Best phono stage

awsmone

Active Member
Apr 7, 2014
1,102
17
38
Canberra Australia
#1
What is the general view on highest quality phono stage
I am looking for phono stage with at least two inputs three would be better and adjustable loading
I guess SS would be lower maintenance but if tubes were better SQ
Low noise also important as run some low mc cartridges .23 mV
Balanced output would be great but not essential
I am exploring mm carts but not wedded to their sound yet
Thx
A

I mainly listen to classical and timbral accuracy is important :)
 

flez007

Member Sponsor
Aug 31, 2010
2,897
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36
Mexico City
#3
3 inputs? balanced? looks like you have two or three options at the most and FM Acoustics should be the first on your list IMO
 

Sunnyboy1956

Member Sponsor
Feb 22, 2014
245
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16
62
New Delhi, India
#5
At this level pretty limited and expensive choices : FM( forget the model) top of the line that removes pops and crackle , Zanden 1200 Mk3 with selectable RIAA curves, the Allinic DHT 5000 and bringing up the rear the Wavac phono stage. The FM is around 60k, the others are small change in comparison at 30k -:)
Would love to hear from anyone who has listening experience of two or more of the above
Cheers
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,569
5
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Calgary, AB
#6
At this level pretty limited and expensive choices : FM( forget the model) top of the line that removes pops and crackle , Zanden 1200 Mk3 with selectable RIAA curves, the Allinic DHT 5000 and bringing up the rear the Wavac phono stage. The FM is around 60k, the others are small change in comparison at 30k -:)
Would love to hear from anyone who has listening experience of two or more of the above
Cheers
$60K to make a record sound better? I think I'll pass! :eek:
 

Sunnyboy1956

Member Sponsor
Feb 22, 2014
245
0
16
62
New Delhi, India
#7
Good folks here have spent 100k or there abouts on a TT. What phono stage would you recommend to them : a hundred dollar NAD on Project phono ?
Apologies this is going OT.
 

Johnny Vinyl

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
May 16, 2010
8,569
5
38
Calgary, AB
#8
Good folks here have spent 100k or there abouts on a TT. What phono stage would you recommend to them : a hundred dollar NAD on Project phono ?
Apologies this is going OT.
I'm not in the same league as the members to whom you're referring. Even if I were I wouldn't spend $60 large on a phonostage. That's just excessiveness beyond comprehension. I do understand that for some to play in that league strokes their egos!
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
0
0
#9
At this level pretty limited and expensive choices : FM( forget the model) top of the line that removes pops and crackle , Zanden 1200 Mk3 with selectable RIAA curves, the Allinic DHT 5000 and bringing up the rear the Wavac phono stage. The FM is around 60k, the others are small change in comparison at 30k -:)
Would love to hear from anyone who has listening experience of two or more of the above
Cheers
What about Audio Research, Doshi, Wavestream Kinetics, VAC, Tron-Electric, Ypisilon, etc.?
 
May 30, 2010
14,231
121
63
Portugal
#10
What about Audio Research, Doshi, Wavestream Kinetics, VAC, Tron-Electric, Ypisilon, etc.?
Yes, the Audio Research phono stages are great. I have only experience with the Phono Ref 2 - but is as it all - two inputs, variable loads, high and low gain, FET inputs stage with tubes, several EQs, balanced output, everything controlled from the remote. I can imagine that the Phono REF10 should be a lot better.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,157
86
48
#11
the Thoress Phono Enhancer seems to touch all your bases; up to 6 inputs with variable gain and variable loading for each input. you can have an MM on one input and LOMC on another. it can also properly output separately to another input for a mono cartridge for your preamp.

it also allows for EQ for various pressings. beautifully built and outstanding performance. not cheap but modestly priced for it's performance. it does use tubes. I've had it in my system and it sounded great.

