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New (used) phono stage guidance

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  • New (used) phono stage guidance

    Hi All

    its been a long time since I posted, although I check the site everyday.

    I'm planning on moving on from my Herron VTPH2a phonostage, so looking for any guidance on my top 2.

    For context my system is London reference mounted on an SME 312S/ Technics SP10 mk2, Herron vtph2a, Wyetech Opal, VTL MB450, Sound Lab M1 speakers.

    From where I am today, I’m looking for additional transparency, improved imaging/ sound staging and palpability.

    My short list is the Allnic H3000 and Pass XP25, on the used market of course. I’ve read very review and most comments on both of these, however I haven’t found a compare and contrast between the two?

    Does anyone have any thoughts on this?



  • #2
    It's so subjective. Personally, I love the BAT phono amps. Like you, I have read reviews on both of the preamps you mention and I have heard the H3000 in a very well sorted, very expensive system. It was not to my taste, but may very well be to yours. When I heard the Allnic a step or two above the H3000 (5000 or 7000) I was taken aback at how good it was.


    • #3
      I think the first question is what about the Herron you liked? Then proceed to better it with a replacement. Do you want more loading options? More gain? Solid state this time or staying with tubes or a hybrid? Thinking outside of the box, you didn’t mention what your turntable is sitting on? I am a great believer in engineered platforms like HRS, SRA, and Symposium. They can make a huge improvement to your sound. Your Herron is a nice piece of gear. Your system is interesting and I’m sure a terrific listen.
      Turntable: TW Acustic TT with Ref motor & controller; Tri-Planar Arm; Transfiguration Proteus Cartridge (repaired and re-tipped by AnaMightySound), Massif Record Weight, PS Audio Stellar Phono Preamp; KLAudio Ultrasonic Record Cleaner.
      Digital: Bluesound Vault-2 Music Server & Streamer
      Amplification: VTL 6.5 preamp Series II, Pass Labs 150.8 Amp
      Loudspeakers: Piega C711 Loudspeakers
      Isolation: Symposium Osiris Rack; Symposium Platforms and Roller Blocks and grade 2.5 Balls
      Misc: Acoustic Revive RR-888 Low Frequency Pulse Generator, Synergistic Research 12 UEF SE Line Conditioner, Level 3 HC AC Cord and Level 3 Atmosphere power cords, Synergistic Carbon fiber wall plates, Synergistic Research Orange Outlet, Furutech NCF Booster Braces, synergistic Research Galileo and Atmosphere X Euphoria Level 3 Balanced ICs, Synergistic Research Euphoria Level 3 Speaker Cables, Synergistic Research Cable Risers.

      Sennheiser HDV 650 Headphone Amp; Sennheiser HD800s Headphones.


      • #4
        The Londons like to be loaded at 33k, if your Herron only offers 47k at the MM input it may not reach its potential. I like the Herron a lot, id be surprised if the Allnic is a step up SQ-wise. The three Allnic pieces I had here erred on the 'tubey' side and not the most resolving. If you also listen to LOMC carts the XP25 will be more flexible than the Allnic, IMO.


        • #5
          the SS VdH "The Grail" phono stage beats the Tubed herron, which is already excellent in its own right. But "the grail" is twice the price at $8K
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mono) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects


          • #6
            I believe the Allnic H3000 is not going to beat the Herron in any parameter. A friend and dealer here who probably sells more Allnic than anyone in NA loves the line up - I have heard these iterations. you have to move up to at least the 5000 to reach a level that will challenge the Herron. At the end of the day you have to like it and ideally have to hear it.
            The 7000 is quite unique and I can see how one could be drawn to it... I am keeping my 3 box Io Eclipse.

            Phono: Aesthetix Io Eclipse with 2 Power Supplies and Volume controls
            Custom Slagle Silver Autoformer Volume control
            Brinkmann Balance & RonT Tube Power supply with Kuzma 4-point ,FR64S, .Koetsu Jade Platinum,Etsuro Gold, DaVa FA-1 Goldfinger Statement, KLAUDIO RCM, HRSM3X
            Amps: Custom Direct Drive, Wyetech Topaz, Futterman H3 Quad II,Citation II, Marantz 8b, 5 ,2. Bedini 25/25
            Otari Bx5050II , DeHavlland 222
            Chord DAVE, MScaler, FARAD linear power supply mod, OPTO-DX optical connection

            Pre-Amps:Marantz 7, Marantz Model 1 Consolette Pair
            Speakers: Beveridge Model 3 Direct Drive amps, REL S/2 x 2, Quad ESL pair


            • #7
              Hi Everyone

              thanks for such thoughtful replies on my question - very inciteful and shows the value of the forum! I’ll continue to do more reading on different phono stages.

              As I’d said I’m looking for increases in transparency imaging and palpability - basically an upgrade.

              I use symposium platforms under my turntable (ultra with stillpoints) and under the Herron (super plus with roller blocks) - I was really surprised at the improvements I got with the Herron, given that I’m on a concrete slab. I use Telefunken tubes in the Herron with a Shunyata python CX power cord - I think i have it in an optimal set up.

              Although right now I’m just using Decca/London carts I am interested in others and a stage with additional inputs could be useful down the road.

              I hadn’t considered the Grail before, have to do more reading on that one.

              thanks again guys



              • JCOConnell
                JCOConnell commented
                Editing a comment
                try to get an audition of "the grail". the dynamics are amazing and hearing is better than reading about it.