Mytek Manhattan II Phono or other options


I’m currently using the phono card in the Mytek Manhattan II. It’s got limited reviews but the ones out there are excellent and the company’s founder swears it’s as good as 10k phono stages. In general, it does sound quite nice, but I also don’t think I’ve quite hit the sweet spot. 

Associated equipmemt: Rega RP8, Ortofon Quintet Black S, Manhattan II, McIntosh C47 preamp, McIntosh MC452 amp, B&W 802D3. Audioquest and Nordost cabling. Planning on upgrading to Rega P10 when it’s released and a much nicer cartridge. 

What I’m hearing. For 60s jazz and rock, the system really sounds wonderful. Classical it’s just ok. But once we hit the 70s rock, it starts to sound a bit boring. It doesn’t have the energy that the same tracks sound like through digital. I’ve played around with the settings in the Mytek and like the Transformer 100 ohm mode for jazz, and usually need to move to 1k ohm for rock, but it starts to sound a bit bright. I can’t help but think the phono stage is the weak link, but I’m not sure. I don’t want to give the impression that the setup sounds bad. It sounds really great. I just think the vinyl side could sound a bit better. Thoughts?
Ag insider logo xs@2xmayoradamwest
Have you tried running the Manhattan direct into your amp?
No, but the digital path through the Manhattan sounds remarkably good. I don’t suspect the preamp being the problem for lack of excitement. 
Have you tried the phono stage on your C47? I’m using mine with a restored TD124 with an SME M2-9 tonearm and an AT Art9 . Sounds pretty good to my ears with a fair amount of adjustability. I also have the MC 452. Great combination.
Yes, with the C47 Phono there isn’t nearly as much soundstage and the sound doesn’t have nearly the same weight especially in the bass. 
How are you loading the cartridge?