Phono stage and preamplifier opinions....

I am looking for some advice on phono sections. I currently have a Forte Model 40 preamplifier that does not have the phono stage. I am using my old preamp (Hafler DH-110) as a phono stage for the time being. I don't have much money to invest (around the $100-$200 range) but would like to eliminate the cumbersome problem of having a full preamp acting as a phono stage. My TT is a Music Hall MMF 2 with a benz micro mc20e2.

I know there are many decent phono pre's I can get for that amount, but I am wondering if I would be better off selling the Forte and getting a different pre that has a phono section, or to just go for one of the low-end outboard phono sections (music hall, sumiko, parasound, creek...). Meaning, is the onboard phon section of a preamp that is in the range of my Forte Model 40 going to be a lot better than the low end of outboard phono pres.... I'd love to just magically come across some phono cards for the forte, but that seems unlikely.... Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
Depends on how much you enjoy your phono section, you should be able to find youself sale/keep the Forte. As for me, I would much rather go with ALL IN ONE unit. You should also consider about usage of MM and MC. If you don't use MC then just get a unit with MM. If you do use low output MC in the future, you should then consider getting a stepup with MM phono stage or get a really nice MM/MC phono section (usually not cheap)
IMO it is always best to go seperates when possible. You could buy a Hagerman Phonostage and just add it to the Forte if that does everything right for you.

I have a slew of items I need and want and there are several cost effective Phono Satges you could get.

Musical Surroundings

All those manfs. make good stuff. I would go seperates and with something like a Hagermann you can hide it.
And now for something entirely different. If you look around you might score an old krell pam3 at a resonable price. This unit is dual mono design and has a lovely phono stage. This would be one cheap way to get a very flexable phono stage that can even handle a AT oc-9 low output. Just a thought. Also check out the Coda pre on here for 630US. This should be excellent. Good luck.
You could also look for an old Counterpoint preamp. They were great in their day. (I used to have a 3.1). They were a full function preamps, with built-in phono boards. Very musical. They usually run only a few hundred dollars now.

The only caveat is that they are no longer made. (Hence the low price.) However, one of the original owners does offer repair and refitting of their entire line.

Just a thought.
Another addition to the affordable preamps w/ good phone stages would be an audible illusions 2d. It's a tubed unit w/ a very good (MM/high output MC) phono stage. I like mine very much. They can be had for about 400$.
Get an Adcom GTP 400 preamp with mm phono stage - 125-150 used and you can use its excellent tuner section as a bonus - run it through its tape output. If you need MC later you can buy the Ortofon moving coil T-5 step up transformers for very cheap.
you are better off buying a used pre with a built in phono.

the power supply is much beefier on the pre's. if you wish you can pu a line stage later and use the phono via hot rod.

counterpoint ( nice phono but questionable reliability history)

audible IID or III ( $400 or $650-$700)- well rounded

ARC SP-9 MkII ( $650 - $700)- more resolution than the either ai. can sound a little cold depending on the series.

BAT 3ki ( depends on configuration. you can add a phono, some come with remote. also upgradeable. this may be the $$$ of the bunch(depends on options) - however it is the newest, highest resolution and musicality in both line and phono. bat service is immpecible. you have alot of options and a upgrade path if you wish.

hope that helps,

I recently tried the Trichord Dino, Graham Slee ELevator & McIntosh 2200 phono, Debut SE and the NAD phono stage and the NAD sounded as good as any of them for around $100
Thanks for all the input on this. I think the power supply thing is the biggest problem i was seeing with using an outboard unit. I think i might keep my eyes open for something that would compare with the Forte 40, but for the mean time, will be picking up something cheap so that I don't have to deal with having this Hafler lying around. Probably will go for the Hagerman; or my local shop just got a Parasound pph-100 in used which seems nice and cheap, I'll go listen to that this week and see how it works out.