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


As a user of the Vibraplane, I'll just add that it is very easy to adjust even when its loads are not centered. My belt driven turntable is very heavy compared to the motor pod which means most of the weight is to one side of the Vibraplane. I purchased an air compressor that I keep in a storage area below the stereo room and run an airline up to the Vibraplane. Easy! 

I will add that I have heard subtle improvements with the addition of additional vibration absorbing material on top of the Vibraplane. Specifically, I am now using a Symposium platform.  My system pictures should illustrate all this.  I bet that even the entry level Stabi S would sound amazing (and much improved) on top of a Vibraplane.  

Hi @eddiechanghk , just want to clarify a couple of points regarding “active” and “passive”, which could be confusing for you. As I understand, the Vibraplane belongs to a class called pneumatic vibration isolators. In general, this kind of isolators is considered as “passive” devices. What is confusing is that within this class of “passive” isolators, there are passive and active models, as explained by @sksos. For the Vibraplane, the terms active and passive models only refers to the method of levelling (automatic vs manual).


The Herzan and it’s kind are considered as “active” vibration isolators. They physically generate a counter force to cancel out the vibration, hence the term “active” !


These vibration isolators were originally used in scientific laboratories, eg. under electronic microscopes etc. The “active” devices like the Herzan are considered more technologically advanced, and have better isolation specifications. They are also more expensive, as you have noticed.


I have a couple of floor standing pneumatic anti-vibration tables under my turntables and can attest to their benefits. However, I have not compared them to “active” platforms, like the Herzan, in my own system, so can’t say whether they can be even better. 


Hope this helps 


Dear all : update : I went to auditioned Allnic H7000 , Kuzma Stabi R with 4point9 , and I went to another dealer who offered me Dr Feickert Firebird and with a Kondo Audio Note GE1 phono stages , was very impressed with the SQ

Due to a change of dealership they have a demo Firebird with a 50% off RRP which makes it similar (or cheaper) than Stabi R. Anyone did compare the two ?

About Phono Stages : one of the sales suggest me to use a SUT (Etsuro has one) to fit my cartridge and go with the Kondo GE1 (which is MM only) , but this will set me back with several thousand dollars more. The question is : does Kondo worth the extra over Allnic ( 50% classical , some vocals / jazz) 

Pardon for my ignorance , does a SUT+ MM phono plays better than direct to a MC phono and what is the sonic improvement, generally can provide from a SUT ?




OK @eddiechanghk!  This is going to get juicy! 


Expect lots of different opinions on the superiority of the MM+SUT versus the dedicated MM/MC phono pre.  My experience with both is that it depends on the system.  When selecting a high quality SUT you must know the output and the internal resistance of your cart so they are well matched. On the other hand a properly designed phono pre can provide all the gain required for the best LOMC/MI cartridges without adding noise and avoids the need for additional cabling. 

A friend of mine really values the use of the MM section on his vintage Marantz 7C preamp.  He uses a SUT for his Lyra Atlas.  Sounds great.  The same SUT in my system, using the MM input on my PASS Labs XP-27 with an Lyra Etna wasnt as good as going straight into the MC settings. 

Hope this helps. 



Pardon for my ignorance , does a SUT+ MM phono plays better than direct to a MC phono and what is the sonic improvement, generally can provide from a SUT ?

Really depends on the quality of the particular units - you cant generalise.

The Allnic H7000 actually has a SUT built in.

Be aware there are 2 versions of the H7000 phono -

1 version with SUT plus active MC step up ( this would give you the choice of SUT vs active

another version with 2 SUT MC inputs.

You need to check with the dealer which version he is recommending.

The Feickert is a very good turntable, but if you are going for a 4point then I would get the Kuzma R. The Feickert's are quite often paired with Kuzma arms and should work well if you are keen on the Feickert. Soundwise I still prefer Kuzma R.