E.A.R.(Esoteric Audio Research) makes one with a choice of MM only,or, MM and MC. I believe they are priced from $700- $1300 depending on options. This is a well liked tube based design that I have heard briefly, but not enough to comment on it's sound compared to anything else.
Joule makes an excellent phono stage w/remote controlled volume.
Try to find a Counterpoint SA-9, killer phono stage with enough gain for the lowest output coils with gain control switch.
The IO with the volume control is $7,500. The price is $5,000 without.
NYAL made a superb tubed phono stage known as the "Super It". they become available on the "net" from time to time and can be upgraded to a phonemenal performance level.
I second Hungryear and Bamafan, the Aesthetix IO is the best I've heard of this breed. More than enough gain to drive an amp without a line stage. When you see the volume control you'll know why it costs an extra $2500! And if you want to go all-out, you can do what Albert Porter does and get a separate power supply for each channel--just be prepared for a lot of heat and weight, as this is an all-tube unit, including the power supply, with well over 20 tubes in the standard, one power supply version.
I'm building my own, around an AHT DM-P, which offers 66 db of gain, enough for no line stage of amplification in my system (and surely in almost all systems). If you want advice on building a world-class ladder type stepped attenuator, just post your email address on this thread and I'll give you the details of what I'm doing. It eliminates a cable and its connections at both ends, both financially and sonically beneficial. In essence, I've built a chassis that surrounds the AHT DM-P chassis (not counting its power supply, which is separate) and mounted the attenuators in close proximity to its circuit board(s), and run connections from them to the switches. You could get a millwork shop to do the surrounding chassis for you if you can't do it yourself. Incidentally, my main reason for doing this was to avoid the complex circuitry and mediocre volume controls in even such prestigious preamps as the CAT SL 1 III and the CAT Ultimate. Even with a fully separate passive preamp, I got much better transparency and detail.
Thanks everyone so far I'm always amazed thay no matter what the question or topic there's always someone with knowledge and experience on the subject.Tom I'm very interested in your project you can contact me at email@example.com Thanks again......Bob
According to their web site http://www.musicalsurroundings.com, the Aesthetix IO with volume control is ONLY $7000.00.
Or...for less than a used auto...try a B.A.T. P5 Phono Stage (all tube ((10!)), MASSIVE design (2) Torodial transformers, 40lbs.!)with a Placette Volume control. Incredibly transparent for about $2400. total.
Late getting in on this because I've been away. Art Audio now has a peamp that comes standard with a gain control. Audio Innovations, a British Company now no longer imported, made a dynamite one for just under two grand.
18 months ago I bought a Bellari VP129 on ebay for 80 bucks. After swapping the Sovtek 12AX7LPS for a Electro-Harmonix I was totally happy except for some prominent background noise when cranked. Then "Mikey" got a hold of it! Class B rating and price through the roof! I bought mine on Jimmy Hughes'(UK audio critic)recommendation. Then for me, an electronic meltdown, new Walwart and...background noise overload( Bellari: "send it back"...) In the meantime, NO VINYL-AAAARGHHHH! So for $40 I picked up an ART PRO DJII with level controls and other re-settables like loading etc. Expecting very little, I was literally astounded! Apart from the inevitable (but still surprisingly little)lack of warmth and sweetness, in every other respect it trounced the VP129 in terms of sheer dynamics, noise floor, inner detail(heard things on my IIX/RB300/Elys2 I hadn't heard since I sold my LP12/Syrinx PU3/Koetsu Black set-up 20 years ago now!),bass output/articulation and, stereo imaging. It has ghastly over-prominent idiot lights - and the sound gets rather bright if cranked, but otherwise I find myself somewhat stunned(It's only $48MRSP!) and utterly delighted. We audiophiles need to look towards the pro-audio world IMO; as an aside, I also replaced my wrecked MF X10-D with a brace of Bellari MP105 microphone amps for $80+/- and made $110 flogging the MF(new Walwart) on ebay(the VP129 will follow upon it's return & re-audition-just in case!). I find only a lack of refinement to be the only downside comparitively and it actually improves CD/SACD/DVD-Audio playback even more than the MF. In another thread from which I ended up here, one wonders if the reason the Denon DL-110 is studiously ignored by the Audiophile media is it's sensible price and what sounds like it being a steller performer("Giant" killer...??. When it's time to replace my Elys2(RRP $65 higher)...
Ditto on the Aesthetix Io with volume controls. I had mine for ~4-5 years. I haven't needed pre-amp to provide an additional gain stage. Highly recommended not only for its musical production, but Jim White of Aesthetix really gives great customer service. $7K is a lot, but its worth it.
If your willing to pay the price; a Manley Stealhead @ $8500.00 fits the bill. I have a Steelhead bought in '07. Just talked to the Manley folks this week; if you can find a used one ; remote volume control can be retrofitted . I am currently driving a pair of Pass Lab 160.8s to very good effect with the Steelhead. Like it better than the Spectral electronics that are now on the market
Concerning the Steelhead ; 9yrs old but spent 4yrs in its box while rehabbing new house. It is still DEAD QUITE!!!!! With Original Stock Tubes!!!!.