Phono preamplifier onboard or dedicated ?

I am facing an intricate situation and I
sought audiogon's help. This is a long one so please be patient. For better understanding I am giving my present system

Two Channel:
YBA CD-2 cd player -- Siltech SQ-80B G3 RCA Interconnect -- YBA Passion Preamplifier -- NBS Monitor 0 Balanced Interconnect -- YBA Passion 1000 Monoblocks -- NBS Monitor 0 Speaker Cables -- JM Lab Mezzo Utopia Speakers.

Home Theater :
Kenwood DVD player -- coaxial digital -- Krell HTS7.1 Processor -- Siltech SQ80BG3 balanced interconnects -
a) YBA Passion Preamplifier using video by-pass on YBA
b) Krell TAS amplifier --

I am using video by-pass on YBA pre (Siltech SQ80BG3
interconnects : balanced out from Krell HTS 7.1 Processor to balanced in into YBA pre) there by sharing amps and Right/Left speakers with 2 channel music. Center/Rear channels are fed by Krell TAS amplifier.

I am planning to add a TT some time next year. I
have absolutely no experience with analog playback. I recently found that my YBA preamplifier is only line stage (..I didn't even ask when I bought this assuming all good pres have provision for phono input). This was disturbing since YBA passion does come in line + phono version for extra $1000 and ignorantly I bought only line version. Also, YBA passion pre does not has a video by pass, so I requested YBA to make the modification. While they were modifying my unit, I asked them if I can upgrade my pre to line+phono version. They told me it is not possible, you either buy line only (..and live with it for ever) or line+phono and there is no upgrade bridge between them. I requested them if they can exchange my unit and charge me the difference in retail price ($1000). Fortunately, they have agreed to exchange my unit with a demo unit (..with full warranty) they have.

My question is

QUESTION: Which way makes more sense - buy a
dedicated phono preamplifier or getting onboard phono specifically in context of my present system ?
QUESTION: If dedicated phono preamplifier is the way
to go, based on my system please recommend me phono pre s (..below $2500 for used)and how I could connect it in rest of the chain. I would prefer a used phono pre on audiogon.
Any YBA owners using phono preamps please respond.

This is what I am thinking..Pl correct/add to this.
1) YBA unit only has MM and comes with an outboard
(..small size) MC step up transformer. I don't know the gain specifications and don't know if it is
selectable (..probably not but I would check with
YBA) but I assume gain matching would be no issue with all-YBA choice and ground potential difference (..relating to hum) problems would probably be less of an issue. I don't know yet what brand/model cartridges I will use ( would be MC for sure), but I am planning to get either VPI TNT V with JMW 12.5 arm or SME 20/2 with SMEV (..or Graham 2.2 )arm. As I said I have no experience with both of the TTs and I am favoring them based on positive comments on
audiogon and other magazines. Also, given my TT choice , any way I would again turn to audiogon for cartridge advice.
2) Complexity. I am already having Krell HTS routed
thro' YBA pre, having another dedicated phono preamplifier (..also routed thro YBA pre), getting another interconnect (..more money), making another shelf available for phono pre, risking system matching etc..
3) Today YBA is agreeing for this exchange. Tomorrow
never (..take it or loose it) !!
4) All my gear is Solid State. I was wandering if
adding a dedicated phono TUBE preamplifier would put me in best of both worlds and musically more
satisfying. Is mixing TUBE equipment with SS equipment a good idea?

I have been reading comments on audiogon and I know
anolog gurus on audiogon (..TWL,Where are you!) are very knowledgeable. And if all this is a "Same old question" kind of repetition, kindly point me to a resource. Thank you guys for your time.

I've had the very good fortune of using a Supratek Syrah preamp for the last couple of weeks and will be sad to see it leave my house. This unit is so nice it really is hard to believe it's available at the price point of $2400 plus shipping from Austrailia. Without a doubt I would recommend selling your preamp and buying this unit to accomodate all your needs. Maybe someone will chime in with the thread head but there is a thread here kind of entitled "best preamp deal of century" or such. It has 600 posts. IMHO, and with a very straight face, if I owned this unit I would keep it forever. Things just don't get much better, if at all. Honestly, this preamp when used in conjunction with my gear which is all solid state was like such a big improvement it was scary. The website is You can thank me later.
Do you have records?
Thanks Lugnut, but I am not at all considering to replace my YBA. I sought suggestions given that I keep my present setup as it is.
Psychicanimal, I am on a look out. Any suggestions where to look? My immediate concern though is to decide if I should upgrade my YBA "Line stage only" to YBA "Line stage plus Phono stage".
Kindly keep the scope of discussion with in the frame work of my present system and my present concern. Again my questions Precisely are..
QUESTION: Which way makes more sense - buy a
dedicated phono preamplifier or getting onboard phono on my YBA (..specifically without changing anything in my present system) ?
QUESTION: If dedicated phono preamplifier is the way
to go, based on my system please recommend me phono pre s (..below $2500 for used)
If you're happy with your present system and only want to add a phono preamp, then it's a no-brainer. Exchange the YBA for a YBA w/ phono. It only gets complicated if you're unhappy with your present system.
After listening several times to my infamous 'creature on steroids', Lak decided to go into analog. I told him he should first look around used record stores in Toledo and record shows and find out if the music he liked was available and in good condition. If the answer is yes, then it was a good move. Getting into analog pursuing 'analog sound' instead of the music is a sure ticket to wasted money. I have something like 800 records vs 300 CDs, so playing a lot of vinyl is my thing (that's one reason why I have a modded 1200)

