Phono Stage Recommendation $3000


Hi Guys
Want to upgrade my Phono Stage. 
Currentky I have 2 TTs, a Project Debut Carbon with a Denon DL 103R paired to a Project Tube Box DS. My second TT is a Clearaudio Preformence DC with a Dynavector Karat D17 paired to an Avid Pellar. Rest of my equipment is B&W 800d, Classe CTM 600, Ayre KX-R. As most of my system I would like a tube phono if possible and 2 Inputs if at all doable. 
srafi
Hello,

I like tubes but for $3k you should try the Parasound JC3+ .  It is the considered by many to be the class of the field in that price range.  I have heard many and tried several in my system and really like my JC3+.

It is both full and detailed with no harshness assuming the cart/wires are not harsh.

Good Hunting,
Robert
I will put a word in for the Ayre P-5xe.  Super quiet, great resolution.  I just adore it.
Look for a used C-J phone stage right here on the Gon!  You will not be disappointed with their sound quality.  But remember, gain and loading settings are very important.  Ask for recommendations and experiment.
I agree, I would look at the  Parasound JC3+. I listened to a lot of phono stages over the summer. I thought at it's price it was the best one one.
If you like tubes, Allnic Audio H-1201 is in your price range.
I would consider the Luxman E-250 a little under your price but is highly adjustable to your cart of choice. Also has a mono switch and a cart de-magnitizer. 
Top 5 that keep popping up are chinook, jc3+, h-1201, herron and zesto 1.2. Chhinook is cheapest and others are under 3 in used market. 
Listened to a jc3+ and found it noisy. Didn't impress YMMV
Go for a Herron Audio VTPH-2A.  I have heard nothing better at any price, nothing equaling it anywhere near it's price. 
If you have tubes in your front end, Pass Labs XP15 phonostage sounds great, and has been replaced by the XP17, so there are some floating around at very good deals.  Mark at Reno HiFi is the best, and he's a true gentleman.

The only thing I think you will be giving up is a second input, but you will be getting unbelievable sound, with a noise floor that is SILENT.  And, the unit has nearly limitless adjustment settings for load, etc.

Pass XP15 is built like a battleship but IMO it's a bit sterile sounding. Maybe with tubes in your front end this will not be an issue.
The EAR is nice but only one input. I doubt you will find a phono preamp with more than one input. 
https://www.needledoctor.com/EAR-834P-Phono-Preamp
I hav3 an all tube system except for my phono stage. It’s been mentioned again and again but the Parasound JC3+ does it all for my all tube system. The genius of John Curl.
rsf507,

You said, "Listened to a jc3+ and found it noisy. Didn't impress YMMV" .

I believe I have said this before, but if you heard a noisy JC3+, it or something else in the system was defective. They are not noisy.

One might think you have an interest in berating the JC3+ .

Y'all be cool,
Robert
I have a Dynavector 17D3 and found a step up transformer made a big difference with a Rogue Stealth Magnum and my new BAT phono stage. I do highly recommend the BAT. I am using an old Denon SUT so it could be better. Good luck in your hunt. 
I concur with what Liamowen posted. I purchased a Pass Labs XP-15 from Mark at Reno HIFI. Great experience. You can have an XP-15 for less than $3k and have a few hundred left over for vinyl. 

@rsf507 mentions a sterile sound. I’m using a Rogue Cronus Magnum for line and amp (tube) and it’s sounding pretty sweet. 

Note of caution, you may find yourself tweaking gain and or loading for quite some time after purchase especially with an MC. I just put a Lyra Delos on my TT and saw recommendations for 100 ohm loading. After speaking directly with someone at Pass Labs, he ran a similar setup at loading anywhere from 250-330 and he said the dynamics come alive and he couldn’t be more right. He suggested 66 gain however I have 99 dB speakers so I prefer 56 gain. 

