phono preamplifier

Vista Audio Phono-1

Vista Audio Phono-1

Some of the best pieces of audio gear at the various price ranges have a tendency to stay almost invisible. The item blends in so well to the system that one easily forgets that it’s even hooked up. For the past several months I’ve had the opportunity to spend time indulging in the stealthy abilities of the $299 Vista Audio Phono-1 preamplifier. read more…

Juicy Music Tercel Phono Preamplifier

Juicy Music Tercel Phono Preamplifier


Phono Stage

  • Topology:3-stage Class A Triode with passive

RIAA filters, zero feedback

  • Tubes:2 x 12AT7 Dual Triodes; 1 x 12AX7

Dual Triode

  • Gain:42dB in MM; 62dB with optional LOMC


  • RIAA:+/- 0.2dB 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Hum and Noise:75dB
  • Input impedance:MM= 22k – 68k ohms adjustable + 0pF – 50pF loading; LOMC = 90 ohms
  • Output Impedance:160 ohms
  • Max Output Voltage:2.5V rms @ 1kHz


  • Phono Inputs:2 MM std; 1MM + 1 LOMC Opt.
  • Main Output:1 RCA Power Supply
  • Primary Voltage:120VAC std. 240VAC opt.
  • Line Cord:IEC Connector/6-foot cord
  • B+ Supply:Unregulated C-L-C with 1,380uF


  • Filaments:Regulated 6.30VDC Physical
  • Dimensions:14-1/2″W x 3″H x 10″D
  • Weight:12lbs
  • Packed:16″W x 16″L x 10″H Options
  • LOMC:Optional LOMC transformers with 20dB additional gain

Kit Construction

  • Experience Level:Intermediate/Advanced
  • Construction Time:About 12 hours

Available in Kit form or factory assembled:

  • Tercel kit with 2 MM inputs: $495.00
  • Adding the LOMC (low output moving coil) to that kit is $345.

Without even looking at their website if someone were to say juicy, I would think peach. First thing you see product wise when you look at their website is the Peach II Line Stage Preamplifier. This is an excellent marketing idea, and also lots of fun. This review however is not about the Peach II.

Today I would love to introduce you to the all-new redesigned Tercel Tube Phono stage preamplifier. The Tercel is a phono only preamp for use with an integrated amplifier or line section preamp (AUX level). This is the same exact phono circuit used in their top of the line full function BlueBerry Xtreme II preamp that has gotten such great reviews. I mated this with my Oracle Delphi MK I turntable with Grace 707 tonearm and Denon 301 II MC cartridge. Since the Denon is a low output Moving Coil cartridge the Tercel needed to be fitted with the LOMC option for an additional cost of only $345. LOMC stands for low output moving coil also referred to by Mark as the “cream”. When I inquired to know further details about this LOMC option Mark Deneen sent me the following note: read more…

Oehlbach XXL Phono Preamplifier

Oehlbach XXL Phono Preamplifier


  • Amplification at 1kHz: 35 dB MM 60 dB MC
  • Input Impedance: 47 kΩ MM 100 Ω for MC S/N ratio: >100 dB MM > 74 dB
  • MC Dimensions: W 137mm x H 49mm x D 10mm Weight: 480g

For the past six months I have not listened to music. By that, I don’t mean that I have lived in a world where music has not existed, but that I haven’t really had the time to sit down and seriously listen. Too many things have been going on, too many of my hours have been spent working, and what’s more, I just haven’t been in the mood. Which is a little strange perhaps, because music almost always helps my mood. But not this time, or maybe that should be these times. read more…

Bellari VP129 Vacuum Tube Phono Stage

Bellari VP129 Vacuum Tube Phono Stage


  • Input Connectors: RCA
  • Output Connectors: RCA & 1/4″ TRS Stereo
  • Input Sensitivity: 30 dB gain @ 1kHz, 47k W Input Z Input Impedance: 50k Ohms
  • Output Impedance: 8 Ohms Headphone, 100 Ohms RCA
  • Max Output Level: >10dB @ 1kHz at.1% dist. Equalization: RIAA +/- 1.5 dB, 20Hz to 20kHz Rumble Filter: 20Hz
  • THD: .02% @ 1KHz
  • S/N Ratio: >80 dB unweighted
  • PWR: 12 – 18 VDC
  • Size: 6″w x 2.5″h x 5.4″d
  • Weight: 1 lb (2Lbs shipped)

I have grown up loving to listen to music, so as I have matured I now enjoy multiple genres of music, where I only used to enjoy rock and roll. My earliest recollection of recorded music go back to when my older sister would pull out her Beatles and Rolling Stones albums to play on her GE record player. From that moment on, vinyl playback has always held a special place in heart. My son is now getting into the act, having recently graduated to a Music Hall MMF-2.1 turntable from an old Technics turntable that I found for him at a swap meet.

That brings me to the Bellari VP129 vacuum tube moving magnet phono preamplifier. All of my stereo amplifiers and preamplifiers are vacuum tube models. Some years ago I discovered the magic of vacuum tubes and have never looked back. Listening to my son’s new turntable peaked my curiosity, how would a vacuum tube phono stage sound compared to the solid state phono stage in his Onkyo receiver? I decided to try the Bellari VP129 in his moderately priced system before installing it in my reference system for this review. read more…

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