I have a GN Phono and power supply on my p8. It is configurable on a dial for cartridge loading and riaa curves so you can try put which suits best on the fly. Excellent phono imo. Ph-10 and psu-10.
So if we are hitting Rega Aura level. This raises the question of the Rega Aura or Naim Superline, which now seem cheap in comparison.
How do the two compare?
Well i was going to go for the Rega P8. However, I can now get a used p10 for the same price. However, I hadn’t really considered a RIAA. As I thought I could run it through my SN3.
As such, the Rega Aura seems too expensive. Originally considered a Rega Aria. However, this could be too low quality (??) in comparison to the p10. So to answer you question the budget is probaly from a Rega Aria upto a Naim Superline.
Both are good.
Honestly, the Aria is a steal at that price point.
If you wish to go further, the SuperLine is king.
We have both at home, so feel qualified to say so.
Beyond that broad statement, we are into subtleties.
The Rega phono items always work well with Rega cartridges, there is always synergy.
Only recently, enjoyed listening to Naia with Alphelion, set up with Rega Aria. It was stunning.
The SuperLine probably deserves a really good amplifier XS3 or SN3 upward. It can be used directly with XS3 and SN3, without the addition of an external PSU. Added a power supply takes it up another level again.
Can you listen to these things for yourself?
We all have different preferences, so that is always best.
When originally auditioning the SuperLine, two thoughts occurred to me.
(1) Delight. How much more music is to be found in vinyl records, when you add the right combination of items, (such as SuperLine).
(2) Respect. Actually, how good the Aria really is. When you consider the step up, in cost, between Aria and SuperLine, it reflects well on what the Aria does.
Lots of good advise and options provided here so far (also educated me again on options).
What I have not read @GDUD in your original question is how important vinyl is to you - is it your primary source - what your budget is for now, and where you want to go or stay…
You could alway try a baseline first, enjoy that for a while, and then move upwards and/or sidewards. What I’m hinting at is fitting to your lovely P10 the new Ortofon 2MR-Black-LVB cartridge (moving magnet) and plugging that in the quite nice MM internal phono stage of the SN3. It’s about the best you can do in MM, see where that leaves you before going MC with the external phono stages.
If you would then first spend the money of an external phono stage on adding a DR HiCap to the SN3, this would again elevate your phono system, and also all other sources.
So perhaps there are more options than only going straight to MC/external, and from me a divergent recommendation to keeping things simple to enjoy your new system (I take it both turntable and amp are new since your profile lists Nait5i/ND5XS as your system).
Good luck on your analogue journey!
I was also going to suggest a MM cart to start with through the SN3 (I use the Rega Exact on an upgraded 80’s Rega Planar into a Heed Quasar). At the RP10 level with a good phono, you are really pushing into the territory of better amplification to get the best out of them.
A Step Up Transformer might also be an option given the friendly capacitance on the SN3 phono input, the stageline and earlier boards were maybe less suited.
Prior to having a Superline I had a Stageline, excellent phonostage at that price point.
Indeed so, yet I doubt that a Stageline N via aux2 on the SN3 would better its internal MM phono stage. But when you need/want MC yes a pre-loved Stageline S or K would be a logical first and very affordable step. Especially when spending the Superline money on a DR HiCap first. Which is also good for the SN3s internal phono stage in the MM scenario.
MM has come a long way. IMO it all depends to what level you want to take things in a balanced system approach, and what budget one has to get there. A friendly dealer helps a lot.
Slight thread deviation but when I first had a Stageline (MC) and then Superline I powered both from my 282 both really good. My Superline is on its way back from holiday in Salisbury and when back I’m going to try it both with its own HC and off the back of the 252/SC, don’t suggest a 2nd SC🙈
I ran both Stageline N and the inbuilt stage on my XS3. I couldn’t reliably choose between them, but did end up running the Stageline until it was replaced by a Graham Slee stage. That was a noticeable change!
I did read recently that the XS3 and SN3 stages were different, in terms of the component mounting. I know the boards themselves are mounted differently, but the article said the signal path components in the SN3 implementation were mounted differently too. That might make the onboard board a bit better in the SN3 implementation than the XS3.
The main difference between the phono stages
in the two amps is in the quality of the components
used, but even in the Nait XS 3 we’re using really
high quality Burr Brown OPA2604 op amps, while in
the Supernait 3 we’re also using through-hole resistors
for improved resistance to vibration.