Solid State Phono Pre-amp Recommendations

I own a fully-loaded VPI Scoutmaster turntable with JMW-9 Signature tonearm and Dynavector DV-20X Low MC cartridge.

I'm looking to upgrade my current RSA F-117 Nighthawk MC/MM phono pre-amp and would like to stay with Solid State.

What would you recommend to use with my Dynavector DV-20X Low MC cartridge that some day may get upgraded to either a Dynavector XX-2 MKII or a Lyra Delos.

A friend of mine has recommended either the Sutherland Ph3D or the Sutherland 20/20.
Sutherland Ph3D = $1000
Sutherland 20/20 = $2200

Quite a difference.

If you can stretch to the 20/20 you may also want to consider the Parasound JC-3 at $2350. It likes 100 Ohm cartridges.


Since you don't have any budget limits I recommend a Zanden 1200

Well, the Dyna P75 would be great with your Dyna carts, especially since your current one and the XX2 are low impedance. Love my SoundSmith rebuilt XX2 with the P75, which can be run in Phono Enhancer mode with it. Well worth trying out.
The Dynavector P75 mkII is a great phono stage and should work very well with your cartridges for obvious reasons. I wouldn't pass it over simply due to price. Not sure what your budget is.
I like the Sutherland PhD. You can find it used for about 1600.
I would also recommend the Parasound JC-3, I am running mine with a Delos and they work REALLY well together. Tons of gain and very quiet, good bass and lively fun sound.

My interest was also piqued by the Sutherland 20/20 but the JC-3 is too good to worry about buying anything else.

The ASR Basis Exclusive and Mini Basis seem to be well liked as well.

Also in the solid state category, the Einstein products seem to be well regarded.
No budget limit? The Audiomat Phono2. Glorious music. For less money, the Audiomat Phono 1.6 is pretty nice.

Phono2 at Mutine
For cost no object:
(1) Raul's 3160 Phonolinepreamp
(2) AMR PH777 (or whatever it's called)
(3) Sooner or later someone will come here to tout the Whest Ref V or one of the lesser models.
The Lyra and JC3 are a great match up.
I have owned a Sutherland 20/20 phono stage for a little over 2 months now; I play records most nights and on the weekends and I am still amazed and thrilled by the sound of all my vinyl.
The 20/20 is a quite flexible phono stage with regard to both gain, 5 settings from 40db to 64db in 6db steps and in loading also 5 settings as follows: 100,200, 475, 1000, 47,500 ohms. I run my Benz Micro Wood SL cart at 52db and 475 ohms & my vinyl sound far better than I have ever heard.
Even my old abused and hard used vinyl sounds better through the 20/20.
My system is as follows:
TT: Basis 2001 Signature with Basis Vector tone arm and Benz Micro Wood SL Cart.
Amp: Ayre V5X
Preamp: McIntosh C2200 used this phono stage (MM only) with a Benz ACE HO
previously and further in the past with a Grado Reference Master.
New & Current Phono pre-amp: Sutherland 20/20
Speakers: Maggies 3.6R
Cables: Transparent Audio

Good luck and I can add that I doubt that anyone moving up from a roughly $1K phono stage would not be delighted with the 20/20.I spent a lot of time researching phono stages without the ability to hear any of them and I find it hard to believe that any phono stage in the $2K to $2,500 range would beat the 20/20 in sound reproduction quality couple with all the flexibility the 20/20 offers. The professional reviews, they are out there, sold me and as did the flexibility built into the 20/20, which I value a lot. In addition Ron Sutherland, whom I do not know, but wrote to after buying his phono stage and asking a question was most accommodating and helpful. Strong support from the manufacturer is very important to me and this was supplied in abundance by Ron Sutherland himself, impressive.
I hope this helps you.
Sutherlands are neutral and very good at their price points.

Heard good things about the Parasound JC-3 but its engine is based on OpAmps (although carefully selected by John Curl) so I'm not sure about its long term value. So are the ASR mini basis exclusive, which I had and sold. It is perfect sounding but somehow a bit "flat"

Whest from the UK is phenomenal sounding. Rich with all the detail you will ever need, full of energy similar to a good tube stage.

As I also own an Aesthetix Rhea which is tube, and I wanted a solid state model with flexibility, clarity and transparency, so after a lengthy selection process, I settled on the Esoteric E-03.

For price no object, I heard the Bolder 1080 in a familiar system and was speechless. No contest. For lower priced units, Clearaudio makes good reasonably priced models.
If cost is no object you may as well save some cash. I have two suggestions preferable to most SS options at any price:

Bel Canto Phono 3
Jasmine LP 2.0se or MkII

Buy a used Pass Labs Xono for $1800 to $2200!

Many adjustments and settings - gain, resistor, capacitance for "ANY" MM or MC made!

Simple circuit, great reliability!

Many great reviews and awards!
02-03-12: Sirotseta
Sutherlands are neutral and very good at their price points.

Heard good things about the Parasound JC-3 but its engine is based on OpAmps (although carefully selected by John Curl) so I'm not sure about its long term value. So are the ASR mini basis exclusive, which I had and sold. It is perfect sounding but somehow a bit "flat"

Well the Sutherland 20/20 also uses opamps and is priced about the same as the JC3.
FWIW, in the latest followup test of the JC3 in Stereophile, the reviewer compared it to John Curl's highly regarded (and quite expensive in its day) discrete component 'Vendetta' phono stage - and found the differences quite small.

I have no stake in either component, nor have I heard them....just wouldn't write off the JC3 based on its use of opamps - it's construction quality 'looks' superb.
I agree win Don. The Pass Xono for about $2K is a great SS phono. Very neutral and very adjustable. Great build quality and very reliable. Super support from Pass Labs if you should ever need it.

I had the Xono for a while and in my system it was too forward, too in your face. I much preferred the earlier Aleph Ono. More reserved and laid back, but I can see where the Xono would work well in a lot of systems.

Also consider the Whest Audio line of phono amps.
Searched a long time before finding the Audio Exklusiv P2.
I'll second the Pass Labs Xono recommendation. It is just a fabulous phono pre with enough adjustability to work with any cart you are likely to own. I am using one now with a Denon DL-S1 and could not be happier.
Agiaccio- Did the Heed Quasar turn out to be a nice upgrade from the P75II. I am considering these two right now. Thanks in advance !
If you are at all handy with a soldering iron, try the Phonoclone 3, kicks many phonostages' under the bus for less than $100.00 or so. 180 pages of help and advice here:
Easily adjustable and quiet as death. Works great with my Sumiko Blackbird cart feeding into a tube based system.
I use the AVID Pulsus
GAIN 48dB – 60dB – 70dB
100R – 300R - 500R – 1K – 5K – 10K – 47K
100pF – 200pF – 500pF
By comparison I upgraded from a MUSICAL SURROUNDINGS PHONOMENA II and I was floored by the difference, the AVID Pulsus had way more bass, quieter, and just more musical. A unmistakable increase in dynamic range. Of course everything was the same, when I switched out only the phono amp, back then I was using a Dyna 20x2 Low. I've since gone to the XX-2 MKII. The AVID Pulsus performs very well in my system.
The Manley Chinook got my money.