I need a pre-amp with a mc amp.

I have a Classe'Four pre-amp.I think it may be the weak link in my system.I'd like to get something in the 2500-3000 (CDN) range that would be a noticeable improvement. The stuff that I've heard and liked(Ayre, Blue Circle) either don't have a phono stage or are a little out of my price range.I'd appreciate any advice.
My system includes: Linn LP12,Troika cartridge
Arcam Cd92
Castle Howard speakers
Classe' Ten amp
Transparent Super interconnects
Linn K400 speaker cable
I usually listen to rock and roll, blues and Vinyl is by far my favourite for listening.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts.
Beware that the Audible Illusions can be picky about NOS tubes as the unit runs tubes very hot. Used VTL Ultimate is a better preamp than the Audible Illusions anyway, but costs more. This is a seriously good unit that can be fitted with a factory installed tubed phono section for not a whole lot of money.

A used Airtight is an excellent choice, too, and I think there is one for sale right now. It has a phono section, too; think the model is ATC 1.

A Decware is a fantastic unit but is limited to two inputs. The use of only two inputs is done for a cleaner signal path. Decware also provides you with a 30 day money back guarantee so you can try them out.


The only decent tube pre-amp with phono stage that I've really enjoyed was a CAT SL-1 Signature MK 2...however, I would recommend getting the MK 3 version and up. Price for a used MK 3 is about $2400 USD (less for a MK 2).

I had a Shelter mc cartridge with 0.4mV output and the gain was more than adequate (around 46db for phono section). A cartridge with less output will probably require a mc stepup tranny. The sound of the CAT is not as warm as most would think...actually it's a little bright/forward sounding compared to say Sonic Frontiers (darker and not as transparent). The CAT has a wide soundstage and quite detailed.

The CDN dollar is very strong vs. the $US so now is a great time to buy since most of the good used pieces are located within the US.

Happy hunting!!
This turning out to be a lot harder than I thought.My dealer likes the new Bryston I like their 20year warranty,I don't like the fact that since it is so new it is basically untested, past Bryston pre-amps have generally received just so-so respect.
Blue Circle is just a few kilometers away from me but I'm worried about compatiblitity and warranty lenght( I tend to hang on to things for a long time).
Classe' seems to be a little more than I can afford.
A bullet proof pre that sounds glorious has a mc phono stage and since I'm dreaming a remote would be nice and the whole package would be under $3500.
I haven't given up hope but I'm starting to see the attraction of an i-pod.



A brand new VTL 5.5 with tubed phono section is in your budget and a wonderful unit.