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  1. #1
    Member
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    Feb 2014
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    Phono stage candidates

    Hi,

    Getting that "upgrade itch" again. I am currently using a Tavish Adagio phono with the upgraded SUTs, which sounds pretty darn good! However, I'm looking at several alternatives; Zesto Audio Andros Deluxe II (the top of my budget), Luxman EQ500, for tube units and the Sim Audio 610 LP or the Whest 40 RDT as the SS contenders. Whichever one I choose, it must have balanced outputs and cannot be over 5 inches high due to space limitations of my equipment rack. My cart is a Kiseki PH N.S. which I will hold on to for the time being, but I may decide to move on to something else later on. Both my preamp and amp are SS and the amp runs in class A. I am still partial to tubes, although I am willing to keep an open mind. I am hoping that the next purchase will be an "endgame" phono stage for me.

    The Zesto is a new design, the Luxman design is several years old but likely will remain in the lineup for a number of years given the history of their previous phono stages. The Sim Audio looks like it may be nearing the end if its 10 year life cycle, since it has been around for 7-8 years. The Whest 40 series was introduced in 2019? Just like most others in this hobby, I hate when I buy something only to have a newer model introduced soon after. Anyway.

    Any thoughts? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Audioshark
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    Re: Phono stage candidates

    EQ500 gets my vote. We have one in the store and itís fantastic.


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  3. #3
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    Feb 2020
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    Hailey, ID
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    Re: Phono stage candidates

    The Whest 40 series is older than that. I think it dates back to 2015 at least. I have, and enjoy, the Modwright PH150, which is out of you price range, but the PH 9.0 is around $3k. It comes with a 14 day money back guarantee, which is nice.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Re: Phono stage candidates

    I have the Zesto Andros Deluxe. It is a terrific Phono pre. Have not done the upgrade to the MK II version. Iíve been told the new transformer is transforming.
    _______________

    Mike

  5. #5
    Senior Member
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    Dec 2018
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    San Jose, CA
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    Re: Phono stage candidates

    I use the SimAudio 610LP. If you're partial to tubes, it probably won't really be to your taste unless you address that downstream. But I think it's outstanding and haven't gotten an itch to upgrade further.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Re: Phono stage candidates

    I vote SimAudio as well. Very satisfied with my 310!
    Amps: Hattor "The Big" w/AMRG Trans, Hattor Tube Active Stage, Bel Canto REF500S, McIntosh MC754
    Vinyl: Rega RP8 w/Rega Neo PSU, Rega Ania Pro, Technics SL-1500C, Moon by SimAudio NEO 310LP, Record Doctor VI
    Digital: Falcon Northwest PC Server, T+A DAC 8 DSD, W4S Recovery, Roon & HQPlayer, Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Astell & Kern SE200
    Transducers: Magnepan MG .7's w/Magna Riser Stands, Rythmik L12's (x2), Abyss Diana Phi's
    Other: McIntosh MR7083, Oppo BDP105, AudioQuest Niagara 1000, Astell & Kern AK240 (for sale)

  7. #7
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    Re: Phono stage candidates

    Thanks all for your input! After much contemplation, reading reviews and a lot of back and forth, I have decided to go with the Luxman EQ 500, since I ultimately decided to stick with a tubed unit. As a result, the finalists were narrowed down to the Luxman and the Zesto and I could have gone with either one. However, after thinking about what the reviewer in "Soundstage Ultra" said of the Luxman: "In a previous review, I urged readers to search for audio components that would stand the test of time. Such components should be relentlessly musical, gorgeous to look at, easy to use, reliable, and provide state-of-the-art sound quality thatís unlikely to be significantly bettered for years. The Luxman checks all of those boxes." I realized that is precisely what I was looking for! I hope to get one by the end of the month.

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Phono stage candidates

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