Good Phono Pre-Amps...$500 to $1500

I am in the market for the best sounding phono pre-amp I can buy in the 500 to 1500 range. Will be using a Linn table/arm with a Dynavector DV-10X5. I listen at low to moderate levels, mainly to Jazz and female vocals...and a little rock and classics.

Hi Whatjd,

Don't pretend to know much about the Linn or Dynavector, but am presently listening to a Camelot Lancelot Pro phono stage, while my Monolithic is down for repairs. Also listen at moderate levels, to jazz etc as well.

Best I've heard, the battery power supply is dead quiet. Great stuff ! I think the Camelot is $1000 new ?

Good luck,
There is an ARC PH 3 se on E-bay (this is not mine!!) going with no reserve. Could be quite a bargin!
I used an Audio Research PH3 with my Linn/Dynavector 10x4 and it sounded excellent. I'm sure the PH3SE is even better. The PH3 usually sells for around $900-1000, and the PH3SE for $1400-1500. I'd go for the SE.
Wright WPP100C.
do not buy anything without seriously considering the dynavector p-75. it hasn't been in this country very long, but you can get it now through music direct. $599. unbelievable giant killer, especialy if you're using a dynavector cart. read more about it on in the vinyl area, or the naim and pink fish forum. i just got mine a few days ago and it's already shocked me. im using a benz glider l2, and the results as compared to the musical surroundings phonomena, my previous pre, are nothing less than dramatic. fast, clear, extremely musical. you can also get more info here:

oh, and im not affiliated with music direct nor dynavector in any way...

good luck!
Music Direct also has a Coph Nia Phono-pre on their demo list for under $600 (retail is ~ $1,500). I used one with a Dynavector 17D and was very happy.
K&K Audio Phono Preamp kit. $1500. It will compete with the big boys.
"K&K Audio Phono Preamp kit. $1500. It will compete with the big boys."

And beat most of them.
I, too, have the K & K and would stack it against any phono stage in the $4K or so range. However, when the poster asked for a phono preamp I thought he meant a pre with a built-in phono stgae. Otherwise I'd have recommended the K&K before this. It can also be built by Kevin Case if you are not a builder yourself. You can look at the site:

Or, you can go to the Art Audio site and look at the Vinyl Reference. The K&K is basically the Reference without the faceplate and external power supply It should be since Kevin designed both. At least that is the way I had mine built.

I've heard every stage mention thus far except the Coph Nia and there is really no contest, IMHO. If you need more info, e-mail me.
Gotta add my props for the K&K phono stage. This is one excellent product. Mine was built by Kevin and is nice to look at and beautiful to hear.

Oy! Kevin of K&K is Kevin CARTER - NOT Kevin Case. Kevin Case was a friend of mine in college, though.
How much is it if he builds it?
$1500 plus shipping was what mine tallied, Dan. I had a few modification requests but I do not know how much that effected things. Given the weak US these days, prices could be higher by now.
i too have heard great things about the k&k, but it's hard for me to believe that it is worth nearly 3 times, with shipping, what the dynavector p-75 will get you. the incredible improvement on my system notwithstanding, this seems to be the general consensus on both sides of the atlantic. i suppose if you have cash to burn, it's a non issue. but because $1500 seems to be your limit, again i would encourage you to explore this amazing giant killer and spend the rest of vinyl.

good luck!
Sberger, hard for you to believe, I can understand. But, I would submit, impossible to say without having heard both for yourself. IMHO, it is worth about three times more than three times more than the Dynavector. Believe me, I don't have money to burn - that is why I bought the K & K. I admit all things are relative and $1500 to some might be extravagant, but I went through and/or auditioned more than a few phono stages before buying mine.

I will agree that if you are comparing the Dynavector to most stages costing $1500, the Dyna is a "beater". Not when compared to the K&K, though, which is a $4K stage or better "beater". IMHO, YMMV, and all that. :-)
sounds like a fantastic phono...nonetheless, given the specific situation of whatjd, i'd still take the amp that will get you $1500 sound for $600, and either buy records, or even upgrade the cart, maybe with a dyn 20x-l for $525, or a dyn karat 17d2 for $750. And you still would have at least a few hundred left over for more vinyl.

anyhow, interesting choices...
Hi all,

Thanks for the input. I am researching several that have been recommended.

Sberger, do you know if the Dynavector unit is OP-Amp based or discrete?

Does anyone have a sonic impression of the difference between the ARC PH3 vs. PH3SE?

Does anyone have any experience with the Musical Surroundings unit? It claims to be all discrete.

Thanks, Jim
Blue Circle makes a nice phono stage... I use in my system with Linn table
sorry, i don't know. but im sure the nice folks at music direct would. give them a call. really is a remarkable unit.

i was using the musical surrounding phonomena previous to the p75. quite good, and very flexible. but honestly the dynavector was a major improvement in every way.

good luck!
Hey Jim...I own the ARC PH3SE and also had on loan a regular PH 3. Obviously, I ended up with the se because it was better. However, the origional PH3 was, very, very good. Especially for the price. Overall, the SE is more refined and a bit more extended high end.

I hope that helps?
I heard the Dynavector P75 last night. It is great, and at $600 or so new, a damn good deal.
How about a trichord Dino with special PSU. Designed by John Michell and updated since. Great phono stage with both MCs and MMs.
You can buy direct or through Todd The Vinyl Junkie. At least deserves an honarable mention.

I bought it without hesitatation. While I plan to upgrade my TT this thing is probably a keeper. But acknowledge there are some other good suggestions here.
Sonic Frontiers SFP-1, Signature version or Phono 1 in used conditions. I have the SFP-1 version (using with at least 2 mV MM cartridge) and it beats the modified and unmodified EAR 834P in term of image, sound stage, and dark background. I sold the EAR and keep the SFP with the rest of my SF gears, SF Power 2, SFL-2, SFD-2 MKII.
In that price range, the Graham Slee ERA Gold MkV is the champion. It has to be heard to be believed. I'm using it in my system, and it literally reproduces the soundstage with all the space, dynamics, and agility of the original performance. I'm using it in a very revealing system (Krell FPB, Pass Aleph P, Martin Logan ReQuest, VPI Scout/w Dynavector 20XH), and its speed is phenominal.

One reviewer said it has the speed of tubes (25Mhz bandwidth), with the energy of solid state. Awesome vocals, with bass that rivals digital. They are hard to find, due to its reputation. You can find them at Ask for Walter...he'll take care of you.
i haven't heard the graham slee but it sounds fantastic. but if a low output cart is to be used, a step up will be required, probably bringing the total package to over $1500. On the other hand, the dynavector p-75 will provide amazing results for low output cartidges through design that it is specifically designed for. While it's perfomance for other carts is supposed to be great, it's at the low output area that it gives units 2-3 times it's price a run.