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An interesting scenario may be to have an Aesthetix Rhea on hand when you get your Aurieges back. You would get two very different perspectives with the Rhea design having no Step up device. That's very uncommon for a tube based phono stage. I can only think of a few companies that do not use Step ups.... Manley, Atmasphere, and Tempo Electric are the others that come to mind. I believe a Rhea is $4500 retail.
Acman3, I'd be careful about impedance compatibility when choosing a phono stage having a tube output stage for use in conjunction with the Tortuga LDR. It appears that depending on how the LDR is configured and on the attenuation value it is set to its input impedance may be in the 10K to 20K area, which will be too low to be optimal for use with many tube-based phono stages.
For example, Stereophile measured the unbalanced output impedance of the Rhea at 20 Hz as being 3.05K, which would certainly be high enough to be a concern in conjunction with a 10K load. And I would have suggested that you consider the Herron VTPH-2 that I use, but I don't think it would perform at its best with that kind of load impedance either.
Good luck. Regards,
Not many tube preamplifiers will mate well with that unit. The Manley Steelhead has a very low output Z (<100 ohms) and will drive just about anything. However, I believe the cost is outside the budget. One could check the specs for the Manley Chinook; if it uses an output stage similar to that of the Steelhead, it would work fine.
Actually Lewm, I think you may have found the solution. I found several Phono amps that would work, including a used Allnic h3000, and AcousticPlan, which would work, but are way over budget.
If I was sure I was going to get rid of the Shindo ,I would go over on budget, but since I am just wanting to see how it works, the Manley is probably a great choice. I also like the retro look.