Phono Pre-Amp......to tube or not to tube?

finebar4

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#1
I found a Mr Nixie tube pre-amp online and am left wondering. It looks like a nice unit....but is a tube hybrid.....meaning the signal runs through an op-amp for it's first stage of amplification then the signal is conditioned by the tubes and fed to the outputs. It's relatively cheap and a easy build so I may order after Christmas.....but am curious.........and since there are a few vinyl junkies on here......

What are you running for your phono pre-amp? What about it drew you in?
 

8991XJ

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#2
For low output cartridges below about 2.5mV needing the extra amplification just to get to regular MM Phono level it is recommended to avoid tubes, use a head amp (phono pre-preamp) or an SUT, step up transformer, to avoid noise from so much amplification from tubes.

I have SUTs, MC inputs, phono amps (to line level, both for MM and MC) and a head amp, conveniently named on the front with Moving Coil Cartridge Amplifier. It does not say that it only boost signal enough to go into a phono input and is not equalized as is needed for phonos to get to line level.
 

Gepetto

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#4
I found a Mr Nixie tube pre-amp online and am left wondering. It looks like a nice unit....but is a tube hybrid.....meaning the signal runs through an op-amp for it's first stage of amplification then the signal is conditioned by the tubes and fed to the outputs. It's relatively cheap and a easy build so I may order after Christmas.....but am curious.........and since there are a few vinyl junkies on here......

What are you running for your phono pre-amp? What about it drew you in?
Usually tube lovers insist that the first stage from the transducer is tube, not SS. Then things get mixed after that with some going tubes all the way or SS after tubes.

All the guitar guys insist on tubes for the pickup amplifier.

I prefer SS because I think it is easier to achieve lower noise using SS.
 

Netfly

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#5
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SS is generally cleaner, but overdriven SS gives you a cut off square wave as it distorts, a harsh distortion sound. Tubes give you a different type of distortion, more of a resonance of the original wave. That's what makes the warm tube sound most consider more pleasing to the ear, although it is just distortion of another type and generally more of it.


To my ear, tubes that will make a guitar sound warm and distort sweet will make a stereo sound dated, but don't go by me. Some people pay big to get that 'tube' sound.

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Bradrock

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#6
It sounds like it can't hurt to have a nice variety on hand to play with.And then there is tube & OPamp rolling to spice things up.
 

VSAT88

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#7
I have a very inexpensive tube preamp running to my Dynaco ST 70 to Polk Monitor 7's and I love the sound. I have a Basic C2 preamp (SS) that has a very nice phono section (MM 100k 47k and MC 100/30/10) . It may be considered heresy but I run the TT thru the C2 out thru the tape outputs to the L Cheapo tube preamp...I think is sounds damn good...So does everyone else that hears it. Dont know if that helps at all though...
 

VSAT88

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#8
It sounds like it can't hurt to have a nice variety on hand to play with.And then there is tube & OPamp rolling to spice things up.
Bradrock, I think I enjoy hooking up equipment, swapping different stuff in and out about as much as listening. I have three systems going one room about all the time. Not listening all at once though.
 

finebar4

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#9
Wow, just walked in the door ...all kinds vinyl lovers here.... My parasound does ok, no real complaints, just thinking about experimenting.... I am running an Acurus pre-amp with no phono input....so just looking for something to tickle the ear with a well defined stage and good depth.
 

Netfly

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#10
I have an old Dynaco PAS-3x. Great for that warm and fuzzy tube sound. It does sound ok as a guitar pre too.
 

Bradrock

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#11
I have an old Dynaco PAS-3x. Great for that warm and fuzzy tube sound. It does sound ok as a guitar pre too.

The fun thing about those, is that now there are many different vendors with their own new boards, controls, power supply's & on and on. New chassis & faceplates no problem.
With tone controls, without tone controls. With loudness & without.
Probably a hundred different combo's to try. And of course same thing for Dynaco amps.
Like having 20 different White Oak type's for PL.
Dynaco spells FUN!
In fact I was about to start on my old PAS pre & MK111 amps just before Finding this place. I switched gears because I just could not make up my mind what with all of the options & all claiming to be the best! And many swear the original is still tops.
 

Netfly

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#12
Its all a matter of taste. I find the louder I listen, the more I prefer the clean preamp sound. However at moderate to low levels the tubes do sound sweet, especially on old recordings or records. On guitar its tube all the way.
 

gamve

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#15
I find tube for LOMC is too noisy. Best to go for a good quality active SS step up amplifier into an
all tube phono. This works very well. There are good all SS setups as well but they are Big $$$$
 

finebar4

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#16
I find tube for LOMC is too noisy. Best to go for a good quality active SS step up amplifier into an
all tube phono. This works very well. There are good all SS setups as well but they are Big $$$$
i am finding that out....I may try the Mr Nixie since it is relatively cheap for when I want that warm fuzziness and to impart some knowledge to the little grandson/lab assistant. He is seven and used his tooth fairy savings to buy a couple of his records to listen to when we are in the basement "experimenting".
 

VSAT88

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#17
i am finding that out....I may try the Mr Nixie since it is relatively cheap for when I want that warm fuzziness and to impart some knowledge to the little grandson/lab assistant. He is seven and used his tooth fairy savings to buy a couple of his records to listen to when we are in the basement "experimenting".
Now that is what it's all about !
 

orange

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#18
The last honest to goodness tube stuff I ran were the last Pioneer hybrid SX receiver and a Sansui SAX-200 (and that had an tuning eye tube as well). While I sorta miss my 'Sui I did trade it for my Pioneer TX-9100, other gear and a couple bucks to a guy so he was happy before he passed away and I'm happy and still here until they take me back to the Library In The Sky...

There was only ONE tube in that Pioneer IIRC.
 

Gibsonian

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#19
I run sound at a "contemporary" sevice at our church every other month of Sundays. One guys uses a 30 watt tube amp for his electric guitar and I really prefer the sound of his guitar over the other two or three guys that alternate in by a longshot. For stereo at home I've always preferred SS but only dabbled in tube amplification. It didn't stick although I tried.

Regarding OP's question, there are some tube pre's out there that are fairly quiet but kinda pricey. SUT into tubed mm phono pre is how I would attack it for MC. Grandson would get a couple lessons.
 
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