I think you mean 36db, not 30db. And to a point, whenever you have to crank the volume knob higher to compensate for lower Db gain or lower output cartridges, the trade off can be distortion creeping in. But the difference between the 36db and 42db settings on the Mani, I would not think it is that much of a concern by comparison. For example, if one was to use a LOMC cartridge at 0.3mv on an MM stage, sure it works, but the additional Db needed for compensating introduces distortion. A trade off.