Cary SLP98 phono

I purchased a Cary SLP98L new in 2001 and have loved it ever since. My only regret is that I did not go for the phono version, as at that time I did not know that I would be heavily into vinyl within a year. I am currently using a Audion Sterling phono stage with the Cary and am happy with the sound (esp with my S-H cca's) but as I get older, I'm thinking I might cope better with a less complicated system.

I wrote Cary and the cost to upgrade my SLP98 to the phono version is surprisingly reasonable.

Can anyone comment on the Cary phono stage in comparison to other stages they've heard? Thanks.
I owned the SLP98P for a while. the line stage is superb.
The phono stage was shit. Bright and strigent, totally opposite to the line stage.
Stick with what you have if you are happy with your system now.
I have an SLP98P F-1 version and I love the phono statge. Additionally, you can have a MC stage put in if you send it back to Cary. Call Kevin at Upscale Audio and ask him. They specialize in fatory modified Cary's.
I have a Linn Sondek 12 Valhalla supply Basik LV X with a Nagaoka M11 cart, and love the sound. I just won a Linn K18 II just to see (hear) if there would be much of a difference. The amp is a Cary V12R. Cary makes excellent and reasonably priced equipment. Good luck with your vinal.
The phono stage is excellent. I was able to compare it directly it to two "Class A" phono stages and preferred the Cary. I had both the MC and MM versions, paired with the V12R amplifier. Both were very quiet, with background noise practically indistinguishable from the linestage. The MC version worked well with my Benz Micro Reference .34mV cartridge, with plenty of gain to spare. In my experience, the sound was on the warm side with very nice, full sounding tonality. Part of the sound could have been because of my amplifier, but I was also able to distinguish differences between the other two phono stages that I had on hand. Bottom line, (in my opinion) installing the phono stage into your SLP98 is definitely worth a try if the upgrade cost is as reasonable as you say it is. As a bonus, it might help the re-sale cost of your preamp if you ever decide to sell it.