Phono Preamp price range $2000-$4000

I want to buy new Phono preamp for Shelter 9000 cart, the sound i want very neutral and high resolution and balanced, also synergic with Krell gear.

JC3 have good reviews but some complaint its noisy, Sutherland Duo look very promising but no reviews, Pass lab XP-15 sound good choice.

I appreciate any comments or thoughts about these models particularly Duo. Also some suggestion for other phonos, most reliable and popular, also sonically impressive.


Thank you.
A pair of the Liberty B2B-1 will fit within your budget Liberty Audio

Read reviews here Stereophile Please check out JA's measurements by clicking at the tab at the end of the review

Theres another one here Positive Feedback Online

And theres another one here Audiogon

Also please do not forget to read the review of our larger offering, the Olympia PXi in this months issue of Stereophile.

From its maker :-)

Good Listening

I'd take a look at the Manley Chinook. Sounded great in comparison to my Musical Fidelity kW, which I still ended up preferring, but more a matter of flavors than better/worse.
I would get an Ayre P-5xe
Check out the Rogue Audio Ares with Blue Cinemag 1254 SUTs instead of stock Red 3340s.
Look into the NVO-SPA-One, I've been listening to this unit for a while now and love it. Jeff Day found it one of the best he has heard as well, take a look thru his Blog. I've heard they have come out with an SPA-One SE.
Make sure whatever Phono preamp you get matches up correctly with your Shelter 9000 cartridge. Below is the pertinent information you need per Vinyl Engine.

Output Impedance 11
Load Impedance 10 - 30
Recommended load is 100 ohms when using MC head amp.
You might consider a Nagra BPS ~2500 use or a Allnic H1201 ~2950 use
My JC3 is uber quiet FWIW, lots of other excellent suggestions in here but I wouldn't rule the JC3 out based on noise.
I'd look for an Allnic H1201 as Jfrech mentioned, or possibly a used Klyne 7PX5.
The higher gain version of the Artemis Labs tube phonostage is worth looking into. I have not heard the Zesto Andros, but, it certainly looks good and has received a lot of praise.
I want to buy new Phono preamp for Shelter 9000 cart, the sound i want very neutral and high resolution and balanced, also synergic with Krell gear.
One thing that should be indicated is the input impedance of the Krell (or other?) preamp you will be using. Or at least the model number of the particular preamp.

Some Krell preamps have very high input impedances, which would not be an issue. But some are spec'd as low as 10K, which would not be a good match with some tube phono stages, quite possibly including some of those which have been mentioned above.

Also, am I correct in assuming that the word "balanced" in your post refers to sound quality, and not to a requirement for a balanced XLR interface?

Finally, although I haven't heard it I've seen a great deal of extremely favorable commentary from others whose opinions I particularly respect about the Herron VTPH-2, at $3650 new. It would not be suitable, though, if the preamp's input impedance is significantly less than 25K, or if a balanced interface is required.

-- Al
Another vote for the Ayre P-5xe.
Although I may go for a Manley Chinook down the road (in addition to the Ayre).
I bought an Ayre P5-xe and highly recommend it.
You should go to the trouble to get a balanced phono cable if you can run it balanced in your system.
I highly recommend the BMC MCCI.
Music Direct has the all tube Fosgate on closeout if you don't mind a discontinued model. You will still get support from the distributor if something happens-Musical Surroundings.

$2500 retail now 1999. Its the 2nd revision which is what I purchased a year ago. I had to negotiate getting it for 2k.

Its very nice out of the box, but you can play with the tubes to tailor it to you ears. The 500 you save can be used for nos tubes and maybe a power cord.

Easily competes with all players in it's price point and maybe beyond?
I second the Herron VTPH-2. Flies under the radar but is beloved by those who own them. Built like a tank, innovative design, spectacular sound, superior product support. Best of luck in your search.
In that price range, in my studied opinion, the Herron VTPH-2 is hands-down the very best available. I think it's one of the very best available at ANY price, but at less than $4,000, it rules.
Re; Herron VTPH-2 input impedance. Not an issue as it is easily user-adjustable. Loading for MC and MM cartridges is handled externally in a simple manner.
Bpoletti, thanks for your comments. And yes, the VTPH-2 is very flexible when it comes to cartridge loading. Note, however, that my earlier mention of input impedance referred to the input impedance of the preamp (or integrated amp), i.e., the line stage, that would be driven by the output of the VTPH-2.

