Budget system, tube phono <$500 recommendations

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by theron d, Jul 11, 2018.

  1. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    Building a second budget system. So far I have :
    Dynaco A25
    Audio Technica AT-LP120 (Denon DL-160 cart)
    Dayton Audio APA150 power amp (also has a passive pre on it, single channel input)

    Suggestions for a tube phono pre <$500. So far have considered the Pro-ject Tube Box DS. Any others to consider?


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    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  2. Mister Pig

    Mister Pig Reigning Barnyard Animal of the Year

    Location:
    Olympia, WA
    If I were looking for an affordable phono stage, I would consider the Vista Audio Phono II. I have had an earlier version of the circuit in my home, and it was a remarkable performer for the money. Boris has added easy loading options to it, so now its user friendly. The price is quite reasonable also. While its a bit plain looking, it is a solid performer.

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  3. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Yaqin MS23B with upgraded 12ax7 tubes. Fabulous phono stage for the money. No loading options however.
     
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  4. CraigVC

    CraigVC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Portland, OR
    I think there are currently some tube phono preamps for sale on our Equipment Classifieds, under $500, that you might want to check out.
     
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  5. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    The one you already are looking at is a great choice. Music Direct has them on sale for 399.99 for the longest time.
     
  6. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    yes thats my first choice. I like that it has 12ax7 tubes too...just seeing what other possibilities are... thanks for all the suggestions so far!!!
     
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  7. Jeffreylee

    Jeffreylee Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Louisville
    I’ve always been curious about the Yaquin but a majority of threads about it descend into complaints about hum, bad soldering and, inevitably, upgrades that cost more than the unit. I don’t have any interest in that route.

    With patience, I found a lightly used PS Audio GCPH for $475, which is a deal. It took a while though.
     
  8. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    had the GCPH for many years! really liked that phono pre (mono button especially). Just like switching it up...budget tube phono (I have an EAR834p for main system but that not budget :agree:)
     
  9. Davey

    Davey define a transparent dream

    Location:
    SF Bay Area, USA
    Well, you can buy Chinese 834p clones for your budget, at least they would be all tube amplification and have real high voltage power supplies. I'm sure you know already, but most of the low budget tube stages are based on solid state opamps for gain and EQ, with low voltage tube output stages. But if it sounds good, doesn't really matter what's in the box, I'd be more inclined to just look for the best sounding budget phono preamp :)

    That said, there have been quite a few other threads asking similar questions, there's a lot of interest in low cost tube-based phono stages, here's a recent one ... Tube Phono Stage..thinking of diving in...Suggestions $500+/-
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
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  10. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    If the Chinese 834P clones are reliable, then this is a great option. I've owned both the real 834P and the Project. The 834P is much better and obviously the price reflects that. If the clones are good and in your price range grab one of them.
     
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  11. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    hmm interesting .. can you PM a link?
     
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  12. mike catucci

    mike catucci Forum Resident

    Location:
    PA
    Just head over to Ebay and search for Douk Audio. They have a pretty good reputation and people love their 834 p clone. As always don't rely on my word, due diligence is encouraged. I have also seen them on US Audio Mart and Audiogon.
     
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  13. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    :righton:
     
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  14. Paully

    Paully De gustibus non est disputandum

    Location:
    Alabama
    I have been using Bottlehead kits for years. A Reduction could be an option if you can solder or know someone who can.
     
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  15. London Beckett

    London Beckett Active Member

    I ran this amp for a while, but it has a tendency to hum unfortunately..

    Even though it's not a tube amp, I've heard great things about the Mobile Fidelity UltraPhono
     
  16. theron d

    theron d Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Baltimore MD
    yeah that's what Ive been reading. I may go with the 834p clone and compare to my real 834P.

    side note...the Dayton Audio APA150 amplifier for $158 is really a great amp. Driving my Harbeths 7es3 and REL Q201E sub (single) at 8oclock on the volume knob just fine. Going to get another unit and drive each side mono. EAR834P (real one) into a $158 SS amp...sounds ridiculous, but dont laugh...excellent! Tube bloom driven by a SS amp (FET I believe) getting great results.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2018
  17. vrøvl

    vrøvl Well-Known Member

    Location:
    Bergen, Norway
    sushimaster and vconsumer like this.
  18. G B Kuipers

    G B Kuipers Forum Resident

    Location:
    Netherlands
    Guess I am lucky then. No hum issues at all here.
     
  19. My input would be stretch an extra $50 - $100 and get the Tavish Vintage or Classic. Vintage 6SL7 Phono Stage (MM / MC) These stages give you a lot for the money - like TWO inputs, one for MC, one for MM.

    The Hagerman Cornet would be my second choice.
     
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  20. vconsumer

    vconsumer Forum Resident

    Location:
    Colorado
    A third vote for the Hagerman Cornet. I've owned the Cornet II for years and have never been disappointed. I did have to change a resistor on the PCB to properly load my cartridge, but it was easy to do and easily reversible.
     
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  21. Leao

    Leao Active Member

    Another endorsement of the Hagerman Coronet 3. It is a remarkable phono preamp. I have had it for a year and it has immensely increased my enjoyment of my record collection.
     
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  22. H8SLKC

    H8SLKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Boston, MA
    I'm using a Little Bear T11, a 834 clone (I believe) that is very affordable and sounds very good to my ears. I've been very happy with it.
     
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  23. sushimaster

    sushimaster Forum Resident

    Another vote for the Hagerman Coronet.
    I have three Hagerman Bugles and it's the the cornerstone of my main system.
     
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  24. JFSebastion

    JFSebastion Forum Resident

    Location:
    Maricopa Arizona
    Tube Phono under 500.00? If you can find one, a Budgie from Shannon Parks. IMHO the best tube phono under 500.00. You would have to buy one used or on secondary market since Parks has moved on to the Puffin which isn't Tube related at all.
     
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  25. apesfan

    apesfan Forum Resident

    Any Vincent phono stages. All under $500..
    114 (SS)

    pho 8 (SS)

    701 (12au7 tube)

    I have some Vincent gear and they really sound great regardless of where and who made them. John.
     
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