Best Pre-Amp with Phono Stage

I'm looking for a great Pre-amp, mainly for it's Phono stage. I want to stay around $3000.00 used. A little about my system: I'm using a Sim audio Moon W-5 into B&W N802's, Nordost SPM cables with quatro fil interconnects. I need a great Phono Pre-amp. My digital is a Wadia 860, and I run that direct into the amp, so that isn't a concern. Please help.
Atma-Sphere MP-1MKII (used) or the MP-3MKII new, blows all others away. No I am not a dealer or friend, just alot of expierience with "tube" pre-amps. ARC, CJ, Melos,Joule, CAT,Audible. The Atma-Sphere rules. Make sure you hear a unit that is fully broken in to really evaluate it, I think that is why we don't hear more about the pre-amps. They take forever to break in but it is well worth the wait.
If you can find a used CAT Ultimate, I think you'll fall in love. It's bigger and beefier sounding than the mk3. Haven't heard the Atmasphere, but feel you have to go to the ARC REF combo or Jadis jp-80 to match (not beat) its virtues.
I hate it when some guy named bryceeboy condems everything,save for the brand of his choice.Lotta this stuff IS choice.your money your choice TT ARM CART.PHONO CABLE.Has he really heard all these pre amps/with all the TT combinations ? Be kind, some of us own what you are trashing.
Have I got a pramp for you- Klyne 7.3LXBP retails for over $5600. This has been my personal preamp (of choice).I bought it prior to starting my audio company, Audio Tweakers. I have decided to own only products we sell, so out it goes. You won't find a better pre-amp, just different. This is a full function PA, balanced in/out, 2 separate outputs for multiple amps (subwoofer). Investigate what this preamp is about- natural sound and awesome flexability. The first $2750 takes it. You can e-mail me at
Audible illusions Mod. 3A w John Curl board. Pay more if you wont. But you will not better this.
With these preferences, I think you are needlessly constraining yourself by looking for a preamp with a phono stage built in. You can get a spiffy phono pre for around 1k used (I like the ARC PH3, but it isn't the only choice) and materially increase the number of your options for a 2k used nonphono pre to run it through. Folks with your preferences were the whole reason behind the availability of outboard phono pres even when virtually all one box preamps still had phono stages.
Get a used counterpoint sa-5000 or sa-5.1, have it modified at, and sit back as these full-featured preamps blow away the competition. Really! At under $3k total.
Sorry to avguygeorge, didn't think I was condeming anyone. 59burst asked a question and I gave my opinion based on my expierience. Thought that was the idea of this forum. Peace avguygeorge!
The THOR is a wonderful preamp with phono; or check out the line and phono separates
Me too,Bryceeboy.(sorry) I get carried away time to time.And yes I was a little testie defending my pre amps' honor.It "speaks" to me,but can't defend itself.I love this site.I'm new here,-2 weeks.Heck, I hadn't thought about sep.phono stage.See all the help we get here.Would love to hear Atma-Sphere. This site allows many products previously out of MY reach to become accessible.The dealers must/or should be worried. Buying used and having a place to sell your used stuff is GREAT. The dealers have had it their way to long.
My vote is for the VAC preamp with phono stage CPA1 - MKII. This is one of the finest preamps and the phono stage is outstanding. I sold the ARC PH3 for this preamp. This is a tube preamp with seperate power unit. Very nice, and used is within your price range.
Thank's to all on there feedback. Looks like some of you became friends out of this. I ended up getting a Spectral DMC-20. It just kinda spoke to me when I auditioned it.
all the above mentioned pre amp are very good my choice for used would be a krell krs2 or an Airtight atc-2 if you could find one and then buy a separate phono stage
BAT VK-30 or better yet, VK-30SE with BAT phono board. A wonderfully constructed and musical piece - great onebox solution. Natural and dimensional like you wouldn't believe.
Older Conrad Johson PV-9A very nice.
Here are three: CAT (any model), Ayre K1 or K3, Hovland HP-100. The Ayre K1 will be very difficult to find under 3k, however. But it is definitely worth a listen, especially for its phono section.
i agree w/many of the comments on this list, tho i also suggest trying the cary slp98, & the melos music director. electrocompaniet & pentagon also make excellent fono-stages that can be used w/line-stage preamps. (i'm sure there are others, but these are what *i've* heard) also, i bet ya *anything* your wadia wood sound better run thru either of these (or most *anything* already mentioned), than run straight into your amp.
The Atma Sphere is a good pre amp, as is the expensive Vac signature. The Cat in its many iterations is a great unit. However the best Ive heard is the 2box NYAL NCP11 which shows up once in a while on ag. The bottom octave is hard to find, as it is correctly in most analog systems. Try and listen to the Melos too. There have been few real improvements in preamps that are real consumer products in many years.
I own Atmasphere Ma 1s and sonic frontiers SFL1, and want to upgrade to a balanced pre. MP1 or sonic frontiers? any opinion on sticking with fully balanced Pre?
Hey do you know where I can get this pre-amp. I had one 10 years ago and like a fool I got rid of it for something newer, but not better.
BVaudio P1 is a definitelly candidate. XLRs INs and OUTs, tape OUT, SUB OUT, fully remote controlled, programmable function, digitally controlled, excellent value for the money. You won't find anything similar around this price.
Look into EAR 864 tube preamp with their incredible phono section. New for slightly over three. I don't think you will find any used.People keep them. Check with Audiogon dealer Jay at Audio revelation.
Since we're resurrecting this thread, let's add a current leading contender: the Aesthetix "Janus" full function preamp with phono stage from the Saturn Series.
dont you just love the fact that there's so many diferent opinions to confuse someone like me whos heard none of this stuff. i'm beginning to think that all this gear is very very good, with no bests