Problem with phono stage

Hello Fellow Audiogoners,

I need help with my Phono stage. It is Lehman Audio Black Cube from Germany.  It was recommended from Simao, a very respected Audiogon member who helped me a lot when I was building my stereo. It costs 450$ brand new which I bought used from this site. Michael Fremer considers it one of the best steals in phono stages. I get a little bit better detail and bass extension BUT it also much noisier. I can hear the pops and any other noises  on the records much more then with the phono stage of my Arcam FMJ 28 which turned out to be a surprisingly good one considering it is an integrated one.
I also switched the cables but the noise is still there.
Is this a common problem with added phono stages as opposed to integrated ones or something is wrong with my phono and needs to be checked.

All help will be greatly appreciated.

Hi Emil, I do believe you are overloading it. What cartridge are you using and how are you loading the Lehman? Ralph from Atma-Sphere should be able to help you with a solution.

Is this a common problem with added phono stages as opposed to integrated ones
No. So let's start with what cartridge do you have? Also, what kind of cable (phono cartridge cables should be low capacitance)?

Is the noise you're hearing proportional to the improvement in detail?
Hi Mike and Ralph,

My cartridge is Nagaoka MP-110.
My cables are AudioQuest regular interconnects. I can't see which model exactly.
Do I need a special cable for the phono stage?

Hi Millercarbon,

No, the noise is more then the improvement to a point that I don't use the  phono anymore.
Do I need a special cable for the phono stage?
@emilm    Yes! Most regular cables have too much capacitance. This causes a high frequency peak and certainly can emphasize ticks and pops.

A proper phono cable will have a capacitance of about 20pf (picofarads) per foot and you won't be running more than about 1 meter, or else you'll want to find a cable with lower capacitance.
This is the sort of thing you're looking for:
You need a shielded phono cable for a phono stage (from your turntable to a phono stage). Phono cable is not a regular interconnect cable. 

But shielded cables per se do not have low capacitance, compared to unshielded wire of the same type and length. So the shielding can be a trade off if you are looking for the lowest capacitance. But let’s hear what Ralph has to say to the OP. My question would be what is the phono  gain of the Lehman black cube?And for that matter, what is the additional gain of the line stage to which it is connected?
I thought capacitance for cables didn't matter with a MM Cartridge , only MC.
From the spec sheet the max input on the Lehman is 4.5mV and the Nagaoka outputs 5mV, so the phono stage overloads (distorts) when it encounters clicks on the record.
Hi Chackster,

the question is about the cables that connects phono to pre-amp.
the other cables are with the turntable, vintage Technics 1900 .
Hi Ralph,
Thanks for the advice. Just to make sure we are talking about the same thing. All the time we have been talking is about the cables that connect phono to preamp, correct?

emilm,Ralph and others were discussing the cables from the tonearm to the Lehman. Not as important from Lehman to your Arcam.
lehmann’s are superbly quiet

it is likely the cable or maybe the loading...

have you double and triple checked your dip switch settings and make sure they are correctly set for mm 47kohms? they can be tricky -- the owner's manual shows diagrams but it can be hard to tell which is up/down as depicted

it might also be the lehmann is providing more gain than your prior phono stage
If the Black Cube accepts up to 4.5mV officially, I doubt that 5mV from the Nagaoka would overload it to the degree that it would cause the problems mentioned.
ncdogdoc (a vet who lives in NC?) is right.  The issue is the phono cables, defined as cables from cartridge to phono inputs.  And someone else mentioned that MM cartridges are relatively insensitive to capacitance; it depends in part on the load resistance in side the Lehmann.  It's probably 47K ohms.  So one needs to estimate the capacitative load vs the recommended capacitance. It's MC types that are relatively insensitive to capacitance, in part because they usually have very much lower inductance compared to MMs, about 10,000X lower, commonly.  But there are exceptions to every one of these generalizations.
Doesn’t the black cube have multiple gain settings? The overload margin on it for a MM cart is much higher than 5mv.. something like 45mv. I suspect you have the gain setting too high on the cube...set it to 36 or 46db and see how that works..

Hope this helps.

