Phono preamp comparison: Herron vs. K&K

For those of you who listened to them side by side: how do you compare the sound of the Herron VTPH-1MC to the K&K Maxxed-out Standard and to the K&K Maxxed-out Premium ?

The sound of a phono preamp is very dependant, among other things, on the cartridge used, but anyway I am supposing you listened to them in good to very good situations. I use a Shelter 501 MKII.

By the way, they are both hard to find in the used market, but I have seen some Herrons, and not a single Maxxed. Can we conclude anything of that ?
" I use a Shelter 501 MKII."

I would consider a better cartridge first. You have a very nice system and the 501 II is holding back your LP playback. You may want to see if a Lyra Delos will work in your arm.

Good Luck,
I would conclude either A, They haven't sold any
or B. No one wants to give theirs up.

Thanks for the advise. I will have the Delos in my short list.

Have you heard the Herron and the K&Ks ? What would be the sonic differences between them, and in particular between the Standard and Premium Maxxed's ?

Regards, Tabare
I know that this doesn't directly answer your question. But I have a VTPH-2 and it is extremely detailed and acurate. A simply stunning phono stage.

I am asking for opinions because I cant compare directly the different units (I am in South America) so I have to rely on fellow audiophiles and reviews.

Of what I read I am confident that these 3 options (and also some others in the same price range) wont be far from right, but still I would like to narrow it down.

I am sure the VTPH-2 is a great unit, but out of my price range.

Stanwal: I think it is probably B because I have seen that a lot of fellow audiogoners have theirs and that all seem very happy and proud.
I am listening to a K&K maxxed out with all of the latest
upgrades (not sure if that makes it a premium or not), and I
can assure you it is staying right here in my system. Kevin
Carter at K&K is great to deal with too. I have not heard the
Herron units.
One thing to keep in mind if you are considering the K&K is the possibility of future upgrades. The very first kit sold can be upgraded to the latest version of the circuit ( I know, i upgraded it for a friend that bought it from me). Kevin prices the upgrade kits based on the part cost, not on the sonic benefit as some do. Charging what they think the market will bear. That could be one reason so few units are available used. You don't have to run out and buy a new unit when an improved version becomes available.
One thing I point out to everyone who tries the K&K: give it time to break in. The change up to around 200 hours of actual signal time is monumental. Things continue to get better up to about 4-500 hours. There's a lot of transformer wire in the K&K that needs exercising. That said, I am constantly delighted by my K&K and have owned it for around three years. The last round of upgrades has really made the unit quite special.
The prices (from the K&K site) of the Standard and Premium KITS are 1.3 and 2.4 K$, so it is quite important.

Can any of you tell what sonic differences to expect, what different results you'll have from those to options ?

Of course, it is a great thing to know that later you can take the upgrade path with a fair price.

Regards. T.
I would be very interested in knowing too. anyone?
Doesn't the cost of the maxed out K&K get very close to the cost of the Herron VTPH-2.
The K&K Maxxed-Out standard is like $1500 built and the premium like $2700 built, a few hundred less for each in kit form. I think the VTPH-2 is $3500?
Understand didn't realize there was that much of a difference cost wise. I have never heard the K&K but have read good things about it and I own the Herron. I am very satisfied with it as it is a fantastic sounding unit.

I would very much like someone to point out the sonic differences between the Standard and Premium K and Ks, as the price difference is not small.
While I can't comment directly, as I've always owned the fully "Maxxed-Out" version of the K&K - I will say that every incremental upgrade I've installed over the years has reaped huge dividends on the overall sound - better from top to bottom. That said, Kevin is a fairly modest understated designer, and when he says something is better, it generally means several orders of magnitude better. The difference between the standard kit and the premium maxxed-out version would most likely be in the degree of sonic refinement, via use of higher quality transformers and parts throughout the signal chain - the Cardas caps and Audio Note tantalum resistors alone are a pricey upgrade. Couple that with the Lundahl mains transformer and choke, and you begin to creep up toward the more expensive model in a hurry. As you know, the devil is in the details.

How big is the leap between the two versions sonically? I honestly can't say. If you give Kevin a call, I'm sure he'd be pleased to answer your questions.
I have been using the earlier Phono SE for some years and it has been a fixed part of my system. It's not going anywhere.
This is not only it's undoubted quality and value for money, but the fact it is'nt fixed. Kevin periodically produces these add on upgrades to take advantage of. He will also show how to make changes you want. I added a mono switch a couple of years ago, at minimal cost.
Is it the best phonostage out there, probably not. Is it hard or near impossible to beat at the price, I think it is.
The best phono stage out there is Kevin's new 3 stage, transformer coupled, differential series feed design. ;~) Unfortunately for us, the last I heard the projected retail was $18K. Fortunately for me I snapped up one of the beta versions when they were available. And yes, there has been several upgrades to it in the 2 years I've had it. Every one has been a major improvement. Kevin communicated to me last week a new "twist" on his series feed topology that will take it to a new level. I can't wait as this change also applies to my line stage and the input stage of my mono-blocks. As Kevin says: "No matter how good it sounds, it can always sound better". Amen
John_tracy, you're a lucky man with a beta version of one of Kevin's "all out" creations! I own a beta version of the upcoming Sonus Veritas DAC - so good that I've since sold my dCS Scarlatti transport/DAC/Master Clock. The latest iteration of his analog output stage confers incredibly satisfying body and soul to cd playback while preserving the subtlest of nuances and detail.
18K such a bargin I am sure it sounds great.

I would rather say, "No matter how good it sounds, it can always sound different".
I agree that your cartridge is holding back your system and the Lyra Delos is an excellent choice. I also had a Shelter 501 mk2 and upgraded to a Lyra Argo i. I guarantee that if you first make this change then you will have a whole new perspective on the phono pre upgrade path.
Jb0194, I'm using the circuit in the Sonus DAC's active output to do double duty as a DAC output and a line stage. Two pairs of resistors do the I/V conversion and a pair of relays connects to the passive attenuator and the grids of the 6N6P gain stage. With analog inputs, the relays connect a Lundalh line input trannie. If you are interested, pictures are posted on Dave Davenport's "Gallery". BTW, this new twist that I mentioned will apply to your DAC. As to "different" rather that "better", Kevin has always in talking to me made the distinction between different and better. Whenever he has told me that a change was merely different, that's what it was. When he made the claim that a change was better, to my ears it has been so.
I'm running a Delos through a Herron VTPP2. Great combination. Keith Herron is great to work with. It might be worth checking with him, he may have a refurb available at a better price.