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Old 15th February 2017, 08:16 PM   #1
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Default Budget tube phono stage

I'm looking for suggestions on what I could build for a decent bang for the buck phono stage to use with a 5 mv output moving magnet cartridge. I picked up my SL-1300, AT 440MLA for $250 total so I don't want to spend a fortune on the phono My preamp also has additional gain so something in the +/- 40 dB range is fine.

I am guessing the power transformer will be the most expensive single part? So if a design is proposed and there is something that is off the shelf Edcor or equivalent I am sure that will help in keeping cost down.

Not looking for dirt cheap if it's going to hamper performance, so all around good value to performance is what I'm looking at. Thanks!

Valve itch caught my eye, anyone have a rough estimate how much that would be to build? I don't need a step up transformer since the cartridge is high output. And I have plenty of scrap metal and could bang together a wood case.
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Old 16th February 2017, 10:11 AM   #2
lexx21 is offline lexx21  United States
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What are you thinking of as "budget"? My 6dj8 phono preamp could be thought of as budget by some, but the quality of parts that I used ran around 300 bucks or more........the transformers, caps, two hv regulator boards, the filament regulator...then the parts for the preamp itself. Good connectors cost 7-10 each and then there was the military type screw on connector for the umbilical between the power supply and preamp.

Budget is all relative....need to be specific.
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Old 16th February 2017, 10:20 AM   #3
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It can't be more simple:

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Old 16th February 2017, 11:01 AM   #4
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I've got a tube mm preamp, I've got a op amp mm disco mixer. Right now the disco mixer sounds better. Cost about $35.
The tube preamp went trebly and brittle when one of the 1961 paper caps failed & I replaced ten of them with polyester 0.22's. Waiting to buy $5.60 each polyprophyene caps (takes two 0.1 uf parallel to make 0.2 uf) plus the time to do that again. Meanwhile I'm listening to the disco mixer 4-10 hours a day. Plus advantage of the mixer, I don't have to walk around the table to switch the input selector and turn the volume knob when I go from LP to CD to FM radio or back again. Also mixer volume knobs are not exotic hard to buy 250k log stereo pots. $12 freight on that 250k pot, and I had to call in & do a repeat order since they shipped a mono pot the first time. Had to go to the post office & ship the mono back. PIT*
Also the disco mixer uses 1/20th the mains energy than the tube preamp. Less A/C used to cool the room in the summer.
Go ahead build the tube mixer. Listen to a op amp preamp while you're building.
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Last edited by indianajo; 16th February 2017 at 11:08 AM.
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Old 16th February 2017, 09:53 PM   #5
Koifarm is offline Koifarm  Netherlands
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Look on diyaudio for Mini-me or phonodude.

Phonodude koifarm edition

Or from sound and comfort mm phono stage just the sound stage.
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Last edited by Koifarm; 16th February 2017 at 10:04 PM.
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Old 16th February 2017, 10:40 PM   #6
kevinkr is offline kevinkr  United States
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Have a look at Salas Valve Itch phono here:
Valve Itch phono

Alternatively there is also my Muscovite Mini III here: The Muscovite Mini III (6N23P) Phono Stage
"To argue with a person who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead." - Thomas Paine
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