Ncdogdoc, thanks for clarifying that.
Ejb14, lewm and jjss, I will check the dip switch setting and let you know.

Thank you all for the input. 

I hope you are not connecting your MP110 to the MC gain settings....
It is an MM cartridge and should be connected to the MM setting.
Try reducing the gain one step at a time.
The Black Cube is a single input with variations on the dip switches that are gain oriented. There really is only one setting for an MM cart overall. The capacitance can be tweaked, but internally. It is probable, if that noisy, the capacitance stock installed in the Cube doesn’t play very well with your cart. The nice thing about stepping up to the Decade is the ability to dial in the capacitance of an MM cart along with several gain options. It can make all the difference. You can also shoot Lehmann a note. Norbert is usually very responsive and very helpful.
ejb14 gain is set up at 41db and there is only one setting for MM.

geof3, thanks for the information
Hmm - I looked up the manual for the Black Cube and got the gain settings from there - perhaps I saw an older or newer version. This manual talks about not only the dip switches, but also a gain jumper that adds 10db.

In any event, I also have an FMJ A28, and while its phono stage is quite good, and very quiet, my other external phono stages into the aux inputs (A Sutherland PD3D and a Music Hall PA2.2) either sound better (PH3D) or roughly equal the internal phone stage. You should get great sound with the Black Cube and this amp. I am using a Shure V15III and a Grado Gold 3 on my tables at the moment. 

The A28 has a numeric volume read out, which the manual claims is in decibels when in the reference mode. I believe the internal stage is roughly 40+db of gain - so I would think the Black Cube into the Aux input and the internal phono stage should be equal in terms of loudness at the same volume setting on the A28. If they are roughly equal, and you still hear a lot more noise with the cube, then I don't think the problem is cables or the cartridge or the amp.

Ejb14 is correct. There are several other settings that the Black Cube has, but must be done from internally on the board. To include, as mentioned, a gain jumper. However, it is not really a “jumper” that is easy to swap, at least not on mine (I have the SE) it requires some surgery.
emilm, Yes, atmasphere is talking turntable to phono input. You also want to keep the cables as short as you can. 
Dear @emilm : Do it you a favor and forgeret about that IC cable capacitabnce for the moment.

First than all the Lehmann must be perfectly set up for the Nagaoka 5mv. MP-110 cartridge. Your phono stage comes with several alternatives for set up and for what I read in this thread you still are not an " expert " about.

So my advise is the same as other gentleman in this thread: put in direct contact with Lehmann explain it your system issues with that cartridge and follow his instructions. With out the rigth Lehmann set up with that cartridge all other advises here are useless and futile.

Don't waist your time or money in cables till you make the Lehmann advises. Only my opinion.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
I thought capacitance for cables didn't matter with a MM Cartridge , only MC.
@vinylvin ,  @emilin
Actually it matters quite a lot!

With a high output MM cartridge the inductance tends to be rather high. This in tandem with the capacitance of the tone arm interconnect cable connecting into the phono preamp results in a resonant peak. If the cable capacitance is high (as is often the case with many regular audio cables) the peak will be forced down in frequency, and can easily be somewhere at the top of the audio band.

This will make the system brighter and more susceptible to ticks and pops which tend to have a high frequency nature.

The suggestions about checking loading and overall gain were good ones. But we now know that the gain is 41dB which is fine. With regards to loading though, the cable capacitance plays right into that. Take a look at this page:
Play with the numbers in the calculator, including the default. The link I provided earlier for the tonearm/phono cable from Blue Jeans has about 12pf/foot; you can see by dropping in 36pf for a 3 foot run that the resonance is pushed up higher, outside of the audio band. So that is where you start; after that you work on whatever loading is needed.

