I do not have first hand knowledge but have read that both phono stages sound the same. The audible difference happens when you step up to the 1000T
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The phono stages in the C500 & 1000 are identical to each other, whereas the C2300 phono stage resides on the motherboard & in the case of the MC stage, does not have an independant MC module.
Having owned both the C2300 & C500 combo, there is a significant difference between the fully balanced units and the C2300.
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Ontjesr, how would you characterize the sonic differences between the phono stages of the C2300 and C500t? How much of the difference do you think is a result of running the amp/preamp link truly balanced? In other words, can you compare single-ended to single-ended? I'm also curious about making this upgrade into my MC501. Presently, I prefer the RCAs from the C2300 but, as you say, it's not fully balanced so any advantage is compromised. Thanks.