VM540ML cartridge - what phono preamp is a good match


I recently upgraded to a Rega Planar 3 turntable, and put a Audio-Technica VM540ML cartridge on it, based on reviews and user comments here and on other sites.  The problem is that loud passages with massed strings and/or brass seem to get strident, overly bright and distorted.  That comes up frequently, since I listen to a lot of classical music.

Well, I found that this cartridge is spec'd for 47k Ohms resistance and 100-200 pF capacitance, which is nice to know, but Rega doesn't publish a capacitance spec on its tonearm wiring. My receiver (Sony STR-D515) shows 50k resistance but no info on the capacitance.  So, I suspect the cartridge and the phono stage might be a poor match, producing the strident brightness I'm hearing in the upper range instruments, but can't verify in the absence of specs.

So, my question is, if you are using this cartridge (or a similar A-T VM line cart), what preamp are you using to get good results?  

Thanks in advance!
2ndtrumpet
I have the same cart. Lots of choices for phono preamp.

try the EAR 834. if price is too much, then go for the doukmall clone on ebay for 369, then add some PSVANE tubes and becomes quite musical, very detailed, but no harshness.

where you are located?

Maybe try a different rca cable first? I have listened to the lounge audio and the at540. always sounds pretty darn musical to these ears. 
These AT cartridges are thin and bright for the first 50+ hours.
I can’t imagine the Sony has much of a phono stage. It’s a recipe for what you hear. But I think you know that. Look at a Schiit Mani phono or explore their products for a phono and preamp/power amp or look at the Mani with a tube integrated etc. Do you still have the Time Frame speakers? If so, try angle them upwards a small amount so the tweeters fire over your ears.
Try a Bellari VP130 tube phono stage into the Sony! USA-made and $225 - $275 on EBay. With this one 12AX7 unit you can easily select different "flavors" of tubes!
I suspect that the Sony's phono stage has inferior overload (headroom). That has been a problem with many phono circuits! The phono stage in my RGR 4 was designed with this factor in consideration - and can readily handle the "hot" combination of a LOMC + SUT!
Thanks for the suggestions, guys.  The cartridge now has a little over 20 hours, which I thought might be enough run-in time.  Maybe it needs more.  But I suspect, like y'all do, that the built-in phono stage isn't much to begin with, and may present more input capacitance than the A-T wants to see, as well. 
The EAR 834 is way beyond my budget for this, but it sure does get some glowing reviews.  There are limited opportunities to hear anything around here, other than one shop that carries Rega equipment (where I bought my new turntable), or the BestBuys that carry McIntosh (waaayyy beyond my budget).  So, other than a Rega Fono (MM or Mini), it looks I'll have to rely on reviews or recommendations.
There are EAR clones online for around $600... Single tube phono amps are generally hybrid op-amp based devices with a tube output stage.
Check out this guy's reviews of phono amps and lots of stuff in your budget.
Johnss & noromance ...are you talking about the ones from China that include EAR834 in the title? The ones I see are only $200 or so.  Are they pretty good?  
noromance ... I have played about 50 LP's on it.  Sounds a bit better, but the stridency is still there on some recordings...especially on 1960's DG 
roberjerman ... regarding the Bellari, does the input capacitance matter?  Can't find the specs on this unit, but several have commented that the VM540 doesn't like anything above 200pF total.  Does the tube overcome that?

Yes. Google 834 clone and read artofsound forum.

DG tend to be a little "hot".

If you can’t lower your Rega arm, try a 1mm shim between cartridge and headshell to change the VTA slightly. This can help tame the AT.
Yes, I've seen comments elsewhere to that effect about the A-T's brightness being tamed by letting them run a little low in the tail.  That's why I didn't add shims to raise the arm.  Or is it that it enhances the bass a little, which makes us perceive the treble to be moderated?

I wondered about the DG's from that period.  I have several late Mozart symphonies on DG - Karl Bohm and Berlin...the violins are a bit strident.  It just wasn't noticeable on the Technics linear tracker/AT152LP  I used for 30 years.
You may simply be getting more of The Truth from the transducer than you were.
2ndtrumpet,

yes, there is quite a range in what is offered though.

Doukmall sells what is basically a nearly direct clone for 430 bucks +/-

there are also several sellers now offering Marantz 7 phono stage clones. I just picked one of those up. Excellent, excellent build quality, decent quality parts, and chassis construction that is comparable to US made phono stages at the mid 4 figure price level. Am dying to try it out when it shows up. Some versions even have valve rectification which the original did not have.

also agree that the late DG lps can be strident and a bit edgy. But the new re-issues of same recording from DG are not, they are quite good. very natural and balanced sounding.