I'm always curious about budget phono preamps. I had the opportunity to purchase an inexpensive, second-hand Parasound Zphono recently and did so to try it out. It has MM and MC capability, but I have only tried the MM so far. I am very impressed. Previous to this, the unit I was most enamored with in this category was the Vincent PHO 8. The Parasound is just as dynamic (more, actually) and big sounding as the Vincent, but it is more natural and upon initial listening, simply better. The sound of the Zphono is bold and authoritative, with a shockingly low level of artifacts at this price category. It's life-like and clean, but never tizzy, harsh, tinny, thin, or artificial as many low end units are. I would say that it's very slightly to the warm side of neutral, but only because there is an absence of glare and an ease, fundamental rightness, and slight softness to the sound that makes it relaxing to listen to and will surprise many people who are used to hearing most cheap phono amps on the market. It is likewise expressive, detailed, insightful and lively with fantastic, well-defined, deep and rich bass. Overall, I would not call this an overly warm or romantic sounding piece. It does not muddle the sound or fix bad records. It's not flashy or bright. It excels at just sounding very, very good. It's tonal balance is neutral, exciting, and extremely smooth. Soundstaging is average to slightly above average in terms of left to right and pinpoint imaging, while depth of stage may be a little lacking. Refinement and tonal sophistication is average to above average. The Parasound Zphono is now my favorite inexpensive phono stage, highly recommended, and is a ridiculous bargain for the price of $75-100 used. I have not had the opportunity to compare it side-by-side with the Vincent PHO-8, but according to my recent memory, my opinion would not change if I did so. Also, to be clear, I really love warm-sounding gear and tube amplification. That is my preference. If you're reading this and you like the same, the Parasound Zphono will likely please you. It's one of the rare machines that is "open" and "detailed", yet also relaxed and extremely musical and will never sound ugly. I think the Zphono would be an excellent match with just about any system, regardless of your personal taste. If you're looking for a phono preamp that will 'fix' the sound of your cartridge or turntable, this isn't it, though it will probably give you the bass slam you crave. However, if you're happy with your hifi system and need a great phono stage, try one of these.