budget phono pre question

I have a Peachtree Decco with Era 5 speackers and a Cary 303 cdp. I'm re-introducing my Well Tempered TT with a clearaudio Vertuoso Wood cartridge. I was considering the Bellari 129 and the Clearaudio basic micro because they fit the very low budget of about 200 to 300 dollars. Does the Bellari have enough output for the cartridge? I know that the clearaudio basic micro has the power but how musical is it? I already have a mullard tube in the Decco's pre .. do I need two tubed pres? Are there other budget phono pre s that might work better?

The description of the Bellari at Needle Doctor indicates it's good with carts in a range from 3 to 5mV. The Clearaudio Virtuoso has a rated output of 3.6mV, so it should be good.

I'm only going by the posted numbers and have no direct experience with this cart and phono staqe.
You will get better detail out of a cambridge 640. There was a creek on here also that should sound better.
Yes, the Bellari has enough gain for the Virtuoso.
03-25-09: Elevick
You will get better detail out of a cambridge 640. There was a creek on here also that should sound better.
Absolutely agree. The Cambridge 640 is quieter and more detailed than the Bellari. However, a Bottlehead Seduction outperforms both. It has one of the most natural sounding midranges I've heard. It's also quiet and sounds more three dimensional than anything else in this price range. They come up used from time to time, or you can buy a new kit for $294.
Thanks for the advice. I'm looking into the Cambridge 640. Are there any other contenders? Which Creek would do better? The seduction sound good however, the Kit part of it is not attractive to me.

In my opinion, the Cambridge stands out in this price range. They come up from time to time for less than $150 which is an absolute bargain considering its performance.
I've had a Cambridge 640P for about a year, and I spent the first 10 months of that time singing its praises on this forum. It *is* uncommonly quiet and versatile, and I considered it to be very dynamic and extended. It certainly was a good outboard phono stage feeding a line stage as I had at that time.

Since then, however, I've found that my MM cartidge (AT150MLX) sounds better plugged directly into--are you ready for this--the phono stage built into my Onkyo A-9555 integrated amp. And it's not even close. The Onkyo is smoother and more organic sounding, and beats the Cambridge to hell when it comes to nuance, low level detail, lushness via detail in its proper perspective. Music is more involving; there's a better connection with the artist, and also gone is a persistent low-level midrange glare that I consistently got from the Cambridge.

I don't think it's the extra set of interconnects in the Cambridge signal chain. I'm using a 1M pair of AudioQuest interconnects made from PSC+ copper--that's single crystal six nines copper. It would add a dab of capacitance, though, but only after the phono stage.

Given my experience with the Onkyo (I got the entire integrated amp for $474) I think it's worthwhile to bump your search for a phono stage up by about $100. I would look into the $250 Creek OBH-18 (I've never been disappointed with Creek), $199 Musical Fidelity V-LPS, Clearaudio Nano ($350), or Rega Fono MM ($350). You might also be on the lookout for a used Musical Fidelity X-LPS, Lehmann Black Cube, or Grado PH-1.

PS: I've also heard the Peachtree integrated amps and I'm very impressed, both by the amp and its DAC.