MS Phonomena II vs. iFi Micro Phono vs. Audio Vista Phono-1 Mkii

I’m looking for a phono preamp that does not require batteries or tubes, can be tweaked to different cartridges (including MM and MC), and fits within a relatively limited budget of about $300. I currently have an older B&O turntable with an MMC2 cartridge which I may upgrade later, so I’m interested in the flexibility and longevity to last through potential equipment changes. In general, I like a natural sound profile with good dynamics.

After some research my 3 top choices are the Musical Surroundings Phonomena II (not the plus), iFi Micro Phono (the first one), and the Audio Vista Phono-1 Mkii.  The Phonomena II and iFi Micro Phono would be used versions to stay in my budget. The Phonomena II and Micro Phono have an advantage as their cartridge loading adjustments are more accessible, but as I wouldn’t be using them often, it may not be a big concern.

I’d appreciate any thoughts or experiences, especially as to specific comparisons between these models.

I have the iFi (first one)

amazing for the price point

crank the volume there is slight noise, overall pleasant presentation, leaning towards the bright side.


I have an extra Acoustech ph1 which has everything you are looking for plus is about the best sub 2000 preamp available.

Contact me if your interested.
Have not heard any of the phono pres in your list. 

I do use the MS Nova Phonomena I with the battery. I also use the SoundSmith Aida which is a cart that uses the BO MMC design principles. It's an amazing combo. I don't think you would be disappointed with the MS Phonomea. It is very neutral and transparent. Nice sound stage and very good dynamics. I can also say that without the battery on there is very little difference. Maybe a bit quieter but talking a very small amount. I have heard some phono pres at double the price that barely edge the Nova out or are just different but not really "better" 

I had the ifitube buffer and thought it was good performance for the buck. 
Much thanks to all that have written! Still hoping others may be able to compare any of these three?  Any Audio Vista users out there?

Hi, Vista phono here.  Unfortunately, I can't give a first hand comparison to the others. "They" say the Lounge Audio MM stage is the only competition for the money.

I bought it as a tool for checking MM loading options. It reminds me of my AHT with plug-in resistors, and I'm really pleased with the performance.  The sound is neutral with good resolution - just what I was looking for.

It comes with 47K and 150pF as the standard load and you install resistors in parallel for a lower value, but you can order it however you want. They'll put in whatever capacitance you want and you can order it with no native resistance. Then, whatever value you install becomes the resistance. Mine has no native capacitance. They put in another set of sockets and I load caps also. It's a bit fiddly that way, but I have the flexibility for many different carts.

Gain is adjustable from 40 to 70dB.  Currently I'm running a Stanton 980LZ  at 1.2K with 60dB gain.

It's tiny - a few inches long. I put a weight on top. The only caveat is there is no ground lug. You can float the ground or if there is noise, connect it to another component. It hasn't been a problem.