Sub-£500 phono stage - thoughts/suggestions

I’m in the market for a £500 or less phono stage, to be used with my old Roksan radius deck with newish Ortofon Red Cadenza MC, connecting to a Nova.

I borrowed a Mofi Studio Phono - which was very disappointing to my ears, even factoring in the price. My last decent phono stage was a Cyrus Signature Phono/PSX-r2.

I know I won’t get near the latter’s performance on my budget but suggestions, new or used (most likely), would be appreciated.

Rega fono mc. Good phono with dip switches to set to cart requirements.

Try the Rothwell Rialto. It punches way above its weight!

Graham Slee

I meant to post this in HiFi section, so sorry about that, but thanks for suggestions.

I can get hold of a Dynavector P75 MK3 for £300, but I don’t know too much about this brand.
A bit of cursory online reading seems to throw up a consensus for it being best with a low output MC, esp Dynavector’s own models.

Mine, as mentioned above, is an Ortofon Red Cadenza Moving Coil. Is this deemed low output? I’ve no idea what the criteria are for such adjudications.

Does anyone have any experience of this P75 phono stage?

Trichord Dino.
You can add a separate psu later if you wish.

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Another vote for Graham Slee here. Brilliant phono stages. If you go second hand you would be able to buy one with the PSU1 power supply within your budget.

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While it is still in this section, I’ll throw another vote for the Slee. The Dynavector is nice, too, in that range, but a Slee with PSU1 really is a ‘better’ phono stage, even though you have the option of different loading settings with the DV. A Reflex C is a nice unit (so is the M, but you’d need to invest in a quality SUT).

Thanks everyone who’s suggested a phono amp, so far.

Both the Trichord and Graham Slee models seem popular choices.
Is the latter’s best bet the Reflex C at my price point/budget?

Would a new Graham Slee offer superior vfm over a s/h Dynavector P75? Hard to say, I’m sure, but as ever it’s hard to audition these things, even less possible with used kit, of course.

For now, I’m left with and currently listening to the aforementioned MoFi Studio on loan, which with a bit of tinkering and faffing with settings is sounding better than yesterday.

With regard to the Slee, I’d say yes (for the ‘C’). With your Ortofon, the fixed 100 ohm loading would mate well, I’d think. VFM versus the DV, I’d say yes, for sure. I’ve fiddled with an MKI and MK3, but IMO I wouldn’t bother unless it was the latest MK4. Again, this is highly subjective. I just think the DV’s first two iterations sounded thin, but definitely improved with the MK3. The Slee is just great, period. I owned the C for some time before moving onto the Accession C with Enigma PSU. Graham’s phono stages take some time to break-in due to his utilization of op amps, but once they do they’re stellar and among the best designs in that price range.
I agree that it’s difficult to know what you’ll like unless you can audition, but I’ve had pretty good luck with certain gear that I couldn’t audition and just researched as much as I could to get a sense as to whether I wanted to take a punt or not. I cannot imagine you’d be disappointed in the Slee…or the Trichord for that matter (though I’ve never heard one) if going by its positive consensus matters.

Schiit Mani

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If you join the Graham Slee forum, Graham will lend you any of his products, if available, for no charge, just postage.
That way you can give it a go. He lends out used models so they have some miles on them, which is good. I had a Reflex M for a year or so, loved it.

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Thanks again for the suggestions.

The Graham Slee options are looking like firm favourites and the loan possibility is useful too.

I’ll carry on reading around - which can be fun and frustrating - prior to making a decision based on interpreting each person’s subjective take on this or that preamp, then mixed in with my own whims and preferences.

I really like my Arcam rPhono.

Moved for you.

I was pretty pleased with my studioPhono, although I did upgrade recently, but that was with MM. Perhaps instead of getting another phono stage for MC, you could consider getting a SUT to go with what you have?

P.S. I have no relevant experience with MC, with or without a SUT or MC phono stage, in my own setup.

…I enjoyed music through the DV 75…I preferred it in non PE mode, which sounded 'artificial to me.

Me neither with an SUT, I’ve never come across one in use, but thanks for the idea.
I like to ride the occasional thought train, however much in vain the outcome! I’ll investigate.

Another few hours on with the Mofi Studio and although it’s limitations are plain, it’s pretty decent, particularly in the lower mids and mid to highs, though much less resolving at either end of the dynamic scale to my ears.

As an aside, I’d almost decided during the summertime that my vinyl days were over, and I’d be more than happy with my Innuos serving the Nova, but no. Not only have I got too many memories tied up in the thousands of vinyl albums I own but even with a modest phono stage in play I’m really enjoying the reminder of what vinyl can and does do.

That’s one of few votes in favour of the Dyna 75. Thanks.

Thank you.