Sorry, wanted to mention that I am looking in $1k to 2K range.
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The Lehmann is very nice. Between $1 - $2k you have a very wide range of choices depending on your taste. I think that this might be the most competitive price range in the phono pre market. For alternatives to consider, the EAR 834P is very well regarded as is the Whest Two.
I am just wondering, are you planning on upgrading your turntable and/or cart in the future? The reason I ask is that you are willing to pay up to $2k on a phono preamp for a $700 setup. For that table and cart, you would be able to maximize performance with some excellent choices under $1k.
If you stay with your current setup, a Parasound zPhono would sound great for under $200. A Lounge Audio LCR MKIII can be had for $300. An iFi Micro iPhono is also a great option for $429. The Musical Surroundings Phonomena II+ could be had for $750 and punches way above its weight. A Jolida JD9 Mk II can be had for just a little bit more.
That is quite the budget for your TT set-up. I am using a Schiit Mani in my set-up.
My TT is a Stanton ST 150 with a Denon 103 cartridge. Price is a steal at $130. Made in the USA. This Mani makes my vinyl sound very musical. There is a Stereophile review out there that is more descriptive than I will ever be.
I had been using an Adcom GTP 500 II that I had from 25 years ago and then a Parasound zPhono and was wondering if I was wasting my money re-embracing vinyl. Everything was sounding like ehh. Not that way with the Mani.
Conceptually, I would not pay more for a phono preamp than what I paid for my turntable ($600), it makes no sense to me.
Your guys comments are spot on. Thanks. I am looking to upgrade my TT as my budget allows down the road. I just have a deal on the upgraded Rega RP-1 for just under $500 to get things rolling. I reason, that after our family's trip to Europe I can justify getting a Rega RP-3 or other TT early next year. I guess my choices are down to an ARC or Lehmann Black Box SE II. I saw some good deals on ARC phonos that could be had for under $2k. I like the idea of tubes but want easy adjustment of the phono which the high end ARCs and Lehmann offer. I appreciate your ideas.
There is an Audio Research factory sealed PH-6 on AudiogoN right now for $2100. That's an incredible buy for this unit. If you really want to spend that kind of money that would be my recommendation. (No relation to the seller, just a TERRIFIC price).
The Lounge Audio phono stage mentioned above is KILLER. I have one and it is really, really nice for the money.
I just wanted to tell all of you how happy I was with your comments. I just purchased a ARC PH-6 listed here on AudiogoN and am waiting for delivery. I spoke with an ARC tech yesterday that stated that the Denon DL-110 was in the sweet spot spot for the 58 db gain that the PH-6 offers. I will give an update when I have a chance to get everything set up in my ref rig. Again, thanks for all the helpful comments.