Cartridge needs can’t be fulfilled by any tube alternative, tubes was not for this very specific task.
Do it a favor and wait till you finish your today overall room/system new " adventure " and if after you did it and tested in deep ( say: after 3-4 moths. ) still think in tubes then come back again , only an advise:
""" For me the functions of a phonolinepreamp first than all is that can achieve an accurated inverse RIAA eq with zero frequency deviation at each phono stage channels ( both channels should have evenly frequency about. ), other main target is to have active high gain to handle any output level cartridge ( LOMC or MM). As a fact phono stages exist because these two main targets/functions.
We need that high gain but we need it along very low noise. These 3 targets are the heart of any phonolinepreamp and the true challenges to any manufacturer because it’s really a hard task to achieve those targets at the same time ( even for SS electronics. ).
I like many phonolinepreamp in the market some of them already mentioned here: FM Acoustics, Gryphon, Spectral, CH, D’angostino, etc, etc.
Yes only SS because tubes in this specific function can’t do it and I owned from humble ( Jolida. ) to top design tubes electronics by around 10 years so I’m not speaking of my preferences but audio devices that its technology can in true be nearest to those targets..
This is only an opinion and I think is valid as any of your opinions.
I don’t like very much to talk about tubes in phono stages but I will put an example through Aesthetix IO ( I listened the first time at A.Porter house and latter on 3 more times in other systems. ) where they say the unit has active high gain with low noise and yes it has 80db of gain that’s a tribute for an all tube design but unfortunatelly failed on noise level that was measured a poor A-weigthed 57db and where the RIAA eq. deviation has ( by manufacturer spec. ) a high 0.5db swing deviation.
That frequency response goes even worst because it depends of the control volumen that at different volume position different frequency response.
RIAA eq. frequency deviation levels is critical because in theory must be to mimic in inverse way the recording RIAA eq. to we can have a flat frequency response.
Not an easy task even for SS designs because that eq. is not a " delicated/tiny " one but goes from around -20db to +20db, this is a huge equalization with several problems not only about frequency response but phase and other issues.
Look, graphic equalizers in the audio market as Accuphase, Soundcraftsmen, Crown, Klark-Teknic, etc, etc. ( I owned all and other ones been parametrics. ) in the best case its control levels by octave or 1/3 octaves can give you a range between: -15db to +15db and the RIAA demands -,+ 20dbs ! ! """
Here an all, 35K+ dollars, tube design by Lamm and you can see that is not really accurated on the RIAA inverse eq.:
but the Aesthetix I/O is over 16K dollars and can’t do it.
So, it does not matters an all tube can’t mate those 3 phonolinepreamp targets. Today the best you can do is to go with SS.
Today SS electronics are really good designs and way different to the 20-30 years ago designs. """
Tubes in phono job never can gives you the rigth bass range with high quality levels even the high frequencies are really deficient in this specific task that's the handled of a cartridge signal a very low level signal.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,