Sponsors

(2018) Stereo Analog Source Components

Price: $2995

Website: www.europeanaudioteam.com

Jason said: EAT has managed to use vacuum tubes -- that century-old technology -- as the gain devices of a great-sounding, thoroughly modern phono preamplifier.

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Modern phono stage with a hint of tube lushness.

Price: $1600

Website: www.je-audio.com

Oliver said: I found that its combination of inherent musicality and a smooth, open midrange communicated the music in a way that reminded me of a good tube preamp. Furthermore, its low noise floor and compatibility with a wide swath of phono cartridges mean that it will work well in a variety of systems. I could live with the HP20 as part of my system, and contentedly, too.

Read the SoundStage! Hi-Fi review.

The gist: Midrange-centric phono stage is a good value, too.

Price: $499

Website: www.nadelectronics.com

Thom said: In all, the NAD C 558 is a great turntable that’s far above entry level. I could see myself using one for years to come. I recommend it to anyone returning to the vinyl fold, or coming aboard for the first time. It’s simple, it’s elegant, it works marvelously well.

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: Priced right and with sound that’s a cut above.

Price: $149.99

Website: www.nagaoka.eu

Thom said: It’s a solid performer with many pluses, only a few minuses, and it’s compatible with many current and vintage turntables. If you want a cartridge with extended but not overblown bass, a midrange that favors the higher side, and mostly silky highs, the MP-110H might just be the ticket.

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: Low-cost but high-performing cartridge.

Price: AU$5495

Website: www.shelter-audio.co.jp

Edgar said: In my relatively new analogue playback system, the Shelter Audio Harmony MC cartridge most definitely stays as the last piece of the puzzle in what I’m sure will be a long, utterly rewarding and, umm… harmonious vinyl journey.

Read the SoundStage! Australia review.

The gist: Checked off all the boxes to make Edgar’s new vinyl setup.

Price: $149

Website: www.sumikoaudio.net

Thom said: I think Sumiko might have a hit on its hands. The Oyster Rainier offered a lovely, warm sound with a wide range of recordings, but could still kick up its heels as required.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Access review.

The gist: Sumiko hits a low point . . . in price, that is.

Price: $1899

Website: www.sumikoaudio.net

Jason said: The Reference Starling slapped me in the face. While I know that Sumiko has been in the cartridge business forever, and obviously should know by now how to make a good cartridge, I hadn’t expected this level of performance for a (pretty much) affordable price.

Reviewers' Choice

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: If you’re in the budget cartridge market, Jason thinks you should spend a bit more and get this.

Price: $12,500

Website: topwing.jp

Jason said: What a firecracker of an audio component.

Read the SoundStage! Ultra review.

The gist: Jason was convinced this cartridge is worth the tall asking price.

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