Phono Stage Question

I'm in need of a phonostage for my Clearaudio Champion table. I'm looking at the Phonomena and the PS Audio GCPH. Are these considered decent units or is there something else I should be looking at? I don't want to have to upgrade for quite a while and want to get something decent. I'll be upgrading the cartridge long before I consider upgrading the phonostage. Any comments or other suggestions?
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.
More important, what is your cartridge? What is your budget?

The gain in the phono stage should match your cartridge for best results. If your cartridge is a moving magnet, and you will be upgrading to moving magnet, this is not an issue.
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?
Have a look at the Trichord Dino and the Mark Evans The Groove...

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.

Good luck!
I have had both the EAR 834 and the GCPH. I prefer the EAR over the GCPH. But, I now have an Eastern Electric Minimax and imho is a much better sounding phono than the ear or gcph.
No reviews on web yet but I have heard Simaudio LP5.3 is good.
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.
Which Benz Ace?

If the gain of the phono stage is too low, you will have to turn up the pre-amp, resulting in more noise.
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.

MiniMax Phono
You should be able to pick up a used MiniMax Phono in the price range which you are considering.
The cartridge is the Red one. It was recommended to me by Blackbird Audio in San Diego for my Champion Level II. Are any of the phonostages discussed here low gain models which would require me to crank the preamp with this cartridge?
Okay, the Red one is the Low Output - 0.4mV. The Phono stage should have a gain of 58dB +- a couple of dB for best results.

There are a bunch of good phono stages under $1000 that are useable, including the Trigon's, Musical Fidelity, Sutherland, PS Audio, etc.
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.