What amp and speaker do you have? Would you know the input sensitivity of the amp? I'm guessing you will need at least 72 dB gain before the amp.
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dear Koryodell: IMHO a MM/MI analog source alternative could work better for you where you don't need all the gain than a LOMC needs in the other side there are several cartridge alternatives that outperform the 103R, this one is really good , inexpensive and works fine in your TT/tonearm:
Regards and enjoy the music,
I'm with Raul, at your price point you are much better off with a higher output cartridge. You need a high output cartridge and a phono stage with a low output impedance to mate with the Placette. I didn't see any specs on the output impedance of your stage but with a Placette I would recommend being in the 100 ohm or below range.
Surface noise isn't a result of your equipment unless you have a bad stylus, more likely the result of dirty/defective records.
Thanks everyone for the help, this is exactly the help i needed.
I'm running a Mccormack DNA 0.5 (100k) into B&W Matrix 803.
If I go with Raul's suggestion of getting the Orfton M20E, what sort of phono stage ($400 -$500 range) should I put infront of the placette? On my digital end, I'm running an Electrocompaniet ECD-1 (100ohm) with Empirical Audio Modifications and I have "just" enough gain. My Musical Fidelity DAC A324 (50 ohm?) has way more punch.
The 100 vs. 50 ohm is not an issue. They are both much lower than the 9K input of the placette. One has more "punch" because it is just designed to have a higher output. As long as you have it loud enough even if wide open with the ECD and it sounds good you are golden.
I'm a little out of the loop on phono stages so I'll defer to somebody else.