Good luck on your search and please do revert back with any questions. 
Had the Parasound JC3, Manley Chinook and the Allnic 1201 all at the same time and in my system the 1201 Allnic was on a higher level. Had the Herron on loan for a night and really liked it but could not compare with the Allnic at the time because the owner of the Herron had it but will revisit later.
Thanks everybody for your responses. 
Looks like I will get the JC3. Seems to be the most recommended even though it does not have tubes. My front end is all SS no tube component at all. 
JC3 is a great phono preamp.   But take a look at this one too 

http://www.libertyaudio.com/products/b2b-1-all-fet-phono-preamp

From its maker

Good Listening


Peter
You will hardly find anyone here with a serious rig who has solid state phono stage. Go with tubes, just make sure it is electrically matched with your preamp. I don't know what's available with two inputs within your price range, including used. But if you decide on solid state, check Sutherland 20/20 for $2400 new. But one input, I think. You never see Sutherland phono used. Why is that ? They sell enough.
"You will hardly find anyone here with a serious rig who has solid state phono stage"

The most absurd statement ever made,  the inherent noise from tubes excludes these form being taken seriously in ANY phono stage :-) :-)

Above statement equally absurd - I hope you get the point :-)

Good Listening

Peter


You will hardly find anyone here with a serious rig who has solid state phono stage.


That has to be for provocation because it's such a dumb thing to say...
Manley Chinook will fit the bill!
https://www.upscaleaudio.com/collections/phonostages/products/manley-labs-chinook-special-edition-up...
check this out:
http://www.goldnote.it/ph-10#description

it has 2 inputs, various loading options, and different eq curves and all within your price range
@inna 

Mares Connoisseur?
Constellation?
Boulder?
Vendetta SCP2A?
Tom Evans Groove?
Whest?
...

Not to fuel the tube/SS argument, but Inna did not say solid state preamps aren't good.  He said that that the people HERE with serious systems rarely have a SS phono stage.  I think the implication is that tube preamps are superior, but that's another issue.  Anyway... 
Post removed 
@inna what's a 'serious rig'? 
Rather than limiting your range of choices by looking for a phono stage providing two LOMC inputs, you might consider choosing a phono stage providing one LOMC input and one MM input, and using the MM input in conjunction with a SUT.

The combination of a Herron VTPH-2 and a Bob’s Devices SUT would provide that functionality, with a rear panel switch allowing you to select the desired input. Although if purchased new the two items would total about 60% more than your budget.

Good luck. Regards,
-- Al

If going used you can pick up two world class phono stages here - under budget too :-)

https://www.audiogon.com/listings/phono-best-in-class-2017-12-02-preamplifiers

Good Listening


Peter
What Almarg said.  I do it with a fidelity research SUT that has three inputs of its own. I plug it into the MM stage so in total I have four inputs. And my vote is for the Herron. I highly doubt that in ahead to head competition the Parasound would equal the Herron. 
Srafi,
i also recommend the Herron . In my system it is absolutely a music making machine. I have a complete Herron system. Preamp, mono amps and phono stage. Over the years I have had other systems but nothing that is as musical as the Herrons.
 Plus, Keith Herron is a great person to deal with. Try it.
Carter
Yes, also FM Acoustics, Gryphon, CH, Nagra.
infection, your name speaks for itself.
lohanimal you said:
check this out:
http://www.goldnote.it/ph-10#description
it has 2 inputs, various loading options, and different eq curves and all within your price range

A quick search found lots of great reviews have you heard one yet?
I’ll give a shout out for the Ayre P5xe as well since I’ve been thoroughly enjoying the dead quiet silence.  How about a used Asthestix Rhea, if you can find one? It sounded amazing last time I heard one and it’s tube. Plus, you can connect both your tables since it supports two inputs. 
@rsf507 
Sadly note my friend - I was thinking of getting one due to the various 'options'.
The guys at TNT tend to give very honest reviews and I have found them quite accurate and informative.
infection, your name speaks for itself.


