Linn Linto - still a world class MC phono stage ?

Hello there. I am considering to buy a second hand Linto instead of waitin more time and buy a new audio research PH5 or a Evans Microgroove plus. Can the Linto still sound in the same league?
I don't know if how the Linto stacks up against any competition, having never shot it out with other phono stages, but I used one with a Lyra Helikon and it worked very well. It is very, very quiet (no noise detectable) and has a very dynamic presentation.

The only big issue is that it has a fixed loading, something like 120 ohms. Linn insists that any implementation of variable loading compromises sound quality, particularly noise levels. I now utilize a phono stage that allows for loading changes by remote control. I find that the ability to change loading is valuable.

If you determine that the Linn's loading is approximately what is recommended by the manufacturer of your cartridge, I think the Linn is a good product for the money.
I think if you own a Linn cartidge it would be a nice choice. If not I would look elswhere. Have a look at the new Whest phono stage if you are in the UK, it has had rave reviews and is not mega expensive.
I have just auditioned a Tom Evans 'Groove' against the Whest 2.0. The outcome was a resounding disection of 'the groove' by the Whest. whilst the groove had super fast impact and simplistic wow factor, it still made the sound come out of both speakers seperately unless I turned the wick up, also it was a bit restless. Perhaps the easiest description would be that before one note ended another seemed to start. The whest was equally quick, but the bass was tighter and more tuneful, images hung mid air and in 3d. Most importantly it compelled me to play and pull out one record after another - remarkable. I'd say the Groove is a bit like a stripper who walks on stage naked and immediately proceeds to rub her breasts in your face, the whest is a dance of the seven veils that takes you on a journey but with more style and subtlety.

Enough said?

I have heard the groove a couple of years back and did not like the sound, similar to your views - a bit in your face and trying to be overly dynamic.
Could you elaborate more on the sound of the whest. I like smooth tube like sounds, does the whest approach this or is it more neutral. Would like to understand if there is any brightness as such.

I've lived with the PS.20 for a few months now and must say that it is neutral with the correct amount of warmth.! Utterly musical with amazing detail, the midband is so transparent that voices and all other instruments are just so easy to hear and locate in that BIG soundstage. If you like the tube thing, that smooth, warm, fluffy sound then the PS.20 is not for you. If you want a musical, detailed and tonally correct phonotage I can't see how you could do better anywhere near the price.
i personnally feel that a good tube system needs something like the PS.20 on the front to speed things up a bit.
The real test is in the eating. Go try one instead of asking for opinions as they can be a bit misleading.

nuff said!