Tube vs. Solid State Phono Stage

So, I've always had toob amplification; mostly SET. Upstream, I have analog vinyl only. In keeping with my philosophy, point of view, style, whatever you want to call it, I've felt compelled to go with an all tube phono stage:
Cary PH302.

In summary, this has 55db gain, tubed rectification, RIAA equalization and gain stages.

I have no complaints.

However, I can't help notice that some, what seem to gennerally be considered, as world class phonoo stages are solid state.

In my price range, I'm at least thinking about what a Pass Xono would add to my system.

Any insight or opinions?

I have all Audio Note gear with a Meishu 300B amp with phono.

I bought a E.A.R. 324 phono and put it in my system.

It blows away the phono in the AN Meishu. If you can find one buy it as soon as you can as it is a world class phono amp.
The Pass would be among the most neutral of the solid state choices and would not be expected to add anything to the sound except gain. You would lose the contribution of "tube sound" from the Cary phono preamp, but you clearly already enjoy the benefits of tube sound via the other amplification components in your electronics chain. Some of these benefits, like soft clipping, are more associated with the power amp anyhow. It should be worth a try -- buy and sell on Audiogon.
I share your sentiments and have lived with a number of tube and hybrid phono stages. Living close to a radio tower, and suffering from high RFI, a solid state phono stage is the best and almost only way for me to eliminate RFI noise in my rig.
Many designers and retailers have used similar thinking in assembling their reference systems. As an example, Lloyd Walker of Walker Audio comes to mind.
Other ss phono stages that you might check out include the Vendetta Research, Klyne, Whest & JLTI. Cheers,
I am using an Einstein SS phono stage after being very happy with a number of tube designs. IMO, the Einstein is far and away the best all round performer. Quiet as can be, incredibly dynamic and neutral, the Einstein lets the music through without adding anything nasty, deliverying all the best qualities of music reproduction. I really believe, if you like your amp and your speakers, you will be happy with the Einstein. I will continue to have tubes in my system, but do not feel a need to have them in the phono section.

BTW, the most success I head with tube designs was when using them in conjunction with a Bent Audio step Up transformer. For a tube design alone, I would definately look at the Keith Herron.
You should post this question in analog forum. As from my experience, tube phono is still way better too me.
The only one I am very curious is the expressive SUT-1 step up device. It is hard to avoid lower noise of J-Fet vs tube in the MC head amp. The transformer based stepup doesn't always work for all cartridges. As far as for MM section, the tube version sounds much more spatious and open than SS. However, as many said, poor tube design ones gives noise and can't handle the dynamic. I had about half dozen of the tube and 4 SS design. I like the Jadis stand alone phono and MFA Reference pre phono section.
However, I end up with vintage Harmon Kardon Citation I and Music Reference RM-4 combo. The Citation I can play any type of LP dated from 1950s to todays RIAA equalization. Furthermore, it puts many modern MM phonos to shame that cost way more. Obviously vintage gear is not for everyone as it might require some repair or replace all the parts to give it a new life.
The RM-4 is a tube and J-fet combo which gives one of the best quiet and detail sound for the MC head. This is the best stepup device I have used and still own it.

Btw, how is the Fi X amp sound? I am very curious as I have a DIY 12Watt WE421A PP amp. My speakers aren't as efficient as yours so I need at least 7 Watt from SET and 12 Watt from PP.
I had a Hagerman Coronet for a long time and generally poo-poo'ed solid state designs. A friend brought over a Plinius integrated amp he was evaluating for a review and it had a solid state phono stage. What a dramatic difference in terms of slam! But it was a wee bit sterile sounding compared to the tubes.

So an upgrade was in order for me. I came across a Hagerman Trumpet and picked it up. It has the slam and speed of the solid state and the imaging, bloom and musicality of tubes. My vinyl is now one of the best I have heard.

I'm using it with a Dynavector 20X-H, otherwise I would need a step up - something to consider. the EAR 834's in their modded form are also certainly worth checking out if you want the best of tubes.

i did a load of reviews of phono stages in 2005, and came to the conclusion that one should not try and differentiate between tube and solid state, but on the sound you like, and whichever stage delivers that sound, that's the one you want.

An important thing to consider is synergy. If you have a lazy/soft/syrupy pre-amp and power amp, a good solid state design like a Tom Evans groove may do the trick to inject some slam.

Nothing is perhaps more important than synergy.

I personally think that of the stages I have listened to in the £500 - £2500 range the two that stood out for me were by Whest and Paul Hynes, but they are not cut from the same cloth. the Hynes (tube)was musically relaxed and effortless, the Whest (solid state) was musically exciting and dynamic - oh yes deathly quiet too.

I recommend you also hear an Art Audio stage - very nice indeed.

whatever you do, get the dealers to lend you the equipment to put in your system.

Our local audio club does phonostage shootouts several times a year. We play our personal phonostages against phonostages supplied to us via a friendly local dealer. The clear cut winners at various price points have been the SS Vacuum State JLTi (US$1,500) which has bested anything we have thrown against it up to US$3,000. The original Herron VTPH-1mc/plus (JFET tube hybrid) now discontinued but available used for US$1,700-1800, beat all contenders up to $5,000. We have only matched the new Herron VTPH-2 (JFET tube hybrid with both MM and MC inputs) against a few more expensive phono stages which it bested. However, the sample is too small to form any solid conclusions. However, we do know that it is substantially better than the Herron VTPH-1mc/plus.

All three phono stages are neutral and musical.
Hi Rgordonpf; I'd be curious to know which stages were included in your listening sessions that were bested by the Herron? Thanx