Audio Research SP-8 vs LS-7 + PH-5

I'm looking at these two options right now for roughly the same price, the LS/PH would be slightly more expensive. My sense is that the LS/PH combo would be more transparent, more detailed, more neutral, and that the SP-8 would provide more "tube sound", and that the line stage performance on it might suffer compared to the phono stage.

I want a highly resolving system, my only concern is if the LS-7 is sufficient to achieve that.


Depends, do you want to use low output moving coil cartridges?  If so, then the decision is made.

I would go for the separates. Separates have always sounded better to me and much more flexibility to upgrade. I have owned earlier and or later models of all of these. Highly recommended.