Phono preamp evolution

We have seen this for speakers amps even turntables what about phono preamps?
It's not too evolutionary at this point but here it is...

1. Marantz amp's internal phono preamp
2. Mistral phono preamp (which I still own)
3. Audio Research PH5 Phono Preamp

Each separate preamp transformed the system...
I'll bite. When I was 10 or 12, my parents got for my sister and me a set of bookshelf speakers (think they were KEFs) and an all-in-one set-up (you know, receiver with turntable embedded in the top), can't remember who is was made by but the phono stage was in there...

Then within a year we upgraded to "separates" (separate receiver and TT) where the phono stage was a Yamaha receiver (CR-240 if I remember correctly). TT was a Dual, 1225 if I remember correctly. Cheap Ortofon MM cart - couldn't remember if I tried.

Then I got a larger NAD receiver when I went off to college to go with the cheap Yamaha CD player, more expensive Nakamichi cassette deck, and yet another Dual (either a 1228 or 1229?). Same story on the cart though it may have cost me somewhere in the range of $50-70 (mid '80s dollars).

Fast forward 20 years or so and I have just plunged back into vinyl. Phono stage is a ZYX Artisan and I am pleased as punch with it.
Well here you go:

1993 Creek OBH 8 (MM)
1998 Rega Mira (MM phono board in integrated)
2000 Trichord Dino (MM & MC)
2006 Wright WPP200C, Lundahl 9206 step-up, Denon AU300LC step-up

And so that you can correlate this with the different turntables:
Turntable thread


1) Classe CP-60 preamp w/ internal phono.
2) BAT VK-P5 modified by GNSC.
3) BAT VK-P10SE w/ Super-Pak.
4) Jeff Rowland Concentra II w/ internal phono.

1.) grado ph-1
2.) musical surroundings phenomena
3.)dynavector p75
4.)vacuum state jlti
Some of these I bought as upgrades and some were downgrades for cash flow reasons, None of them were bad so take my comments as being relative to the whole body of phono stages and a negative comment not a fatal flaw for those critiqued. I can't remember the exact order but roughly in order:

CJ PV10A preamp with phono (not the last word in resolution but does nothing offensive, very pleasant to listen to, a great bargain, probably just should have stopped here and saved a ton of money but MM only)

Aesthetix IO (seductive but a tiny bit dark and a lot of tubes so expensive to maintain )

Pass AlePhono (a bit analytical but a good bargain, I could live with it)

Camelot Lancelot (similar to the CJ, a great bargain)

CJ Premier 15 (very nice but didn't have enough gain for my .35mV cartridge)

Tom Evans (a bit dry for my tastes but I see why people like them, might be the perfect match for some systems but not mine)

Phonomena with battery supply (OK bargain for $700 new but can't compete with the Camelot and CJ PV10 used at the same price, and smoked by the better units.

Pass Xono (was way over the top for me, like it was picking stuff off the grooves and throwing it in your face. I could see that it would work in systems that are on the dull or slow side but I prefered the older version. )

Lamm LP2 (initially very seductive but compared to what I have now darker and slower and a bit lifeless. It is quiet but the gain is so low I can't imagine how it could be noisy. Probably a good match for an overly bright systems with a high output cartridge. I see why people like it and I would probably still have it except for what I have now.

There were probably a few more, and my present stage which I see as a keeper:

custom built Experience Music stage built to my tastes and to fit my system.

This guy is brilliant.
1. Dayton Wright pro pre
2. bottlehead seduction
3. rogue (utter crap)
4. wright 200ppc with bent audio step up tranny
Since getting back into vinyl in yr 2000:
1. NAD 304 - mm stage in integrated amp
2. Musical Fidelity XLP
3. Modified Dynapas
4. Hagerman Cornet w/ Lundahl sut's
5. K&K Audio w/ Lundahl's & TX102 TVC
(ca 1968) Sony TC230 tape deck phono input (built-in)
(1973) Kenwood receiver phono input (built-in)
(1977) Hafler DH-101 phono input (built-in)
(1984)Tandberg 3002 preamp phono input (built-in)
(ca 1985) Monolithic PSb
(ca 1995) Creek OMB-8
(2006) Vacuum State JLTi
ARC Ref Phono,
Any of you guys (gals) try a Plinius Jarrah? And if so how it compared to some of these others?
Well, when I got back into vinyl a long 3.5 years ago ;-) I was temporarily using the phono stage from my receiver I used in the 80's, (can't remember the name), then I picked up a Dynavector P-75 about 3 years ago and a couple of months ago I switched to a Pass Labs Xono, (what I'm hoping will be my last phono stage). Cheers.

