MC Phono Preamp

I’m new here & just getting back into audiophile.  I was extremely lucky & fell into a George Warren tt with a Denon HOMC.  About 7-8 yrs ago, I bought a Denon AVR 4806. I knew I’d be getting back into tt’s, Denon used to kill on tt’s so, I thought... that phono will be great. Ugh. It’s like listening they a thick curtain.  

Heres my problem.  I only (period) have $250 to spend right now. I’ve been reading reviews until my head is swimming with terms & numbers.  But really,  unless you
pop for A bunch upfront, audition them all & pay return postage & restocking... they’re just words & numbers.

Can anyone recommend 1 or 2 new (or used on this site) please?  And, if you could distill a few concepts I should be paying critical attention to? Even though there’s a bizillion companies, it would seem like, at that firm price point, there’s probably only 4 or 5 worth buying.  Thank you very much for your help.

To be honest your not going to find much at your budget. I would say save a bit more up and look at the $500 price range as a target for starting to find a good sounding phono stage. That said I can recommend the ifi Iphono 2 ( or 1) as a great entry level stage new just under $500. beyond that your into used stuff and that's hit and miss at this price point.  I just took a look at Needle doctors web sight and they have a whole assortment of inexpensive phono stages have a look.

Lehmann black cube 


Musical Fidelity



Vincent Audio

these above get desent reviews for the money and closer to your budget.

Just to be even clearer. I’m asking for wisdom about phono stages that I can buy. My limit at this point is $250. I don’t think there’s a requirement for me to elaborate why my budget, at this moment, is my budget. Glennewdick, did you actually want to give some recommendations?  It seemed like many aren’t ones I can buy.  Otherwise, I’ll ferret thru the models that actually are in my price range.
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One of the most all around performers in that price range is the Parasound.  It is musical and safe sounding with good gain.  You have to spend almost 4 times as much and get into tubes to clearly stomp it in all aspects. 

NOTE:  I am a dealer but I sell a lot of different brands from Project, MF, Musical Surroundings, Aesthetix, Musical Design, Fosgate, VTL, and several others just to add credibility if that is possible on the net. lol
Give Echo Audio a call here in Portland, many options at your budget and they are great at working within your spending constraints. If you can stretch another $20 (sorry) the Music Fidelity is a steal
Which ones should I look at?  Another thread here said many of tge secondhand units on eBay are actually fake. Glensnewdick says the quality is hit or miss.  Is there a site/online store where I can be assured everything’s up & up?
@tochsii that was the point of steering you to a dealer like Echo that sells carefully selected used pieces at good prices. Also I’ve never seen a fake for sale on AudioGon, so unlike eBay you can buy here with great confidence in what you are getting