It is also a good idea to contact Lehmann: I think you will find that they confirm everything I've said on this thread so far.


if you can't get in contact with lehmann in germany, the ortofon folks in upstate new york are the lehmann importer here in the usa, they have a very knowledgeable tech who can also assist you... he was very helpful to me in the past

presuming you are in the usa
How in the world are pops and tics not normal in vinyl playback? It's part of the medium as it is a contact sport so to speak. You will never eliminate them entirely so why fret about it. If your hearing this sort of thing on a pristine brand new record, then yes, a possible issue. However, play any used records and you will hear some pops. Tics, clicks, and some surface noise. I don't get it really, it comes with the territory. I personally am not bothered by this, as long as the music sounds good. Lastly, try cleaning the records that are a bit noisy on a real record cleaner, one with a vacuum or better yet an ultrasonic cleaning. What you are also hearing is possibly static electricity. Try a carbon fiber audioquest brush and/or a zerostat gun. 

read what the op is saying -- his lp surface noise is much much more prominent with his switching out only the phono stage

which is why we are helping him think through why this may be the case
If I may piggyback on the OP thread, coincidentally I was about to open a discussion on the capacitance VS shielding subject.
Ralph is totally correct on the capacitance subject which is something I discovered on my rig with shielded cables, hum and other artifacts are present. On the other hand Chakster has a valid argument, with unshielded cables my TT makes pops on the right channel with no vinyl playing and a radio station gets induced on the left channel, funnily enough only with a Stanton DJ MM cart coupled, with the DL-301 mk2 MC don't get the radio station or the pops go figure, this is with no vinyl playing.
So where do we compromise? Apparently some shielded cables can achieve low capacitance too but these are rare.
Any of you with experience in this subject.
Trying to make sense of Bob Dylan at the moment, never been a big fan, good night guys.

Just for data purposes around the issue of capacitance in this particular issue -

I asked AudioQuest support some time ago about capacitance in their cables, and was told they have 40pf per meter of capacitance. Not sure I believe it is that low, but if true it is quite good. I use AudioQuest Big Sur for my phono cables and enjoy them very much.

I believe the Arcam A28 has 100pf of capacitance in its phono stage (its not published that I could find, but looking at the schematic that is what I see) - so with an AudioQuest cable of 1 meter, that would present 140pf capacitance to the Nagaoka.

The Black Cube Statement claims the same 100pf of capacitance so with the Black Cube in MM mode the Nagaoka would see the same amount of capacitance.

Given this and the fact that with the built in stage sounds very good and is very quiet with the same cables, I am not sure the issue in this case is cables; and given the Cube's reputation, I suspect something is not right with this specific cube; 

Yes Audioguy, noise is the demon of vinyl playback and it is always going to be there (although the computer wizards are desperately trying to program  it out) But, it can go from obnoxious to inaudible (as long as the music is playing) There are several contributing factors and if all of them are optimized vinyl, as many of us have noticed is a wonderful medium.
Stylus alignment, clean records, good pressing, no static, the right equipment and cables etc.  
How in the world are pops and tics not normal in vinyl playback? It’s part of the medium as it is a contact sport so to speak.

Many phono stages generate ticks and pops on their own, caused by poor high frequency overload margin, related to the excitation of that resonant peak I described earlier. Plus its useful to keep in mind that on any LP project a test pressing is made and the producer has to sign off on it prior to the pressing run. One of the things he’s signing off on is the surface quality.

I’m very used to not hearing any ticks and pops on entire record sides as the phono section I use deals with the pesky electrical resonance issue by having a good HF overload margin. This has nothing to do with bandwidth BTW!

Dear @emilm and friends : first than all Nagaoka is not MM design but IM similar to MI and the like where normally internal inductance is not really high ( say over 600. ) so with that 150/200 capacitance in the Lehmann and due that has a high overload design seems to me that that is not the problem but Lehmann overall set up.

It's obvious that if you change your cable for a better one or just different the sound you will experience with will be different but before you take that choice contact Lehmann and if after that you want to invest in your analog rig then could be better to go with the MP-300 from Nagaoka.

With MM cartridges always is better to have a low capacitance cable but almost any today decent cable are low capacitamnce designs in the other side there are MM cartridges as the AT25 that comes with low inductance, in this model only 85 more in the MI/IM territory.

Today phono stages are not like in the past an almost all comes with really good overload margin.

Don't worry about clicks and pops because there are more critical issues for the cartridges shows it at the best.

