A local AK'er and friend is exploring an economic solution for getting a phono stage for his system. He needs it to have LOMC capability so some gain is required. He has looked some of the new options out there. He owns the cheaper Cambridge unit but feels it is lacking. I talked him into trying out just the phono section of my rebuilt and upgraded C-2. Using a Benz ACE L into the 100 ohm MC input on the C-2 and the tape out into his existing system, damn it sounded good! Certainly better than anything he had to compare it to. This got me to thinking. Of the C-2, C-2a, C-2x, C-4, C-80, C-85 etc, which one actually has the best phono stage? Please disregard the line stage performance as that is not relevant. I have owned all of these except the C-2a but have not compared just the phono stage directly with each other. My guess is the C-2x is probably the best if not for the simple fact the phono stage has it's own power supply? Those of you that have torn into these, are the phono circuits similar in design, different in component quality etc? Has anyone compared the sound quality of just the phono stage in these Yamahas? I have always been impressed with all of these preamplifiers, but with the price of a phono stage of any quality, I'm curious if these Yamaha phono stages are a superior option at this price range even if you aren't using the linestage?