Analog Research phono stage?

I got this phono stage from the folks at Analog Research way back in the day, probably 20 years ago, when it was just a guy named Pat, down in Garland, Texas, doing smart stuff. So when I got my Thorens 2030 I thought "Surely, more modern phono stages have surpassed this thing, which cost me a mere $600 back in the day."

So I ordered in a couple of budget stages (Vincent, Grado) which are attractive (important consideration) as well as good-sounding, and both were obliterated, which is kinda crazy, for a 20-year-old piece.

The question is does anyone remember this company, how its products sound, and have any suggestions for an attractive (yes, also seeking ocular beauty) phono stage that is its better, without spending silly money?

Thank you in advance for any suggestions.