No, I didn't audition current Gryphon line.
I am not sure that Gryphon has dealers in the US yet. But there is a distributor - On A Higher Note. I have no idea of the US prices either. I suggest you talk to them. For solid state choice with MC phono, MM/MC is optional in Gryphon, I don't think you can do much better. But I am not familiar with Swiss brands like DarTZeel and others.
No, I didn't audition current Gryphon line.
+1 on the Rogue Audio Pharaoh, it's a great piece of gear as well as the Parasound Halo, the phono section is really good, not to mention upgradable and it's like a Swiss army knife for audio. Built in crossovers, dual mono subs, the digital end is even better at 320khz for all your HD tracks it's really worth looking at for 2500 bucks. It sounded quite good with sonus Faber cremonas connected and SVS PC2000 sub, oracle mkII on the vinyl end. I was impressed with that system for just under 10k as is.
Do Accuphase and Allnic have it?
If you got used to an excellent separate phono it would not be easy to match it if at all possible. I know that you know it.
Gryphon, VAC, Allnic, Accuphase and Luxman are quite different, without listening to all of them with your speakers how would you choose?
For me it would be either Gryphon or VAC or Allnic, I guess. I only consider high end tube Japanese amps.
LKV Research makes a real nice Integrated with enough power to drive alll but the least efficient speakers. 160 watts per channel. One of the better solid state integrated amps out there. Costing barely more than their entry level phono stage, you get all of the love there plus a decent line stage and good quality amp all in one box.
bobheinatz, I heard the GSi75 in a dealer showroom hooked up to a pair of Focal speakers, not sure about the model but I think they were 1038be. The system sounded incredible as one would expect but I'm sure a lesser system could have impressed me as well since that combination was significantly better than what I have at home. You should audition whatever you decide for yourself. You're making a sizable investment.
Here is a few that come to mind
Vinnie Rossi LIO is wonderful and the phono stage is really good not to mention a whole host of other options as you build it as you need.
Luxman integrated's have a fine phono stage
Acuphase may still have a MC section as an option.
Can't think of any current tube integrated's with a phono stage but i'm sure others will chime in as some have already.
Luxman has a MC/MM phono stage built in to their integrated amps. The phono stage on the L-590AX is quite good and dead quiet.
Accuphase integrated amps do not have built in phono stages. They have phono cards that go in a slot at the back of the amp, which is immediately recongized by the amp. You can select MC or MM with a touch of a button.
The new Luxman is $8,995 (price reduced with new US importer). Accuphase is $16,000 plus $2,000 for the phono card.
I have owned both brands. There phono stages are very good. Obviously, the Luxman is better value. The Accuphase sounds slightly better but not by a huge margin.
You should also consider the T+A PA 3000 HV, can add built in phono stage for only an additional $1.5k. This phono stage is really outstanding & so is the integrated amp. I have a T+A 2500R integrated and it is flawless. After hearing the T+A PA 3000 I have to have it. I will buy it next week. I considered the Gryphon Diablo 300 but it is over $24k, Sun coast Audio in Florida is a dealer for Gryphon & T+A. The T+A PA 3100 HV was part of a system at the LA Audio Show that TAS gave best of show. The 3100 is almost identical to the 3000 except for different VU meters and the ability to add their additional power supply (which is not really necessary with these amps).
We are the East Coast T+A dealer and we have extensive experience with this line.
The T+A HV series integrated should be without a doubt one of the top pieces on your list, The HV series integrated is a bit more than your budget as it sells for $19k but it is worth the extra money.
Here is our story with T+A electronics:
We were searching for a reference solid state line for a few years, we had the Chord electronics with the Blades and the Chord electronics on the Blades were fantastic, we lost the line due to not making some sales quotas. We were also Luxman, Devialet, Norma, Naim and Hegel dealers, so we have been through many fantastic lines of electronics with some of these companies making some truly fantastic integrated amplifiers.
Currently we sell the T+A, Naim, Electrocompaniet and many other lines of fantastic solid state lines and the T+A gear is in a class by itself.
We found T+A after reading about the T+A electronics from Germany in an Absolute Sound Review, where Allan Taffel was comparing a $19k PA 3000 HV T+A integrated amplifier and comparing that integrated to a $120,000.00 stack of CH Precision separate components and was having difficulty telling which was which. T+A PA 3000 HV and MP 3000 HV | The Absolute Sound
So we thought if this equipment was that good and was that reasonably priced then that would be an exciting line of equipment to represent.
Long story short we got the gear and it blew us away, it was as dimensional as the Chord gear,was a bit warmer in the midrange and has a similar sense of speed and articulation, it was also better made and more stylish then the Chord gear with better features and with a lower overall cost.
The T+A gear shown on our best speakers, the Polymer Audio Reserach a $68k ultimate reference loudspeaker which uses the best drivers ever made the Acuton pure Diamond tweeter and midrange, in a 300 plus pound all metal composite cabinet, with sillver internal wiring and inductors and to date we have found their components to work well with many other very high end speakers including the Paradigm Personas, and Rockports and Genesis planer speakers to name a few.
After we took delivery on the T+A electronics, we went about testing them via direct comparison to many of the most expensive and exotic components that some of our clients had which included MBLs top of the line electronics and a $120k set of Krell MRA in both cases the T+A was better. To date we have tested T+A against Chord, CJ, Thrax, MBL, and Krell.
When the professional reviewers have compared the T+A usually is considered to sound nearly as good or better then most components which range in price from 2 to 5 times as much!
Check out the Positive Feedback review of the T+A HV 3100 integrated which was compared to a $45k Dagastino integrated.
" the PA 3100 HV ($21,500) quickly reminded me of my two favorite integrated amplifiers, the D’Agostino Momentum ($45,000) and Vitus RI-100 ($13,200).
"The overall tone, timbre, and performance of the PA 3100 HV fell somewhere between the Vitus and the D’Agostino. In my system, the Vitus was always very close to neutral with plenty of speed and detail along with a magnificent amount of muscle and authority in the low end. The D’Agostino was no slouch in bass performance, but what stood out for me was an additional fine layer of rich harmonics and a wonderful sense of liquidity."
The PA 3100 HV exceeded the Vitus in terms of blunt power and slam while yielding almost the same rich timbral purity of the D’Agostino. The best of both worlds? These three are so close that I would be very careful with system matching before making that final call. Needless to say, the PA 3100 HV can compete with the very best.
Lastly the phono stage is fantastic and has been compared to $10k phono stages the built in card is a $1,800 option.Right now they only have a handful of dealers as they are working on building out their dealer network, they may be hard to find right now but really worth seeking out, if you are on the East coast, please give us a call.
Dave and Troy
Audio Doctor NJ.