Question Phono Stage for Rega Planar 3 and Cambridge Audio CXA61

Arsenio Erico

Well-known member
Jun 28, 2020
1) I've pretty much decided to go ahead and buy the RP3 with a Nagaoka MP110 Cartridge to be used with my current setup (CA CXA61 and Q Acoustics 3020i). I only need to save a bit more and I will order it.
Now, before pulling the trigger I'd like to know which Phono Stage you think would be a good pair for it.
I thought maybe the Cambridge Audio Alva Solo would be the best option because it would be matched with the CXA61 but I don't really know if that makes any sense, I'm just guessing. I've read that some people like the Shiit Mani as well. My budget for the Phono Stage is 200US$ top. I think I will never try MC cartridges, I might be just fine with MM that's why I considered the Alva Solo. Do you think the Alva Duo adds enough sound quality to justify the extra money invested? or is it just more expensive for the cartridges compatibility?
What's your suggestion?

2) My second question is: Would a 2mm spacer (I will get the Acoustic Signature one) be enough to adjust the tonearm VTA with the MP110 on? Is that the only extra thing I need to buy to calibrate and setup everything? This is my first turntable, so any suggestions would me much appreciated.

Thank you very much!


Well-known member
Apr 24, 2020
I've never owned a Rega turntable so can't answer question 2), but did use a Cambridge 551p phono stage for many years, which the Alva models have now replaced.
I'm not a massive fan of Cambridge products, but I have to say this was excellent - very quiet background, good detail, nice midrange - only fault sound-wise was perhaps some very treble-heavy rock recordings could sound a little too strident. I changed it for a Moon 110LP prior to getting a new turntable with a MC cart; the Moon was better in sound quality terms (treble sibilance, soundstage) but not massively so when comparing the same turntable and MM cartridge.
If the Alva is similar, I would say it could be an excellent phono stage, whether or not you also have a Cambridge amp. Whether you get the Duo or Solo depends on whether you might want to change the Nagaoka for a MC at some point in the future, I'm not sure the sound quality will be any different.
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I would agree with the above in that the Duo is not a good idea if you never plan to use Moving Coil cartridges.
The 2mm spacer may be sufficient and is certainly better than nothing.
I haven't heard either of the phono preamps and just because they are made by the same manufacturer as your amp doesn't necessarily mean they are going to be the best buy.
Unfortunately I don't know what else is available for that budget wherever in the world you are.
If you can spend a bit more and are in the States then the MOFI Studiophono is excellent
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Well-known member
Sep 17, 2005
Depending on your budget, if you can find either a Cambridge Audio 640P or a 551P phono amp, at least than £100, send it to Jez Arkless for modifications, and you'll be amazed at how good it is.
contact him first for possible costs,etc.
I speak as a n extremely happy user with my RP3/MP200.
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