What is the BEST phono stage

I own a manley steelhead, & am wondering which phono pre amps are better. I plan on keeping the manley for my current system. My new system will be Basis diamond vacuum hold table, Graham phantom arm, Dynavector XV1S, Mcintosh C2200 tube preamp,pair of MC2000 tube amps, Klipsch Khorn,modded w/ xtreme slope ALK crossovers,and Trachorn. Any suggestions would be much appreciated!
The Messenger phono stage. Of course you will have to get the Messenger preamp as well since it is not sold as a seperate. Of course the Messenger preamp is the best preamp on the market.

Forgot to add that I don't want to spend over 8K....
SoundSmith cart/preamp combo. Around 4K-5K......under 8K.LOL
Wow. Best preamp on the market. I guess that settles that argument.
and under 8K? Or under 5K. Well around $500....yes - that is my final answer.
There is currently a fine PPA listed on the 'Gon: Thor Audio TA-3000 MK II. Great value.
There are likely to be many contenders.
Hot off the presses; just released.
No need to spend so much to have it . Go to this site: gspaudio.co.uk and click the banner "all about the phonopreamp". Have the patience to read the whole article, you will reach analog nirvana with an objectve professional advise. Good luck !
Try the TRON Seven. If you want a tube phono stage, this is great.
The Steelhead is very, very good -- it is debatable whether it makes sense to spend more money, even for use in the most resolving system. That said, I do want to chime in about the Soundsmith cartridge/preamp combination mentioned above -- this refers to the "strain gauge cartridge", which requires its own special preamp. I have not heard a better better front end component -- you should audition it if you have the opportunity (Soundsmith is 45 minutes by train or car from Manhattan).
Thnks for the responses.... I of course would like to spend less, I just want something better (better to my ears) than the Manley.
Spend less money and get a EAR 88PB.

I find it more musically involving than the Steelhead and Tim Pav is the master with transformers.
It's not a question of better or best, it's more about what works with your other components and how that fits your own preferences. Do you really know what you are looking for? Remember, you're the person who couldn't figure out how to connect the Manley to your preamp. I strongly recommend you get dealership type help. It's easy to buy very nice components, but their ultimate performance is only achieved through careful setup and system matching.
Hey Tjnif,
Raquel is right
Soundsmith is one of the "best" analog cart/phono combination that I've l know of. Is there something better..., possibly . I just haven't heard it yet.
All I can say is this:
If I could afford it right now,
I would be a happy man.

One day .........maybe?
I agree with Downunder. I recently purchased the EAR 88PB phono preamp. It is a wonderfully imaging, extremely musical unit. I've previously owned or home auditioned the following preamps: Supratek Cortese, Shindo Masseto, Audio Note M3, Joule Electra LAP 150 and Audio Horizons TP2.1n/TP 8.0iMCPn. Though each possessed excellent individual traits, none were able to satisfy me as completely as the EAR. With sound this good, I don't miss cds one bit.
I agree with Topoxforddoc- give the Tron Seven some consideration. I had a Steelhead and sold it for the Tron Seven. It sounds wonderful with my Raven TT, Graham Phantom and Air Tight PC-1 and is less expensive than the Steelhead. Call Jeff Catalano at Highwater Sound to discuss if you have interest.
Good luck with your search.
Tjnif, I too am using the Debut but with Vector 4 and Orpheus. If you are not getting the Synchro Wave PS may I suggest you do?

I have recently changed from a Xono to the ASR Basis Exclusive and I am very, very impressed with the ASR from every performance parameter. You will not find a quieter phono stage and the low level detail retrieval is exceptional. You will hear things you have never heard on your recordings before. Add to this great sound staging with all instruments clearly defined on that sound stage and the depth is again top notch. Follow up service and advice from Herr Schafer and his team in Germany is excellent. Can you tell I am happy with the ASR? You need to hear it!
Congratulations on the ASR Basis phonostage.
I won't be up and running with my ASR until my record player arrives.
REALLY looking forward to it. I did hear it in a system of a fellow I bought his ASR Emitter from.
Worth every penny.
Onhw61, thanks for your response, in regards to hooking up Manley,I had a Hum and wanted to make sure 100% it was hooked up right as I had a C2300 which was MUCH quieter, I changed cables, screwed around w/ tubes,outlets ect...Finally i decided to read the directions of the C2200 (imagine that) and low and behold....I had to reconfigure settings! When all else fails follow directions! And yes without a doubt I want dealer help,Gon member help,auditions ect... Thanks everyone!
Try the EAR line.
Another to check out is the Rossner and Sohn Canofer. An excellent and extremely adjustable german offering.
Wavestream Kinetics designed by Scott Franklyn is a tube super phono pre-amp in your price range that betters many higher price products. I think its one of the best at any price period. I'm biased because bought it to replaced my Aesthetix's Io Signature that I loved. The Wavestream products may have dealers across the country, but are available from Analog Room in San Jose, CA. Of course I'm subject to the same euphoria like many buyers, so its just MHO - no more. Damn, it sounds so gooooooood!
Second the Wavestream in your price range. But at this level, (and every other) it is a very personal thing.
Lamm LP2 with Kondo SFz

Have you heard the Kondo MM phono stage with the Kondo transformer? I thought that would be the logical ( but more expensive) way to go.
I'm gonna give a listen to the Tom evans Groove + and Tron 7 to start..... Hopefully I can work out an arragement to try them in my system...
Have you heard the Kondo MM phono stage with the Kondo transformer?

Yes, I did listen to it with a Kondo M7 Phono, too.

You have got me intrieged about the sound of the Lamm LP2 with Kondo SFz.

Could you elaborate on its sound?.
ie classic tube- rich and vibrant, a bit cooler? given the Lamm MM stage doing the first step of amplification.

Does the Kondo SFz give enough flexibility for most of your cartridges?
Buying a 2nd hand LP2 is certainly a lot more economical than the Kondo M7 phono.

Tjnif, did you get a home demo with the Tron or the Evans Groves +?
Haven't checked it out as of yet.....
Tjnif, have you by chance compared the Tron with the Evan Grooves ?
Would be curious to find out what the difference the two is.