Throw some vintage Telefunkens in the Rhea. You own one extraordinary phono stage my friend. Put your money elsewhere.
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Biggest bang for buck is SDS controller. I would get the new Gingko-style feet - not the air bladders - offered by VPI. The stainless clamp is also nice as well.
For cartridge/phono stages, you could buy all the greatest equipment now and still be disappointed because of improper matching/setup. I would suggest you walk before you run then upgrade later on.
I am in partial agreement with both Stew & Pkaram. However, I've got about ten comments for you so here goes...for starters, you don't mention what, if any, tonearm is on the table now. I'd recommend sticking with the JMW arm or considering the JMW12.6 if you don't have an arm on the table. There's nothing wrong, per se, with the 2.2, but it does have many detractors. There are many old threads on tonearms that you should check out on that
As for cartridges, ZYX, Shelter and Dynavector are all good choices in the same price range as the Blackbird, and I'm particularly impressed with the ZYX line.
Upgrading the motor controller is a great idea. Personally, I like the Walker Motor Controller over the SDS, and am very happy with mine, as are numerous audiophile friends. Yes, it costs more than the SDS, but I think it's worth it. If you stick w/your Rhea, as suggested by Stew, you might be better off investing in the upgraded motor controller.
If you are intent to try a different phono stage, out of your list the Lamm, Tom Evans and Manley Steelhead jump out as best to me, but you are better off not changing so much at once. Get the table going, see how you like it w/the Rhea, and audition phono stages later.
As for the VPI tweaks go, the new feet are a no-brainer. The are EASY to set up level, & don't leak. The $600 ring clamp is not so easy a call. I find it to provide a bit more solid bass, and a slightly blacker background, but not huge compared to some other changes. The newer motor is in part designed to reduce its footprint. Not sure how much of a difference sonically than what you've got now. If no space constraint, I'd guess that it's a lower priority than the motor controller. Good luck,
Thank you for your responses everyone. I should have checked twice what I wrote as I did not make myself clear enough, I do not own a rhea just yet it is something I would like to acquire. I own at this time an ear 834p deluxe and would like to upgrade to the rhea, is this the best way to go or are there better phono stages.