Look, this is what any one can read in the latest Original Master Recording LPs from MoFi ( Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs. ):


Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,

Btw, problems with capacitance normally will be at a frequency range that even stays says at 17-18khz can't we perceived and again today phono stages comes with pretty decent designs.
where normally internal inductance is not really high ( say over 600. ) so with that 150/200 capacitance in the Lehmann and due that has a high overload design seems to me that that is not the problem but Lehmann overall set up.
Let's drop these values into the calculator and see what pops up shall we? Giving Raul the benefit of the doubt we'll use 500mH for the cartridge inductance, but the Lehmann has a 100pf input capacitance; if we assume another 40pf for the Audioquest cable mentioned above:

-we got a peak at 19KHz. BTW that's a 10dB peak; its going to be audible. The slope of the peak is there at 15KHz and there will be phase shift elements easily down to 10KHz, which will be perceived as brightness. Clearly keeping the cable capacitance down is paramount.

Don't worry about clicks and pops because there are more critical issues for the cartridges shows it at the best.
Increased audibility of ticks and pops is a clear sign of a problem. If the obvious problems of setup are overcome (VTA, HTA, tracking pressure and so on) and the ticks and pops are worse, then with any high output cartridge (which will have a higher inductance in order to produce that high output) the loading needs to be addressed. To that end, you start by minimizing the capacitive load on the cartridge, as the more capacitance the lower the electrical resonant peak (hence a low capacitance cable). After that then you look into reducing the load resistance. For example with many Grado high output cartridges, a load in the neighborhood of 10K takes out the brightness that you might otherwise hear with the stock 47K load of the phono preamp input.

But all cartridges are electrical generators, meaning that the lower the resistance of the load, the more work the cartridge has to do to make its voltage.

This causes the cartridge cantilever to become harder to move. For this reason alone, its worth it to start by having the capacitive load minimized first!
Btw, problems with capacitance normally will be at a frequency range that even stays says at 17-18khz can't we perceived and again today phono stages comes with pretty decent designs.

Its easy to see that this statement is false.

Speaking of capacitance, phono cable single ended and balanced, will capacitance of the cable affect the same on either case?

Weird/curious that you choosed in Nagaoka IM design 500 and not 300mH. Why did you do that?

300mh is way nearest to the real Nagaoka value than 500mh and with 300mh the resonace frequency is at 24.6khz Way different and as we can see through the Lehmann specs it is designed with very high overload levels.
So, that’s not the trouble.

What if you take the MM AT25 85mh along say those 600pf? even with that extremely high capacitance the resonance is over 22khz. At normal 200pf the resonance is 38.6khz ( fundamental frequency. harmonics that goes inmmediatly to 77.2khz. )

"" its going to be audible. The slope of the peak is there at 15KHz and there will be phase shift elements easily down to 10KHz, which will be perceived as brightness. ""

A surface LP click certainly is audible as a " click " sound not as brigthness and I’m talking of clicks and pops because that’s what reports the OP not brigthness: he said: pops and other noises and never mentioned brigthness.

So what’s all about? and of course that you can’t perceive as a click or defined kind of sound 17khz-18khz ( you can’t aisle it. ), you just can’t do it.

In the other side the harmonics of that resonance at 19khz ( the fundamental. ) goes to 38khz almost at once. My information is not false.

Why is false? proved it is false not only post it. You are the one whom say is faklse then: proved not talk, we need facts. I know as usual with you: you have no facts at all. Pity.

A gentleman with deep knowledge levels way higher than you and ovbiously than me says about:

" Clicks don’t inherently have a frequency because there is no repetition in the signal. That would be like asking "what is the frequency of an impulse? ""

The Hagerman calculator gives an " idea " of what could happens but exist other parameters around it that certainly changes the calculator values. Exist a very complex relationship between several electrical and mechanical parameters to try to aisle one of them.

Your " terrorism " has no limits because you want and like the " protagonism " but unfortunatelly you have not the rigth knowledge levels and skills to has it. Sorry for that. Try again.


