Looking for a new phono preamp


Long time lurker, first time poster.

Here's the deal. I'd like to find a new phono preamp. I'd prefer solid state, tubes get noisy too fast. My latest cartridge is an AT-ART9XA. I'm currently running thru a sut into a cj pv10a with phono stage, but I have just got my hands on a Bel Canto pre5 that the new phono pre will be paired with.

I've got a hard upper limit of $2.5k, less is OK for the right unit. I'm looking to buy new. Dealers around me aren't really set up to demo vinyl, so I'm hoping the collective experience in here can at least point me in the right direction. Hopefully, it would have a one month return policy so I can try out the preamp.


"BTW - I also owned a Herron VTPH 2A and I thought that it sounded great on classical and jazz, but not so much on rock. (Not surprising since Keith has a classical music background.)"

I rarely post on the forums, but this is the second time I have seen this post so I will step in here briefly to make a much needed correction. I have played piano and drums in bands, orchestras, jazz combos, and rock groups. I like all those genres and more. I have also designed guitar and bass amps along with audio equipment. A phono stage is not right unless it does all genres equally well. The end result in any audio system is how well the entire system is matched to deliver correct timing which brings life to the music. Much like all the lenses in a telescope which all must be in focus, everything in an audio system counts. (That also includes the tubes you are using) - Keith Herron

Ditto on the Herron.   I have both the VTPH-2A and the Parasound JC3+....I prefer the Herron but you won’t go wrong with either.   

— Jim

I would strongly recommend looking at the new PS Audio Stellar phono preamp. All the reviews are very positive. Retail is $2500.00. Solid state. PS Audio has a 30 day full refund trial period. According to Stereophile Michael Fremer says it is a giant killer. Definitely one you want to look into. Good luck. 

Ok, so the  Herron is on it's way.  I'll be posting more on this once I get it into my system, and I'm sure I will have some questions for the owners of the VTPH-2A.

Thanks to everyone who had suggestions, I looked into almost every one.  I have to admit I have wanted to try on of the Herron products since I first heard a demo in the early 2000s, so I took a chance on a used unit.

I'm looking forward to find out what kind of effect it will have on my system. 
Hopefully Keith gave you a deal--he did for me 8 months ago and i couldn't be happier with the Herron--replaced a MS Phonomena II although i didn't have the linear power supply so perhaps didn't give it enough credit--disagree that the Herron doesn't do rock well but then again i don't know what rock is supposed to sound like when you're inside the band. Enjoy and post your thoughts in a few months.