I use a Herron vtph-2A with a Rega RP-10 and Apheta 2. Fantastic. Would be very near your range used.
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At that price range, as alternatives to what is already mentioned, I would look at the Rogue Ares which is an amazing unit for the money. For SS, I would look at the Chord Huei.
Both represent strong values and deliver performance ahead of their competitive set like the Manley. I haven't hear the PS Audio.
These are uncommon, but if you can find a use Art Audio Vinyl One, it is a fantastic unit. They don't come up used that often though.
I’ve owned the Chinook and the PS Audio. High marks for both; I recommended the Chinook to my father recently for his MM. Chinook does give you what you want from tubes, and the PSA gives you what you want from SS, with a hint of tubiness. But for MC I have to give the nod to the PS Audio based on the ease of switching gain and load settings on the fly with a remote. That is more than just a convenience; it allows you to judge the best load from your listening position. I loved the Chinook with an MM cart, but had trouble dialing it in with an MC. (That said, I’ve moved back to a tube phonostage, but it cost me).
I have a Manley Chinook Special Edition, available only from Upscale Audio (easy to find via web search). They have a very close relation with Manley and sell more Chinook than any dealer in the country. You can contact them and learn a lot of information about the Chinook and about the Special Edition. Ask for Kat, she is awesome with analogue products. I can't say enough good things about the sonic qualities and the value the Chinook provides. I recently upgraded to the Rega Planar 10 and it is a wonderful pair, that and the Chinook. Presently using a Lyra Delos MC cartridge with this setup. Wow!
Good luck on your quest. And do enjoy the music.
@jrw1971 Thanks for the comparison, I was originally looking at the Rega Aria to stay in the same family. I was then headed down the PS Audio path after reading goods reviews on it. The switching via remote while seated listening is compelling.
@jorgjean Thanks and the Aria was where I started my search, still might end up there due to lower cost on a used one.
@mammothguy54 I recently watch Kevin’s video in the MC SE. This gonna be a tough decision as I also have other recommendations to research. Thanks for your input.
Thanks everyone for your suggestions, all great phono preamps I’m sure. To start with I just got a good deal on a Rega Aria so I will start with that as a reference. Then I’m gonna try the PS Audio on loan, and the Graham Slee on loaner to start my journey.
Thanks again everyone. A’gon always a great source of advice!