Soundsmith Zephyr and just started using a Hagerman Trumpet MC. Wish I had the Zephyr lo output MIMC now, as I think the Trumpet would be even better with a lower output cart. The standard Zephyr is 2.4 mV.
Sounds pretty good regardless. The Trumpet, and Zephyr, is highly recommended.
Herron VTPH2A, with Koetsu Black Goldline. The short list for my next one is Soundsmith Hyperion or Strain Gauge.
Modified Croft 25R with bulk foil resistors and external tube rectifiers/regulated power supply and Decca Super Gold with Decapod and Paratrace stylus. Fast and dynamic with great timbre and color.
last count 4....Music Reference / Croft RIAA - RS single chassis, latest Herron, MX-110 Z, Dynavector P75 MK4....
without context, the conversation is mostly meaningless...
Modified SFP-1, Zyx 4DSB2 H Ulitimate.
Allnic H-1201 phono preamp.
James, I have "The Voice" and am using an ARC PH3 SE I bought new 25 years ago. I have yet to hear a better phono stage in my system. I have not used "the Voice" with it yet as I am still waiting for a new table (I sold the old one) The PH3 SE is in my way of thinking, almost a perfect phono stage. It is a minimalist unit with the minimum of switches. It has just a power switch and a mute switch which are very nice long, easy to hit toggle switches. You change loads and capacitance by soldering resistors and capacitors to large pins on the main board. There are no switches in the signal path. It only has 54 dB of gain so use of a very low output cartridge will require use of a transformer. There is a huge amount of unused real estate inside to mount one.
Currently Allnic 1201 and Sutherland Little Loco alternating between AT-Art 9 and Hana SL LOMC. Either combination sounds great but I lean towards the Allnic with the Art 9.
I use a Modwright SWP 9.0 Signature with an upgraded power supply. I think if I were in your shoes, I would get the Modwright PH 9.0 Phono Stage.
I am using an AT ART 9 cartridge, it sounds amazing on my Garrard 401 and Dynavector 501 arm vinyl front end.
Good luck, and best regards,
Soundsmith Carmen II with Ayre P-5xe.
The magics in the music and the musics in me. Clean, clear, dynamic, accurate.
Thank you all for the responses. I currently have a Soundsmith zephyr MIMC star and a Vincent pho 701 and I just upgraded my integrated amplifier to a raven nighthawk mk3.1 and my phono pre amp just isn’t cutting it anymore.
McIntosh 1100 with Hana Umami
Rogue Ares Magnum with 2 inputs and a mono switch. Miyajima Zero mono on a Basis 2001 and Benz LP-S on a Vertere MG-1.
Soundsmith Boheme with Whest signature three.
I’m using the Sutherland 20/20 with the Hana EL but I’m going to definitely make a move to the Koetsu Black Goldline.
Currently running a Soundsmith VPI Zephyr. This was, until recently, being used with a Coda 06X. Now the Soundsmith is partnered with a Space-Tech Laboratory tube phono stage. The results from the Soundsmith are very good via tubes as well as solid state.
Using Parasound JC3 jr with Ortofon Cadenza Bronze on my SL1200G. Dead quiet with loads of dynamic presentation!!! Very pleased indeed.
Please don't laugh but I am still using an Audiolab 8000PPA bought new in March 1996 with a Koetsu Black. Turntable is a Michell Gyrodek modified to Orbe status with an SME V arm with detachable headshell, which was a special order from SME.
Van den Hul Grail SB with vdh Colibri and others, Ortofon A90, Audio Technica ART-1000.
The Grail and the ART-1000 are the big discoveries here, both little known and of the highest SQ. Grail isn't cheap but the equal of much costlier top-end stuff. ART-1000 excels with precision, clarity and vivid soundstage.
The Grail replaced a PH2 and the change was like moving from a transistor radio.
Air Tight ATE2. 2 phono MM inputs and 1 Aux. Phono section driven by 12AX7 (ECC803S telef(3). Line section : 2 Ecc88 (in my case replaced them by nos E188cc).
PSU incl : 12BH7 (nos Tungsol Sol), 6X4 (nos GEC), EF86 (E80F for me is the best EF86 if you have enough room inside the pre).
If you connect the Air Tight ATH2 step up in one phono input you can drive 4 different carts. Sound is very very good and reliability is of the highest level.
NOS tubes helps to cook your preferred sound.
Rogers PA-2 with Hana SL1200. Was going to upgrade TT rig but decided to go for a deal on a used PA-1A and have it upgraded. Don't have it back yet (waiting with bated breath) but when I originally plugged it in I could not believe the difference it makes. I still want to upgrade the TT rig at some point but this is better enough by a lot that it's cured my upgradeitis. Thinking this might be the end game phono pre for me.
Use either an NVO all tubed unit or Gold Note PH10. So different but NVO always sounds fantastic in either MM using a step-up or MC straight in.
Soundsmith Zephyr (medium output) and Zephyr MIMC (low output) with a Manley Chinook. Vintage tubes in the Chinook.
I went through multiple phono pre’s before I popped on a Sutherland 20/20 with Lyra Delos cart. If you want super quiet low noise and have potential for hum,the Sutherland is a good choice. This is a great combo and I also just replaced a Scout 1.1 Shri a new Pure Fidelity Encore table with Origin Live Silver.
I’m done...... for a while!
Good luck Willy-T
Sold my Jolida JD 9 (modified: op-amps, caps, dampening, tubes, etc...) to help fund my new purchase.