Btw, a few days ago you posted:

""" With regards to surface noise I agree most of that is in the groove..................................................
The surface noise is mostly an artifact of the pressing plant ""

Dear friends: Some very well know MM/MI/IM cartridge inductance values:

Stanton Series 100: 270mH
AKG P25MD :  170mH
P100LE ( fabolous/unique.): 90mH
Technics EPC100CMK4:  33mH
Audio Technica ATML-180: 210mH
Audio Technica ATML-170: 380mh
Sonus Gold: 150mH
Shure Ultra500: 330mH
Shure V15 typeV: 330mH
Pickering XSV5000: 290mH
Astatic MF-200: 90mH
ADC 26/27 : 150mH
Signet TK10 MLMK2: 180mH

@atmasphere  : No one approach 500mH. In the other side all those cartridges and any MM/MI/IM can be loaded at 20k, 47k, 100k or 150k , I intented all these values and stay with 100k. I know of audiophiles that loaded their cartridges at 15k with good results too. The Hagerman calculator use only 47k that's one of multiple options about.

As I said, you don't have the rigth knowledge levels, you need as urgent learn about. Do it and come back, till then: bye bye / chao ! ! 


Astatic 2500 : 105mH
Glanz Mf-71 : 100 mH
Audio Technica AT-25 : 85mH
Acutex M315 : 160mH
Nagaoka/Jeweltone : 280mH.

So, @emilm the frequency resonance of your cartridge is: 25.4khz , end of the " distress ".

Btw,, the gentleman that runned his MM/MI cartridges at around 20k loading is Halcro in his DM10 phonolinepreamp that comes with loading selector from 10k to 60k.


Dear @emilm : Normally when we make a true up grade in any room/system the new item comer will disclose several hidden " problems/distortions " that due to inferior design/quality of the other items in the system can't disclose it.

That " humble "  Lehmann phono stage is way superior to your discontinued integrated Arcam. You need at least a line preamp with similar quality design and quality excecution to the design as the Lehmann you own.
Sorry to tell you but your Arcam is really a " poor " quality performer and the Lehmann quality showed that Arcam low quality level.

Anyway, you need to make the rigth Lehmann set up with the cartridge in use.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
You said:

"""  I get a little bit better detail and bass extension BUT it also much noisier. """

Why the Lehmann? it's a true up-grade over what you own.

If you are not willing to invest what your overall system needs and " crying " for then put on sale the Lehmann and stay as you was before the Lehmann.

Good analog quality performance level is way demanding.

It looks like Raul is on a roll again. There is some possibility a post of his will be removed, so I will not quote it. Instead I will generally address some of his benighted comments.

The calculator I linked to demonstrates that an electrical resonant peak exists with any cartridge. But it is a mistaken idea to assume that the peak has an influence at only one frequency. As you can see from the graphs, there is a rise in the frequency response curve prior to the peak; this is true of *any* resonance; the slope of the curve is defined by a value known as 'Q' (Quality) in radio terms (and is caused by how tightly the windings of the inductance are wound). The higher the Q value, the higher the peak and the steeper the curves on either side of it. From this we can see that the Q associated with MM cartridges is considerably lower than that for LOMC cartridges. This also means that its influence is spread out over a wider range of frequencies- the lower the Q the wider range of frequencies it influences. Here is the Wikipedia page regarding Q:

Any signal that exists in the envelope is boosted. In addition, phase shift will exist below the cutoff of the resonance (this is basic filter theory); the ear perceives this as brightness since this is a peak rather than a dip. So the result is the brightness will enhance ticks and pops. Ticks and pops are high frequency in nature; this is why a 'scratch filter' seen in older audio gear rolls off the highs. This stuff should be pretty easy to understand.

I've seen the idea that a tick or a pop is not a repetitive signal; that its an impulse. We can see easily that this idea is false and quite laughable! This is because of the very simple fact that audio circuits amplify signals inside the audio band, and ticks and pops exist in the audio band as well (hence scratch filters affect them...). This means by definition that they **are** repetitive in nature albeit quite short. Further, its important to understand that not all ticks and pops have their origin on the LP surface as I've pointed out earlier: many phono preamps generate them due to poor high frequency overload margins in the front end of the phono circuit. This is common with opamp-based preamps as quite often where the overload is occurring is outside of the feedback loop of the circuit so it can't be corrected by feedback. Regardless of their source, ticks and pops are an audio frequency artifact, but if the playback apparatus is set up properly they can be minimized. To this point (also as I mentioned earlier) I am very used to playing entire album sides without any ticks or pops (so long as there are no actual scratches on the LP surface) and I don't clean my LPs with anything more than a carbon fiber dust brush.

