Shopping for $200-ish Phono Preamp Kit

Hello everyone.

Most of my posting has been in the Tubelab forum since I'm finishing up a Tubelab SSE amp. It's an SET Class A amp using either two EL34s or KT88s.

Now, I'm casting around for a good phono stage kit in the $200 range.

My TT is a Music Hall MMF-7 with a Goldring 1042 MM cartridge.

My speakers are Buschhorn MKII's with Fostex FE108Sigma's (the old, discontinued ones).

So far, I'm looking at the:

Muffsy PP-4
Hagerman Bugle2
Tavish Vintage 6SL7 (favorite so far)
Aikido PH-2 (maybe above my skill level without lots of help)
The RJM VSPS or Emerald
ESP 06
and, the Douk EAR 834P clone

Do any of these stand out as a favorite, or better match for my amp/tt combo?

I'm, of course, open to other options, too, as long as the project doesn't get too far beyond my target budget.

Thanks in advance. And whichever one I build, I will most likely need help from forum members, I'm sure.

David
 
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Thanks all!
I've been reading through the Emerald docs, and it also looks cool. I think they sell a power supply board that will work with it, too.

I'm sure that all of the stages I listed will sound great, and it's probably hard to make a bad choice with any of them.

My current phono stage is what's in my ancient Carver C-1.
I did the BillD mods to it in 2014, and I installed the Brown Dog adapters with - I think, it's hard to remember - the OPA2134's.
It sounds good, but not great. Anyway, it's an easy enough preamp to sell on eBay, which would give me a bit more to invest in a nice enclosure for the kit I build.

To be honest, I really want to go with tubes. Many years ago I had an AES (Cary) PH-1 that I loved, but sold. I lived near Cary, NC at the time and visited the shop while they were building it. I remember it was the same shop where the Cary stuff was made at the time. I also had their AE-3 preamp. That was a nice, inexpensive entry-level setup.

David
 
Hello Every Body,

My Little Bear T-11 Phono preamp arrived today.
Contrary to what Gigigirl said (and other on the Internet), My little bear T-11 is as quiet as any audio preamp I have ever heard. It also does not lack in bass.
Its right down the middle of the audio spectrum. It sounded very good with
the supplied 6N2 tubes. I had 12AX7's on hand so I swapped them out. That did make for better sound. Just need to burn it in.

Bruce
 
Hello everyone.

Most of my posting has been in the Tubelab forum since I'm finishing up a Tubelab SSE amp. It's an SET Class A amp using either two EL34s or KT88s.

Now, I'm casting around for a good phono stage kit in the $200 range.

My TT is a Music Hall MMF-7 with a Goldring 1042 MM cartridge.

My speakers are Buschhorn MKII's with Fostex FE108Sigma's (the old, discontinued ones).

So far, I'm looking at the:

Muffsy PP-4
Hagerman Bugle2
Tavish Vintage 6SL7 (favorite so far)
Aikido PH-2 (maybe above my skill level without lots of help)
The RJM VSPS or Emerald
ESP 06
and, the Douk EAR 834P clone

Do any of these stand out as a favorite, or better match for my amp/tt combo?

I'm, of course, open to other options, too, as long as the project doesn't get too far beyond my target budget.

Thanks in advance. And whichever one I build, I will most likely need help from forum members, I'm sure.

David

Hi, are you looking only for a tube type phono stage kit?
 
Thanks jyg. That is definitely an affordable option.

Thanks DRONE7, yes, the more I study the Emerald, the better it looks. I like the option of MC for more "down the road" cartridge choices.

And thanks JamieMcC. I found a new version of the Bigbottle with the addition of MM support:
Bigbottle MM/MC Hybrid Valve Phonostage PCB - diyAudio
But, the boards are not available, yet.

I didn't realize there would be so many good choices. I have no idea how to decide. Maybe I'll build two..., or three...
 

Mixi

Member
2017-03-27 6:11 pm
Vienna
i‘ve built a few of the phono stages you mentioned. the opamp based stages (p06, bugle, muffsy) basically all sound the same. i think the muffsy phono stage has the best documentation and build guide and the price is very reasonable.

the tavish is certainly a bigger challenge to build and it‘s noisier. the sound sure is nice but only you could decide for yourself if it‘s „better“
 
Thanks stocktrader200. The thing is, I can get a new 1042 replacement stylus from UK auction sellers for just over $200. Changing to a whole new cartridge of equal or better quality will run a lot more than that. I always felt like my Goldring sounded very good, but then, I've never actually compared it to other makes.

brucetassin, I feel the same way!

Again, the Tavish is leading the pack at this point.

Mixi, do you know if anyone has ever built the Tavish with the PSU in a separate enclosure? would that solve the noise issues you mentioned?

On the other hand, the Emerald has gotten the most nods in this thread. So, I'm considering that one, too.