Recommended phono preamps?

I have a question for this talented group's collective genius. I'm looking to purchase a reasonably priced (< $1200)phono preamp. I'm looking at the Plinius Jarrah, but also considering the AcousTech, the Musicial Surroundings Phenomena, and the Benz. What comments do you have to make on these or other suitably-priced phono stages? Thank you all for your helpful input.

Plinius CD-LAD preamp
Adcom 555mkII amps (two, bridged to mono)
Snell A Reference Towers
Mirage 12180 sub
Hsu TN1220HO sub
Sony XA7ES CD player
Denon 59L 'table
Grado Sonata MC cartridge
Nordost interconnects (Blue Heaven & Red Dawn [CD player])
Kimber 8TC speaker cable (though may switch with the Blue Heaven cables in the separate home theater system)

p.s. Have you tried Optrix CD spray cleaner? Wow, what a difference! Available from Galen Carol for $20 with lint-free tissues. The bargain tweak of the century.

Thanks, everyone.

Given the equipment in your current system (some of which I either own now, or have owned in the past), I think you should seriously consider the Lehmann Audio Black Cube SE (this is the newest model with the much larger PWX power supply). This phono stage preamp is much better than it has any right to be at its $875 price point. If you want more info, go to HyendAudio's web site:

There have been a number of reviews about this phono stage, and as a very satisfied owner I can attest that the positive comments are justified. I am using this phono stage with my Grado Reference cartridge, mounted in a Rega RB900 arm, and it's turned out to be a fine combination.
Hello Paul,

I think we've corresponded before (vibrapods?) I had a Musical Surroundings Phonomena for about a year and ran it with my Kuzma Stabi/Stogi Reference arm/Lyra Lydian B cart and it's a nice entry level, flexible, decent sounding phonostage for the $510 I paid Galen Carol. He recommended it over an EAR 834P that he was selling for a couple of hundred dollars more.

I would also consider the 834P for a 'tube sound' and the Lehman BC.

I ended up selling my Phonomena and getting a Sonic Frontiers Phono 1 SE, but alas they are out of business. I paid something like $1550 delivered through UnderwoodWally, who sells here quite a bit. New and w/warranty. I enjoy this quite a bit and I think that it's a few steps above the listed group.

Anyway, happy hunting, Chris Garrett, Miami
The Acoustech is a SERIOUS preamp. Give it a listen...just my .02.
The Camelot Lancelot Pro may be worth a listen. ( Also, if you can find one - the Audiomat Phono 1 is suppose to be good.
The Black Cube, as well as the Phonomena, are entry level high end pieces. They are overrated by the reviewers, as usual. The Benz is designed for use with (you guessed) BENZ cartridges! When you step up to a direct marketed Acoustech and spend $1200 then we're talking about SERIOUS analog musical reproduction in the home. Is this what you want?
i tried the phonomena & was completely underwhelmed - the fono-stage built into my old linn kairn pre was far more musical, while just as detailed & transparent. it had me thinking about a used linto. while i was looking, a couple folks said the acurus p-10 was far nicer than the black cube, at a much lower price. might want to try its bigger brother, the aragon 47k, which is still only $600 retail. i ended up w/a ~$2k pentagon ps-3, which i'd never heard of, but i got such a fantastic deal (cuz no one else in the usa seems to know about it either!) - near the price of the phonomena - i figured it was worth trying. i was right - it's a great unit! :>) but, good luck finding one.

you might want to check out ted @ ted's audible difference - he seems to come across deals on demo & used fono.

he presently is offering great deals on art audio electronocs, & has a wellborne labs fono-stage listed for $200. i have no connection to ted, only a satisfied customer...

doug s.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences and impressions. What a great group of people!

Best regards,
I have the Acurus P-10 the Doug mentioned and think it is a great value compared with most anything under $800 to $1000 (and maybe more!) I'm about to list it for sale, but if anyone on this forum would like it before it's listed, drop me an email this week.

Happy Holidays to all-

I'd second the recommendation for the acoustech, I have one and it sounds great, built like a tank and very flexible. If you are willing to by one used there was one posted here for $650, that's a pretty great deal.