After revamping my TT and deciding I was going back into vinyl I required a phono preamp. I bought the Pro-ject SE (SS version). Coupled this with my new Grado wood bodied Sonata cartridge, I thought the sound was great. My TT is a Rega Planar3 with an RB300 arm. I changed many preamps and power amps over time but until the day I saw a kit form, OP amp based, phono preamp in the local electronics store I never changed that which was closest to the source.
The kit was $AU35. You required an AC supply and case but everything else was supplied (See image of the build below). With some variation to the kit I completed the project and now was interested to see (and hear) how it sounded. Immediately, from the first track of the first LP I was very impressed. The preamp was dead quiet, no hum hiss, just nothing. Music just flowed from the whole system. The sound appeared creamy and smooth and oozed from the speakers. When switching back to my Pro-ject I felt the sound was course and rough. The music sounded like it was being forced out, not rolling or flowing out. I cannot find one thing the Pro-ject does better than this inexpensive kit. The gain control is a bonus but without changing brd. level components various input capacitance and loads cannot be changed easily. The phono preamp is excellent.