1987 - Proton D-540
1998 - Rogue 66
1999 - Rogue 99
200X - Bottlehead Seduction
2004 - Aesthetix Io Signature
2006 - Shindo Monbrison

I'm sure there were more in there, but I can't remember them.
Mcintosh C 27
Mcintosh C 22
Audio Research ph3
and now:
K&K- the best of the lot
A quick update:

1993 Creek OBH 8 (MM)
1998 Rega Mira (MM phono board in integrated)
2000 Trichord Dino (MM & MC)
2006 Wright WPP200C, Lundahl 9206 step-up, Denon AU300LC step-up
2007 Vacuum State JLTI
2008 Pass XOno (current)
2009 Shindo Monbrison, Cinemag step-up (current)
1) Realistic STA-14 receiver internal phono amp ('71)
2) Pioneer SX-525 receiver internal phono amp ('74)
3) Advent 300 receiver internal phono amp ('79)
4) Adcom GFP-710 preamp internal phono amp ('00)
5) Bel Canto Phono 1 ('03) (still own)
6) ARC PH3-SE ('05)
7) Whest PS.20 ('06)
8) Whest PS.20 MkII factory upgrade ('08)
Primaluna onboard
Parasound zPhono
Pro-ject Tube Box SE
Bottlehead Seduction

The future? Wright PP200c/100?
Damn, this was pretty hard considering my first TT was bought around 40 years ago, but IIRC:
Kenwood receiver internal phono stage
Marantz integrated amp internal phono stage
Harmon Kardon HK630 receiver internal phono stage
NAD 5751(?) receiver internal phono stage
Moth Audio standalone phono stage
CJ PV12 pre-amp internal phono stage
Naim Nait 3 integrated amp internal phono stage
Fisher 400 receiver internal phono stage
Exposure 3010 integrated amp internal phono stage
I think the next one will be a Dyna P-75 MkII
Musical Fidelity 3A internal phono stage
Musical Fidelity MVT internal Phono stage
Audio Innovations Series 200
Audio Innovations P1
Michell Iso HR
White Noise Phono stage
Tom Evans The Groove
Ayre K1xe internal phono stage
Puresound T10/P10
I am posting again due to a discovery that my JLTI phono stage is really an amazing player. My K&K is out of commision therefore I had to resort to using the JLTI, and I am impressed. Will be looking forward to comparing it to the K&K.
Past 5 yrs
1- Mcintosh C2200 w/ MM
2- Sutherland PHD
3- Manley Steelhead
4- The Stunning Mcintosh C2300
5- TronSeven reference Phono Preamp
i must admit that my focus on phono preamp was pretty poor until recently. I started with the phono stepup built into my sansui for years then when i moved to a yamaha i brought a cheap battery powered stepup from radioshack for my mm shure cartridge. Once i purchased my first mc, i recognized i could not use the ratshack stepup and purchased a rotel 970. That lasted several years and i purchased a vandersteen ol1 that i used in combination with the rotel with what i thought was good success until a friend loaned his jolida tube phono. I was very surprised at the impact and started looking for a replacement. I had started using the zyx cartridges and finally picked up the artisan by zyx. I use it with my Airy3s and UNIverse cartridges. Very pleased with the results.
2006 till now Graham Slee Era Gold V + Elevator EXP + two PSU-1 power supplies.

Not the best in the industry of giants and gigantic prices, but definitely a very enjoyable and musical phono stage. I have been very happy with this set up and might go for a Reflex M soon.
I have for the past year or so been trying a few other phono pres and head amps and SUTs (all vintage Japanese units). I have been impressed with some of the low impedance SUTs, and a couple of the head amps. One head amp in particular has shocked me as to how good it is, so much so that I bought a second for parts. I had heretofore never thought about writing a review and I may, so I will leave it nameless until I do decide. However, my eyes continue to be opened...
Benjamin record player w/ integral phono stage
Marantz SR 1000 receiver's phono stage
NAD 7140 receiver's phono stage
Acoustat TNP (internal phono stage)
ARC SP11 Mk II (internal phono stage)
Vendetta SCP2-B (should never have sold)
Jadis JP80 MC (internal phono stage)
Lamm LP2 Deluxe (used primarily; also used my Jadis JP200MC phono stage on low gain recordings)
Unnamed prototype phono stage made by a member of our audio society (and yes, it's good enough to my ears for me to have replaced the Lamm!)
1. Denon AVR-3300 (internal)
2. Rotel RQ-970BX
3. Musical Fidelity XLP-S mk II
4. Wright WPP-100c /w Wright Step-Up Transformer
5. Ayre P-5xe

And...I'm done.
Pro-Ject Phono Box (1)
Dynavector P75 (2)
ASR Mini Basis (3)
Klyne 7PX 2.5 (5)
Shindo Aurieges (4)
JE Labs (6)

where (1) denotes worst and (6) denotes best
ARC Reference Phono
ARC Reference Phono Two