I have had very good success with the Art Audio Vinyl One. On the used market, it is a bargain. Though I'm getting my dream phonostage soon and must part with mine, the Vinyl One has been highly enjoyable and completely trouble free. I'd suggest putting it on your short list. Good luck.
Snooker, might be possible to buy a used Aesthetix Io (non signature) at the upper limit of your budget. This is my favorite phono, and has lots of possibilities for tube swaps and gain settings to match any situation.
If you ever planned on a high end preamp, the Io is available with volume controls and spare input, making it a one box answer for phono, CD and line stage. Remote control is in the works and expected to show at CES 2003. This could be added as budget permits making it a perfect combination of performance, flexibility and convenience.
Don't forget to look at the Audio Research PH3 or an Acoustech PH-1.
I have been using an EAR 834P for some time now and continue to be very impressed. I've owned much more expensive phono preamps in the past, but this one continues to be the most musical. It is very quiet for a tube phono stage and very dynamic. Best of all is the price of admission. And, they are easy to sell on Audiogon if you find something you like better. Since its introduction in the mid 1990s it has continued to be one of the best values in high end audio. You have to spend a great deal more to improve on it. Additionally I think it would be a good match for your new turntable/arm/cartridge. The Aesthetix Io mentioned above is certainly in another league and in the world of tube phono stages only beat out by the Manley Steelhead. However, it is very expensive to own due to the huge number of tubes it uses (not to mention its original cost)and it is generally used in systems with much more expensive tables than you will be using. For example, a friend of mine used one with a Rockport table. The Audio Research PH3 and AcousTech PH-1 also mentioned above would make more sense with your set up and will meet your budget if bought used. Whether you choose the EAR or one of these two I think you will be very happy. They are all good and all different. In the end it will come down to personal taste. Hope this helps.
Can one get a used Vinyl 1 for under $1000?? New, they run over $2500, I think.
There was a phono stage shooutout in the Sept/Oct "Listener." It was still on the shelf at Borders a couple of weeks ago. They looked at the Vinyl 1, Linn Linto, Creek, and something else.
There is thread after thread on this. I know it's time consuming to search for them all and read them. One reason for so many threads is because there are so many opinions. The "perfect" or "best" phono stage is as mythical a creature as the Holy Grail.
Best thing to do is find a good audio dealer. 99% of them will let you take home a demo for listening. My dealer allows a week (or more). The great thing about demos is they have some hours on them already and are likely to be burned in.
Some good suggestions by other posters here. Others in your price range (and best value is to buy used):
EAR 834P (if you like tubes)
Blue Circle BC-23
Naim Stageline (they make two, one for MM and one for MC)
I have the same cartridge and use a CAT SL-1 signature with VTL Tiny Triodes and Quad 57 speakers. I have plenty of gain and recommend its sound qualities.
Find a used Sonic Frontiers Phono One. Clasa A Stereophile, $2000 new but probably half that used. Great detail and authority with tube palpability. I keep trying other phono stages, being tempted by the latest hot item, but then I return to the SF and I'm floored by the clarity and beauty of my LP sound.
Wow! Thanks for all the responses. This gives me plenty to research. In answer to a couple of suggestions: there is only one dealer in my area (rural Vermont). Also, before I started this thread, I read every thread in the analogue section that mentioned Phono Pre-amps or Benz-Micro. I realized that some of you would be able to match my cartridge to those phono stages which would work well with it, because you know a lot more about analogue than I.
As usual, the more I read, the more I learn. Thanks again for the responses.
Cpdunn99- On the used market, the AAVO goes for about 1/2 retail, so it's a little over your desired 1K. However, the elimination of a pre-amp and an IC should help justify the extra expenditure. I think the "full option" unit is around 2700 retail. Good luck with you search.
It's actually Snooker's search, not mine! However, I have heard great things about the AAV1 and would love to audition it, particularly at that used price.
A lot of good choices here. I use the Electrocompaniet ECP . it retails for 995 but can be had for less if you shop around or used. I use the same Benz Micro you do with it.
Dan Wright is modding the Monolithic Sound phonostage and selling it with full manufacturer's warranty!!!
Underwoodwally is selling them. It *has* to be a killer unit.
DB sytems at audioadvisor/.04 RIAA...no brainer
Hi, I use the Herron with a Clearaudio Sigma cartridge but instead of a preamp I use a seperate transformer volume control. The Herron has plenty of output without needing a seperate step up transformer . The transformer volume controller does provide 2x gain and allows me to convert from a single ended input to a psuedo balanced XLR output. This is very helpfull with driving my 6 meter interconnect between the volume control and amps. With a good set of NOS tubes this phono stage has been one of my best purchases here on Audiogon. Highly recommended.
try out the acurus p10. weve had it for over a year and is totally awesome. still needs about 100 hrs of break in time
For the money you cannot beat the ear834p.
I have listened to far more expensive pre-amps,and IMO it is not worth the extra cash outlay.If you have money to burn,send me some!