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"are discrete electronic components a bad thing?"
Yet another thing to debate among tech heads. More so, if someone is a tube fan.
Discrete electronic component-think something with traditional parts
From a listeners standpoint why care? If you're a tech repairing something- you hate boards with them. I wouldn't doubt there are members who claim they can "hear" these awful smd's.
I wouldn't be concerned about the reliability comment for the Stellar. If there is a problem, the company is domestic and solid as far as customer service.
With the table/cart setup you have, any tube considerations(EAT) should also consider some of the brands regularly mentioned here-Manley, Herron, Allnic.... No "better" player- just different.
The Hyperion deserves as much money you can afford towards the phonostage. You can start another thread on the merits of pricey IC's once you get it.
None of those.
Get the vdH Grail SB and run your TT fully balanced into it and through the rest of the system.
This is at least the equal of all other high-end phonos and hardly known to anyone here.
Borrow one and try it at home. I did and that's my only connection with the brand, save having bought four vdH cartridges.
I have a Musical Fidelity M6 Vinyl. I have two turntables, one with a Sumiko Blackbird MC and one with a Clearaudio Virtuoso MM. I have both hooked up and just push a button to change between them. It will also save multiple settings for the same turntable, so you can swap headshells with different cartridges.
Oh, It also sounds great. Here is a good video about it: https://upscaleaudio.com/collections/phonostages/products/musical-fidelity-m6-vinyl-phono-stage
Folks, thanks for all of the suggestions and for giving me a lot to think about. I can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm going with millercarbon's advice and getting the Herron Audio phono stage. Keith tells me it's the last one he's making - so I have a collector item. But seriously, I couldn't find one bad thing written about it in reviewes or forums. It seems it has the sound qualities I'm looking for with my system. And Keith is a great guy.
@jigasp So you're 'getting the Herron'. Only a day has gone by since MC posted. No down on him on this one, it may be a good recommendation, but you mean you're going to buy it without listening first on your own rig in your own room???
That would be madness. Don't choose any component on one recommendation without hearing it. Not even a coloured fuse.
Unless you're an MC disciple who just likes what he likes.
I just got my Herron and set it up the night before last. It clearly outdid my Pass XP-15 and my Manley Chinook, both of which are very good phono stages. More separation between individual voices and instruments, a more clearly defined sense of space and a larger soundstage. The sound has more body and everything sounds more "lush" for lack of a better word. I wouldn't describe it as totally "neutral", which I'd say both my Pass and Manley phono stages lean towards, but it doesn't sound like it's exaggerated in any way either, if that makes sense. I'm still drinking in the differences, I've only had a chance to listen to a few records.
I've been using it with my Acoustic Signature Wow XL turntable with a ZU Denon DL-103 that is freshly back from a rebuild by Andy Kim. I tried it last night with my "lowly" Technics SL-1200 MK2 with a Shure V15 Type IV with a SAS Jico stylus and it sounded amazing, better than most analog systems I've heard. It's in another league with the Wow XL and I'm looking forward to trying it with one of my higher end cartridges.
I predict that you won't regret your purchase, and you won't want to sell it.
Hey @jjgasp Congrats on getting the Herron. I too had just gotten mine less than a week ago. I had put up a post a little over a month ago asking for suggestions: https://forum.audiogon.com/discussions/which-to-upgrade-first-turntable-or-phono-preamp
Like you, I also based my decisions on many positive reviews in this forum. There really aren't any formal reviews from any of the stereophile magazines.
I ended up doing home trials on the new PS Audio Stellar Preamp, Parasound JC3+, and finally the Herron. I think the Herron will be my keeper. To be honest, all 3 phono stages sounded pretty good. I can easily be happy with anyone of the 3. But I found the Herron to have just a tiny bit more details, spaciousness, and sounds more 'vinyl' than the other two (if there is a such thing as a 'vinyl' sound). But I do find the JC3+ and Stellar more quiet. I can hear more noise from my turntable picking up by the Herron. Also I think the bass is a little bit tighter on the JC3+ and Stellar also. I would like to hear your impression of the Herron once you get a chance to spend some time with it.
Is it true that Keith will no longer make any more VTPH-2A? The VTPH-2A web page on the Herron's site now says 'Out of Stock'. So is this really going to become a collectable item? :-)
The Herron is a great phono stage, however, we felt the Zesto Deluxe II was clearly better. The Zesto Deluxe II is more expensive. We havent had a chance to compare the Herron head to head with the entry level Zesto Andros II yet. Although the Andros crushed the Manley Chinook which we thought was pretty average. I would suggest the Herron over anything on your list by a wide margin.
We are a Zesto dealer.
Also you should really look at a tube amp/preamp or integrated amp for your speakers. OTLs would be spectacular. Nothing against Pass I just dont think it is a good fit.
If you are looking at a Colorado product, check out Ayre Px5e. Another great product is the Parasound HALO JC3+ Phono. Great reviews for both of these products. The Pass is good as well. I have the Ayre with the VPI Aries 3 100lbs unit that has all of the goodies. I use to have the Clearaudio Reference with a Tangent Arm and a Goldfinger Statement Cartridge. I used the Ayre with that as well. Hopefully you can tryout in your system. Let your ears do the telling.
Best of luck with your decision.