Valve phono stage

I’m considering switching to valves for my phono stage... can any of you guys recommend any with balanced outs for around $3800?

Current phono stage is Whest PS.30RDT.

I’m currently using a Roksan Xerxes 20Plus with Origin Live Encounter arm & upgraded Lyra Skala.

Or would I reap great rewards from an arm upgrade...?


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@lewm - thank you, appreciate your explanation. 

@almarg - & thanks also, informative. 

Keith told me -

 "A good fully shielded RCA to RCA interconnect from the turntable can give great sound with no hum and noise. It is the quality of the electronics makes a huge difference in the sound."

@rsf507 - funny you should mention that as a dealer offered me a used one!

The rogue ares magnum is excellent and if you can pick one up on the used 😀
What about a BAT VK-P6, standard or SE. It uses tubes, and has balanced outputs. I picked up a VK-51 preamp recently, and am stunned by it.
@jmolsberg - thanks

@sfgiantsmoya - thanks, it's now on my shortlist!
I bought a used Aesthetix Io mk2 for about $3800 years ago, and later upgraded. To my ears it sounds better than e g the Steelhead, ARC PH6 and others I've heard. Especially after I upgraded to dual power supplies and partial eclipse status. You have to accept some tube noise, but with the latest quiet stock tubes recommended by Aesthetix it runs more quiet than before and it is not much of a problem with a cartridge giving 0.3 or more mV output. The main issue is to get ultra-quiet tubes in the very demanding first gain stage. Maybe, it can tackle 0.2 SL types of carts also. A step-up transformer is not recommended. It only has MC inputs (one XLR, one RCA). It is not fully balanced, but the balanced output is clearly better than the single ended output. So to get the best of it, you need a balanced preamp (and - ideally - amp).  Regarding the input, from the cartridge, Aesthetix tells me opinions vary, but often, customers prefer single-ended (RCA) input. I use a DIN-RCA Kimber KCAG cable, and have never had hum problems. If you go the Io route, eventually starting with a Rhea, I don't think you'll regret it. But be prepared, this is a "purist" solution.