Analog Upgrade itch

Hello ! I would like to upgrade my turntable / tonearm / phono preamp 

currently I am using Kuzma Stabi S / Stabi S VTA 12” tonearm / Gold Note PH10 phono amp. 
Gryphon Antelion EVO + Pandora pre , Magico A5 speaker. 

My music preference : 50% classical / 30% pop / 20% modern Jazz 

I like my current cartridge: Etsuro Urushi Cobalt so I am going to keep it. I would like to upgrade my Turntable (possible Linn LP12 or Kuzma Ref2 or any suggestions ) with Kuzma 4 point tonearm (or recommendation in the $ range?). My biggest uncertain is phono amp : I’d like to have warmer sound (tube preferred ) with ideally 2 inputs (Manley Steelhead or EMT126 are recommended by my local dealer but not sure if they are worth the money ) .  I know matching (cartridge / arm / phono stage) is more important in analog system so I’d like everyone’s comments / experience that matches my system. Musicality / warmth is what I’m after rather than microscopic details. Thanks in advance


Modern Jazz? C’mon, there’s nothing like the Classic’s. It’s all been done already, and the great stuff is on wax. 

The Steelhead is compromised by its own very mediocre output coupling capacitors.  And if you use it as a full function preamplifier, then the signal has to traverse two of those same mediocre capacitors.  Upgrade the capacitors, then you've got something.

Any turntable that is not internally suspended (aka "isolated") can be isolated by placing it on an isolation device, at extra cost, of course.  On the other hand, it is not wise to place a suspended turntable on an isolation device without understanding what you're doing in great detail.  The two different suspensions may interact with each other, badly. Since devices like the Minus K or Vibraplane are generally superior to any built-in type of suspension commonly found in commercially available turntables (with the exception of the Dohmann Helix, which uses Minus K), I prefer external isolation devices.

@lewm @sksos thanks for the explanation on the isolation platform !

I think I will decide on Stabi R , now the question is : does 4point 11 is worth the cost difference over 4 point 9” ? 

@j-wall  seems like Allnic fits my taste more than Steelhead (more bloom and warmth) since H3000 is discontinued (and very expensive for my budget), does anyone compared its successor H7000 vs H5500 ? How far sonically they differ ?


 Thanks everyone , cheers

I recently decided between a 4 point and a 4 point 9.  I am very happy with my choice.  The VTA tower on the 4 point is well made but seldom used.  In general, VTA is set it an forget it based on the specific cartridge you are using. You can still set VTA on the 9 it just isnt as nicely designed.  The 11' arm on the 4 point has a higher mass and this may be advantageous.  Others argue that the 9" is a better design with negligible differences in groove distortion. I can say definitively, that the 4 P 9 is the best performing arm I've ever used. Thom Mackris at Galibier design can help you with your choice and give you a fair price.




@lewm @sksos 

I did some research about isolation bench and here is a new manufacturer from Germany , seems to have some very positive reviews when compare to other similar products .. and at a fraction of the cost. Have you heard of ?

Seismion Reactio