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Old 18th March 2007, 02:23 AM   #1
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Default Tube phono pre-amp needed.

I did a search, but didn't (as usual) come up with anything specific.

Now that I am loving my EL34 amp, I find myself in need of a phono pre-amp. Thinking of going tube, or am I wasting my time?
Is a $250 budget realistic? And, unless it's in a kit I can buy, I want a finished product. I'd like to listen to my records THIS year.
Finding everything from scratch is out. (My second amp is another story )

I am trying to purposely avoid taking my denon SS preamp out of the closet. I am very pleased with the sound of my amp as it is, and don't want to add another stage of processing.

Most of you guys have been there already, so I feel it's best to just ask for advice.

Any thoughts please?

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Old 18th March 2007, 02:23 AM   #2
SY is offline SY  United States
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Start here: what sort of cartridge are you planning to use?
"You tell me whar a man gits his corn pone, en I'll tell you what his 'pinions is."
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Old 18th March 2007, 03:10 AM   #3
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I have a Thorens TD-160 TT with a Shure M97x needle.
Good enough for me, and better than some of my records....

I HAVE to be mindful of what I spend, and right now sourcing parts for a pre-amp will take too long. Although I may do so LATER. (probably much later with my schedule....)

Thus a kit that I can assemble, or a pre-built will have to do for now.
I'd actually prefer a kit, though.

I'm hoping to keep it around $250 if possible, but may stretch it. The matching Ming-Da right now is $450, a bit steep considering I bought the power amp for that. Shipped. I have always used integrated amps, so I don't know if I'm really off base money wise here.
Granted, I see high end go for thousands, but that's TOTALLY out of my leauge.

As always, I really apreciate everyone that steps in to help and advise.
I'm much better versed in IC's and video than vintage audio. Still trying to figure out why I got started in this again.... must be a 40's thing....
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Old 18th March 2007, 07:10 AM   #4
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The Bottlehead Seduction kit runs $279, seems to have a lot of fans. I've not heard one myself...
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Old 18th March 2007, 09:26 AM   #5
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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If the Ming-Da is a power amp I recommend a preamp with integrated phono stage. A separate phono stage should only be used with an integrated amp.

The idea of a line stages/preamp without phono stage makes no sense. If you spin vinyl, you need one with a phono stage. If you don't spin vinyl, you don't need one. It's just a wast of money. Which, of course, makes lots of sense if you are dealer. Too many P.T. Barnums in the world.
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Old 18th March 2007, 06:24 PM   #6
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The Ming-Da is an integrated amp. It has 2 line level inputs and a volume knob.

Looked at the bottlehead..... have to think about that. I seriously do not like the looks of it. I'd have to get a totally different enclosure, at least. Already at $350 or so with a nicer box....

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Old 18th March 2007, 06:51 PM   #7
phn is offline phn  Sweden
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Buy another one. Not as cheap as Bottlehead.

Build one.
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Old 18th March 2007, 07:40 PM   #8
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Fancy cosmetics and low cost DON'T go together. A LOT can be done with the Seduction's looks, including hammertone paint on the chassis plate and stain on the alder base.

Yet another DIY option is Jim Hagerman's Cornet.
Eli D.
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Old 18th March 2007, 08:06 PM   #9
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My 2 cents worth...

Throw away the Shure.
They're all boom and sizzle, imho.

Try a good AT model in the moving magnet category, way better.

Then any phono stage will do for now.

Find an old tube receiver at a flea market or yard sale?
Buy an old Dynaco PAS preamp?

Or build up one of the many split passive designs that exist on the web.

There are PCBs online and on ebay that claim to have copied things like Marantz and McIntosh tube circuits - just build up the phono stage part??

The options are endless...

_-_-bear -- Btw, I don't actually know anything, FYI -- every once in a while I say something that makes sense... ]
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Old 18th March 2007, 08:24 PM   #10
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I'm in the same boat as you are. I have several turntables that are not fancy. One has a Stanton and the other an Audio Technica MM cart. I have been looking at several tube phono stages as well as a missed SS group buy PC board. I'm not against running a SS phono stage into my Aikido line stage for the desired result.

I will say this....stay away from the ebay PC phono stages from across the ocean as they are noisy and not worth the time. I personally would not recommend a dinosour like a Dynaco from the past.

Hagermans Cornet has caught my eye and I am waiting for someone from diy to purchase one and review it before I jump in head first.

May the tube "Gods" forgive me but I am thinking it might almost be easier to go the SS route then to keep banging my head against the wall looking at countless designs weighing the good and bad points.
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