Placette passive and phono stage


I've just moved from a complete digital system to trying out analog. I just got a Technics SL1200 MKII that I plan on doing the KAB modifications on. Before I start those modifications, I need to figure out the Phono Stage, currently I have a grado black cartridge feeding a NAD PP-1 then to my Placette. This setup is not acceptable, I do not have enough gain and there is a lot of surface noise.

My thoughts are as follows for the first upgrade. No. 1 - decide on Cartridge (I'm leaning to the Denon 103R), then get a better stand alone phono stage ($500 range), see if I have enough gain using the that combination with the placette, if not then I could get a step up transformer (maybe Jensen).

Does this sound like a logical path.
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.
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.

So i bought the Ortofon M20E, now I just have to wait till it comes in from Germany.. I think I'll rewire my turntable while I'm waiting. I'm looking at the Blue Circle Audio Fon Lo Thingee for the phono stage. It looks interesting and very upgradeable.
I purchased the Fon Lo Thingee, demo's the upgrades and had to have them. It is excellent!

I purchased it from Jim in Kitchener (here) through his company "Good Sounds Audio" as he is a Blue Circle dealer and lives close to Innerkip where they are built.