http://www.thoeress.com/en/phono-enhancer/

personally I use the darTZeel NHB-18NS solid state preamp with 2 seperate internal phono stages. I use one for my LOMC and my other for a higher output MC for my mono cartridge/arm. fully adjustable for each phono for gain and loading and battery powered for very low noise and outstanding performance in a one-piece stand-alone preamp.....but not cheap.
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
0
0
#12
the Thoress Phono Enhancer seems to touch all your bases; up to 6 inputs with variable gain and variable loading for each input. you can have an MM on one input and LOMC on another. it can also properly output separately to another input for a mono cartridge for your preamp.

it also allows for EQ for various pressings. beautifully built and outstanding performance. not cheap but modestly priced for it's performance. it does use tubes. I've had it in my system and it sounded great.

http://www.thoeress.com/en/phono-enhancer/

personally I use the darTZeel NHB-18NS solid state preamp with 2 seperate internal phono stages. I use one for my LOMC and my other for a higher output MC for my mono cartridge/arm. fully adjustable for each phono for gain and loading and battery powered for very low noise and outstanding performance in a one-piece stand-alone preamp.....but not cheap.
+1
 

rockitman

Member Sponsor
Sep 20, 2011
6,894
26
48
Northern NY
#15
The Allnic 5000 DHT has four inputs. 2 for MC and two for MM. Instead of running MM carts you can run Allnic's HA-3000 head amp(s) into the MM inputs to give you active gain with loading options. The two MC inputs are direct transformer coupled (passive gain). Lots of options for different sound with the Allnic. It also has RIAA curve adjustments. For the 30-40k msrp money range it was my first choice. The sound is also very receptive and affected by rectifier tube rolling.
 

Mike Lavigne

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 25, 2010
7,157
86
48
#16
the Thoress Phono Enhancer seems to touch all your bases; up to 6 inputs with variable gain and variable loading for each input. you can have an MM on one input and LOMC on another. it can also properly output separately to another input for a mono cartridge for your preamp.

it also allows for EQ for various pressings. beautifully built and outstanding performance. not cheap but modestly priced for it's performance. it does use tubes. I've had it in my system and it sounded great.

http://www.thoeress.com/en/phono-enhancer/

personally I use the darTZeel NHB-18NS solid state preamp with 2 seperate internal phono stages. I use one for my LOMC and my other for a higher output MC for my mono cartridge/arm. fully adjustable for each phono for gain and loading and battery powered for very low noise and outstanding performance in a one-piece stand-alone preamp.....but not cheap.
as a follow-up to my post; the Thoress is around 10K Euro's as a price point (depending on the country of distribution), but plays in the ballpark of the very highest levels of performance.
 

audioblazer

Member Sponsor
May 14, 2010
591
0
0
Malaysia
#17
FM 223 phono ( cheap by FM standard ) maybe an issue if you use it with other preamp. Tried FM222 , serious humming problem & too low gain. However with FM preamp it's magical . For money no object my favourable combo would be FM 268c ( 125,500 CHF) with FM223 phonomaster (43960 CHF). Otherwise u may want to consider Vitus masterpiece phono selling for about euro 40+ . Understd there is a enhancement to reduce noise level a further 19db
 

BruceD

VIP/Donor
Dec 13, 2013
933
14
18
#19
I Agree with Mike L-- the Thoress is the one to beat -- from the current crop of Stages

Superior to the Allnic's mentioned above--plus the compatibility problems of the FM Acoustics --while an excellent unit-- does require total brand synergy to work at it's best.

BruceD
 

MylesBAstor

Member Sponsor & WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
11,221
0
0
#20
Correct Myles--I believe J Carr is resurrecting the Brand though

BruceD
That would be good news and there are many of that would love to hear Jonathan's new phono stage!

Will hopefully be getting his Phonopipe to listen to in the near future!

You should though figure out a way to hear the new Doshi 3.0 phono.

One thing people have also left out of the equation is the line stage. Many line stages nowadays only have 10 dB of gain that makes running low output MCs difficult. That's why I love the cj GAT and its 24.5 dB of gain! Add in the Doshi's 72 dB and I've run cartridges as low as 0.15 mV. And quiet too.
 

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