@bruinuclafan - it was the price/quality equilibrium as you so well state. For instance, I only stream for background music and finding new music, if I listened more 'seriously' I would invest in a better streamer. Same with the choice of TT. It sounds wonderful and fits my use and system.
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I wrote "stellar" meaning 'a really good one' of your own choosing. I did not state a brand. That's up to you to decide.
I use a Project RS phono stage with an outboard power supply I got from eBay. It is dual mono and very good. I can recommend It...but it's also $1000 with a wall wart. The wall wart is noisy but Project offers a battery power supply. It was too pricey for me so took a chance on an $175 18v power supply on eBay and couldn't be happier.
Project has other power supplies at different price points. My advice to you is to stay away from wall warts...and get something that allows you to contour to a wide variety of carts...so it will grow with you. So spend a bit more than you might here.
I have not heard the Hana ML, but I suspect the $450.00 upgrade will be subtle compared to the SL. The difference between the EL and the SL is immediately apparent. The SL is probably the sweet spot in the Hana range. I would pause on the ML until you have figured out your phono preamp and can dial in the exact load and coil capacitance that would be needed to extract that last drop of goodness.Cartridges in the $1000 - $2000 price range (and I put the SL and ML in that range because they are exceptional values) should be considered along with the phono preamp. Anything more expensive and you are in a rarified area I cannot comment on.The KC Vibe is awesome. I seriously considered it, but went with something (a bit more expensive) that works better for my system and intended cartridge range.I am currently running a Hana SL on a Technics SL1200 GR running through an Odyssey Suspiro (SS phono pre). Also use an Mofi MasterTracker MM (also awesome and in some ways - and with some records - better than the Hana). Also llike the AT 740ML, my trusty Shure V-15 type III, and a few Grados and an old Pickering that are fun to mess with. The Technics handles them all with aplomb (well, the Shure is a little wobbly, but it works fine and sounds like it is supposed to). One of the great things (and there are many, comsidering the price) of the SL 1200 G series is the romoveable head shell and ease of set-up, which allows me to play with cartridges without much fuss.Get the front in dialed in to suit your needs and preferences, then worry about amplification and speakers to fit your room, tastes, budget, etc.
Since you mentioned MoFi UltraPhono I’m assuming that you’re not against Mofi import duties/tariffs/tax.
$2K Mofi Ultradeck - great reviews, newer design by established highly regarded manufacturers. I am building a high-end bucket-list audiophile system from scratch and am interested in best bang for buck without sacrificing sonic performance so this was on my short list (but I gave in to a much higher $$ VPI mass loaded used turntable- upgradeitus?). Optionally bundled with the positive reviewed MasterTracker cartridge to save you $.
Somebody’s review on https://www.stereo.net " MoFi UltraDeck ,Clear audio concept , Rega Planar 6 which to choose?"
"I recently auditioned the UltraDeck against the P6.
To me the UltraDeck was a fair leap ahead.
Firstly in plinth isolation from whatever you sit it on. Also it seemed to retrieve a lot more from the groove than the Rega. In particular the lower registers. "
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