New! Serenade phono amplifier
Phono stages are very special to me. I have a large record collection and never made the switch to digital. I had a field day when everyone was selling their record to Goodwill. $1 each. I fear these good old days are over as others are discovering the magic of vinyl. I have been building phono amps for many years and have tried many and built many others. My favorite is to use tubes for the amplification. The main downfall of this approach is that tubes can be noisy. Phono amps multiply the signal many times over. Much more than other types of amps. Noise is multiplied as well. So what is the solution? I have found that there are a few ways of making an all tube phono stage quiet.
A phono stage amplifies such a small starting signal that any outside interference becomes a hum or other distortion. RFI/EMI becomes real problems at these signal levels. Tube rush can also be a problem. I have worked years to overcome these obstacles. The result is an amplifier that is dead quiet, has great detail, and can play just about any type of cartridge made. Choose between 50 or 60 db of gain. Cartridge loading is 47K, 1M, MM and 100, 510, 1.3k, and2.7k for MC.
I started with a commercially available board. I used a combination of Sonicap, and Wima capacitors, 1% film resistors. All traces on the board are made of Silver for detail and power. All tube sockets are Gold plated for trouble free service. All parts are hand selected to insure a large soundstage. Transformer is a custom made shielded Torrid, which can run on 120/230/240 volts. It has that you are there quality.
I have been making this amplifier circuit for over ten years. I have a 100% customer satisfaction rating for over 12 years on both Audiogon and Ebay. I am a top customer with Paypal as well. As you can see I have changed to a new board and custom, hand made power supply which maximizes the design. It is more quiet and with more bass than ever. The Serenade Amplifer is equal to amps that cost much, much more. Please read the reviews.
HOW CAN THIS AMP BE ANY GOOD AT THIS LOW PRICE?
I have used commercially available boards of a proven design to keep cost down. I have used a standard chassis instead of paying hundreds for a custom job with printing. This allows me to buy superior parts and still keep cost down. You will not find this unit anywhere else. It may be the best deal in the audio business.
Here is a mini review by Frank Alles, Senior Editor of the Stereo Times
September 18, 2016Hello Tom,I thank you for your dedication to getting this thing right.PS Audio sold a nice MM/MC phono stage for years (the GCPH) that was quite successful. It had more hum than your Aural Thrills phono stage, and I tried 3 of them. Never could get one quiet in my system so I gave up on it.I don't think it was stated in their literature, but PS Audio and other people in the business recommended not to use the GCPH phono with a cartridge with less than 0.4mV output for that reason.Their current phono stage (the NPC) is lower in noise, but the one I have still has a hum (which is probably louder (or about the same as the hum in your piece). And your piece sounds more musical and true-to-life.In the past few years I have had 3 phono stages in my system that all sell for nearly $2000, the PS Audio NuWave Phono Converter, the Cayin Phono One, and the Manley Chinook.The Cayin had the lowest noise of all of the above--no hum and very low hiss (think ear on the speaker). It has a very good SUT input and three 12AX7's in the high-level output section (copy of the original Marantz 7 design I think).In terms of sheer musicality, correct timbre, and explosive dynamics, your piece beats them all. The PS Audio NPC is very close in the dynamics department but falls a little short in other areas. And your Aural Thrills phono throws a very expansive and multi-layered soundstage that is every bit as good or better than all others I have tried in my system. (Note that I haven't heard the latest upgraded Manley Chinook at $2400).Either way, you have a lot to be proud of. Your fit & finish could be improved a bit, but to me, at the end of the day, the sound quality trumps the aesthetics every time. I'm sure I will be enjoying the Aural Thrills phono stage in my Large-Room System with the Rogue ST-100 tube amp and the Legacy Focus SE speakers for the foreseeable future.Kind regards,Frank AllesSenior Editor
Here are the latest customer reviews:
Here is another one.
I changed the setting back to M C @ 100 ohms after trying a higher setting,I took the sot out of the configuration, I warmed the amp up with one side of Bach and then I played my reference album, Dark side of the moon.
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD this would equal the most discerning systems at any cost, the separation and darkness of the sound stage just blew my mind I am not changing the cartridge, it could use a little more mv output to be perfect but it is not worth the effort as this turntable is a bear to change. Thank you for leading me away from the H O M C, I did buy the denon 103 r and I am going to install that on a Thorens 160 that is being refurbished and up graded with todays technology or possibly a VPI classic if I can get the right price on that and sneak it into the house so my wife doesn't see it.
At any rate I could not be happier with this very fine pre amp you would be hard pressed to find one that functions as flawless at any price. It is a great product and you are a absolute pleasure to deal with.
I will send you the tracking # when I go to the post office, but now It is Beatles time
Here is another review just received:
Yes I received the pre amp in good condition and I sent you a response on Ebay for your product.
I set it up and it sounds great! I've invested in an affordable LP vinyl washing system, and with a modified vac system, my record collection has been given new life!
The Marantz SR8001 amp and Technics SP15 turntable/Grado cartridge are sounding really clean with your phono stage.
Thank you for your excellent workmanship.
Received the amp and plugged it in to the CD input of my Yamaha A-S700 amp. I have a Yaquin MC-100B that’s been modified by a tech in Australia and a pair of Sonus Faber Concertinos, but all unfortunately still in storage.
I am listening to some Australian country music, the hairs on the back of my neck are standing up - I’ve honestly never heard it sound so clear, present and detailed.
Can’t wait to spend some quality time with your preamp. Maybe I’ll just plug the headphones in and kick back for a couple hours….
Thanking you, sir.
|Vacuum Tube Complement||4 x 12Ax7||3 x 12AX7|
|Inputs||1 pair single-ended RCA||1 pair single-ended RCA|
|Outputs||1 pair single-ended RCA|
|Gain (Total 60dB)||60 dB||50dB|
|Frequency Response +0 -1 dB||10Hz – 50kHz|
|Maximum Output Voltage <1% THD||20V|
|Cartridge load impedance||Variable: 100Ω, 500Ω, 470Ω, 1.2k 1.8k||47kΩ,|
|Minimum Recommended Cartridge Output||0.2 mV||1.5 mV|
|Signal to Noise Ratio||50 dB||56 dB|
|Channel Separation||> 50dB (20 Hz – 20 kHz)|
|Dimensions W x D x H||21x 12x 3.5″|
|Weight||14 lbs packed|
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