Tom Evans Groove X, Aesthetix Rhea or JLTI

I've been looking at phono preamps over the past couple days. At this point it seems that my phono pre (Wright WPP 100c) may be the weak link in my system. So in the spirit of audiophilia it would seem that I should try to squeeze out another 2-4% out of my system.

I'm told that the Aesthetix rhea will be too noisy with my Benz Ebony L because of its very low .26mv output. A shame really since I found one at a pretty god price used. Then there is the Tom Evans Groove X, But I haven't been able to find much info on it. Then too the Groove does not have adjustable gain which I consider important. Therefore I am leaning towards the JLTI which has adjustable loading and gain. The JLTI, along with the TE Groove has a small footprint which will also be beneficial since I don't have proper room in my rack for a full size unit.

So i think I've answered my own question, The JLTI is also about $1k cheaper also. Therefore the JLTI may not be the final phono pre, but it may be a step up from the Wright and feed the Teres better until I can take a bigger step up. Is there something I may be missing. Is the JLTI a big step up from the Wright, which I also consider a great over achiever? Thoughts?
Ag insider logo xs@2xartemus_5
The Aesthetix Rhea is perfectly quiet in a friend's system running a 0.3mv Dynavector XV-1s. You should have no problem with your .26mv Ebony L.
I have been told that there are two versions of the Rhea, and that the newest version is quieter than the first version. The first version was definitely a bit noisy with low output MC cartridges. (My friend used one, and while I agree it had wonderful features, it was never my favorite due to the tube rushing noise.) So if you buy used, make sure it is the latest version.

If you are looking for an alternative recommendation, I hgihly recommend the ASR Basis Exclusive. It is extremely quiet and very musical. (I have two friends who use it, and one of them has now upgraded to the upgraded version, which shows me that he liked it enough to spend double on the gold board version.) If I had the money, I would be using that one myself.

My two cents worth.
An used Basis Exclusive (blue board) should be around $3k. It was dead quiet. It is hard to beat battery power supply in terms of low noise. Mini Exclusive will be cheaper although I never owned one. But I would think it should be quiet as well.
I frankly preferred the JLTI in a direct comparison with the Rhea - the JLTI offered more detail, more refinement, more control in the bass with some of the best separation between instruments of any phonostage. Not quite the rich tonal colours of my Shindo phono, but the JLTI is still a great phonostage IMO. If you are looking for compact the JLTI could be an almost final solution.

P.S.: I owned a Wright WPP200C before the JLTI.
A friend of mine uses an Aesthetix Rhea and a Benz Ebony LP. It sounds excellent and is not "noisy". YMMV
No undue noisiness from my Rhea. Great phonostage, IMHO.
Restock. What improvements did the JLTi bring over the Wright? Also, what loading values are offered?
Dopogue, et al. Thanks for your input on the Rhea. I really like the features of the Rhea. Who can argue with remote control loading?
The ASR is also interesting
Due to the rack space available now, I have pretty much decided on the JLTi. I have been offered one at a very good price which certainly is a consideration. My research so far has indicated that there are proponents of each preamp and that it is a good possibility that they are all in the same league.

Thanks to all for your help
Artemus, I found the JLTI to be a significant step up from the Wright in terms of resolutions and detail. In comparison the Wright sounded veiled, closed in and very diffuse in spatial resolution.

I had the JLTI which uses the RCA loading plugs and I made myself several ones with Vishay resistors. With the loading plugs you are not really restricted in loading, just get the values you like and get a bunch of RCA Basic bullet plugs or so.
Thanks Restock. It sounds like I'll have a real treat with the JLTi. I have given high praise for the Wright in the past. I put it in the system when I had a much more modest TT (MMF-7) and the improvement was immense. But I guess the new TT has pushed the Wright beyond its capabilities. Thanks for your input.
Artemus, the JLTI will certainly give you a different flavor and a taste of what resolution analog can have. Also although the upgraded PS is a worthwhile upgrade it takes away from the excellent value of the phonostage (as it makes the combo so much more expensive).
How come I can never find any specifications on the Tom Evans Groove phono preamps? Most phono stages publish specs like gain, loading, etc.

Hi John, the Groove X, which I own, has switches which allows the following load settings:

112, 126, 144, 168, 200, 250, 333, 500, 1000.

100, 200, 300, 400, 500

I myself love this preamp.
Thanks Drw50, that's pretty flexible.
Jmcrogan - the reason why there was no mention of loading for the old TE Groove was that all of them were custom made with a set value for loading - no variable loading. Only the new models have flexible loading options.
>>03-21-10: Restock
the reason why there was no mention of loading for the old TE Groove was that all of them were custom made with a set value for loading - no variable loading. Only the new models have flexible loading options.<<

Not true.

The current Groove has preset loading as well.

Only the "X" models have selectable loading i.e. Groove X and Microgroove X.

Dealer disclaimer.
Thanks for the clarification Restock and Audiofeil. I had thought all TEAD phono stages had preset loads, like my Walker Audio phono stage. However, TEAD does make a flexible model, unlike Walker Audio.
Thought about the JTLI but went with the Jasmine LP-2.0 SE. Very pleased with this phono stage...
Have you seen the Allnic products? They look mighty fine as an alternative to what your looking at.
That said, I just heard the Rhea signature and it was excellent. Koetsu cartridge, dead quiet...