I have an 834P and a friend has the JC3. Both are great phono preamps; both of us use Lyra cartridges, me an Argo i, he a Kleos. I love the warmth and midrange afforded by tubes and I recently retubed it with the current version Genalex 12ax7s. His system is an all Parasound JC1, JC2, JC3 set up and the tightness of the bass response is exceptional. You can't go wrong with either phono stage, it's simply a matter of what you're trying to achieve sonically.
The GCPH's power supply already has fairly fast recovery diodes, from the factory. It responds very well, to the addition of HI-FI Tuning's Supreme fuse and an upgraded PC. I've always recommended the Zu Mother, but- they have been discontinued, and are nearly impossible to find used(don't know if the 'Event' is as good). Any of Synergistic Research's better PCs will provide an obvious performance gain, over the stock cord. Don't skimp there and you'll be pleasantly surprised. Two tweaks that can easily be reversed, should you decide not to keep the unit.
Another one around those same price points is the Sutherland 20/20. Only prior expereince with phono pre's was the onboard phono stage in a Luxman integrated. Difference and improvement was well worth the investment.
good luck with your choice
Rodman, sounds reasonable. So you don't think that the Westwood upgrade is worth it then? I guess what I am trying to determine is if I should keep my GFP. If I keep the GCPH, would you agree that I do not need it? Does it add something, is there a reason that I should keep it if I decide to keep my GCPH?
Largely; the answer(re: the GFP) would depend on the output of your cartridge. There is only so much gain available(60/66dB), with the GCPH. If you are using a very low output moving coil; there may not be enough voltage, at the GCPH's output, to drive your power amp to satisfying levels. If you already own the power amp that you intend to use: give it a try now.
I am using the GFP in passive mode because it was too noisy in active. I have a Shelter 501 and have the GCPH set at 60dB, so I could even go higher. In passive mode, is the GFP adding anything/is there any reason to keep it? Also, I currently own an A21 amp, which I would like to upgrade one day to a VK-250. I guess I have to try out the GCPH directly hooked up to the amp. As far as the Sutherland goes, I have considered it as well, but the problem is, that if I get rid of my GFP, I will need to find a phono stage with a volume control.
The Shelter has .5mV of output, which may be enough, depending on your need for volume, the efficiency of your speakers, room size, and the levels at which your vinyls are recorded(which vary widely). note: One of the noticeable benefits of the mentioned upgrades, is an increase in dynamics. Happy experimenting! BTW: what cables are you using?
Kimber Hero and a VPI phono cable. Thank you for the advice.
I'm using a Sutherland 20/20 with a Benz Wood SL; it's awesome. Multiple reviews on line concerning the 20/20. I agree with Brian D. Stereophile review. I bought the 20/20 sound unheard and very much wanted a flexible stage which the 20/20 is from my perspective: 5 gain settings from 40db to 64 db & 5 loading setting from 100 to 47.5K ohms making it, significantly more flexible than the JC3. With my Benz Wood SL I have the 20/20 set at 52db and 475 ohms which provides very adequate gain for my system and does sound excellent; dead quiet black background, excellent tonality,staging, imaging, bass and dynamic range. The order of music types I listen to from most to least would be: Jazz; Rock & Blues; Classical. I hope this helps.
Heroes are a nice interconnect. They were the first Kimbers that I tried. The farther up the Kimber line you progress; the more of everything good you will hear from your source. I'm using KS-1030's and a Synergistic Tricon Analog(KS-1130's on my CDP).
Luv . . . . What arm are you using the Benz on ?
I have the original first version Basis Vector arm on my Basis 2001 table.
I just got the Sutherland Hubble. I agree with Luvmusic about the versatility and sound quality of Sutherland products. I was using an internal phono from BAT with the Vk-32se.
I did a little experimenting. I found that without the GFP, the sound was more focused, clearer and sharper than with the GFP plugged in. There was also less noise without the GFP. So, the GFP is out. With these results, why would I want to ever add a preamp to my only phono, 2 channel system? I guess that some add gain, but with less noise? What am I missing here?