Looking for phono stage recommendations


I have recently ordered a Sota Cosmos, with a Tri-Planar VII arm and a ZYX Airy 3 cartridge. A friend of mine is interested in my Pass Labs Aleph Ono phono, so that leaves me with nothing (thanks a lot Paul)to use for my new frontend.

Several friends have made recommendations. The Pass Labs X-ono, the Manley Steelhead, ZYX phonostage, and a Supratek(?) have been recommended. The Zanden and Boulder are out of my price range, so don't bother...

Are there any other phonostages that I should consider. I don't have a preference of Solid State vs Tube.

I have used and/or heard the Krell KPA and KPE already and they're not really in the running. Not that there's anything wrong with them, they are very good, I'm just looking for something better.

I want something quiet that will work for low output cartidges.

HEEEEELP!
128x128nrchy
Nrchy,one thing I did not mention,and you may want to(actually should)consider,is the "ergonomic" aspect of everyday use,regarding heat dissipation.Believe me all of the experienced guys in my little part of the world take it SERIOUSLY!

Tube units can be fabulous,and I too lust for the IO/Callisto combo,but the heat given off by these,and other units do not make life very pleasant in summer heat.With a full blown unit like the Io/Callisto you are going to increase the room temp considerably,not to mention the electric bill.Even with A/C,like I have in my dedicated room,I used to sit in my "Speedo" in the dead of winter when I was more tube oriented.Trust me --the kids at "trick or treat" time thought I was in an "Olympic Diver" get-up,though their parents thought I was weird,and all I wanted to do was listen in comfort!!Now I have moved to,only a three tube phono section.These considerations should be looked at,although my extreme example may be a bit overboard,though true(except the "speedo" at Halloween,I just wanted to be a bit creative).I do have some Tube loving friends(entire system,and obviously a tubed phonostage is not a real heat banger,except the Io/Callisto pre/phono)that will not listen in summer,sadly,as they have a few dozen tubes in the set-up.That's what drove me from a tube amp to my Rowland.

I know we are considering a phono section,but when conditions are right a tubed unit can put out enough heat to force a "speedo" on a Harley guy,like you!Best of luck.
Flyingred is spot on with his offering of the EAR834P and you could have plenty of cash left over to buy more vinyl!
Like Brnlaw, I use the K&K Audio phono and find it to be to be an excellent choice. It is dead quiet, detailed, tonally balanced and projects a large soundstage. Typically, the K&K phono is supplied as a kit. If you have a DIY bent, here is a chance to get a $4K MM/MC phono stage for about $1600 plus assembly time. For a couple hundred more, you get a stepped attenuator which allows you run directly into your amps. Although K&K gives fine support, in my opinion this kit is probably too hard for a novice.
Speedy has a good point about tubes and heat. I think you would be fine with a seperate tube phono as these don't seem to put out much heat at all, at least the ones I'm familiar with. Now preamps are a whole different ball game. That is where the heat really comes from, forgetting about amps for the moment. Even my CDP with tubed output stage cranks some BTUs. I'm forced to run the AC constantly this time of year even with things in the standby mode as I get about a 5 degree rise in temps after about 1 hour of listening. Still, the touch of tubes in the front can be magical.

The biggest heater I have encountered has been a SS amp that went out of bias. Took me a while to track that one down but I kept wondering why the room was soo warm in the middle of a New England winter. Didn't even have to turn on the heating zone to that room as the temps would hover around 78. I had to open the sliding door for twenty minutes at a time to get breathable air back into the room.

Back OT, I do seem to recall that as far as noise goes the EAR was much noisier than the Rhea. I'm sure tube selection will affect this. The guy I bought the Rhea from was looking to try a Steelhead and I admit a strong desire to hear one as well.

You're making alot of changes in the analog chain at the same time. I did that a while back. Talk about a rush the first time I cranked it all up! On the other hand I did miss experiencing what each new component brought to the sound. A small price to pay for a good case of goose bumps. Have fun!
I have been using an X-ono for a couple of years with a koetsu black on a nottingham anna 12'.Just recently have completed a dual mono K+K using billington step up transformers and have added an SME3012-R with an ortophon spu royal to my nottingham dais.switch phono leads from X-ono to K+K and most discernable differences are the arm + cartridge characteristics taking into account cartridge loading and gain issues.Listening mostly to the K+K ortophon combo so its got to be doing something right and the close to maxxed out K+K cost less than$2000 to build and was a fun simple project less work than a dynaco in the good old days.and playing something you built adds listening satisfaction.