Check out the June 2015 Stereophile. They review the Soundsmith phono-pre with the Soundsmith Carmen.
I have not heard any phono pre-amp better than a Herron, but they are in a different price range. You might be able to find a used Herron VTPH-1 in the market. If it is a MC unit, Herron could convert it to MM/high output. Then you wouldn't have to worry about getting a different phono stage, in the future, to improve your system.
Above is another fine instrument for your consideration, and yes I do make them:-)
I would think it would be a great match. You've already got the turntable/cartridge side covered. Very reasonably priced option. After reading the Stereophile article, I'm thinking about going the complete Soundsmith route myself with my Pro-Ject RM-10 and Cronus Magnum.
The SoundSmith phono stage can probably get the cartridge to sound as good as it can. There are likely better phono staqes available, but not voiced for the SoundSmith carts.
Thanks for all the comments. Really appreciate the responses. I'm still contemplating the the plus and minus of going the Soundsmith route or spending a lot extra for something with more flexibility that might suit some future cartridge whim.
IMO, the advantage of a Herron VTPH-2 is that there is no need for future upgrades. It is a top performer and can handle input from either low or high output cartridges without modification or front-end SUTs.
Thank you all again. Bpoletti, I did some research on the Herron VTPH-2. That is a lovely phono stage. Some of the best reviews I've ever seen. However, it also points out the big dilemma, $3650 for a great pre and future flexibility vs $650 for a pre that is probably well voiced for my current cart.
I was relating back to your previous post where you said "However, it also points out the big dilemma, $3650 for a great pre and future flexibility vs $650 for a pre that is probably well voiced for my current cart." I read that as saying that you are considering higher priced alternatives.
Quoted the wrong text. It should have been "I'm still contemplating the the plus and minus of going the Soundsmith route or spending a lot extra for something with more flexibility that might suit some future cartridge whim."
Bpoletti, you should really tell us your other phono stages (or maybe suts) creamed by Herron.
Bpoletti, you know me better than I know my self. Thanks.
Look it up, chack. Plenty of posts by me and others making comparisons.
Thanks for all the responses. Just ordered the Soundsmith pre. Will report after install.
Good for you. Please let us know your impressions and how well it mates up with your cartridge.
Sound smith pre arrived today. Couldn't wait to hook it up. Had to use some old cheap interconnects, good ones are on the way.. First thing I noticed is that it's absolutely quiet. Even If I crank the volume all the way up with no record on the TT, you don't hear a thing. I'm not very good at audiophile descriptive lingo. but what I can say is that I immediately heard a difference from the Cronus Magnum's built in pre. Female voices ring true, there's absolute clarity in the bass. It's just out and out musical. Certainly can't tell if it would work as well with a non-Soundsmith cart, but might be the best $650.00 I've ever spent on things audio.
Congrats Adeep42 and enjoy the SoundSmith phono-pre. You made a good choice.
Congrats Adeep42. Sounds like you found a winner for your system.
Thank you guys. Am still really delighted. Would certainly recomend for any one with a Soundsmith cart.