If you have a really good pre and that pre has a really good phono stage as an option, you will save on power cords, interconnects, separate filtration, cones, footers, rack space. I am a freak on a budget, so I have a Monolithic Sound phono stage w/ dual mono outboard power suppy and a Channel Islands DAC (optional power supply coming soon). Pre amp is Channel Islands passive and cabling is Ridge Street Audio MSE. This is an extra expense but It gives my system a higher degree of flexibility and tuning options. It does create a nightmare at a time when I came from Home Depot last night buying $77's worth of brackets and three wheelbarrow inner tubes to support my massive Clear Image T4 filters. I am using *five* IKEA Lack tables as wall shelves and they're 43" wide!

Since the source is what's most critical, you can start with a decent TT and a used phono stage that could be sold later (for pretty much what you paid for). You could then have your main preamp rigged with the inboard power supply if you so desire without committing from the beginning. Win-win situation as I see it.
If you use an outboard phono pre-preamp then you'll have to use an interconnect from tonearm to phono pre-preamp, and then another interconnect from phono pre-preamp to your current line stage. More wires to buy, more stuff in the signal path. Contrast this multiple interconnect scheme above to simply plugging your tonearm interconnect into your full function preamp (line stage plus integrated phono section). Simplicity isn't a bad thing at all.

On the other hand, using an outboard phono pre-preamp allows you to tweak over time; try different outboard phono stages AND different interconnects to dial in the sound to your taste.

In my case consensus is that although BAT makes a phono module for my preamp many feel it's "average", as such I'm better off with a quality external phono pre-preamp. I don't know much about YBA's phono stage, I have no idea how it stacks up against well regarded external stages in the $1000 price range. Like anything else it's a trade-off and you have to decide what's best for you. If I were you I'd pick up a used Lehmann Black Cube (~$500) and try it out before I spent $1000 on a YBA phonostage that may be "average".
From my experience, when talking about the quality of analog setup your interested in, versatility (gain and resistive loading adjustments) should be a key consideration in your phono section. At some point, you will end up replacing the original cartridge you buy due to wear, something you don't due with the rest of your system. Versatility protects against limiting your replacements.

Typically, a moving coil cartridge can be assumed with the equipment you mention. MC cartridge outputs may range from 100uV to 1mV or so. Phono sections with gains in the 50 db range will not be sufficient for cartridges with a few hundred microvolts of output.

Resistive cartridge loading for MCs can vary from less than 10 ohms to 47k ohms. The usual process for adjusting loading is starting at 10 times the resistance of the cartridge and go lower from there. Most moving coil resistances I believe are less than 10 ohms. Benz Micro throws a wrinkle into this with their Ruby cartridges which are 50 ohms or more. The more steps in these ranges, the better chance of fine tuning the cartridge to the phono section.

It is amazing how many phono sections are limited in their ability to adjust throughout these ranges, even in the several thousand dollar range. This is one of the reasons I chose the Pass Xono (~$2500 used).

I have no experience with step-up transformers and their ability to address these issues. I recommend talking to a good YBA dealer and asking how well their preamp and transformer can accomodate these demands. Listening to a YBA analog setup would be ideal, but not always possible in todays analog limited dealer demos. If it is flexible enough, the sound is what matters, trust your ears.

I wouldn't concern myself with adding additional cables. A good phono section in the price range you mention will more than make up for any signal degradation. I also agree with Jeffloistarca, that you can then tailor the sound with cables.

I have solid state phono, pre & amp. I intend to add tubes by replacing the preamp. I like the sound they have with my equipment. I believe this is the most sensible place to add tubes if you are looking for that sound. If you add it to the phono, remember, it's more difficult and expensive to build a quiet, high gain tube phono section.

You didn't ask, but when it comes to cartridges, re-tipping fees can be expensive. The price varies considerably between manufacturers. You can splurge once and pay a modest re-tipping fee when it wears out, or buy a new cartridge every time. What they do during a re-tip may vary also. Some may give you a new cartridge when you return your old one, others may only rebuild parts.

Relax and have a homebrew!
Thank you all for the information/reccommendations and suggestions.