Raul appears so willing to attack me that he's actually contradicting himself in order to do so. In this quote, which is from a post of his that has not been reported he says this:
No one approach 500mH.
But I only used that example in my prior post because Raul said this:
first than all Nagaoka is not MM design but IM similar to MI and the like where normally internal inductance is not really high ( say over 600. )
-In that prior post of mine I even quoted the part above! In general, when you see someone engaging in this sort of behavior its not about fact anymore, its about making someone else 'wrong', often at any cost. Its my feeling this is the phenomena we are seeing here. 

Records all have pops and noise that can be eliminated by a number of methods.  I had a black cube in the past.  My guess as to why it reveals more pops and clicks has to do with lack of feedback.  By inserting feedback into the signal noise that is common is canceled out.  I would say the black cube has less feedback.  BTW, D Class amplifiers with their reconstruction filters also tend to eliminate pops and clicks.

This is all assuming correct setup of the cartridge.  A cartridge with too much downward pressure on the groove will be noisier.

The problem with noise is more pronounced in phonos without feedback, those using MC cartridges, and older LPs from the 50's and 60's  

Cleaning records will help and so will antistatic treatments.  An ultrasonic cleaner can be assembled with ready to go parts.  I built this one in a couple hours for about $400.

holder and motor

Tank can be had same place or amazon or ebay

Order up some tubing and fittings



I use an ionizer for static by DESCO


i remember 6-7-8 years ago when i dove headfirst back into analog, reading so many loooooooong heated threads here between raul, oregon papa, chakster -- true analog experts with strong opinions, deep knowledge and experience and no fear in expressing .... hahaha

learned a lot, and through the jousts, and applied many ideas to my analog front end with outstanding results!
@atmasphere :  "  it is a mistaken idea to assume that the peak has an influence at only one frequency....""

wrong you are and if you understand it then a misunderstood because I even talked/posted about harmonics developed but in the Nagaoka case it does not has any real " disturb " to what the OP is hearing.

Incredible that you want to have protagonism and even that you do not know that the OP cartridge is not a MM design. 
It's useless to follow you about those clicks/pops .

"""   opamp-based preamps """.

October 16 of 2020 year and are you talking in a high end analog forum of op-amps? really? when several years ago no one use op-amps in any decent today SS electronics: decent unit design.

"""   so willing to attack me... """

attack you? I don't need it because you are the only one that attack your self with that so low knowledge levels in this specific regards.
You need a new mentor/advisor with analog.

perhaps the only audio subject where you really have the rigth knowledge level is about that archaic electronics you promotes.

Btw, you always make my day, thank's for that. Be happy and try to learn

Dear @jjss49  : Thank's for that but I'm still learning and willing to each single day, far away to be an expert by my self.

The problem with that gentleman is that he likes to be the " salt " in every single audio subject even that in almost all audio subjects his knowledge levels are really low like the one in this thread.
Additional problem is that newcomers to Agon forums think that because he is a manufacturer he is an expert in everything when his true day by day expertise belongs to tubes technology.

Btw, congratulation for your Townshend, well the Harbeth's and Rel's too.

Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
Raul, I don't know if atmasphere is an educated terrorist but you are relentless! Are you that bored during these times than to do anything but talk nonsense and offend other people.
Do you ever shut up?

Yes, atmasphere is bombarding me with technical information from which I understand no more than 10% and I was overwhelmed BUT he never insults people and I'm sure many appreciate his knowledge.

You say that a 2000$ Integrated amp is not good enough for 450$ phono stage.
Are you out of your mind. How much should I spend for an integrated to match this entry level Phono?
Maybe 10000$? 

