suggestions on small footprint phono stages

Hello gang - I'm interested in upgrading my phono stage (a PS Audio GCPH), but for the sake of WAF I need something with a smaller footprint width-wise (roughly in the dimensions of the GCPH, which is less than 1/2 a rack space).

I like and enjoy the GCPH (and it's flexibility), but it is a bit bright/cold sometimes (my speakers - Focal 1027 - contribute there). So, I am looking for something a little more organic - tube preferred as a contrast to the GCPH, but SS works too.

I'm flexible on price - ballpark $2k-$3k, new or used. To that end, the EAR 834P is on my list to check out (and an 88PB if I can find one secondhand), and the Artemis PL1/PH1, though I think that'll limit me to MCs (I currently have a Shelter 501mk2 and a Sumiko Blackbird - it'd be nice to have the flexibility to experiment with some MMs at some point, but not a dealbreaker), ASR mini basis.

Any suggestions to narrow the field down?


You should try one of these

The Audio Electronic Supply PH-1 (6.5" W)(now discontinued) is a pretty nice sounding tubed unit with a half-rack width. The Artemis is larger than it looks (8.5" W)(the PL-1 is for MC, the PH-1 for MM) but is also quite nice. A Tom Evans Microgroove might be another suggestion, though solid state.
You should consider the Nagra BPS. It is solid state but is a very nice sounding unit. No SS stridency or brightness here. Very natural sounding and very musical. I think it is $2400 new but you should be able to get for a bit less on Agon. Here are some reviews:
JLTI.....Sweet Phono
Good feedback, everyone. I forgot about the JLTI - I had that on my list as well. Thanks!
2nd the Nagra BPS, which I owned and loved until the upgrade bug struck, but I found I had to spend a lot more to get significantly better performance. There is a used one available on Agon if memory serves. (And no, I am not the seller!)
3rd the Nagra!
I also have to recommend the Nagra BPS. I own it. It is great sounding! Flexible loading options. As big as a deck of cards. As stated above it is above all, musical. Highly recommended.
I would also give the Nagra BPS a try. It is very quiet as well as being a very neutral & musical sounding phono stage. It is quick and has a deep and open sound stage. Comes with a variety of loading modules and you can also have custom loading modules made for it.
As for size, it can fit in your pocket. You can use it with batteries or with a power adaptor.
Great item for its price.
ear834p for me
Wow lots of praise for the Nagra - I'll have to hunt one down to hear!
ZYX Artisan. Very compact, simple, MM and MC, battery op, NO noise, bettered Asthetix Rhea Signature, competes w (but less flexible than) Manley Steelhead, does not quite get to the level of phono stages in Doshi Alaap or Vac Ren Mk2 but was not embarrassed by them either. At the price that SoraSound will sell a new one, its a steal!!!
I think the Pro-ject Tube Box II SE sounds better than the GCPH I owned for a short while. MM/MC and sufficient loading options for the non-fanatic. Subsonic filter too, if you need it. I replaced the stock tubes with Black Sable Tung Sol and it sounded quite a bit better. It's a very nice little piece for the money. No doubt, not in class of the EAR, but still better than the PS IMHO.
Heed Quasar
I would suggest the Emmeline F-117, Nighthawk, phono stage from Ray Samuels Audio. It's not bigger than a pack of cigarettes, is battery powered and great flexibility. I haven't heard it first hand but the reviews a great. Sells direct for $795. P.S. I am not related to them.
RSA Nighthawk battery power phono. It beats GCPH easily for less money IMO as I had the GCPH earlier which was underwhelming. Nighthawk is quite dynamic, high gain but quiet,smooth mid with non strident high and it provides flexible loading.
i am not familar with many of the hi end phono stages, but i do own the zyx and it performs well and does have the small footprint. I use it with my zyx UNIverse and airy3 cartridges as well as a frog on occasion.
Thanks, all. I found a Zyx here on AGon for a decent price, so I'm going to give it a try. I'll report back when I receive it!
How about the Plinius Jarrah? I have been using one for about six months and I am very happy with the sound I am getting from it. It has two phono gain settings, high and low. Although, it does not list how high the high gain is but I am guessing that it is atleast 56 to 60db. Very flexible when it comes to cartridge loading. 7.4ohms to 47k. By the way, much more refined or better sounding then PS GCPH and Musical Sorroundings Phonomena. Good luck.