Thought I'd post this as I've read a few threads wondering if a new seperate phono stage would sound better than a phono stage from a vintage receiver. I honestly could not tell the difference between my Marantz 2245 phono stage and the 540p. Now, the 2245 has been completely restored by AK member Catrafter and I've only been listening to the 540p for a couple days. Apparently, there is a break-in period for new phono pre-amps. But as of now, they're on the same level as far as I can hear (they both sound good). I will say the 540p sounds much better than the phono stage in my new Yamaha AX-497 integrated amp and that is where I'm using it. Just thought I'd share my experience.