Phono stage advice

So, after promising myself I won’t be upgrading anything soon, the itch to look at the final bit in my system I think can be improved has started to need some scratching.

As a summary my vinyl setup is: Rega Planar 6 with an Ania Pro MC into a Moon LP110 v2 phono and a Audioquest Sydney cable to my Uniti Star.

From many threads the feeling I get is that the Rega Aria phono could very well give the best results with the Rega entry level MC elements.

But as I am investigating this I may as well ask what you think. Do I:

  1. Stick to the Moon?
  2. Get the Rega Aria?
  3. Get another dedicated MC phono of no more than the cost of the Aria?

If your answer is 2, what can I expect in terms of improvement?

If your answer is 3, which one?

I know that trying it out is the best option but as we are stuck in lockdown this is quite difficult now and I am willing to take an informed risk and do some lockdown-softening retail therapy.

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All I will say is when I considered a new phono amp is wiil I keep with the same cartridge and make off cartridge, will I stay with mc or change to mm
I thought long and hard over it I had a budget off £800 for the thing
I got recommended
Graham slee
So I looked at some off the suggestions and some would tie you to mc or mm but not both with out more cost off swapping again
So in the end I made the decision to get the project ds2 valve phono because it
Can take a mm or mc or both
It’s very adjustable in anything to match 99%off cartridges out there so no hassle off changing about and experimenting with different cartridges
And it sounds very good to be honest I’m hearing new bits to well known records all the time
Ps I’ve gor p6 with ania cartridge, don’t get me wrong it’s not perfect but it covers many bases while sounding good

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If you want solid state, I’d look at a Lehmann Black Cube SEII or Decade, otherwise perhaps the EAR Phonobox? When going tubes, if adventurous, you could also consider an Ampearl.

Never heard the Rega though, just mentioning what I would recommend.

The Decade and Ampearl have the (big) advantage that you can configure input capacitance for MM carts.


@ARCHIE67, @n-lot Thank you all for some pretty good suggestions. Apologies for the late response, this train of throught was a little derailed this week by my home network breaking down and needing replacement.

@Richard.Dane I am curious what your opinion would be :wink:

If you have an Ania Pro then i would go for the Aria. I’d imagine they were pretty made for each other.


Thanks for your 2 cents, appreciated :slight_smile:

Let us know what you end up considering/auditioning, and ultimately, what you choose!

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To be honest I wasn’t recommending the project, more letting you know how I made my decision to come to that point off purchase
I’m very very happy with it in the 2 months I’ve had it and it just gets better and better the more it settles in
But at the end off the day you should make up your own mind up, and if you can borrow or home dem the suggestions and then make your mind up
Let’s face its a fair few quid to buy a new one and if your not happy after a few months then it starts to get expensive swapping again

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Oh yeah no worries, that is exactly how I understood it.

The problem with the lockdown now is of course having things demoed. Seeing what I can do but honestly it will probably be the Rega Aria as it is the Rega recommended phono stage for my cartridge and they are perfectly balanced for each other.

I was mostly curious if there was a clear cut winner over the Aria perhaps.

I would consider any future carts as well. I.e. make sure it’s not just a good combination with your current cart.

As mentioned, I don’t know the Rega electronics, so I’m not saying whether that is or isn’t the case with the Aria.

I’d recommend a dealer but its not allowed they do a 30 day home trial incase your not happy it were I got mine from
All this audio Affair is a strain on the wallet sometimes

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A very valid point indeed. The Aria does MC and MM and in the WhatHifi review they used both Rega and non Rega and it got full marks so I can only think that will be fine when the time comes.

Hahaha that is true. And thanks for the offer but I am not in the UK so that would make things harder, especially now. I have contacted my own dealer and they are happy to send me an Aria to test so I will start there.


Good news then hope its OK for you let’s face it rega aren’t exactly rubbish are they
As nlot says though make sure that if you change your cartridge the phono will as well its one off the main reasons I got the project

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I’m interested to hear how you get on. I was about to post a thread with a similar dilemma. The Aria is what I’ve had in mind for a few years of progressive upgrades and the phonostage is the remaining component to get my system to a level I will likely stick with for years to come, barring the odd cartridge replacement.
I have Planar 6, Ania MC, into Rega fono MC - Supernait 2. The deck, cartridge and phono amp was bought 3 months old as a package and I had planned on progressing with a p6, through the Aria with an MM cartridge I already had, before that package came up.
I am thoroughly enjoying the sound I have, but my recollection of the Aria from previous dealer room tests with an MM and RP3, was that it gave a wider sound stage and more open sound than a Naim stage line. I am keen to have the ability to use both MM & MC cartridges.
My dealer now stocks a Heed Audio Quasar phono stage that do both MM & MC and I would be interested if anyone has experience of them, I’ll try it out before I buy of course.

I was just reading yesterday that Hegel has a new MM/MC phonostage coming out next month. That might be worth a try.

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@Holmes Sounds like a nicely balanced system there…

Perhaps my experience of the Rega Aria might be interesting for you. My Rega RP6 was originally fitted with Exact MM and using Fono MM. Then I moved up to Rega Ania MC…

As this was several years ago, my memory of the details are rather hazy now. The dealer set up to audition several phono stage options, including Naim Stageline, Lehmann Black Cube and SE, Dynavector P75, Rega Fono MC and Aria. All were worth consideration, offering different pro’s and con’s. I settled on choosing between the two Rega options.

If budget was an issue, I would have been very happy with the Fono MC. I think it works really well with the Ania MC.

So, I thought the Fono MC might suit my needs. However, the Aria was the better product. So, much so, I persuaded myself to spend the extra. If you can stretch to this price point, it worth the extra. Bit more definition, high end detail and control.

(The Dynavector was also fancied at the higher price point, but in the end decided to stick with an all Rega solution).

I preferred the sound of the Fono MC and Aria to the other phono stages available, which ultimately comes down to “presentation”. So you should maybe demo the options and decide for yourself.

As an aside, and a bit off topic, I’ve recently moved on to Rega Ania Pro. I was pleasantly surprised how this improved things. So, that might be an interesting and worthwhile step for you, when you are ready to change cartridge again.

Finally, sorry but no experience of Heed, so can’t comment on this other option.

Hope that helps. Good luck and please do report back on how you get on?

As the names are so close fully understand why, but you’re referring to the Ania Pro here? If so I fully support it. I was plagued by sibilance on the normal Ania and the Pro solved that and gave me so much more. But if Holmes is happy with his Ania I’d say keep it, it’s a quite a price knock to upgrade after three months.

As for the Aria phono stage. Thanks for the opinions. Lucky I can now try one out before deciding to buy. Will see how it compares to my Moon when it arrives.

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@Kryptos Thanks for spotting typo’s. Now corrected.
Maybe I should check copy more rigorously before publishing. Especially in early morning hours. Lesson learned. LOL :joy:

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Oh I have to go back so often myself. My autocorrect keeps on turning Roon into Room just about every time I type it.

Just wanted to make sure I was commenting on something that was intended as I thought it was LOL.

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Why? Is there anything missing? What´s your expectation and what should another combination be able to do better or to provide more?

In MC mode the Moon 110 loads the Ania with 100Ω, what´s pretty perfect with the Ania according to it´s specs. Of course the Aria can be switches to 70Ω, 100Ω, 150Ω and 400Ω but besides the 100Ω setting the others won´t be a perfect match to the Ania cart. Thus I do not see a real benefit here.