You can land a used Tom Evans Groove Pluse for under 5K.
This is a great value.
Also, I am auditioning a ZYX Artison right now, it is looking to be a killer for even less.
Good Luck in your quest! "Affordable" has such a different meaning for me that I can't even comment. What would an expensive used pp run? If you got the bucks, run amuck (I know I would)!
The Wright phono preamp is considerably less than 5K but is very highly thought of. I can't say that I'll probably ever spend 5K on a phono preamp, but the Wright, based on what I've read kind of tickles my fancy.
I second the Wright (although I lean to the left).
let's say that i 'm looking for a phono preamp to add to my ARC classic30 and LS2. It has to match that standard: but the least i spend the better...
um, is it really possible to use "affordable", "phono preamp", and "$5000" in the same statement?
I can second the ZYX Artisan. Neutral as neutral can be, and very low noisefloor. I don't have long experience with it, and haven't listened to more than a few rivals but I am very happy with it.
My choice would be the Art Audio Vinyl One.
I've heard a few different phono amps but can't say that I've A/B'd any $5K ones. The best phono amp that I've ever heard (and others who have heard more than I concurred) is the John Atwood designed Artemis Labs. There are two versions the PH and PL 1 - the difference being the addition of transformers for LOMC in the PL 1. The PL-1 lists at about $3K so it's well within your budget.
BTW, the Lector CD player is great. I didn't splurge on that because my main love is vinyl but I thought that the sound was superb.
For half that money look at the Ayre. I tried one and it does an outstanding job. So spend 2300 on it and 2700 on vinyl.
love the vacuum stage jlti in my system. check out the one on sale here for info.
by the way, that's vacuum state, not stage.
With a budget of $5k, there are very few phono stages out of your reach, assuming that you buy used. My suggestion is to wait for a Manley Steelhead to come up for sale here on Audiogon. It's a truly oustanding phono stage with the flexibility to pair with literally any cartridge on the market. And IMO it's hard to beat the performance of the Steelhead.
K&K phono stage, Kevin Carter's take on the Art Audio Vinyl reference he designed. Its a Jfet/tube Hybrid with step up transformers. I have'nt heard beter in my system, $1500 as a kit $1950 built and tested.
David12, what other phono preamps have you heard in your system?
Are you referring to the Wright Sound or Wright Audio phono pre? Ive read several positive comments from various sources, but Im never sure which company is being referenced.
ARCPH7-have not heard but it has lots of tubes and something called jfets?
Hi Wdi: It was George Wright's "Wright Sound" unit that I was referring to. I haven't heard it, but it seems to get rave reviews consistently over at vinyl asylum. There are a number of posters there whose opinions I value and trust; if I was thinking of upgrading my phono stage, that one would probably be at the top of my list.
cincy bob, Sorry about the delay in replying. I have heard or auditioned the following, although the system has changed over time.
Tom Evans Microgroove+
Tom Evans Groove(short period)
EAR 834 (borrowed)
I would definitely stay with the following:
* The Art Audio, and by inference Kevin Carter's K&K design
* Hagerman Trumpet
* Artemis Labs PH-1 and PL-1
* Nick Doshi's RIAA.
I just returned from a road trip and heard Dan_Ed's system - with his new Doshi unit. This is the first phono stage to give my Artemis a run for the money.
An associate at Azzolina Audio is having great success with the Kevin Carter design and I trust his ears - hence the recommendation.
Of course, the Hagerman Trumpet rounds out the mix. You can't go wrong with any of these.
I have never achieved good results with Aesthetix or Tom Evan's gear. As always, YMMV.
The Wright gear is tonally very nice and extremely consonant with the music, but they're a bit on the noisy side compared with the above gear.
If you "drop down" to the level of the Wright, then I'd seriously look at the Hagerman Coronet and the EAR.
Thom @ Galibier