So I'm the only one to deprecate your statement...???
And I certainly can't criticise someone with such a high post count...how dare I.
 I heard the Herron and an aesthetics Rea signature side-by-side and the herron Was significantly better. 
Thanks again guys. Now I am torn between the the Herron and the JC3. 
I am not based in the US so for me its one or the other. Have to decide and order. Parasound has a dealer local to me while for the Herron I would have to arrange on my own. The Herron and the SUT option sounds very good. Could get just the Herron for now and use my Clearaudio MM cart with it until next year and then get the SUT. 
If I can arrange I may go with the Herron. 
Again thanks a lot for the input and advice. 
I also suggest the Herron VTPH-2.  I have NOS Telefunkens in mine and it sounds wonderful. Plus Keith will let you try it in your system for 30 days only had to pay shipping if I decided to return it; obviously I didn't.

Chuck 
Consider older Sutherland Engineering units. Some of them are even battery powered.
Hi -

Everything is so system dependent but please read my preamp shootout.  After 40 years of listening and a lot of gear passing through my system I would strongly recommend going the used route for either a CAT SL-1 (either an ultimate, which I picked up for $3k or a signature MKll which I sold for $2k).  Use in hot-rod mode (only using phono) unless you also like the sound of the line stage.  Replace two phono 6dj8 tubes with Amperex 6922 pq white label tubes.  Simply one of the best sounding phono sections ever in my system (along with  coincident phono with 5751 sylvania tubes but $4k used) The break-point for needing a SUT is around .4mv output. I primarily listen to a Benz micro LP-S or a Monster Alpha 2 cartridge through an EAR MC-4 SUT.  However, I also have a clearaudio maestro and it sounds good going straight into the CAT, The Maestro is not equal to the Benz or the Monster in my kit, but it is pretty darn musical.  Once again, Please read the preamp shootout and good luck.
I had a ModWright phono pre that I used with a DL 103R.  They mated well.

 Wished I still had it.
Also consider an EAR 324 MM/MC phono preamp.  Retail is around $6k but there is a used one available on Audiogon now for sale within your budget.  Very versatile and though a solid state phono preamp, it doesn't sound solid state.  After speaking with the USA EAR distributor, there is not much different sound in the 324 solid state vs 868 tube phono stage they make.  I would prefer the EAR over Herron and the Parasound personally.  If I were in the market for a phono stage, it would either be the EAR 324 or a Zesto Andros.   I had the Zesto before and sold it for the EAR 324 which I currently own (though I will also be putting it up for sale as I recently sold my turntable).   Best of luck!
I'm happy with my Benz Lukaschek PP-1 TT9.

Sounds like you want something higher end, and tube, though.

Just thought I would chime in for lower budget suggestions.
Tavish Adagio
read the reviews 
I would very highly recommend the Perreaux Audiant VP3 Phono Stage of which I bought a brand new one back in Oct of 2016. I did compare it to the Parasound JC3 and to me the Perreaux was better in every way, plus it cost less and made in New Zealand. It was for my new Pro-Ject RPM 10 Carbon Turntable and oh man what a turntable it is. I compared my RPM 10 against the vpi prime and liked the Pro-Ject better. You can't go wrong with the Perreaux phono Stage. All the best.
I would recommend the Avid Pulsus. You could save about $1200.00 as well.
Hi,
I've tried several phono stages. Including Pass, Audio Research.
I finally found one that I will never give up.
Quicksilver Audio phono stage.
Lush, Gorgeous, satisfying sound, IMHO.
Came with 3 nos 12ax7.
Sounded great stock, but even better when I rolled in 3 Telefunken smooth plates.
$1595 new.
I have no affiliation with the company, but have owned several Quicksilver tube amps, and now the stand alone phono stage.
Mike Sanders is a great designer, with a great ear for reproducing music.
Again, just my opinion.
Mg16
Audio Research ph-6 with bugle boys tubes - around $2000 used