3k Budget for Cartridge, Phono-Pre, and Cables - Recommendations Please
I am helping a friend out. He he is not into equipment, but heavily into rock/jazz since the 70's, and has a good vinyl collection. His system came from me after I upgraded and is comprised of: a Marantz tt with the Clearaudio Vituoso Wood, a Primaluna Dialogue Two integrated amp (legacy), Spendor SP2/3s, and an inexpensive, off-brand phono-pre that he bought (I think it is for DJs). He will get my Scout 1.1, and he has allocated 3k for cart, phono amp, and 2 sets of interconnects. I will do the cartridge set up.
Need to keep it very simple, but good sound and build quality. Not opposed to phono-pre being tube, but prefer solid state. Do not want to have replacement tubes, gain and other settings inside the unit. He does not live near me and will not want to do this if needed. Settings in phono-pre must easily match those for the cartridge. Can buy new/used but will for sure buy the cart new.
Looking for recommendations. My experience is limited. My only 2 phono stages have been tube, an Audio Electronics DJH unit, and Manley Chinook. My carts have only been the Virtuoso Wood, and 2 Soundsmith moving iron. I know there are tons of other options for a good phono-pre/cart combo in this price range. Thank you for your time!