allnic h1200 on sale for 999.00
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There are so many choices for under 1k used. But I think, and you said it, that the first step is to decide whether to go all tube or not, or it depends. You will hear different opinions. I myself do not deal with tubes in phono preamps at this price point. I believe that you really need to spend thousands and chose carefully to make it right. Probably all the phono stages that you mentioned would be quite good, but they all will sound like junk compared to,say,LAMM. If I were you I would begin upgrading from the source, that's from the turntable.
If you can get the Allnic I would vote for that I have heard them and they are that good. T
he other non tube choice (I agree at that level SS is better) which is a giant killer is the Graham Slee. You should be able to get one for well under $1,000 brand new. They don't come up for sale used much I noted. Prolly because people really like them.
First, there is a Simaudio Moon LP3 on sale at musicdirect.com for $350 new. It is not at all 5.3 but might be an improvement in your system; and you can send it back if you don't like it.
Now let me tell you what I did though it cost me $1.5k not $1k. I had a Pro-ject Xpression table/arm with cheap Sumiko cartridge and speed control box and Pro-Ject phono box SE. I sold all that and got used Nottingham Spacedeck/Spacearm, new Dynavector 10X5 cartridge and new Moon LP3 phono stage. The difference is huge, this is not just an improvement.
Within a few years I will replace the cartridge, the phono stage and my Audiolab integrated and will add motor controller for the turntable. Nottingham will stay for a very long time until (if) I am ready to spend really big money. I might also get a better arm but only if I plan to add $2k or so cartridge which is not very likely.
So..you can approach the upgrade subject in more than one way.
thanks all. Inna, I like what you did. I'm just not ready to do that. I guess back to my original question, what pho pre would improve on the one I have....seems like all of the ones mentioned would. And how often do you need to replace batteries if i went the sutherland route- i don't want to be buting batteries all the time either. anyone know about this heed quasar?
I have a Denon DL-110 and a PS Audio GCPH, which I paid $600 for, one month used, from another member. It is an excellent sounding combination, well remarked on from my hi-fi knowledgable friends. I like the GCPH for these reasons: adjustible gain and loading, has remote volume control, has balanced and RCA outputs, and is a well made piece for an excellent price.