A solid tube photo stage around 1500


Edit: Phono stage (voice to text is biased against analog)

First of all, I know this question has probably been addressed many times on this forum, and I’ve looked and sorted for relevance and date and still really can’t find anything. However, if you know of one posted in the past few years that can answer my question, please put a link and that’ll be the end of that.

I have an LFD LE phono stage right now that is superb, as all LFD components are. However, I have a beautiful line magnetic 518 integrated that is just opulent. And thus, I’m looking for a tube phono stage to feed it. I was thinking of an Allnic 1201, but was too slow on the trigger. Ultimately, my goal is a Herron phono stage, and Keith Herron literally lives right up the road for me. But I don’t have the funds for the Herron at the moment.

So what’s a good tube powered phono stage for around $1,500 to $2,000 that could better the LFD and be a good fit for the line magnetic?

Can I stay local and go with deckware? Maybe Canary? My speakers are spatial M3 Turbo s’s, and my vinyl rig is a VPI HW19 Mark 4 with a Hana ML.
B7e9a899 5afb 426d a6de d8e99c5c4719simao
Coronavirus notwithstanding, ask Keith over with his amp for a listen. Maybe you might not like it. Then that’s put to bed. Or maybe you must have it and can work a deal or decide it’s a better investment to put down the $2k and the rest on a card. Not sure this proposed intermediate step is worth the effort.
Decware ZP3. Period. The End.
IMO in that price range and and based on my experience:
1- used K&K phono preamp. Look for one that Kevin built and not a kit.
2- Croft, either the entry or middle tier model, not the 2-box version. MM only so you will need a good SUT for LOMC.
@noromance I trust your advice and have for many years. Let’s assume I can’t swing Keith’s prices at the moment. This move I’m asking about would be a stepping stone to a Herron.

Decware... except for the 6 month wait. Try Rogue Audio.
@millercarbon the ZP3 has always been of interest to me but I do not like that the RCA plugs are right next to a robust power supply. There might be a shielding system going on inside of your ZP3, have you ever pulled the top off?

OP: Ron Sutherland lives 10 blocks from my house, I would try one of his higher end stages if I could. If you can not find what you need there is a possibility of sending your current stage to Noble Electronics in Iowa or having them build a Tubes 4 HiFi kit.
Don Sachs, Hagerman, and Decware are OEM options of interest to me in that price range, if you do come across something else please post about it.



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@geof3. Yes, before I got the line magnetic, I was looking at a deck where it's in. But then Steve told me about the 6th month wait. And of course, the review and Stereophile is going to add to that. That's the first public review I've ever seen of Decware, and I wonder what brought it on?

@dweller should I go for the audible illusions and just upgrade the capacitors?
@noromance thanks man. I believe that's the one that sold here on audio gone a few days ago. Just hasn't been updated on the audiomart site yet
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No worries. A couple of review sites had suggested such a move. I kind of like doing stuff like that, so I may go for it.
I have the 2nd generation model of this listing.
https://www.audiogon.com/listings/lisa86i5-fosgate-signature-tube

The sellers price is over the original 10 year old list MSRP for some reason. Start at $1500 to agree on a price. A REAL all tube unit. Rectified, active gain-no step up transformer, unlike all the popular units.


You being drawn to the Allnic 1201 is a good thing and if you are lucky enough to find a nice clean one in your budget could prove to be your final phono stage. I spent a year buying/selling phono stages and kept the Allnic and let the Herron go, just sayin. Enjoy the music
Thanks to everyone for all the suggestions. Please keep them coming!
Patience is a virtue.  Wait for another H-1201.  Hammertone looks to have one:  https://www.hammertoneaudio.com/trade-insOr, ask them to let you know when a trade-in comes in.  Bought my H-3000 used from Hammertone, A+ service.

@advanced101.  Kind of kicking myself for not accepting the counteroffer in time. It was for $500 less than the Allnic listed on Hammer tone, plus came with four extra tubes. 


Meh. As U2 says, what you don't have, you don't need it now. 
@tablejockey how would you describe the Fosgate's sound? 
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you can’t lose what you aint got. @noromance is correct sideways move unless you can find a Croft single chassis RS and stuff it full of good tubes. A music reference RM-4/Croft RS is the equal of the Herron. i own them , never recommend gear i haven’t heard. The ML is a fantastic cart for the $, oh a yes i have heard the LFD, solid stuff.

have fun , enjoy the music.
@tomic601 glad to hear some championing of Glenn's craftsmanship. I feel they get lost in the barrage of marketing noise here stateside. 
You could also consider the best Aesthetix you can get your hands on, tube quality will be essential 
"how would you describe the Fosgate's sound?"

simao, these thread is what I read when doing my search.
https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/fosgate-signature-phono-preamp?highlight=fosgate%2Bsignature

https://forums.stevehoffman.tv/threads/fosgate-phono-pre.221669/

Having heard some of the current tube units in and around the price point, it competes(subjectively) with a more organic sound. Among the current, I would lean toward an Allnic 1202-out of your price requirement.
Allnic H1201will be available for your price range. 
Magi Phonomenal has two MM inputs, all hand made in US with point to point connection. It will take 2~3 months go get it once ordered.
Magi is just as good as MM in my Allnic H1202.
Magi with LIve! MC-10  SUT ($1000) is just as good as MC in Allnic H1202 on my system.
An update: after flirting with several Allnic 1201's for sale and failing to buy them in time, I took a plunge on a Hagerman Trumpet - sound unheard based on several recs here and online. With a 30-day trial period, it's a worthy risk. Will update its sound compared to my LFD after it arrives and burns in for a while.


Now - how to get more bass from my Spatial M3 Turbos?
Looking forward for your thoughts. I have the LFD &
was thinking of upgrading.
"I took a plunge on a Hagerman Trumpet - sound unheard based on several recs here and online."

Looks like a winner for the price. Maybe a future tweak is an LPS to replace the wall wart.
Look into Tavish Design Adagio ,
tube only for high output with step-up transformers for MC .
It took me 2 years to make up my mind on which phono pre
to go with and like you want and wallet doesn't always coincide .

Guess I'm to late with my advise .

other then the ones already mentioned the Manley Chinook is another option. also the Audio Note Kit phono stages are quite good for the money. you do not need to build them. 
@simao 

Congrats! I hope you like it as much as I do. But, do give it some time. I probably have about 60 hours on my Trumpet, and it seems to be getting better with time.


@tablejockey It was much less than I was willing to pay, but I love this hobby inasmuch as surprises can come when you're not expecting. Like, I was firmly committed to an Allnic 1201 - until I wasn't. And of the Hagerman doesn't do it for me, I can recoup much of the cost and try something else, like @vair68robert's Tavish Design (which I've never heard of).
@simao 
I learned about Tavish Designs from reading Sterophile ,
Herb Reichert uses it as his reference phono preamp .
Reviewed 6/1/2016 .
Simao, just put some cream on the itch and stick with your current phono stage which you obviously like. Put the money away and save up for the Herron. If you know what you want go right for it. Intermediate steps are a waste of money. Patience is a virtue.
A friend of mine just got a Musical Paradise all tube phono stage built in China. He says that it is a great tube phono stage for the price and sounds real nice. Priced under $1,000 with shipping.