MM Phono Stages With Greater Than 40 dB of Gain?

One of my favorite phono cartridges is the Ortofon MC 2000, I have it with the T2000 SUT. Even so the combined output is still low, and going into my Esoteric E-03 phono stage I have to add a lot of additional gain from the pre amp.

Since I no longer use the Esoteric for direct input of moving coil cartridges I thought I might see if there is a better choice for a MM style phono stage that offers greater gain.

I have looked a bit, but not seen anything jump out. Anyone have run across an excellent MM only phono stage with higher than 40dB of gain?


In addition, there are a slew of current drive phono stages that easily handle the MC2000 with no SUT. (Of course, you can’t use a SUT with current drive.) For only one example my BMC MCCI set at +11db gain. In further addition there is the Sutherland outboard current drive pure gain stage that in essence subs for a SUT into an MM stage. Because the MC2000 makes a fair amount of current owing to its very low internal resistance.

mulveling: The Herron VTPH-1mm produces 44dB of gain when fitted with four 12AX7’s (plus one 12AT7 for non-gain functions), and 42dB with two 12AT7’s substituted for two of the 12AX7’s. The 12AX7’s and 12AT7’s are user interchangeable; Keith sent me enough of each to configure it either way.

A VTPH-1mm sold this past July on USAM for $500! The seller said the unit was a pre-production sample, hence the low price.

The VTPH-2 (in three iterations I believe) I’m not sure about. The bulk of the improvements incorporated into the VTPH-2 over the VTPH-1 were in it’s mc section, which was (and is) of no consequence to me, so the VTPH-1mm met (and meets) my needs.


Moon 110LPv2

Up to 66db gain both mc and mm. I have the same circuit in a Moon 390 and I like it. Worth a look.

In my direct experience, you want at least 80db of total voltage gain (phono + linestage) to get the most out of an MC2000.  More is even better.


Sounds reasonable. Tracks with I would expect for total gain needed on the phono stage combo to allow the cartridge to be at its best. With the T2000 supplying 35dB then I need 45 to 50 dB from the phono stage.