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Tube phono stage on the cheap?

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I realized today that if I REALLY want to go all-out on my analog rig, I'm going to want a tubed phono stage. How cheaply can I get one (or, better stated, how cheaply can I get a decent one)?
post #2 of 45

Brocksieper Phonomax

The Phonomax is a decent tube phono stage. And it's as small as the Earmax. It's the thing on the right.



According to the article it costs only $1,200. Click here and scroll down a little.
post #3 of 45
Audio Electronic Supply (Cary) makes a nice little unit. $600 assembled, $400 DIY. There are upgrades available that will take the price to $1,100 IIRC.

http://www.audioelectronicsupply.com...&prod_num=PH-1
post #4 of 45
A cheap assembled option is the well-reviewed Pro-ject Tube box

http://www.needledoctor.com/s.nl/c.A...t.A/id.2305/.f

$549 at needledoctor
post #5 of 45
The Hagerman Tech Classic Cornet can be built for ~$300 -

http://www.hagtech.com/cornet.html

It looks like the newer version is closer to $400 -

http://www.hagtech.com/cornet2.html
post #6 of 45
Thread Starter 
I guess it would help to mention that as I have no experience in DIY, this WILL have to be assembled, making the Pro-Ject Tube box the best option out of those mentioned. Anything else that someone can think of? Or is there a good DIYer who I could pay to build one?
post #7 of 45
Pro-jet is a no-nonsense company. For the same amount (appr.) you can get a Trichord Dino they sell the tube box. I wouldn be surprised if the tube box is quite better than the Trichord and other brand phono stages that cost the same or more money


Yet I would be pretty sure that op-amps actually do the job and the tubes are there just to glow. Can someone comment on this?

I am serisously thinking of getting it to complete my analog source. I currently have the Project phonobox which is excellent (especially for my Project 2.0). But the Project RPM-9+clearaudio wood need something much better.

I would suggest you get the Pro-ject PHono box for now. It is a dual mono desing. You can have the op amps changed I suppose and upgrade the external power suplly. A hifi mag I have says that its high end for the have nots. And indeed it sounds incredible for its price($120 new i think?)

I have had the Pro-ject 2/Stanton881s/Pro-ject Phonobox combo for months and it is really great!! The bass of the phonobox sort of makes up for the non massive table. It fits like a glove(same company anyway). Forget the tube for now. It makes no sense to get a phono stage worth more than the rest of your analog system.
post #8 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by marios_mar
Pro-jet is a no-nonsense company. For the same amount (appr.) you can get a Trichord Dino they sell the tube box. I wouldn be surprised if the tube box is quite better than the Trichord and other brand phono stages that cost the same or more money


Yet I would be pretty sure that op-amps actually do the job and the tubes are there just to glow. Can someone comment on this?

I am serisously thinking of getting it to complete my analog source. I currently have the Project phonobox which is excellent (especially for my Project 2.0). But the Project RPM-9+clearaudio wood need something much better.

I would suggest you get the Pro-ject PHono box for now. It is a dual mono desing. You can have the op amps changed I suppose and upgrade the external power suplly. A hifi mag I have says that its high end for the have nots. And indeed it sounds incredible for its price($120 new i think?)

I have had the Pro-ject 2/Stanton881s/Pro-ject Phonobox combo for months and it is really great!! The bass of the phonobox sort of makes up for the non massive table. It fits like a glove(same company anyway). Forget the tube for now. It makes no sense to get a phono stage worth more than the rest of your analog system.
True that. If I don't like how my new Marantz 1060 works with the Pro-Ject table that'll be my next upgrade. BTW, have you gotten the soundcard yet? I'm getting a bit preoccupied, esp. since I couldn't insure it to greece.
post #9 of 45
What Brad said.

(I was going to suggest the Hagerman unit also... it's next on my short list)
post #10 of 45
Mapletree Audio Designs has a stereo phono/line preamplifier which looks pretty neat. Nick Dangerous spoke very highly of the MAD Ear+ Headphone amp some time ago if that counts for anything
post #11 of 45
Here ya go. Mini phono from ASL for $249 list.

http://www.divertech.com/aslminiphono.htm
post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by darkclouds
Here ya go. Mini phono from ASL for $249 list.

http://www.divertech.com/aslminiphono.htm
Wow... certainly an attractive price! Anyone know anything about the sound?
post #13 of 45
One thing to take into consideration about ASL products in general, is that occasionally folks have found some reliability issues.

One place you might check for opinions on this subject is over on the Audio Asylum. http://db.audioasylum.com/cgi/search...htext=asl+mini

Good luck.
post #14 of 45
The cheapest route is to go with DIY. If you can't build a kit, you could buy one and pay a friend to build it... eg. commission one of the talented builders here to put it together. You will get the best bang for buck this way, considering the really nice kits out there:

http://www.hagtech.com/ have the Classic, Cornet, etc.

and the Bottlehead Foreplay is great too.
post #15 of 45
Quote:
One thing to take into consideration about ASL products in general, is that occasionally folks have found some reliability issues.
I am amzed they can even sell a tube phono stage that works for that price !

The words cheap and phono tube stage do not belong in the same sentence.Because of the extreme high gains the cicuit must have special attention payed to noise levels which will be magnified by the amount of gain :
X100

And that means good power supply design and low noise resistors.

Plus the nature of an RIAA phono stage means in order to follow the reverse curve of the phono disc cutting maching the eq network must be precise or you get frequency response errors-again not cheap using precision parts.

And after all that put in in a chassis and do a layout that eliminates hum and noise.

No,cheap and tube phono stage are not usually used in the same sentence-good luck
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