Phono Stage Amp

I have a mid-level to low end turntable. (Music Hall 11.1) and a low end decent Phono Stage Music Fidelity M1. Good tonearm and good cartridge. 

I listen to JAZZ so volume isn't too much of an issue, but sometimes I just want it loud. I have Cary Audio slp-05 tube pre and the Cary Audio mono block main tube amps as drivers

I crank the volume up just past half way and there tends to be distortion. Below half way the sound is incredible. The records sound better than the corresponding CD or, of course, DAC streaming.

Would upgrading my phono-stage to one with greater boost help me? Or is that half (my whole phono system) of my system as good as it could get?  


@mulveling I am doing it all it all except the TT and Tonearm. The Bob's; the E-GLO and a cartridge.

May I ask one last question? Within a $500 range: what cartridge would fit in nicely with those and my 11.1? And so I understand you - why MM or why MC at this point with this whole new solution?

I do appreciate your advice and time spent with me. KARMA Maybe sometime I will somehow with or without you knowing - have helped you or someone you know, out.

@rodman99999 I finally started with your recommendation, I picked up a cheapy cart. It arrives tomorrow. MM. 

That is the fastest and easiest test. And it gives me a spare cart as well, when I am done changing / upgrading.

+1 @mulveling

sort out your phono stage cart mismatch first by either a SUT or stronger phono stage 66-72db. Hopefully this will be enough volume boost to satisfy, otherwise you’ll need more amp power or a more efficient speaker

I scanned other responses and didn't seem to see this idea -- apologize if it's already been mentioned.  But turntables don't like vibrations; they're much more susceptible to vibrations causing distortions than, say, a CD player.  Maybe when you crank up the volume, your speakers are causing enough vibrations that the turntable's tracking is getting compromised.  Just a thought.

Good luck investigating and correcting the problem.

Happy listening,