Andre is right here. In fact the new Maggie line is slightly more sensitive to power, in other words easier to drive.
You can get a good NAD or Bellari phono stage for $200 so its not a big cost but as with anything else the more you spend, the more you get.
I will do some research on custom plinths and see what can be done there. Huntsman, can I assume you have some good woodworking skills?