Try the decware; it is just over 1500 equipped for both MM and MC. Decware offers a 30 day money back deal if you don't like it.
Agreed, I ordered the Decware and will be comparing it shortly to a Whest PS .20 and Hagerman Trumpet, both list priced at $1000 over the Decware, but available used within your budget in the case of the Hagerman. A lot of people like the EAR as well, which I believe is also just under $1500 new. However the MC gain was too high for me (72db).
EAR 834p moded. Mitch Singerman's mod for example.
If you want to only spend 500 check out a Dynavector P75; excellent value for the money but not in the same league as the ones mentioned above.
The new JLTI phono pre from Allen Wright is in your budget range. http://www.customanalogue.com/jlti_phono_stage.htm
I have one and swap it back and forth with my Herron. After hearing mine, a friend bought a JLTI to replace his modded Threshold. I am hoping to do comparisons against the Whest and EAR, but have not had the chance yet.
I suggest a used BAT P5. In your price range and a great phonostage. Company has great coustomer service and upgrade path. I own one and couldn't be happier.
I like my Camelot Lancelot Pro, a battery powered mm/mc phono amp. There's one on here right now (no connection) for $550, snap it up. Good luck!
I second the BAT VK-P5. Very musical.
This was state of the art 1998. Still sounds pretty damn good IMHO.
A couple on the board recently went for well under your budget. Just my $.02
Put the Eastern Electric MiniMax Tube Phono Preamp on your short list - some of which are currently on sale on this site for $1350.00MiniMax Phono 6moons Review Audiogon - MiniMax Tube Phono Preamp
Try the ASR mini basis exclusive. Call John at Sound Images in Westport mass. I heard the big one and it was incredible.
If you can find a Sonic Frontiers Phono One used ($1k?) and tube roll, you would be set for a long time. They don't show up often though.
Has anyone of you experienced Clearaudio Basic Symmetry, Omtec Antares, Linn Linto or Lehman Black Cube SE - all four have got superb reviews in Germany?
Whest Audio or The Groove.
Regards and enjoy the music.
Only auditioned Lehman Black Cube SE on my setup. Only 3 words can describe it versus the tube gears I have:
Bright, harsh, and thin.
I owned Marantz 7, SP-11, SA-5000, SA-2, RM-5 and all are better than the Cube in both MM and MC.
I still yet to find anything that can beat the RM4 and Citation I combo ( Cost me less than $700 altogather ) for under $3000.
ear 834p will be tough to beat
I just purchased the Eastern Electric Minimax tube phone preamp & have to tell you I am more than impressed. It is my first stand alone phono preamp. Don't be fooled by its small footprint & moderate price. It is a really special phono preamp. Check it out if you can.
Hi. I just purchased a Omtec Antares. Forget about all EAR, Clearaudio, Pass, Whest etc. This one is MUCH better and very close to the hand full of realy outstanding products like FM Acoustics, Boulder, Walker or Manley. Every vinyl lover should at least give it a listen - my favourite at a "reasonable" price 1.500,-.
$1500 is a tough price point for phono stages, imo.
In tubes, I'd take a look at the Wright WPP200C + Wright transformer at around $1100 new - hard to find used. For solid state, the Camelot Lancelot Pro is a nice battery powered unit, w/ flexible loading options; here, look for a used one.
K&K Audio phono pre kit: $1500. For the price it would be hard to do better.