Well, the Herron phono stage certainly has a devoted following! I’ve seen so many posts in various threads raving about the VTPH-2A that it really does make me curious. The Accuphase card generates very little self noise giving it what I think must be very good resolution. Is the Herron super quiet and resolving? If I could get those traits plus the great tone density from its valve based circuitry it could make for quite a nice combo.
Super quiet. Incredibly resolving. Although frankly the darn thing is so good its hard not to feel describing it is futile. Its just so much better. That’s why in my review I made a point of telling the story of how my wife first heard it and commented repeatedly on how much better it sounded even though she had no idea what or if I had bought anything and was never even in the room but was hearing it through the closed and weather-stripped solid core door. While puttering around in the living room and kitchen. Its that good.
Prior to this I was using the Audio Research PH3-SE and had been very happy with it for something like 15 years. Well, it is a very good phono stage. Still is. The Herron though is in another league altogether. So much better in fact that it made me aware of a woody tonal character that was the kind of thing you would never in your life associate with electronics, more the kind of sound a speaker cabinet resonance would make, but suddenly with the Herron this was completely gone leaving me to struggle with how I had been living with that from the ARC for so many years without noticing it at all!
I have a hunch that the biggest problem with the Herron is its incredible value. If only Keith would price it up there along with where it performs, in terms of sound quality and build quality and everything else, then at $12k I’m sure it would get a lot more respect. Actually thinking over some of the stuff Keith told me it might be low even at $12k. Or if he gave them away to reviewers, or sold them at reviewer "accommodation pricing" (ie, gave them away to reviewers).
When I started getting interested one of the first things that got me even more interested was when I went looking for used. There were none. The few I found had all sold really fast. Instead there were people posting they were looking for a used one.
So good luck with that. Pretty much all the comments from actual owners are beyond happy. They are basically, you buy this and you are done. You can spend the rest of your life upgrading everything else. So maybe another reason there aren’t more of them. People like to flip. Which I guess you can do with some stuff. But not this.