Phonostage for Rega P10


Purchased a Rega P10 and now I'm thinking of upgrading my Rogue Audio Ares phono preamp to the Allnic H-1202.
My understanding regarding the Rega is that its performance is so good, a top shelf phono preamp would serve it well, not that the Rogue is inadequate but I don't have a lot of experience with phono preamps as I've owned only 2 in my life.
Thanks for your feedback.
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Since you like tube, I would have one of these on my radar.https://www.audioasylumtrader.com/ca/listing/Phono-Preamp/NVRead%20the%20%20https://wallofsound.ca/a...

It was "flavor of the month" in the forums years ago.

Based on reviews, the Ares is a nice unit. I demoed the 1201 years ago, great phonostage.
I'd 2nd the NVO. Been using one myself and it's a keeper. Listening to it as I type.
Thanks for the suggestion. Looks like an interesting, great sounding unit. 
I did locate an Allnic 1202 for $2200 with the NVO being double that or nearly.

Seems like there's so many great phono stages out there it's difficult to discern a good compliment for the Rega. I've thought about the Pass as well but my budget was compromised with the cost of the TT!
Moving to another tubed stage in a similar price point may be a lateral move. Naturally there will be sonic differences, but you may hear them as too sublte, and not worth the hassle.

You may have to take the leap $$ to hear dramatic difference with your existing phonostage. YMMV.
What is it about the Ares you find deficient? All the reviews both user and reviewer are positive. Tube roll and power cord are the last ditch efforts before a new upgrade?
My understanding regarding the Rega is that its performance is so good, a top shelf phono preamp would serve it well

Are you looking for a phono stage for the actual cartridge or for a turntable for some reason ? Would you like to mention your cartridge specs and type?  





I guess I’m looking to level up with a phonostage and was thinking about the Allnic. I’ve owned an Allnic Linestage dht5000 and was happy with it.

And perhaps I should live with the Ares. Just looking at all points here and thanks for the responses.

I have a Rega P10 with the "matching" Alpheta 3 cartridge.
I have a warmish sounding system using the Usher Tower XL’s and a BMC S1 amp as well as a Nord Icepower class D amp. Current TT is a VPI Scoutmaster that’s making way for the Rega. A Lindemann Musicbook DSD 25 as well, FWIW.
I have also been using the all tubed NVO and it is the only piece I'd never change.  It replaced my Kondo M-7 and I have never felt the need to change it.
These NVO guys coming out are making my "buy now" finger twitchy
Been super happy with the Parasound JC3 with my RP10 - went through a bunch of cheaper Phono stages and it was real easy to settle on the Parasound once putting it in line.

I'm sure it's not the be all end all but it's a fantastic piece of gear all the same - nice and quiet, smooth and dynamic definitely a winner.

I've run a Lyra Delos, Denon DLA100 and an Apheta 2 all of which worked well.

The JC3+ apparently has more flexibility but the overall character is said to be the same I think.
Then you’d better post Apheta 3 specs, i can’t see even the Output of that cartridge on their site, anyone can comment ???  350μV is 0.35 or what ? 

http://www.rega.co.uk/apheta-3.html

Tracking Pressure 1.9 - 2.00g
Input load impedance 100 ohms
Output impedance 10 ohms
Nominal output voltage 350μV
Channel Balance : ≥ 20μV
Separation : ≥ -29dB

Mass 6g

Key Features :

Iron cross & coil assembly 50% smaller than the original Apheta .
One of the world’s smallest MC generators.
Cutting edge neodymium magnet.
Fine Line profile nude diamond stylus.
High specification fine wire.

Load settings for adjustable MC stages

Impedance -100ohm
Capacitance - 1000pF
Gain setting - High (’On’ position for Rega phono stages)


0,35 mV.
Regular phono cartridge - cross, neodymium magnet. No compliance figures. I am curious which edge can cut neodymium magnet :)
Looking at the OP's phono stages i think it's better to replace a cartridge to something first class, but not the phono stages
Rega P10 with the Apheta 3 sounds first class to my ears. The Ares sounds great mated with the Rega and I could leave well enough alone. 

I can't help feeling that the Rega would benefit from the next level of phonostage. The NVO looks like a winner except with all those tubes, I'd always feel like there's a bad one in there eventually. I have issues...

Not being able to demo puts me in the forum where enlightened ones can chime in. Budget is $5K after I sell some gear. So that puts me in the following territory.

Allnic 1202
Gold Note PH10
Boulder 508
Herron vtph-2a
Pass Labs XP17
Parasound JC3
Audio Note L3 kit (I love building stuff)
I’m using Gold Note PH-10 with PSU-10 in my system, this phono stage is great if you have a lot of cartridges or at least two tonearms/turntables (like myself), you can connect two MC or two MM at the same time, or MC and MM. It is more flexible for LOMC cartridges with all the loading options and gain options.

