What's A Good Upgrade From A Manley Steelhead?

I'm on a mission to improve my vinyl front-end. Starting point is to replace the Graham 2.2 on my Basis Audio Debut Gold Vacuum, followed by a new compatible cartridge, next will be a different phonostage.

I like the Steelhead but I'm sure there's something better out there. I've around $8K  to play with and prefer to buy used. Has anyone stepped up from the Steelhead successfully, if so, what did you buy and how much of an improvement was it?

Appreciate any thoughts/ideas? 


I’ll second @rauliruegas’s recommendation for the Moon 610LP. I have the Moon 310LP/320S combination and it is absolutely brilliant; I heard the 610LP recently and it is a very significant step up in SQ.

Why not forget about loading and go 

with a Sutherland Phono  Loco current/transimpedence phono stage?

At $8200 it’s right at your budget

i personally went through several voltage type phono stages

until I personally went with the Little Loco

This change was the single largest improvement I have ver experienced in gear changes /upgrades   To my vinyl front end playback.No longer do I need to worry a loading and this unit gives me the most accurate reproduction of the grooves that I have ever experienced. Also forget about hum because this design is dead quiet.

Good luck Willy-T


@willy-t Thanks for the heads up on the Sutherland. I wasn’t aware of this technology, using the current and not the voltage generated in moving coil cartridges. It’s interesting since I’m also looking to change tonearms so I can spec the balanced ungrounded cable requirements.


I wish there were some place I could get to hear this thing.

Otherwise I like the Moon idea, unless something else comes along. I haven’t found much reading on the Moon phono but I’ll have another look around later today.

Please keep any other suggestions coming. I’d like a shortlist of perhaps 3 units before I get my spinning wheel and pointer out :)



I suggest you read up on the current phono stage and if you decide on the Sutherland please let me know

im pretty sure I can hook you up with a discount on a new unit though a retailer 

I know very well