as CJ and ARC all have models between $700 and $1400 that are attractive on the used market. Then there are the usual suspects of dedicated phono stages...EAR, Gramm, Lehman and whonot. The question is how the preamplifier phono cards stack up against dedicated phono stages of similar value.

My dilemma is what direction to take my system in...who doesn't want seperate pre and amp? For the money needed to get a dedicated phono amp of decent quality I am a long way into a really nice used preamp...any thoughts?
Mar 28, 2006 at 6:56 AM Post #2 of 2


1000+ Head-Fier
Jan 6, 2004
Medford, MA
I don't have an answer to the separate phono stage versus pre + phono issue, but I do have a couple reccomendations for inexpensive phono stages that have pleased me. The Dynavector P-75 and Musical Surroundings Phonomena are both $600 and both sound very good. The Phonomena has a ton of settings, you can really match it well to just about any cartridge out there, and it's a little warmer and more forgiving than the Dynavector, IME. The Dynavector is a very detailed, clear, and sometimes analytical phono stage. In the right system in can sound great, but in the wrong one (like with the Clearaudio turntables, in my opinion), sounds terrible. I think the Phonomena can match to a wider variety of systems.

Edit: The Gyro is a pretty warm table, at least if I recall correctly, and the Benz cartridges lean slightly toward that end of the spectrum as well (also IMO), so either stage would probably work well. Of course I can't say for sure never having tried these combinations, so take that with a large grain of salt.

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