I'd also include the Lamm LP-2 and the WAVAC LCR-X1. Enjoy.
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Real world means long term reliability to me....I've used an updated Vendetta phono stage for fourteen years without a glitch.....It still measures 85dB S/N and does just fine in comparison to anything out there...I recall the Boulder measured 47db S/N in Stereophile so the Vendetta is quite a bit quieter.....These are available as an option in the Blowtorch preamplifier we custom build to order....The Connoisseur is similar to the Vendetta as it uses a similar (folded cascode) circuit and actually the same RIAA caps as we have them made at the same shop....Carl Thompson layed out the Vendetta boards and Conneisseur uses an open architecture to achieve similar results, namely increased open loop bandwidth by close proximity of the various parts....Lots of ways to get down the road, but if you want to have tubes in the circuit you might want to look at the service records of the various units available....We are very slow to fill orders and you might not have the luxury of waiting for a unit for six months as the Aesthetix, Lamm and others are "production" units as opposed to "built to order" units....
And I'm going to join Albert in recommending the Aesthetix Io Signature with dual power supplies. This is an incredible phono stage in all respects.
I listen primarily to acoustic music, and as I have noted previously, the Io Signature has a remarkable ability to reproduce accurately the subtle harmonic overtones that are so important to creating that credible illusion of live instruments; on minimally miked recordings, the Io can reproduce a soundstage that gives body and substance to performers and instruments in a real space; and it can reproduce huge dynamic contrasts with a quickness that can be startling, never running out of steam with the dual power supplies, while still capturing the subtle small changes in loudness and softness that are so important to that credible illusion referenced earlier.
My Io has the optional volume controls, separate line level input and I run it direct into my amplifiers without a line stage. Given my preference for vinyl playback, I find this an optimal setup with superb sound. Still running the stock tubes and still find the sound to be incredible. I have no doubt that matching the right NOS tubes can still improve the sound, as Albert attests.