If you don't want to upgrade for awhile I highly recommend the EAR 834P phono stage. This fine component is worthy of much higher level systems and is one of the best values in audio. I have two of them, one for a tube system and the other for a solid state system.
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There are alot to choose from even in that price range. The EAR is very nice but twice the price of what you're considering. What is your budget? What is your taste in sound? What is the rest of your system? Are you wanting to buy new or are you willing to buy used? Do you want the capability of playing lower output MCs or are you happy to narrow your options to outputs higher than 1 mv?
Although I do not own it, I would seriously consider The Juicy Music Tercel. I had Mark's Blueberry Extreme preamp for a 14 day audition and I was impressed. The BB Extreme has the Tercel as it's phonostage. It has a smooth yet detailed sound that I would liken to a refined 1970's vintage Marantz/Kenwood receiver sound. Very nice, IMHO, and Mark Deneen is a super guy to talk too and deal with.
Thanks guys for the suggestions. My table will be here in about a week. I'm starting out with a Benz Ace cartridge. I'm using Von Schweikert VR4jr speakers powered with a Pass 250.5 amp and a Simaudio P5-LE preamp. I'm hearing some good things about the Heed Audio Quasar. The EAR 834 seems to be popular too. I'm looking to spend around 1K on the phonostage, new or used. I'm looking forward to listening to my old Gentle Giant albums again.
I concur with what you heard about the Heed Audio Quasar. I have a friend that runs Blackbird Audio and he uses it with his Basis Turntable. Hands down the best SS unit I have Heard under 2500.00. At CES the distributor used it with his ref. table and cartridge becuase the VIVA unit didn't show up. I hear it held up very nicely.
I heard that room at CES and the Heed is a great value. At your 1k point there are alot of contenders. Michael Yee has just come out with a battery operated phono for Musical Surroundings at 1k just as Ron Sutherland has. Michael's compares very well to the $2800 model but without the frills. ASR also has one at that price, not battery powered. Audio Electronics has their PH-1 DJH for $900. EAR has an mm version of the 834P Black for 1k. I think you'd have to compare them side by side to get a proper take on them though.
MiniMax Phono and Clearaudio Champion is what I'm using.
More correctly, the Clearaudio Champion + Clearaudio Syncro
(speed controller) + Origin Live Silver Mk2 + ZYX R100 Yatra
and the Eastern Electric MiniMax Phono.
You should be able to pick up a used MiniMax Phono in the price range which you are considering.
Depending on other considerations such as preamp gain, preamp noise, phono stage noise, amplifier gain, speaker sensitivity and listening volume preferences, you might get away with 45 to 50db of phono stage gain. A typical mm phono stage gain would be 40 to 45db give or take so you'll be riding the edge with many and you'll want to check the specs, both gain and noise.