Ayre P-5xe...

Any thoughts on this phono stage? When they do show up here on the 'gon, they don't remain on the market long. What have you compared it to? And do you run your tonearm balanced?
This is an excellent buy. It had very fine balanced overall performance. Not one aspect stood out over another.
There are maybe units out there that do somethings better, but not all things as well. I ran it with a Basis 2001 and a Vector Mk3 arm. It is a very easy to use and is flexible enough to work with most setups. I hope this helps. Good luck on your quest.
I use an Ayre K1xe preamp with the phono section built in. I am running a Superscoutmaster balanced into the preamp and the result is a quieter presentation, bigger soundstage, cleaner, clearer, more dynamic, etc.
I agree wih Analogtroll. This is an excellent value used. I use the ballanced in and outs with the bal in using a custom AQ Cheeta rca to xlr cable. The bal in provides up to 70db gain which works well with my .24mv ZYX Uuniverse.

Shane Buettner wrote a review for the Audio Perfectionist a while ago praising the P-5xe (I already had my P-5x). He noted the excellent bass extention and slam. I agree.

Any upgrade quest would likely cost me a lot more.