Arcam FMJ28 is a poor quality performer?!? Again, what have you been smoking?
One of the last Arcams MADE IN UK. Not like the new made in China crap. Personally I resent everything Made in China and this has been the case for 30 yrs when the West started shifting manufacturing to China (nothing to do with the current Corona situation).

From all the information in this thread I have decided that my turntable, NOT MY INTEGRATED is the weakest link and I will replace it very soon. 
I will open another discussion about this turntable topic and I hope that you will not be part of it.

Atmasphere, please keep in mind that not every person who loves and enjoys music is an electronic engineer. Although your information could be very useful for the right person to the rest of us, maybe you could try and explain it in an easier way.

Big thanks to everybody who tried to help me with my problem, especially to ejb14, Geof3 and jjss49.

I haven't posted much here, but do read quite a bit and love to learn; I have learned a few things on this thread and find much of what @atmasphere, @geof3 (and others as well) have posted to be helpful and make sense to me. However, @rauliruegas, you are obviously knowledgeable, and have a lot to offer, but I would prefer you leave the personal attacks out of your posts. In my opinion, personal attacks don't help you, the OP, me or others and cast a shadow over the rest of your posts. 

I am still scratching my head a bit as to why when the only thing changed between the two scenarios is the phono stage that we get an "unlistenable" experience; it could be that the Lehmann requires a different setup I suppose, or that it does a much better job at exposing other weaknesses in the system - but I would find a way to verify the Lehmann is performing to specification before proceeding down other avenues. I have bought (and fixed) a lot of used equipment, and found that sometimes what sounds fine to the seller can mean they did not know or could not hear that there was a problem.

The A28 phono stage appears to be a simple single gain stage op-amp based design, but owning and listening to a few reputed 'better' ones (A Sutherland PH3D and a Croft Micro 25 for example), I think it does quite well. I would not say the built in stage is better than the Lehmann, but if that is so, I would think the Lehmann should sound better through the A28. My other external stages certainly do. 

Dear @jjss49 : Thank’s for that but I’m still learning and willing to each single day, far away to be an expert by my self. Btw, congratulation for your Townshend, well the Harbeth’s and Rel’s too.

I think like all forums, people come to learn, and sometimes, have to have patience with those who express views which are hard to accept, given their own biases and experiences... nonetheless the forum is a valuable one... we have pursued this hobby and passion for so long, but there is always more for us to learn

in terms of analog front ends raul, i still have that lovely Townshend... the arm damping is quite special, has real benefits i think ... i also accumulated a vpi classic w 3d (what a tank, but sound is not quite as good as i hoped), also a refurbed oracle delphi w origin live rega arm (wonderful deck. lively easeful) and most recently a well tempered amadeus (mad scientist firebaugh maybe but the sound is just brilliant)... always more excellent units to try and experience!  
Dear @emilm :  ""   but talk nonsense  ""  ? ? well maybe could be nonsense to you and other gentlemans too but you can be sure that that " talk " has true and real foundation.

Now,  ""   to match this entry level Phono?  "" you are rigth that the Lehmann because its price level is an entry level phono stage but when was introduced in the analog market and even today and due to its very good and wise design outperforms easily units in the 3K price range, please read all the reviews on that " entry level ".

In the other side I already gone in deep with your Arcam and sorry to disturb you about but has not the quality level than the Lehmann. Just an opinion.

I'm still learning but everything I learned came mainly doing several mistakes taking bad decisions and choices and taking advises that came from gentlemans that had not the rigth knowledge levels but I did not knew they had not because I was even worst than they.

Anyway your post was welcomed.

Dear @ejb 14 : "" you leave the personal attacks out of your posts. """

I’m really worried that you think what I posted with that gentleman is a personal attack even if look like that because is far away from there, not only with him but with no one else any where.

Things are that when I read that some one is spreading every where in the audio world forums again and again information that in the last times almost never happenned/happens I think that not only me but any one with the rigth information needs to post about because is each of us responsability to really help in between us increasing our each one audio overall subjects knowledge levels and the only way to do it is taking facts that can be proved that it really happens.

Your post appreciated and sorry that’s my way of thinking: share true today experiences, nothing else. I’m married with MUSIC not hardware or software or " imagination "/illusions but true live MUSIC.