If you have just 1 cartridge you don’t need a phono stage like Gold Note in my opinion.


@chakster  I respectfully disagree regarding the PH10. Yes if you only own 1 cartridge now it's still a wonderful piece but us audiofools are always experimenting with things including cartridges so given the PH10's flexibility I think it's a great choice. 
PS: The NVO sonically is still the better choice I for one have never had a tube issue
For one cartridge JLTi mk4 or mk5 is much better phono stage than Gold Note PH-10 which is not cheap at all with PSU-10 (power supply). If the budget is not the issue then unused 2nd input on PH-10 (and digital interface) is what you extra pay for.

JLTi Phono stage with one input with gain switch and optional RCA plug load resistors will cost less ($890 / AU$1490)), but the sound is even better. No limits with RCA plug load resistors for LOMC (better than Gold Note). The JLTi can be modified by the manufacturer and after this mod MM cartridge can be unloaded (100k Ohm instead of 47kOhm), you can't do that with Gold Note.  


I have the Rega P10 with Apheta 3 cartridge.  I’m using it with a Luxman EQ-500 vacuum tube phonostage and I love it.  I replaced the stock tubes with some NOS Brimars and current production Gold Lions.  It sounds great and it offers a lot of flexibility.  I got a dealer demo in mint condition for almost 50% off.  It’s quieter than the SS Rega Aria that it replaced and sounds a lot better.
The Luxman EQ-500 is an intriguing option. If I found one 50% off I would buy it too!
I bought a new phono stage myself about a year and half ago and ended up with the H-1202. I’ve heard a lot of great phono stages through the years and auditioned several more in the process of making a choice, but for me the Allnic was the one which stood out. It wasn’t the best, but for me the EQ-500 (which did take the top slot) didn’t offer nearly sufficient improvement to defend the huge difference in price.

I also listened to the Herron and while it’s an outstanding piece for the price, I simply preferred the Allnic. The Herron was exceedingly clean and neutral, more like a really excellent solid state stage, while I found the H-1202 to be equally competent, but with just the right amount of tube DNA to hit my personal sweet spot. A little extra sweetness, a little more body, a little more magic and no discernible downsides.

For this you give up the infinite adjustment which the Herron offers by way of it’s loading plugs, but that was a non-issue for me. The lack of tube "magic" could no doubt be ameliorated through tube rolling, but I have no interest in spending months, years and thousands upon thousands of ...(insert currency)... on re-discovering what the Allnic already provided out of the box.

My personal opinion is that if you want a tube phono stage, these two offer the best performance/price ratio - by a country mile. You give up very little sound quality compared to the very best, for a price that could almost be called moderate.

If you want one that is exceedingly neutral and infinitely flexible, the Herron is a no-brainer. If you want to hear that tubes are involved right out of the box and have no need for infinite fine-tuning, the same is true of the Allnic.

Better phono stages are certainly available, but unequivocal improvement will cost you big-time.
@smatsui 
I'm interested in reading what your sonic experience is with the Luxman when its signal is passing through your new tube configuration.  I've read elsewhere that a Luxman owner switched in a Siemens tube array. Could I also ask what you're using as your phono stage => preamp interconnect. Thank you!

@jimkiely,
I'm completely satisfied with my Luxman EQ-500 and (2) NOS Brimar CV4003 and (4) ECC83 Gold Lion tubes.  I left the EZ81 stock tube in place.  I use Nordost Heimdall interconnects from my EQ-500 to my Van Alstine Audio FET Valve all vacuum tube preamp with NOS Mullard tubes.  I get pinpoint imaging, and deep layered and wide soundstage.  The mids are as good as I've ever heard.  The bass is deep and articulated, and the highs are extended but not fatiguing.  It's a fantastic phono preamp and I have no urge to upgrade after owning it for about 2 years.
You had a good idea already with the Allnic H1202. By coming here you were sure to get some confusing and contrary advice. Because the NVO costs more is not necessarily an indication it will outperform the H1202 although it’s a worthy alternative. So is the Herron. I like any of these three ahead of any of the solid-state devices that have already been mentioned. But this is not to say that there are not some good solid state alternative choices. I just can’t think of any right now that are in the same price range. As Chakster tried to say, with a cartridge that puts out 0.35 mV, you need to consider the gain of the phono stage. Can the H 1202 handle that relatively low output? I don’t recall whether it has sufficient gain for an MC cartridge without also adding a SUT. But I think it has a SUT built in. You want about 60db over all phono gain.
Luxman EQ500 is great, too.  Much cheaper in Tokyo, if by chance you dare to travel these days.
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