22 responses Add your response
Cary SLP98P minimum cart output for MC is(or should be put out by cart) 1.4mV so your Benz would work fine. I have the Cary and it runs very cool. Dual mono 4 6sn7's 2 ax7'a 2 au7's. I uaed a Dynavector 10x5 MC but now use Linn Adikt MM 6.5mV One main volume control and 2 seperate balance controls. Good luck.
The solid state Ayre K-1xe, (which I own and use), has a near reference quality phono stage. The heat output seems to be near nil, (I've never noticed it being even warm), however, I will state that this unit does have a separate small power supply box, in addition to the main unit itself. (I bring that up as you stated you are pressed for space.) Used this runs around $4-5K, (and that is the only way it is available, as it is out of production).
Other preamps that I have researched and think would be slightly better, (and more expensive of course), would be the tubed Atma-sphere MP-1, Mk. 3.1, and the solid state Halcro DM-10. Both are reputed to have reference quality phono stages. However, both are also on the large side, as the MP-1 is a dual box preamp, and the DM-10 is taller than most, (all?), of the preamps I know of. Used these run around $7-8K, and new it is about double that.
Note: All three of these preamps can accomodate, (and prefer), a balanced input from the cartridge. (FYI, I use the balanced input on my Ayre as well.)
Good luck in your search!
Allen Wright's RealTime RTP-3D (Vacuum State Electronics) is a very realistic sounding preamp, to say the least. Superb phono section.
If you can afford it, you would be buying a preamp that has been carefully refined over 25 years by one of the best designers in audio. I remember listening to one of the early versions in Sydney in the early '80s, and more recently, the latest version at VSE in Schaffhausen.
Sadly, Allen passed away recently but his majestic preamp lives on.
Here's a nice comparison with the Kondo.
The Hafler DH-110 and DH-101 both have a superb phono section in stock form and they can be modified by Musical Concepts and Van Alstine to be even better. They are also very cheap to buy and they are solid state so no heat involved. The other suggestions are nice pieces but still expensive even used.
i have owned the copland 301 for years. it is a tubed unit with a fantastic phono stage that is a true giant killer. i just recently replaced it with separated and am not decided yet on whether i will sell it or not. i may just keep it for the phono stage alone because it is so good.
your cartridge output would be fine. i was using a benz H20 with it.
The Manley Steelhead is a very good choice, also the Line Preamp from Stan Klyne, Model 7 with Phono Stage, excellent sound, adjustable for a lot of cartridges and the preamp also has 2 gain pots for all kind of connected amps. When you look for a remote, Jeff Rowland had some years ago an excellent Preamp with Phono for the money, the Consonance. Also adjustable for cartridges and it can be found for small money. I think, they can still be serviced from JR.
The CAT preamps are very, very good tube units, and I believe that the Legend is currently the best iteration (I owned a Mk. III many years ago).
Sound quality aside, downsides are excessively high output, which reduces the range on the volume control with sensitive amps (e.g., 9 O'Clock position is already loud and 11 O'Clock is super loud), no remote, and a hard-wired power supply connected by a stiff, thick umbilical cord that is unwieldy.
Th phono stage works with MC's down to 0.4 mv. output without problem - MC's with lower outputs require especially low-noise tubes.
Only the very top preamps are better.