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Valve Phono Stage

Discussion in 'audio' started by kjb, Feb 1, 2023.

  1. kjb

    kjb Losing my edge

    I'm currently using a Dynavector P75 Mk3 phono stage between my Gyro with DV20x2(low) cart and my Leben amp. The phono stage is now the only solid state part of the path.

    I'm interested in trying a valve based phono stage but don't want ( i.e. cant afford) to have to get either a SUT or change the cart to MM - at least not at this stage.

    1) Are there any recommended valve based phono stages that can support both MM and MC under £1000?
    2) Would it be worthwhile change? I moved from solid state amps to valves and wont be going back, much preferring the presentation of the valve system.
  2. kernow

    kernow pfm Member

    Ear 834p, used phonobox, pure sound p10 + t10 are ones you should look at
    chris@panteg and freefallrob like this.
  3. early

    early pfm Member

  4. kjb

    kjb Losing my edge

    Sadly I've two left hands and no engineering skills :(
  5. slavedata

    slavedata pfm Member

    I don't think you will find a valve phono stage that doesn't need step up transformers with an MC cartridge. If you know otherwise please supply a link.
  6. kjb

    kjb Losing my edge

    I was chatting to Peter in Deco yesterday. They stock a Quad that can support both MM and MC

    Deco Audio Phono Stages 02

    second one down.

    He was saying that its quite hard to get hold of SUTs at the moments. I might start a transition with moving to a MM later in the year.

    TBH my Gyro was an ex dem model that came with a MC so I've stuck with them. I've no real / preference or view on MC v MM ( but I'm sure others do have!)
  7. kernow

    kernow pfm Member

    One with mc capability would have them built in
    MikeMA likes this.
  8. Darren L

    Darren L pfm Member

    Project, EAT, EAR, Tron, Croft, probably loads more, some of these will be well below budget if buying used some may be slightly above if buying used.
    Oops, I see you'd like both MM & MC capability, that will probably narrow choices a bit but definitely Project for a 'budget' valve MM/MC phonostage or E.A.T or EAR834P/phono box for a bit more £££

    These two are pretty flexible.
    Mike Reed likes this.
  9. wd40addict

    wd40addict pfm Member

    The old VTL ultimate did it by using a grounded grid stage, no idea what the noise was like:
  10. geoturbo

    geoturbo tinkerer w/o highly evolved auditory stimulus cpu


    SONDEKNZ Kiwi, now living in Hangzhou, CHINA

    We are tube people. After owning some acclaimed solid state amps, we returned to tubes and have no desire to move.

    Our LEBEN CS300F and our highly modified BEWITCH 6550 tube amps provide enough variety (and redundancy) with our efficient speakers, to never need another amp.

    We also own two phono-stages.

    One, the well-reviewed tubed, LEBEN RS30EQ, complete with tubed rectification. The LEBEN needs our AUDITORIUM A23 SUT to enjoy MC cartridges, which - for the moment - are the only type of cart we run.

    The other phono stage, an aging solid-state (Jfet), 2-box TRICHORD DELPHINI which can work in tandem with SUT and low Gain or on its own with high Gain. The DELPHINI caters for a multitude of carts in several configurations.

    Which one sounds best? It is quite cart dependent as the LEBEN could be accused of being too smooth with some carts. The DELPHINI sounds sensational with every cart.

    My messsge would be: don’t get too hung up on “purist” tube philosophy.

    It’s a great thought to have a constant flow of electrons throughout your system with tubed rectification everywhere. No SMPS. Zero switching, etc. But unless you can afford SHINDO everywhere…

    Many roads lead to Rome - so if you find something that sounds exceptional, it can be hard to better it - despite the best thought-out philosophy.

    Just saying.

    BTW, if pushed to pick one phono stage, the TRICHORD DELPHINI would remain. But only if pushed REALLY hard!
    kjb likes this.
  12. misterc6

    misterc6 Wasted and wounded, it ain’t what the moon did

    I can also highly recommend the World Designs Phono3 and PSU3, they also have a build service so you don't have to worry on that score

    For your cartridge I'd go with the PSU3 (with 4 smoothing capacitors) and a standard Phono3 (not the XL version) and ask them to upgrade the input stages by fitting foil resistors and battery bias. Give Matthew Snell a call and by all means, mention my name.


    The MM version may well suffice for your cartridge but they can also add SUTs inside the Phono3.
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2023
    richards13, chiily and kjb like this.
  13. Alex S

    Alex S carbon based lifeform

    Very pleased with my Bigbottle BB3.
    Bigman80 and geoturbo like this.
  14. oceanobsession

    oceanobsession pfm Member

    Hi kjb , ive had an ear 834 , replaced by lda mcj2 replaced by valab lcr1-mk3 solid state then fitted a hasimoto hm3 step up , valves give a nice rich sound but can make the whole thing a bit soft sounding , if used with valve amps , so dont just think because you like valve amps you will like valve phono stage , the valab with step up is way better sounding than the valve phono stages i had , im not knocking them , in fact i would love another but you need to spend some money , lab 12 melto2 , to name one , compared to the valab both valve stages were masking detail closed in by comparison , phil.
    SONDEKNZ likes this.
  15. ciderglider

    ciderglider pfm Member

    I used to have a Brocksieper Phonomax, which is an all valve phono stage çosting about £1000. It claims to work with both MC and MM carts. I only used it with MC, and while it was usable, it was noisy. And the Phonomax had to be kept well away from any sources of noise like DECT phones in their cradles. When I changed to Class D integrated amp, the noise was just too much, and the Phonomax had to go.
  16. G T Audio

    G T Audio Trade: Manufacturer and Distributor

    Darren L likes this.
  17. yeti42

    yeti42 pfm Member

    Maybe start with a SUT into the p75, you’ll get a wider choice of phonostages when you make that move later. Restricting yourself to a £1k valve phonostage stretched to give enough gain for MC without a SUT is probably not going to stand you in good stead in future, a half decent SUT will if you’re set on valves.
    SONDEKNZ and richards13 like this.
  18. hifi-dog

    hifi-dog pfm Member

    puresound p10 is very good - -engineered by Guy Sergeant of audio innovations fame.
    kjb likes this.
  19. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    I’ve had very good results with an Icon Audio PS2 MM phono stage in recent months. Icon also make a two-box phono stage with MM/MC inputs.

    I used a Croft RIAA with my Leben integrated. Rothwell make some well-priced SUTs.
    kjb likes this.
  20. kjb

    kjb Losing my edge

    Thanks everyone.

    Lots to consider and a few things to follow up
    Nagraboy likes this.

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