New Cartridge or New Preamp

Hi All,

I have upgradeitis. 

Here's my system:

Rogue Rp1 Preamplifier

Rogue M-120 Magnum Monoblocks

VPI Prime Scout w Ortofon Black (and Bronze)

Ohm Walsh 5 LE


So here's the thing, I just replaced the tubes in my preamp, same tubes, gold lion with gold lion, and the improvement was astounding. Everything sparkles. Happy listener.

So now I want even more and the next logical thing is that the lifespan of my cartridge is nearing the end so I need to start thinking about replacing.

My top choice is the soundsmith zephyr. I've heard it on my table, have really enjoyed it and know it would make me very happy. BUT the RP1 pre-amp is nearly the same price as the cartridge, What's the rule of thumb there, if any?

My belief is a nicer cartridge with a very well made pre-amp will still make a noticeable difference and price doesn't matter, your ears do...but I'm interested in hearing other's opinions.

Another thought would be getting a new external phono pre-amp. I do have a musical surroundings phonomena ii+ but I didn't find it to be all that much better than the onboard phono of the rogue. But open to ideas.

I'm looking for more detail in my playback at this point. I'm very satisfied with the openness and power I get from the tube monos and ohms currently.

Thanks in advance!





I would go for the Aurora  Vista prima mk1 (about 2200€) or the -mk2 ( about 4200€ ) 1€=1$ at the moment) :sounds great ! Open , very musical , detailfull: I love that préamp ! I use him ,with the Thorens 124 MKII: just beautiful !!

@lukaske that is beautiful. Have not heard of that company. Very interested in finding out more. Thanks

 Sammysharps  :It’s a Japanese company :they work together with Texas Instruments. They make only phono préamps.  Worldclass!!! Best i ever heard !

Yes, I'm with most of the above: look to improve the phono stage.

If you have the budget, listen to van den Hul The Grail SB.  You will certainly hear detail as well as truth.