Transimpedance phono stage

I need a new phono stage to go with my Gryphon Diablo 300. At first, I was going to buy the phono card for it, but then I got to thinking that an external phono stage will give me a bit more flexibility.

I'm really intrigued by the current mode/transimpendance phono stages, I only use MC, so the limitations are not something that concerns me.

Any one has any experience with Sutherland TZ Vibe? Seems to be a good one to start with (not as expensive as the Loco...)


IMO, you are on the verge of falling into the trap of selecting a product based on its technology as opposed to sound. I admit is is attractive to have a phono preamp that does the loading for you, but that’s not everything.  I had a vibe for audition, and while I found it extremely quiet and clear, it was definitely lacking in body and warmth. For a bass-heavy system, it might be perfect, but it was not for me. The Heed phono stage, at about the same price, sounded much more musical to my ears, although definitely not as quiet. Gene Rubin sells both and you might contact him if you’re so inclined. He is excellent to deal with. Good luck. 

Also keep in mind that current driven phono stages really work best with LOMC cartridges that have very low internal impedance, for example, less than 10 ohms is ideal. This is not to say that those stages won’t work and sound good with LOMC cartridges that have higher internal impedances. It’s just that the match is more idiosyncratic. Sometimes good, sometimes not so good. I also agree with the idea that current driven phono stages are no panacea for every problem. They can be good and bad, just like voltage driven phono stages.

Gene Rubin also deals with the more expensive Little Loco whose internal linear power supply is able to put more meat-on-the-bone sonically as compared to the 48V outboard switched mode supply of the TZ Vibe.

As pointed out, lower impedance LOMC pickups work best and your signal cables, however terminated, should be balanced construction as opposed a to coax type - high inductance is disruptive to current flow.

I just don’t want to leave the impression that the TZ Vibe wasn’t a very good preamp. It’s midrange was extremely clear and there was no harshness whatsoever. It might be perfect in your system. Personally, if I had a Gryphon, I would get the phono card.  Who needs another box and another set of cables?  





You want a phono stage that has the sound quality you are looking for. My preference is for Audio Research (or Conrad Johnson, or VAC), Presto are also well regarded although I believe they are a touch cooler. 

@chayro , you are of corse right… the simple solution would be to get the phono module for the Diablo. Not only simpler, but the fact that I don’t need another set of interconnects and another power cord, makes really attractive also from a cost view