Best sounding MC phono box at $250 or less??


Looking for recommendations for a a "used" MC phono pre-amp or phono box that is compatible with a Denon 103R moving coil cartridge. The Denon will be mounted on a Rega P3-24.

Also, check out this link below for phono pre-amp product offered on e-bay by "Harmonius Audio" Has anyone tried this product?? If so, did it sound good?? The price is surely right!!!!

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Harmonious-Audio-MPA-1a-MC-Moving-Coil-Head-Amplifier-Pre-preamplifier/331321347484?_trksid=p2045573.c100033.m2042&_trkparms=aid%3D111001%26algo%3DREC.SEED%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D28797%26meid%3Decf512367bf04dad947b6cc34cd1fbf2%26pid%3D100033%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D4%26mehot%3Dag%26sd%3D331321347484
sunnyjim
I'm extreamly happy with MM/MC box by Musical Fidelity X-LPS, but my output is .5mv. If your line preamp has sufficient gain, than Musical Fidelity X-LPS is very goo choice used.
There's also the most recent Musical Fidelity V-90 LPS at $229

http://www.musicalfidelity.com/v90-lps/

Although I have never used it I do have their v-Link192 USB to SPDIF converter which is excellent - I am assuming the phono stage is of a similar level of audio performance

Another that I have tried is the Cambridge Audio 651p - it is not bad, but I think I might go for the MF.

The nice thing about the MF is it's 12V DC power supply, which makes it very easy to tweak with a battery powered option - which should make it perform really well

Regards...
The Schiit Mani looks pretty good for $129. That's what I would get at that price point if I didn't already have a Musical Fidelity V-LPSII, which are no longer produced. I have a few Schiit headphone amps and a Bifrost Uber DAC with Gen 2 USB. Despite the corny marketing, they make great stuff at amazing prices.
Williewonka, you can also power it up from car :)
Czarivey - then you just gotta find a good suspension system for the turntable.

Bentley probably has one :-)
Yep, + roads of Carolina or California will do the trick.
I actually use it in my auto audio when on fleamarket selling records. Every time I do that I sell turntable and records
Czarivey - ever thought of selling the v-90 with the TT also? - It's a nice little package :-)

Do you hook it up to the car audio?

Cheers
Yes I do... Just recently modified it with pair of JBL subwoofers taken from wrecked Toyota Tundra TRD. My travel TT Sony 5520 connects via phonostage to the AUX input of my Subaru XV.
The Denon 103R is NOT a good match with the RB301 tonearm. I would recommend staying away from this combo as it is not going to sound good. A medium compliance cartridge would work much better like a Nagaoka MP200 or a Dynavector 10X5 (match made in heaven w/RB301). The Denon 103R works best with a much heavier tone arm.
Matt - you are correct, however, with the addition of a 7gram brass heashsell shim they are a very good match to rega style arms.

I have two 103's, each epoxied to a 7 gram brass shim and they perform extremely well on my Audiomods arm, but even without the shim they are pretty good

Other alternatives include
- the Zu 103
- various aluminum headshell casings you can place the nuded cartridge into
- soundsmith wood body with brass shim - getting expensive though

Sunnyjim - you can always place a 7gram blob of bluetak over the cartridge teporarily just to see if you like the sound of the additional mass.

Regards
Matt - you are correct, however, with the addition of a 7gram brass heashsell shim they are a very good match to rega style arms.

I have two 103's, each epoxied to a 7 gram brass shim and they perform extremely well on my Audiomods arm, but even without the shim they are pretty good

Other alternatives include
- the Zu 103
- various aluminum headshell casings you can place the nuded cartridge into
- soundsmith wood body with brass shim - getting expensive though

Sunnyjim - you can always place a 7gram blob of bluetak over the cartridge temporarily just to see if you like the sound of the additional mass.

Regards
Thanks to all who have responded.

I have heard that caveat about the Denon 103R and Rega RB301, but thought the warning was more like hearsay than fact. In addition, I would not want to trash the Denon cartridge by experimenting with adding addition weight. I have a Audio Technica AT 120LA which is good, but has limitations. So I might give the Nagoaka MP200 a try.
Follow up to last response.

Mattmiller, can you provide some info about the sound quality of the Nagaoka MP200. (The specs are very close to the less expensive AT cartridges I am currently using)
I am familiar with the company but not its higher end phono cartridges.

I assume it should sound better than the AT-120LA I mentioned.....that is,its frequency range sounded restrained; however, the Nagaoka MP200 is 3X as expensive as the discounted the Audio Technica even at its discounted price on e-bay.

I will check a few reviews if any are available. Thanks
The Nagaoka MP200 is a very good cartridge for Jazz and vocals. It has a lush presentation and is one of the more detailed MM's I have heard. I would not call it a rugged all around great tracker (like a 103R) it is a more delicate cartridge. I bought mine for around $250 a few years back. I have seen them for as much as $425. This cartridge worked very well on my stock RB301 tonearm.
Denon AU-300LC into a good MM stage
Sunnyjim - there is no need to "trash" the 103 - you can simply
mount the brass shim between the cartridge and the arm as many people do -
it will provide the additional mass required to optimize cartridge performance.

The bluetak suggestion is also just so you can verify the additional mass does
in fact make a difference on your rig - without having to make or source a
shim.

As for "trashing" - I realize epoxying the cartridge to the shim will,
in some peoples view, diminish its value, but then I'm not about to sell this
cartridge any time soon, so I don't really care about resale value. That, and I
have received interest in this cartridge/process, so some people are willing to
consider this mod.

I do know of others that have had the courage to try this and found the
performance improvements to be worth the "risk"

But it's all down to personal comfort level and approach. This is just but one of
many possibilities.

Hope you find a cartridge that works for you

Regards