Help choose phono stage

I have a modest family room system that consists of components that I believe punch above their weight class. The system is 100% vinyl and includes: a technics SP-25 turntable with ATP-12t tonearm, and I switch between Denon DL103 and DL102 (for mono and some of the older lps in my collection that are not in mint condition) cartridges. I have a Jasmine 2.0 phono stage feeding a Eastern Electric MiniMax preamp and sweet special edition 807 amp that was recently built by Dennis Had. Speakers are open baffle design based on Tang Band w8-1808. The system sounds great, gets played on a daily basis, and is enjoyed by family and friends. Well the audiophile in me just can't leave it alone, especially since I listen to it every day.. Between the MiniMax preamp and Jasmine phono stage I have way too much gain. Volume never makes it past 8-9:00 max in a fairly large room. I am thinking of trying a new phono stage; and am looking for some suggestions around $1000 new or used. I was thinking maybe the new Jasmine 3.0 as it has more flexible gain settings; or one of the Monolithic offerings; or Heed Quasar (tough to find used); or maybe a Musical Surroundings Nova (battery operated/ low noise/ interesting).. I prefer phono stages that do not have those dinky wall wart power supplies... from a build quality perspective the Jasmine is hard to beat, and I wouldn't want anything that is not built as well... I listen primarily to Jazz and some classical music.. So I am looking for some advice. I am a tube guy, but have left them out of my phono stage primarily due to the lack of quality options in my price range. I am also open to replacing both phono stage and preamp, with a preamp that has a built in phono stage. Thanks in advance for your advice.

Although not in the $1000 range you are asking I would look at the Parks Audio Budgie. Really a fantastic sounding unit. Shannon at Parks Audio is a real gem. The unit has a great response to my Denon DL110 and my Jolida 502A. Separation, highs and lows with a great mid-range.

Also just shy of your $1000 mark is the Jolida JD9. My dad has this and it simply provides beautiful music. Jazz, rock and anything we through at it.
"The system sounds great, gets played on a daily basis, and is enjoyed by family and friends. Well the audiophile in me just can't leave it alone, especially since I listen to it every day.."

When you have something that is working really well for you, its much easier to make it worse, than better. I say leave it alone.
Hi Greg, I have the Jasmime LP 2 mkII also and yes, it has a lot of gain. Before you try the Jasmine 3 or another preamp, you should try some Harrison attenuators. I use them on my Jasmine and my AR tuner, both have a lot of gain. I got mine at Parts Express at:


I think you can return them if they don't work for you. I use the -12db ones with very good results.

I use them at the preamp end so I do not lower the source level until after the RCA distance.
I second the use of attenuators to lower the gain.
And yes you can return them if they don't work out.
Call Keith Herron at Herron Audio to see if he has any used VTPH-1 units. He seems very good about taking trades. He just might be able to give you a great deal on a spectacular phono stage.
Keep the Jasmine if you can. I think it is a great phono preamp for the price. There is an upgrade / tweak path and, to my ears, it beat out the Vincent Pho-8 (two boxer like the Jasmine) and the Pro-ject Phono Tube box with upgraded tubes.
Sbrownnw, It is a good phono stage for the money. But, IMO, the Herron is a great phono stage without regard to cost and easily betters those units you mention. The $1,000 budget could address several areas of upgrade. But IMO, the largest improvement would be upgrading the phono stage.
Thanks for giving me some ideas.. much appreciated
Pro-ject Phono RS or Lehmann Blackcube SE. Either one is outstanding.
Not sure if this is ok with forum rules.

I have a Croft Phono and line preamp on Audiogon. Have a
look and see what you think.
EDIT: Hmmm. I see you use a LOMC, no MC though... step up
If you are a fan of the Jasmine and the new model offers more gain options, I'd go with that. Though the attenuators might be a good first step.

But ultimately, only way to know is to try something in your system. These forums are nice to help you narrow down those choices.

I was a big fan of the the Avid Pulsus and now they sell a similar one-box phono stage called the Pellar. Music Direct sells these and they have a great return policy if you aren't a fan of it in your system.