Hi, to me the Basic has always been a milestone, one of those hard to beat quality/price overachievers. Plug and play, easy to use. A unit that has been extremely well designed and built, has everything the regular analogue listener who just wants to enjoy good music needs and that one can happily live with for a long time with the comforting certainty that to get any better you must also be prepared to pay, markedly. Imho it will always beat the newer, cheaper and more hyped Smart in that respect because of the separate power unit and the automatic impedance matching. Over time, I used it with two turntables and three cartridges and it was, well, discrete and just very good. Quite extended at both ends of the frequency curve, nice musical flow, a bit grain surely - the question again: how much is one willing to pay to get less - and with a decent, if not the ultimative soundstage.
Let me tell you what it is not, because it has been chic to snub Clearaudio at times. It is not a "typical German" (whatever that is supposed to mean) cold, soulless note counter, and no, the "en vogue" Black Cube is not better and cheapo NAD stuff is most certainly not nearly as good. It is also not gear that you have to adjust painfully for weeks (admittedly sometimes to be rewarded with otherworldly sonic qualities). Its choice of two gain levels fits most not too exotic carts and that automatic impedance matching really appears to work.
I have been very pleased with the Basic in my system and eventually upgraded to a Quad P24, another overachiever in its own price range with "tube magic". But then again, that cost over 3 times as much as the Basic at that time.