Herron VTPH-2A...transformational in my system and in your price range.
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I have the Gold Note and am comparing it with my existing LFD LE. The Gold Note is tremendous and its myriad tuning options really help nail the sound you want and that your record demands. I find it's not as expansive as the LFD, though it does dig out upper level details better.
Have you also considered the Parasound JC3+? It's the under-$10K reference for many audio writers.
i do not have a local Herron dealer but I will do as much research as I can, very intriguing and all of their preamps have a stellar reputation
@simao is the LCD display on the PH 10 distracting to you? Can you defeat it entirely?
I have have looked at the Parasound, I have opened a few Halo pieces in the past, looking to go in a different direction, and while not as important as performance, I feel the aesthetic of the Halo line could use and update even if that would add some $$ to the cost.
A hair above your budget but the Musical Fidelity NuVista Vinyl is spectacular. Full sound, a hair warm and brilliant with Ortofon cartridges though it is $3700. I would be using this unit with my Cadenza Blue if I wasn’t the importer for Art Audio. The list of units that beats the MF is short but quite distinguished. Many MF dealers will probably find the flexibility to fall in your budget.
The other I would look at is the Rogue Ares Magnum. In the beefy part of your budget at $2800, it was the unit I was looking at prior to entering the industry. Rogue makes great equipment and this unit stands out.
Full disclosure, I am an MF dealer so I am a hair biased in it’s favor but MF has a stellar reputation for making great phono stages. I have no relationship with Rogue. I am also, obviously a fan of tube phono stages.
@jp-2213 You are in a great place with your budget to consider many fine phono amps! One other fine benefit of going from a sub $1000 unit to the Luxman E-250 is the vast reduction in the reproduction of pops and clicks as that unit has a much more advanced power supply which can better manage those amusical surface transients.