Have not compared. Did a lot of due diligence before buying the Herron late 2018. ModWright wasn't even on the list. Did not go looking for it specifically. Was not even on the radar.
Now with a year plus on the Herron, totally unreservedly wholeheartedly recommend it. Search around here, read my review, read everyone's comments. World class performance, real world price. Give Keith a call. Just do it.
I have heard really good things about Herron, in fact I don't think I've heard a single negative. However, I have also seen the same with the ModWright. Truthfully, I am leaning more towards Herron but before pulling any trigger I was hoping to hear a review comparing the sound differences
I have used both of their products, just not the phono stages. The after purchase service is a big deal for me. I have had some updates to my amps and preamp by Keith. Very reasonable and responsive to any questions. Dan is the same way. He always answers questions and is very helpful. From a service perspective, you can't go wrong with these gentleman.
How do you think they compare as far as quality and sound? Do you tend to favor one company over another when looking for new equipment?
While I have a Herron in order, the Mod deserves to be in your radar - I would ignore anyone dismissing the products of this fine small company- I spent considerable time evaluating the seminal power amp they produce and a person I trust deeply has their phono stage with a Well Tempered labs / AT MC - superb sound.
i went with the Herron for a variety of reasons, some unique to requirements/ constraints.
keith has been a joy to work with !
enjoy your search and the music
I was hoping to read more side-by-side comparisons of these phono stages. On paper the Modwright has some advantages but that doesn’t speak to sound quality differences. I like Modwright’s Lundahl step up approach on the MC input vs Herron’s FET-based MC gain stage. I own the Herron and it undeniably sounds much better when paired with a SUT through the MM inputs and tube signal. The fact that the Modwright has all switches on the front panel, a mono switch, and optional transformer coupled balanced XLR outputs - all for slightly less than the Herron makes me very curious to hear it.
Just to push the thread up, I too would be highly interested in such a comparison !
I own the Modwright, and have heard the Herron, but not side by side. I was leaning towards purchasing the Herron, but after discussions with beta-testers of Dan's PH9.0, I changed my mind. I've had it now for almost a year. It's a hard thing to describe, since it's quite neutral IMHO. My impression of the Herron in my friend's system is that it's a bit more holographic, and a little bigger than life. It is a joy to listen to. Could be his system though.
In my system, the Modwright just gets out of the way and doesn't call attention to itself. Yet when I play complex orchestral music, it's all there. I can follow the individual lines of different instruments and the voices of choral groups do not all blend into a hodge-podge. It's a group of people singing together and I feel their synchrony, or lack thereof as it may be. Deep bass, clear highs, all there without obtruding. It's just music!
For what it's worth, my cartridges are the Audio Technica ART-9, an Ortofon mono MM, and a Dynavector DV20xl. They all seem to find their voices with the Modwright, and come through with their own character. The Modwright is just one of those quietly competent things that you hardly realize is working so well until you try something else. Strong recommendation.
Forgot to say, the Modwright phono 9.0 replaced an Aesthetix Rhea that I've been using for the past 10 years. The Rhea was great and delivered the "breath of life" that makes you feel you are listening to real human beings making music. It had a midrange to die for, and a bit like the Herron, felt a bit bigger than life. The Modwright is less fullsome in the midrange (not at all lean), but I think true-er to the actual recording. HTH.
I have the Herron. Anyone wants to bring a Modwright, or anything else for that matter, over to compare is welcome any time. Just let me know.
It is by the way not bigger than life, but it is definitely holographic.
Thank you @dfhaleycko for your helpful answer. It seems that one cannot go wrong with either preamp and it should be down to personal preferences (the reason for my question) and features. In that department ModWright has the edge I think with its mono switch and front panel settings; although for the moment I only have 1 arm/turntable so when it's set..it's set! Best sound reproduction is my priority, not features.
I was also intrigued by comments above about Herron sounding better through a SUT. I actually do have a very nice Rothwell MCL SUT (1:20) with Lundahl transformers which contributed very much in a better sound in my system, so I guess I think highly of transformers (ModWright again, although in another thread was mentioned that the 9.0 does not use one of Lundahl's best models).
And price-wise, a second-hand Herron is about $ 2800 shipped to Europe (where I live) vs 3400 for a brand new ModWright 9.0 and 3900 for a demo 9.0X upgraded unit. And cost is of course a factor...
To give a bit of a context, currently the SUT is fed by an Ortofon MC Windfeld cartridge mounted on a carbon fibre Pro-ject 9CC
Evo tonearm on a Pro-ject Xtension 9 Evolution turntable (current phono stage: Project Phono Box RS).
My setup sounds quite good, it's well balanced and I don't have
any real complaints. But, of course, I wonder what may I be missing
compared to a higher end phono pre ! My amp and speakers are also quite
good, revealing (detailed & transparent), tonally correct and natural-sounding, without being
warm or lean/harsh (30 Watt Class A Tube integrated Audiomat Aria
amplifier driving 2.5-way JMR Cantabile Suprême transmission line
Your system seems to be well thought-out. I do think you'd find improvement with either of these phono stages. My Modwright does not have the upgraded transformer and slightly revised circuitry of the 9.0x. I have heard from others that the new sut represents a pretty significant upgrade.
FWIW, I actually run two tables through my Modwright, one (monaural) connected to the MM inputs and another connected to the MC inputs. I can switch between them from the front panel without having to fiddle with patch cords. I run mostly unbalanced, although for headphone listening, I can connect via balanced XLR to my headphone amp. It's pretty versatile.
My Aesthetix Rhea supported three decks, and a remote control for setting loading on the fly. It was quiet and lovely with good NOS tubes, but tended to get noisier over time. It had 10 tubes, so re-tubing it was an expensive proposition.
The Modwright is dead quiet, and it's gain tubes provide a wide un-hyped frequency range. It seems pretty darned neutral to me, which makes it hard to talk about what it is doing or not doing to help the music.
@vitamin_z given your location and already have excellent SUT, you should possibly also consider Croft RIAA-RS
i have the single chassis RS and a Herron. The former rewards tube rolling, the later no so much. Both are excellent values, well supported by the one person shop builders. the Croft is point to point, the Herron on a well thought out PCB.
have fun, enjoy the music