-- Al
Almarg - That's a good question for Keith Herron. he is in the best position to report the phono stage's capabilities.
Thank you all very much for reply, your recommendation truly very helpful.
Most are tubes, any suggestion for solid state, a very high end?
I have to tell you, the Linn Linto is damn good. It has fixed
loading and I'm not sure if it will work with the Shelter, but
if it does, you might want to check it out.
Are you looking for a specific hardware set-up or the best performance?
Anyone have thoughts on the Whest Audio PS.30RDT or Pass Labs XP-15? Both are just under the $4000 threshold.
I had a Whest PS.30 before the Herron. I preferred the Herron for a variety of reasons.
Solid state? Look into something by Avid, or a Musical Fidelity kW if you can track one of those down.
I agree with Chayro that the Linn Linto is a very good solid state unit. I find it lively and engaging in a way that is not that common with a lot of solid state gear. The loading is fixed at a value that works well with a lot of different cartridges, so I would not be that particularly concerned about that aspect of the design. However, if one does have a cartridge that sounds excessively sibilant and bright, and if one hopes to tame this behavior by additional loading (meaning a LOWER value of resistance in parallel) perhaps something else should be selected.

I like the top end Naim phonostage for solid state as well. This is also a lively sounding unit. My only concern with the Naim is that a friend of mine had problems with static buildup somewhere in the analogue front end that would cause an occasional loud pop; for some reason this only happened when using the Naim phonostage and it required rebooting the Naim stage which would shut down from the pop (grounding the turntable bearing and arm did not cure this problem).
Thank you all for suggestions, i will look to those units very well. Small concern, are most people buy tubes or solid state phono ?

And any opinion for Conrad Johnson TEA2 ?
Tubes in well designed phono stage will last for a LONG time. I've had the same tubes in my Herron VTPH-1 for 15 years.

SS or tubes? Most people buy what sounds good to them.
Tubes v. solid state will come down to personal preference and system synergy.

Especially with LOMC carts, you will want to be attentive to a tube phono stage's noise floor. But many tube phonos are nice and quiet (the Chinook for example). I agree that for a phono stage tube life will not be a real concern, due to the signal sizes involved.

Most of the solid stage vs. tube trade-offs apply for phono stages. But there is also the caveat that some tube gear can sound quite similar to solid state and vice versa.

Happy hunting.
It's ALL about the sound. All these side discussions are meaningless. Top quality phono stages overcome most of the weaknesses noted here.

Stick with a top brand and listen for yourself. All the opinions here don't mean anything. It's how a unit performs in YOUR system with YOUR cartridge and YOUR preamp that counts.
I played a Shelter 9000 through a K&K Audio phono pre ( the first complete kit sold BTW) that had been fully upgraded to Maxed Out status. A very good sounding combination, although you would need custom load resistors ( I chose resistors that would present 37R, 39R and 42R load to the cart.). The new Maxed Out with the shunt regulated power supply is even better. I added shunt reg. to the above phono pre that now belongs to a friend and the difference is dramatic. Kevin could build you a Maxed Out with in your price range, as long as you don't opt for the silver input transformers ;~)
Great! I guess i have enough information for choosing phono. Thanks.
I can't imagine a better phono pre in that price range than the Zesto Andros 1.2.... I'm sure it could be had around 4K if you shop around.....
Many improvements over the prior model, which already had won every review award there is.....
Manley Chinook. Quiet, dynamic, flexible, tubes.
A used Klyne 7PX3 Phono Preamplifier just sold on Audiogon. If you were the buyer you were lucky. It was a great deal at less than $2,000. if not maybe you will get to buy the next one.
My JC-3 and JC-2 combination sounds superb and is quiet.

09-22-14: Jperry
A used Klyne 7PX3 Phono Preamplifier just sold on Audiogon. If you were the buyer you were lucky. It was a great deal at less than $2,000. if not maybe you will get to buy the next one.

That was a great deal! No wonder it sold in 11 hours. It probably wouldn't have lasted that long except for the fact that it was posted at 11:08 PM.

Damn!! Now I have to stay up all night long checking the market??? LOL!
NVO SPA ONE and SPA ONE Special Edition are great for both MM and LOMC cartridges
Here's my DUO review:

Happy listening!
I have to give a vote for the Herron VTPH-2. I purchased mine from an authorized dealer. He gave me a good price with full warranty on a piece he took to an audio show. I've used it with my Transrotor Fat Bob s with an SME 309 arm and Benz Micro Ruby 3, then a Graham Phantom Supreme II with a Benz Micro LPs. The sound has been very enjoyable, smooth and detailed both at once. The dealer who I purchased my YG Acoustics Carmel speakers from was so impressed, he became a Herron dealer.