Having a VTA SP9 with PH6 phono stage in it I was curious how the phono stage would compare to the classic Marantz 7 phono stage. I was able to pick the Marantz stage up for about $40 on eBay so I grabbed one. I had mentioned in another thread I had compared them, but now I have in my posession 2 SP9's, with the Marantz board in one, and the PH6 in the other, so I was able to swap them back and forth pretty quickly, and was able to make a much better comparison. I used 2 Telefunken 12AX7's and an RCA cleartop 12AU7 in the Marantz and just the Teles in the PH6. Well, the PH6 wins, hands down.
It's MUCH cleaner sounding, the soundstage is more stable and solid, the highs just kill the Marantz, the Marantz sounds cloudy and grungy by comparison, and the soundstage seems to waver. The lows are comparable, but thats where the contest ends. Anyone want to buy a Marantz phono pre? (KIDDING!)