Thanks. Guess I'll find out soon, ordered a Realistic 42-2101A this morning, am hoping for the best. As regards low-cost 'tube' phono preamps. The circuit topology is similar to 'starved tube' microphone preamp designs that had a tube follower/buffer after the solid state gain stage. The advantage for recording was a touch of soft limiting and an overall smoothing of the sound. However, resolution is degraded slightly with these sorts of designs compared to either well designed solid state or all tube designs. The two best phono stages I've heard, so far, are John Curl/CTC's "Blowtorch" design, J-Fets pushed to the wall with rock solid power supplies and the phono section of the old, all tube Scott 299b.