New! Serenade phono amplifier

Phono Instructions

Hello, thank you for your interest in my amp. I have been working on this same circuit for over ten years and am therefore very familiar with it's design and sound. In my experience that means from dead neutral sound to very colored (rich old tube sound). I have built and listened to hundreds of variations over the years. I was a music major in college and took four years of ear training so it is something I love to do. In my experience the better your system is, the more neutral you want the phono stage to be. If your system is 1980's solid state, then you want a more colored tone. There is not really one perfect unit. The only caveat to that is the quality of the parts used. More expensive parts sound better in any system. The point is I can build a unit just for you! Below is a link where you can read the full, product of the year review by the Absolut Sound Magazine.


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 low signal levels. Tube rush can also be a problem. This unit will require some knowledge of proper tube amp set up as well as the relationships between cartridge, pre amps, amp, and speakers. Let me explaine. Tubes are noisy by nature. The unit amplifies the signal 1000 times with a moving coil cartridge. This is much more than most other types of amps. Matching this phono pre to your equipment is an absolutle necessity. The amp is dead quiet when your pre amp is under the 2 O'clock position when listening. (12 O'clock being off) If you need to turn the volume up above this level to drive your amp or speakers you may need a cartridge with higher output or amps and speakers which are easier to drive. With very low output MC cartridges you can always use a step up transformer or high output tubes to lessen the load on the phono stage. When set up properly this amp will sound as good as any other at any price and be dead quiet!

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.

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.


Phono Instructions



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 are the latest customer reviews:

Just wanted to let you know I received the unit
in great shape. I am leaving in the morning on vacation and won/t get to
listen much until I get back. From what I have listened so far, all I can
say is awesome, awesome, awesome. I will just rotate my Moving coil
cartridges. I have some older preamps for MM. Other cartridge I have is Low
output moving coil Grado Sonata. Haven/t tried it yet. Thanks for
everything. Don/t know what brand of tubes are in it, but they sound
excellent to me. David.

Here is another one.

Hi Tom
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:

Douglas Robert Hounsell Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 2:25 PM
To: Tom Kenny
Good afternoon Tom,
The preamp is here and I must say I am quite impressed with the build quality and construction of piece. First rate and it looks great in the rack. However looks aside after plumbing it up into system the real proof of your Phono pre with the balanced outs is what really matters to me!  After listening to a MFSL Rolling Stones “Let it Bleed” I was quite pleased, then on to Stealy Dans “Aja” I  was rapidly becoming an Aural Thrills Audio fan big time. The punch combined with a subtle smoothness is magnificent. Lower register notes on piano are outrageous clean, tight and dominate. I am fully aware how difficult it can be to accomplish this as I worked my tail off with Leon Russell’s engineer one evening getting this very thing “right” at a show I produced and engineered some years ago. Thank you for your devotion to what matters in your craft. Perfection takes its toil on the less passionate but their always will be folks like me that understand and appreciate folks like you. Now on to the Beach Boys “Pet Sounds”
Thanks Again
Doug Hounsell
[Quoted text hidden]


Hi Tom,
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.


Picked it up this afternoon. I've attached a picture of the phono section opened that Tom sent me while it was still on his bench. I'll do more pics and the power section later. I have to say, even not being broken in at all, the sound is really impressive and a perfect match for the rest of my set up. Running analog direct, the level of detail, the air around each instrument, the extension, the tightness of the bass, the depth of the sound stage, all are incredible. It was a real bargain at the price I paid, too. All I need now is an Emission Labs 274B and time to break it in.
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
Output Impedance 425Ω
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)
Power Consumption 20W
Dimensions W x D x H 21x 12x 3.5″
Weight 14 lbs  packed

Only $999.99

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