Phono Preamplifier

Hello to everyone.
I run my Technics sl1210gr + Ortofon Concorde Century cartridge directly through the Phono input of the SN3.
I am pretty happy with the results but since I only listen music through vinyl,I always seek for improvements.
So I would like to fire the following question:
According to the turntable-cartridge combination I use, would the addition of a phono pre like the ClearAudio Basic V2 (or something similar,in performance & price range) be an improvement for my system?
Thank you in advance.

Hi Vaggoz,

No idea how they would work in your system but Ken Kessler, for whom I have a healthy respect, loved the Mofi Ultraphone & the Project Tube DS2.



Thank you for your answer friend.
I used to have the Project ds2, the one without tubes,and have to admit that there wasn’t any substantial difference & improvement of the sound compared to the SN3 internal phono.
So from my point of view,the Project recommendation is out of consideration.
So my question remains:
With my tt-cartridge combination adding an phono preamp below 1000€,will improve the sound?

The other phono stages that would go through my mind are the EAR834p (Tim had a hand in the Ultraphono) and the Dynavector P75.

The advantage of the 834p & the Tube DS2 is that you can roll the valves to shape the sound. BUT, I suspect there will be no dramatic step change in what you hear, which is what you have found.

I will be interested in what you hear as you go forward.

What other phono stages have you already tried?

I would choose a Puresound P10 over the 834P. It’s a real bargain for the performance you get, should work well into the Naim, and it gets even better if you use better valves in place of the standard items.

Hi Richard,

I owned the P10 for a while, it didn’t really float my boat - but I believe it is very impedance sensitive. I loved the phono stage on my EAR868, but this is a step up on the 834p.

Supposedly it can be fussy with the preamp you use - as you say, an impedance thing. However, Naim preamps should be fine.

What about the Rega Aria?
Anyone tried it?

Agreed with MrUnderhill that the Dynavector P75 Mk4 is of worthy consideration (or previous iterations if looking to snap up a used bargain).

But really, much will depend on where you think you are going in your cartridge journey. If you are considering a potential future MC cartridge, especially with low impedance such as the Dynavector 20X2L – then the Dr. T mode (essentially making it a current amp) in the in the P75 is a delight and highly recommendable for punching above it’s price point.

But if you plan to stay with MM carts I’d recommend you look elsewhere. There are some terrific Graham Slee phono stages to consider as well – the Reflex M served me very well for a while, but I’ve heard great things about the Gold Era V.

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I would suggest a Sonneteen Sedley. It’s MM and MC it’s very flexible and you can opt for a USB recording if you want. To my ears it sounds wonderful.

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I have a Rega Aria with a DV 20X2L cart feeding in to a Nait XS2. Sounds great to my ears.


I’m using built-in nait xs3 phono with AT VM95E and I’m positively surprised by the performance! Really good. Much better than pro-ject phono S2 (ok not top pre but still). Bass is soo much better :slight_smile:

Thank you all guys for your recommendations,but the point of my question is different.
My question is if any of these preamps would sound better,with my turntable-cartridge combination,than the built-in preamp of my SN3.

Many people and it is generally well regarded, in particular with Rega cartridges. I am using it with P8 and Ortofon 2M Black into 252. I can’t single out the Aria and most of my gear is brand new, so I am excited, but it sounds absolutely amazing to my ears, and so far I tend to think it is my best source despite NDX2/555PSDR

Better than the SN3 I cannot tell you as I have not heard comparisons, but my dealer thinks that the SuperLine fed from the 252, i.e. without an external PS, has a hard time bettering the Aria into the 252 and needs at least a HighCap to start clearly doing so

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Sorry for not answering your question in the correct way. A stand alone phone stage will be better than the MM input on SN3 but it’s all subjective. Enjoy what you have at the moment then take your time to book some demos of phono stages or try to get some home demos.

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I have Rega Aria Mk3, Clearaudio Virtuoso V2 MM cartridge, into my SN3 and it sounds very good. To my ears and my room much better than the onboard phono stage of the SN3


It’s s £900 phono stage which is no doubt far more than the budget for the phono stage built into the sn3


At the risk of hijacking this thread, can I ask a question? Up till now I’ve been using the ‘K’ boards in my NAC72 to input the signal from my Troika. Logic would suggest a straight swap with a Stageline K into my new NAC 282, but is that necessarily the only way to go? Trying to keep the budget sub £1k.

I would look out for a K Prefix in preference to the Stageline. You could also add a Hicap and be well within budget. It may though need an off board supply for the LP12 motor, so your budget will be eaten up, but the gains will be sizeable.

Otherwise, you might be lucky to find a secondhand Superline just within budget.

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I suspect the Prefix will need a dealer install (money) and yet another box (money) on the Fraim stack so another level (money). Am I wrong to think that the NAC 282 can power the Stageline?