Lehmann Black Cube SE II or Manley Chinook?

Hello all - just looking for some advice as I consider a change in phono pre. I'm running a vpi classic into a budgie Jensen SUT into a Lehmann Black Cube SE II into an ARC LS26. Power amps are Quicksilver Mini Mites driving Triton Two speakers. On the whole I'm very happy with this combo and I've been a fan of the black cube se ii for some time now. But someone I sell a lot of records to wants to move his Manley chinook and is willing to strike quite a deal with me for it. He is a dedicated audiophile with pristine gear so I'm very tempted having read many of the raves of the chinook over the years and having one friend who swears by this pre. So my questions are:

1. Does anyone have experience with both pres who can give me a sense of what kind of an upgrade I would get with this move?
2. I'm a little concerned about having too much tubiness going on with the Manley/LS26/mini mite combo - should I be worried about this?
3. Currently I experience absolutely no noise at all using my SUT into the Lehmann with the two very close together. Of course the Lehmann has a separate ps that is way down near the floor of my rack. If I put the Manley close to the SUT will I possibly experience hum problems? I was skeptical about the SUT approach for a long time and just ran my MC cart (dv20x2) into the Lehmann with appropriate MC settings. But when I got a chance to try the SUT, well, I was quickly hooked on the sound.

That's all. Appreciate any input, thanks.


That's quite a complex way of using a mix of components to provide gain and loading for a MC cartridge.I prefer a much simpler approach and use a Soundsmith MCP 2 phono pre into whichever tube preamplifier I may be using in my system.

For my tastes in sound yours would be to tubey as you call it.If you place the Manley close like you are asking you may experience some hum or noise.

Just my opinion Best of luck to you,

It's a pretty common arrangement, SUT into MM phono for MC cart, and many (Art Dudley most notably) argue that it's far superior to the active gain provided by an MC-capable phono stage. That has certainly proven true for me with the Black Cube SE II - which is a very adjustable MC-capable pre. Going straight into the Cube set with MC settings, the sound is very good, utterly quiet. But through the SUT into the Cube with MM settings, the sound is much more alive, bass is punchier, a lot more air and detail. It's not a subtle improvement. Maybe this will not be the case with another phono pre like the Manley, I don't know. But the evidence for this approach with my current phono pre is overwhelming, in my system at least. 
Only one way to truly find out and that is to try it for yourself.

I read what Art Dudley spoke about and gave it several tries myself with various components and my present setup as mentioned worked out best for me.

I generally do follow the less is more and the simpler the better mindset though with all components in my system.



While I've not heard them, I've seen numerous threads where people pretty strongly preferred pres from Allnic and Herron to the Chinook. Might want to see what's available from them at a similar price point.  FWIW and best of luck. 
At that price point, I would highly recommend the Rogue Ares.  I found it to be superior to the Manley and the Lehmann.  

Best, Scott