I just picked up a new PS Audio GCPH with warranty for $625. Replaced a Bellari VP130. Running a Pro-Ject RM5/Ortofon 2m Black. I haven't listened to the Jasmine or the Musical Surroudings, but I am thrilled with the PS Audio. You may want to consider it.
There is suppose to be a MK 3 Jasmine coming soon according to my friend who is waiting to buy one. I already have an expensive phono stage but if I was buying one under $2000 I would get the Jasmine.
Dynavector P75 is another you might want to add to that list. But both those you mention in your post seem to be highly thought of, for sure.
I sold a modded Cambridge Audio 640p, and a Bellari vp129 and purchased the Jasmine MK2. Before selling the 640p I did compare the 640p to a threshold and some other obscure high end model and the modified 640p was noticeably better. Then I bought a Jasmine MK2 and it was so ridiculously better than all of them. It had the biggest soundstage well past the walls, excellent dynamics, and the truth of timber was jaw dropping! On top of that it looks great. I still can't believe that you can get this good a phono that looks hot for so little money. My unit had some minor cosmetic damage in shipping and they quickly shipped me a replacement part. Excellent service and they answered all of my many questions.
My PSAudio Phonostage has a hum that won't go away. I'm also interested in the Musical Surroundings, as I want the quietest phono preamp possible, and am looking at battery powered units. Budget is $1k. Does anyone have any experience with the musical Surroundings?
I had a PS Audio that I replaced with a KRELL KPE. At first I wouldn't even listen to the Jasmine because in my warped mind there was no way a $500 phono stage would compare. However, on first listen it blew away the KRELL and got even better with time. I now own 2 of the Jasmine phono stages. I have heard of problems with them being damaged in delivery but have no personal knowledge of that.
I agree with Linus and Bobsdevices. I bought the Jasmine
mkII for my second system and was stunned by its price
quality relationship. The manufacturer is very reliable and
kind. While I thought that the main unit was defective and
asked for a new one the fault was actualy in my tonearm
(left channel). I got the new unit within two weeks and needed
to pay only for the postage. So I don't believe that damaged units
(by delivery) will cause more problems than what is involved
by exchanging the units.
I'm very happy with my Vincent PHO-8 phono preamp. Similar design to the Jasmine, but slightly cheaper.
I think that the Nova Series of phono stages are truly wonderful for their price point, like all Michael Yee designed audio products. The trick is to set them up properly for your cartridge.
Speaking of which, you will probably resent me saying this but IMO you will never wring the best performance out of either your DL-103 or Well Tempered tonearm when used together - this is simply not a good match. The DL-103 family is an extremely low-compliance cartridge that was designed for heavy, rigid, high mass tonearm. Simply weighting the headshell is not enough - that will not significantly change the tonearm resonance.
I speak from experience here, but YMMV. Good luck.
I have the Jasmine phono stage, with the upgrade of the output capacitors. I don't even give a thought to upgrading. The sound reproduction is refined and open. I use it with a Denon DL-S1.
Hi Redglobe, The units are not easy to open. I opened the
main unit to see if the left channel wiring was loose because I thought that the fault was there. But I noticed that the capacitors are from an unknown producer and think
that they can be easily substituted for some 'exotic'kind. When I got the new unit and discovered that the fault was in my tonearm I had no inclination to mess with the capacitors. However the other may want to try so you should mention the capacitors you used and their value.
I heard the Vincent pho-8 in my system before I bought the Jasmine. Here is my order of preference in the 3 phono preamps I've had:
Jasimine LP2.0 mkII - keeper, very big soundstage, very true to tone with nice tube like qualities and tight bottom end
Pro-ject phono tube box II with upgraded tubes - big soundstage, good tone but noticeably loose on the bottom end
Vincent Pho-8 - smaller soundstage and dry sounding, had a ground loop problem in my system (none of the other preamps above had this problem)
I used Jantzen Superior Z-caps 1 uf (about $12 each through Parts Express). With regard to accessing the components, you need to de-solder the power supply connection and the ground. Once that is completed, access and capacitor substitution is very straight forward.