The iFi Phono3 is absolutely insane. I don't even know where to start or how to explain, so I figured I will make this another one of those stream of consciousness reviews with measurements along they way. Like other iFi products, the Phono3 offers a ton of user adjust-ability, except in this case I feel it's warranted. To borrow a phrase from someone I had just spoken to regarding the Phono3, the Phono3 is geared for the tweaker or perfectionist! I'll start first with how it sounds and keep it short and sweet. The first thing I noticed about the Phono3 is how clear and free of veil it sounded compared to practically all other phonostage unless they were super high-end or special custom jobs designed for a specific use case. iFi says the Phono3 is direct coupled design, and it certainly sounds like it. Most phono stages will have several caps in the signal path, even disregarding the caps in the RIAA filter. I don't know exactly how IFi pulled this off, but they did it and I'm not about to trace the PCB to get hints. No, this isn't a giant killer. Some more expensive tube phonostages with top notch SUTs are more detailed. Other phonostages near the same price range may stage deeper or have zippier transients (this is more a matter of synergies and personal taste). iPhono3 on top. The super clarity of the iPhono3 actually lends itself well to lower end turntables. However, I found it disconcerting with the more energetic VPI Classic 4 table, until I realized I was running that setup with the "cheapo" Crown CDi1000 pro amp which is all muscle, sinew, but not much finesse. One gets used to the sound of phonostages with several caps in the way. Take that out, and maybe it becomes a bit too much. I tweaked the loading resistors, gain, and no matter what I did, it couldn't get rid of that slight glare in the upper mids and lower highs. Ultimately what did the trick was replacing the Crown amp with the Aegir. (I had the Crown in the system and had forgotten since I had been blasting it recently for kicks). This goes to say that synergy is crucial. If I had to sum it up in a few words, I'd say that the iPhono 3 is extremely clear, very expressive, and has good heft and sustain in the lows with great texture in that region. The above impressions were with the MC input. There are two inputs on the iPhono3. I have not tested with the MM input yet. I don't know if the inputs are optimized for MM or MC, i.e. if the MM input skips unnecessary gain stages. I do know that the MM inputs are run through selectors for capacitive load switches and that the MC inputs are run through the resistive load switches. One thing I would be curious about is if the MC inputs with the resistive loads can be used from MM carts. The reason is that some MM carts respond more to changing resistive loads than the capacitive load like the Ortofon 2M Black - read here. I don't think many folks understand how much tweaking there can actually be with phonostages. Most phonostages will provide a handful of tweaking options if we are lucky. Others will simply assume a single set: 47k-ohms 220uF for MM and 47-ohms for MC. As I mentioned earlier, the Phono3 is for the tweaker and perfectionist. Here are a few things that I hope to accomplish in the next week: Show measurements comparing the various RIAA equalization curves. Read the Wiki article to catch up on this. The iPhono3 offers RIAA, "Columbia", and Decca or TELDEC/DIN curves. Examine subjective MM performance, maybe test if MM can be used with MC inputs' resistive loading options. Measure THD, etc. Show measurements with various cartridges the effects of loading using a test record Take a few vinyl rips comparing to other phonostages BTW, iFi also sent this little sucker below, the iPower X. It's not a showstopper if you don't have it. I can see me preferring the stock switcher on systems which are too warm or smoothed over. However, the iPower X in place of the stock switcher offers a less coarse more refined sound with even a blacker background and warmer tone. I said to myself "oh no, this is gonna cost an extra $350" (we know how diminishing returns works in audio), but I was pleasantly surprised that it was $99.