I'd also be interested in this comparsion - am considering both of these as a potential pream upgrade.
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I've heard both in completely different systems, so I'm unable to make a relative judgement. They are each highly regarded and I have heard nothing to suspect otherwise. Importantly, the gentlemen behind the designs seem to be of high quality. At this price point, it's worth arranging an audition (preferably in home) prior to purchase.
The Messenger is a nice preamp. I don't know if I heard it to it's full potential, my amp may have not been a great match. In that price range, you may also consider a Shindo Massetto. It does fit your criteria of a built in phono stage. The Massetto also mates well with most solid state amps. I assume you may run SS with the Spire's. The Doshi also has a great following, but I unfortunately haven't heard it. I do know someone whose opinion I value, and he loves the Doshi.
Thanks for your input. Actually i don't require a phono stage,just not starting a new thread if a similar exist, trying to adhere Audiogon's principles.
just asking, does Messenger has a huge quiet black background where music/nuance emanate from? do you hear the EXTENSION of musical notes bounce off the hall or whatever real or artifical "wall",so to speak. Thanks, hope that's not too technical