Solid State Phono Stages

I used to be an all-tube guy, but I’ve now ventured into the realm of high-end solid state with T+A and no longer have any itch to go back heavily into tubes. Now, the only tubes I have left in my system are in my Modwright PH9.0X phono, and from what I’ve demoed against it, it seems to be a giant killer. I do love it, but I’m curious to try a higher end solid state phono stage to see what more noise and more music might sound like. Unfortunately T+A does not have a standalone phono stage, so I’m looking at other manufacturers and open to other opinions.

I currently have a Clearaudio Innovation Wood table and Air Tight PC-1s cartridge. i listen to a wide range of music, from Zeppelin to Vivaldi to Beck to Coltrane to Yello. The stage would ideally have between 65-74db of gain, maybe adjustable to 60db at minimum, and have variable impedance values. A balanced output stage would be ideal. I don’t ever really plan to have a second arm, but most stages that retail over $7K tend to have multiple inputs anyways.

My budget would be at tops ~$8K for a used unit. The unit that is sticking out to me from what I’m reading about is the Simaudio Moon 810LP. Another high on the list is the Esoteric E-02. I’ve also come across the Pass XP-27, the Gold Note PH-1000.

I’m looking for a stage with some personality in its character, not one that is overly refined. I’d love for it to be dynamic and bold when it should be, and also gentle and refined when it should be.

The only solid state stages I’ve ever owned and tried were the Pass Labs Xono, which was clean sounding but a little noisy and brittle sounding compared to a PS Audio Stellar Phono. I’ve liked all my tube phono stages better than both of those units.

I’ve also considered going further up the tube stage route, looking at Doshi 3.0, Aesthetix IO Eclipse, but I’m hesitant unless I can hear those in place. 

What solid stage phono stages have you loved, and what have you compared them to?

128x128Ag insider logo xs@2xblisshifi

 I consider SR to be one of the worst of the snake oil companies which are a blight on this hobby. Regarding their explanations for their products, they are nonsensical BS

Couldn't agree more. Would never consider SR based on their BS


Bliss is a very good guy, but I have to agree with the SR critics, as noted. I am an MD/ molecular biologist with 40+ years experience at the lab bench. Had some wonderful physics teaching in college but have no advanced degree in the field. However, I build and repair my own audio gear and have been studying various aspects of electronics since my retirement 6 years ago and in my spare time for at least an additional 25 years. . Some of the ideas promulgated in the audio world, especially ones that invoke quantum mechanics or a quantum effect, are as laughably wrong or impossible as the speeches of certain politicians.

@lewm just this very moment i am working on a quad paired photon vinyil replay system… for stereo…. I’m at an impasse getting the ears to see the light…

I believe Jeff Lynne was on to this…late 1971