McIntosh C2200 or Audio Research Reference phono

I have just purchased a Mac 2102 amplifier that I'm very happy with. I'm using it with my Audio Research SP9 MK2 and the set up works well. I was thinking of buying an Audio Research Reference Phono and plugging it into a line stage on my SP9 MK2 because I listen to alot of vinyl. My other option is to go with the Mac C2200 preamp but I'm not sure how good the phono section is on the Mac. Stereophile said it was "Good but not stellar". I don't want to make a lateral move in terms of phono stage. On the other hand the line stage on the Mac is supposed to be exceptional. So there you go. Buy the Mac or keep the SP9 MK2 and plug an Audio Research Reference Phono into it's line stage. Please help. Thank you.
From a perspective of someone who used to own a C2200 (used to!!!), I would keep the AR. The Mc sounded thin and lean to me, and the phono stage was very noisy. Just my $.02.
The McIntosh C46 preamp phono stage was considered much better than the C2200's in TAS so you could get one of those and equalize your room to boot! Otherwise, adding a separate phono stage may get you the quality you need.
Well, I think you are talking about 2 different animals here. I currently own a Mac2102/C2200 combo and firstly can attest that the sound of the C2200 is any but thin and lean and is a big step up from the ARC SP9 (I used to own an ARC LS5mkIII line stage and Ref PH3). BUT, the phono stage in the C2200 can't compare to the ARC Reference Phono. If you listen to alot of vinyl, go with the ARC, you won't be happy with the MAC. Now if you do go with the ARC, do yourself a favor and later upgrade the SP9. To my ears the ARC LS5mkIII was better than the LS25mkI or II and at the prices you can grab these for, they are a steal. Good Luck!
Mc sounding thin and lean????? That is definately a first! I have auditioned ARC at length and currently own an LS3b and agree with Michaela that ARC is the one that is lean if anything. My McIntoshes are definately sweeter overall.

Stereophile and TAS both state in the recommended components lists that the Mc preamps are the quietest they have ever used.

But go with your ears and see what you think. Good luck! Arthur
My C2200 phono stage is dead quite. I A/B tested it with the Graham Slee Era Gold and didn't hear a huge difference.