Linn Linto vs Audio Research PH3

Has anyone had the opportunity to compare the Linn Linto phono preamp versus the Audio Research PH3 phono preamp (in either the standard or SE configurationn) using the Linn LP12 turntable?

I have an AR PH3 SE. I am pleased overall with the sound but it doesn't have as much gain as I'd like to drive my Linn Arkiv cartridge. In order to get to reasonable volume levels in my small listening room, I have to set my AR LS 25 preamp to the highest input gain setting (18 db) and turn the volume all the way up to the 3 o'clock position. My other input sources work just fine with the 12 db setting and the volume at the 12 o'clock setting or less. Amplication is via an AR VT 100 and speakers are Magnepan 1.6's.
I can't comment on the comparison, but I can tell you that many tube phono stages lack the necessary gain for low output moving coil cartridges. I encountered this also, and I opted for a quality phono step-up transformer to boost the gain between cartridge and phono section. While I cannot say if this is the best way to go, it is quite satisfactory for me. If you like your PH3, you may consider this option.
ARC PH3 has MOSFET output stage and 6922 driving stage so it's hybrid tube/ss.
I use Ortofon T1000 high quality step-up transformer with great results. It perfectly matches impedance and boosts a gain to the total of 72 dB with minimal noise.
The cartridge I use is Lyra Helikon.
I had the PH3 and Linto, and had the exact chance to compare Linto + Arkiv/Ekos vs. PH3.

As repeated many times, Linto + Arkiv or Troika is a match in heaven. The sound is dynamic, a lot of punch, and very engaging. THe sound has a sure footed confidence, and very well defined, and seamlessness from bass to HF. The Linto sounded more accurate than PH3. The PH3 has a lot of air, and seems to have more high frequency detail, but it didn't weave the music together as tight as Linto. You should immediately hear the key attributes of the 2 phono stage. The PH3 would sound like there are many holes within the frequency response, once you heard the Linto's seamless presentation.

Very interestingly, Linto with Linn cartridge is so right, but Linto with non-Linn cartridges sound a bit detached.
I have heard the LP12/Arkiv/Linto combination and feel that it will be hard to top this combination. These pieces were designed to work as one so will posess a synergy that is hard to find through other manufacturers components. The benefit beyond the gain issue is the most quiet background I have ever (not) heard. Considerable improvements in detail emerge as well. To sum up my experience in a single statement: more music comes through.

I have not had the benefit of auditioning the PH3 and do not have a gain issue problem in my system. I have not stepped up to the Linto because of its hefty price tag and the inability to find them on the used market. I suspect though, if I had one in my system I would miss it terribly if taken out of the loop. I suspect it will be difficult to find a retailer that stocks this unit for auditioning purposes. Good luck.

Many thanks for all your enlightened comments. You have convinced me that a head to head comparison is the only way to be absolutely sure. I have just made arrangements from a friendly Linn dealer to audition the Linn Linto at home in my system.

Thanks again and best wishes.

I have had a few days to compare the Audio Research PH3 with the the Linn Linto in my system. Extremephono, you hit the nail on the head. While both units are very fine examples of what is possible with vinyl playback today, the Linto, at least with the LP12/Lingo/Ekos/Arkiv combination, has a degree of punch and cohesiveness that just wasn't there with the PH3 SE. So, my trusty PH3 is up for auction on eBay. It's already attracted several bidders.
Check out a review on a phono stage that beat a Linto, convincingly, by a die-hard Linn LP12 man, using an Arkiv ...
see also the recent Listener (Sept/Oct issue) for phono stage shootout which included the Linto.