What I’m hearing is a thinning of the midbass range. The lower bass is coming through. There is also the etched character I hear in the higher frequency range. These are slight, but obvious changes in the sound which, together, render the music “less” pleasing to listen to. Still a good listen, but not as good, overall, as through the preamp. Maybe the Mani on its own is a bit lean and a little bright, and the tube preamp is adding some bloom and rounding off the rough treble edge..? Complimentary distortions? I used to be able to find complimentary components via trial and error, and a lot of listening. That method has been made impractical due to the sparsity of brick and mortar shops to deal with. Thus I’ve been following this discussion to learn what electrical/design properties can cause some of the differences in what we hear from our component systems. I have painstakingly tweaked the positioning of my speakers, the set up of my turntable and cartridge, the paths of my cables, seating location, room treatments, etc. Everything I can do myself to take advantage of what I already own. I believe my turntable, speakers, and power amp are of very good quality, and I’d been mostly happy with the preamp choice... until I inserted that “almost free” Mani, and it noticeably improved the sound of my LPs! I will absolutely seek out a higher quality phono stage, but I want that quality to be allowed to pass mostly undiminished to the amplifier.