Nothing wrong with the TD-160. I've got the Project Tube Box... not sure what model, but the cheaper of the two. I used it very briefly with TD-160 Super and Shure M97xe. Nice sounding unit thats built like a tank. I've moved on from the TD-160, but I still use the Tube Box with my AT OC-9.
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I understand there's some Humm issue with the Bellari but as I know the Thorens doesn't have any GND so I guess it should have an issue -please correct if I'm wrong.
Can you please advice which one is consider as better choice:
PROJECT TUBE BOX II
PROJECT TUBE BOX SE 1
Is there big difference between the two?
for the Bellari the reviews looks promesing,I can get it in half price than the Projects phono stage but not if it will be better choice:
another option in same budget is the GRAHAM SLEE - GRAM AMP 1.
I never heard it ,Is the basic model and I'm not sure is better only cause of the name .
Thanks a lot for the help people...
My advice assumes you're going to use a high output MM.
In my opinion, low-cost tube phono stages outperform low-cost solid state phono preamps. I've been exploring this area for the past few years. The more units I audition, the more I believe this to be true. Time and time again, it's the tube stages that impress me - not the solid state. They tend to sound more realistic and more three-dimensional compared to SS. My latest discovery is an Antique Sound Lab Phono Mini. It sounds way better than anything else I've heard for $300. Galen Carol sells them new for $309. However, I just bought a Bottlehead Seduction kit ($294 new) and I'm waiting for it to arrive. If the reviews and hype are anywhere near the truth, it should best the ASL Phono Mini.
I can't comment on the Cambridge 640 - I haven't heard it - but it often gets recommended, so it must be pretty good. Viridian, what other phono stages have you heard that you can compare it to?
Avoid the Bellari. I owned it for 6 months. I tried to like it, but it never inspired me to spin vinyl. I found it dull and noisy. It only has 30 dB gain which is on the low end of low. Most MM phono stages have between 35-40 dB.
There are lots of positive comments on the Pro-Ject Tube Box and Tube Box II in the forums. Do a search. I'm sure you can't go wrong with either.
Have fun and enjoy!
IMHO the Bellari is a very nice phono pre, which has very much inspired me to get back into vinyl after about a 20-year hiatus. Regarding the "hum" issue ... the Bellari folks recognized this and addressed it in the later models. Mine is dead quiet. The one limitation - and this concerned me somewhat - is that you would be limited to MM cartridges, whereas the Pro-ject boxes work with both MC and MM. I'm running an Audio Technica 150 MLX cart ($250 @ J&R) and extremely happy with it. If you're concerned about gain, then one of the Ortofon 2M's (Blue to Black) might be the way to go. I tried the 2M Blue, but the AT 150MLX outclasses it.
Also, your tube choice can affect the sound with the Bellari. While the stock tube was decent, rolling to a NOS (1960) GE 5751 took this little pre to another level. My vinyl set-up, though fairly modest, has caused another quest to upgrade my digital front end. Now I'm looking at a number of tube CDP's. Guess that's the nature of the hobby.
Good luck and happy listening!