Don't know the "Blue Cornet", but I have a Cornet Classic (as opposed to the Cornet2), and feel it's a good value, especially with a cap upgrade. Very open and musical, excellent surface noise killer if you're a thrift shop buyer. On the negative side the bass is a bit tubby.
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I used a blue Cornet for a while with a Cary SLI-80. It was my first separate phono stage. The Cornet was a vast improvement over a NAD phono stage that I was using. It was also much better than the phono stage that was built into my previous integrated amp, a Musical Fidelity A-300. The Cornet exhibited much better soundstage depth and width. The timbre of instruments and the 3-dimensionality of images were quite nice. That said, I thought it was rather noisy (a constant hiss in the background). It could have been the tubes, though.
I have the Cornet 2. I differ from the poster before me. The bass or anything else from this preamp depends on the right tubes in the right system. Please see my review here..
Amandarae, just read your review.. maybe I'm reading this wrong but seems like you specifically pointed to bass being the weak area of the Cornet in comparison to your Trumpet?
My tubby bass comment was from direct comparison to my 3x more expensive K&K phono pre, which is not fair to the excellent value Cornet.
I run the Cornet with Vcaps and Sovtek 12ax7's. The Vcaps really bumped up the sound (and price!) into a far higher level. (neutral and faster.. less tubby?)
I'm using a Cary SLI-80 too. Sounds like you've since moved on from the Blue Cornet (and maybe the Cary, as well). Did you try any other phonostages that you like better with the SLI-80? And was the background noise more of "hisss" or more like a feedback "hummm"? I've had some problems with the latter.
I also have a transformer "hummmmmm" coming from my Coronet. I contacted Jim Hagerman and he suggested that it might be due to my use of the original 270BX transformer. It is only rated for 210-215 volts. The 370BX transformer that is now used in his designs is rated to work on standard 220+ voltage.
He suggested either upgrading to the 370BX, with a few minor resistor changes, or putting a resistor in line with the mains to reduce the incoming voltage to about 210-215 (my home measures about 223 now).
Don't know if this is my true problem because I haven't had tme to try it. The hummmmm is very low and not noticeable when music is playing.
I do agree that the music coming out of this phono stage is very good. Excellent value for the money, and well worthwhile, especially with some cap upgrades (I used Sonicaps in mine).
I hope I did not paint the picture wrong. The Cornet's bass was not as good as the Trumpets when I compared them but it did not mean that it is not good compared to other phono stages. Its just that its sound was being compared to a phono preamp that has a different price point.
My brother have the K&K for almost three years now and I am familiar with the sound. He too, comes from the Cornet camp before jumping to K&K. Yes, bass is good just like the Trumpet. But there is a very important reason for this. Do you know? Ahh, yes you do. The Trumpet have a choke regulated supply and SS rectified. The K&K, which is a hybrid, is SS rectified and choke loaded also? Different animals IMO because a true tube rectified phono stage sounds way different in bass than its SS counter part.
FWIW, I cannot find any spec or schematic of the K&K phono to verify. Why is that? Maybe I'll asked my brother what he knowsor better yet, contact Kevin in his forum and post the same question.
Anyways, I can assure you that the "tubby-ness" of the base on the Cornet can be remedied easily. BTW, mine was a Cornet 2.
I agree with you. The Cornet is quite exceptional and I recommend it without hesitation. It was a bit unfair of me to mention a weakness that is minor for its price point and can be somewhat rectified (pun intended) via creative tube rolling.
Truth be told I don't have any technical knowledge and my K&K unit was actually built by Kevin with swappable tube or ss rectification. Following expected stereotypes, it sounds faster and cleaner with ss rectification, and more lush and forgiving with the tube.