best phono-stage for 1200$ max.

I would appreciate opinions about phono stage in 1200$ price range.
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A Mitch Singerman modified EAR834P may work for you depending on what the rest of your system consists of.
You may want to consider the Hagerman also, for a lot less than $1200. In kit form (if you're handy) or prebuilt. Very good, as long as you don't also need a step-up transformer for a low output MC. Then you'll need to figure in that extra cost also.

Graham Slee ERA V Gold is $1000 and depending on your other equipment and tastes is a great phono pre-amp.
ss would be the Lancelot Camelot & Charm psu, which beleive it or not will not shine without a decent power cord.
tube would be the Quicksilver stage & step up if you need it.
I love this stage. Shades the stage in my Supratek and most anything I've heard up to about 4x it's price.
does your pre or integrated have a phono board? many pre-pre's are not as good as the one already onboard
The Graham Slee Era Gold MKII
You might consider trying the Ray Samuels Audio HR-2:
i have the mitch modded 834p and loving it, sweet,
Graham Slee Era Gold V Mk 2 for MM carts
JLTI (Just Listen To It) from Australia... remarkably good!
I myself would perhaps audition the PS Audio GCPH for $995.00 They offer a 30 day in home trial with full money back (minus shipping) if not satisfied.

Looks to be a good solidly built unit, 4 loading selections on rear of unit, 4 gain settings, yet has an adjustable gain control on front, with also a phase, and mono button.

Seems with this unit, no matter what output your cartridge, you get a perfect voltage in to your pre-amp, and with the front gain control knob, you don't even really need a pre-amp. You can run this unit directly into an amplifier.

Tubes are great, and offer warmth, but that's perhaps provided you wish to run the gamut of rolling tubes, taking chances buying NOS tubes, the possibility of gettig burnt with tube hustlers, and in the end may eventually blow more on trying out tubes than what the unit itself cost.

If you can possibly find folks here that live close to you, and perhaps audition some units, that would be a great plus. Some places like Musicdirect, and possibly Elusive Disc will also offer trial periods with units, in that if you don't like them, you can return them for full refund, or exchange. Mark
I had the PS Audio GCPH and found it exceptional for the money. In addition to sounding very good it has terrific, easy variability of adjustment with all of the settings one might want no matter which arm/cart setup they may have, or, how they like hearing different types of music.

Truly worth consideration.