Have you checked the impedance loading to make sure it is matched for your cartridge?
I've just placed my order for the Chenin and can't imagine that Mick would release a "dark" phono stage. However, the circuit has changed from using WE 417 tube to ECC88 family valves.
My question for owners of the redesigned phono stage -- have you done any tube rolling yet? Which ECC88/6dj8 variant is working well for you? I know this family of tubes can be frustrating to work with (microphonics for one), so this would be helpful for me as I await my amp.
Also, in a general Syrah/Chenin vein, does rolling the regulator tubes make much of a difference, especially as opposed to critical line and phono gain stages?
Any info appreciated.