Turntables, phono stages, cartridges, etc., reviewed on the SoundStage! Network in 2009. All prices are in US dollars unless otherwise noted and are accurate at the time of the review.

The entries are shown alphabetically by company name.

aesthetix_rheasig_300wPrice: $4000

Website: www.aesthetix.net

Peter said: The standard Rhea deserves the accolades it has received over the years, and continues to prove a value leader at $4000. That it now marks the beginning of an upgrade path makes it a fantastic musical investment.

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: Perhaps one of the best phono stages for under $5000.

aesthetix_rheasig_300wPrice: $7000

Website: www.aesthetix.net

Peter said: The Rhea Signature built on the strengths of its namesake while minimizing or even eliminating the few compromises evident in the original. Without any remaining evidence of deviation from neutrality, the Signature’s suitability as a reviewer’s tool was obvious . . .

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: A Rhea realizing what it’s truly capable of: SOTA sound.


Price: $7800

Website: www.artemislabs.com

Garrett said: I’d say, in general, that the Artemis Labs SA-1 would be a turntable for discerning music lovers rather than for audiophiles questing for a component that would reveal utter details like the smack of lipstick on a wet pair of lips.

Read the Ultra Audio review.

The gist: Musical, aesthetically refined, and unfussy.


Price: $899

Website: www.audio-technica.com

John said: Having cartridges like the AT33EV around will make life difficult for makers of high-priced MM cartridges -- there’s now reason to question how much more improvement you’ll hear for all those extra dollars.

Read the SoundStage! review.

The gist: The natural step up from an entry-level MC.


Price: $1595

Website: www.belcantodesign.com

S. Andrea said: I found that its articulate and tuneful bass brought life to recordings of small-ensemble jazz, its sweet midrange captivatingly reproduced voices, and its depth of soundstage imbued many classical recordings with a concert-like feel.

Read the SoundStage! review.

The gist: Right on the money for the price.


Price: $349-$974

Website: www.bluecircle.com

Philip said: But those willing to get past the Fon Lo Thingee’s no-frills looks to just hear how good it sounds might be rewarded: the performance of their systems might be taken to the next level for very little money.


Read the GoodSound! review.

The gist: Not a pipe bomb, but a good phono stage.


Price: $7290

Website: www.lammindustries.com

Marc said: Don’t let [its] longevity lull you into overlooking the LP2 Deluxe if you’re on the hunt for a truly state-of-the-art phono stage. “New” doesn’t always mean “improved.”


Read the SoundStage! review.

The gist: Expensive but ultimately satisfying.


Prices: $1500 (LP5.3), $1250 (PSX5.3)

Website: www.simaudio.com

Graham said: I was mighty impressed by the pairing of Simaudio’s Moon LP5.3 and Moon PSX5.3. The stock LP5.3 is a great phono stage, and a bit of a steal at $1500. But add the PSX5.3 for another $1250 and you have a very serious high-end phono stage that competes with options way up the price ladder.

Read the SoundStage! review.

The gist: You can shoot for the Moons while staying firmly grounded.

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