Am waiting (not so patiently) for my new SunValley phono pre-amp to arrive from Japan (via VK Music,Vancouver BC).
Until the end of April (expected ETA), I am using the phono preamp in an Elekit TU 8500 preamp, with a DIY step up transformer and ZYX R50 Bloom lll/ ZETA tonearm combination.
Anyone using a Soundsmith cartridge? And if so what phono preamp are you using? (Individuals with other cartridges feel free to chime in!)
SoundSmith cartridge can work with any good phono stage if this phono stage have optional loading and gain for MM or MC. After very simple mod my JLTi mk4 can provide whatever load impedance I want (RCA plug resistors on the back). Latest mk5
also can be modified by the manufacturer to let you change loading for MM. Amazing phono stage!
I also use Gold Note PH-10
with PS-10 and WLM Phonata Reference
Current mode MC phono stage from 47 Labs (Phonocube)
Optional Luxman toroidal silver or copper SUTs
Optional headamp ZYX CPP-1
Too many cartridges here.
I use the KC Vibe with my MOFI Studio Deck with the master tracker cartridge. I am very, very happy with that paring.
I have a Soundsmith the Voice cartridge and a PS Audio Stellar phono preamp and the turntable is a VPI rim drive HRX.
I'm really enjoying my Luxman/Ortofon front end. Turntable is the PD 171a with a Cadenza Black and I love my Luxman EQ-500. The one modification that I did was changing the LED from blue to green. My little trick was applying a tiny bit of transparent tape over the LED and coloring it with a yellow highlighter!
Aesthetix Io Eclipse with dual power supplies. Soundsmith Hyperion, Soundsmith Sussaro MKII, Benz LPS, Benz Ruby Z.
Hyperion is divine with the Aesthetix, or Aesthetix is divine with the Hyperion. Either way, I am done. Future mods will be more experimentation with other cartridges and tonearms.
next stop....maybe strainguage
Soundsmith Sussurro cartridge into a Herron phono preamp, then (similar to you) into a Raven Osprey integrated.
Parasound JC3 Jr.
Vincent PHO-8 (as emergency backup)
No Soundsmith cart., unfortunately. Ortofon Quintet on VPI Scout T/T.
Fosgate Signature V2 with
Audio Technica Art-9
I am using a rogue magnum stealth and an original rega ios and both are dead quiet even on an ultra low output mc cartridge so i can say that they are very good options. Also the parasound jc3+ would be a good choice and will grow with your table and system. The first two mentioned are also very quiet even on +100 decibel speakers which is very important for lovers of tube amplifiers.
I went from a Parasound JC3 Jr., to Herron VTPH-2A, to PS Audio Stellar. With a 1200G and Ortofon Quintet Black. Surprisingly to me, the Herron and PS Audio were basically a toss-up. The Stellar is dead quite and sounds great.
"Fosgate Signature V2 with Audio Technica Art-9"
Same setup as melm. Both(Foz out of production) excellent pieces. Presently have a Kiseki Blue thru the Foz.
Soundsmith is a great choice. Get the most you can afford. You will have the ability to send it back when it needs a tune up. Used a $399 entry level Soundsmith Otello. It's "the best" in case of emergency, break glass-back up cart I've heard so far.
Yaqin MS12B, Built in Phono in Plinius M16, MAGI Phonomenal, and Allnic H1202.
TW ACUSTIC RPS 100 one of the best made in my opinion.
PS Audio Stellar with a wide variety of cartridges. Currently Gold Note Donatello Black.
The most beautiful phono stage I ever heard is the Zesto Andros.
The are now about $5K but worth it. The glory of finely implemented tubes!
Herron VTPH-2A, Lyra Skala.
Nagra BPS (battery powered) and a Dynavector XX2mkII on my Sota Nova VI w/Audiomods arm.
I haven’t read all of the posts yet but I will. I’m using a SoundSmith ”The Voice”. Both my phono pre my preamp are from Aric Audio. His really nice tube equipment w/ Zu Soul Supreme speakers.
It sounds incredible!
Best wishes to our friend Peter at SoundSmith.
TT is Pro-ject Carbon EVO 10.
Dynamic Sounds Associates (DSA) Phono II with Ortofon Windfeld Ti, Kiseki Purple Heart, or Miyajima Madake on an Origin Live Sovereign. A Hyperion is in the future. Thoughts and Prayers for Peter!
I picked up a Soundsmith Aida II not too long ago and have been using it off and on with my Technics SL 1200 MK2 and Pass Labs XP-15. Sounds great, very quiet, dynamic, detailed, and a big soundstage.
Denon AU-320 SUT
Icon Audio PS1.2 MC with NOS Telefunken tubes - sounds great with the Tele tubes and Hana ML series cart @ 200 ohm load. With the NOS Tele tubes (not new anymore) running $400 - $500 each now I thought I'd try a Hagerman Trumpet MC. It's still burning in but starting to blossom. I upgraded the power supply with SBooster and installed gold lion gold pin tubes. The goal is to get this phono stage sounding as good or better than the icon audio/Telefunken combo and it's almost there. I'm not sure why the IA/Tele/Hanna ML combo sounds so good but it does. As we know...it's all about getting the right match of components that work well with each other and I just got lucky with that combo. Another highly knowledgeable friend of mine recommended the Trumpet MC. He's had his a while now and loves it. It comes highly regarded as probably the best value in a phono stage right now.