Listening to the pure and very real sound that comes out of vinyl is an incomparable experience. And it’s never complete without a vintage turntable.
To make this setup even more sensational, you can throw in the right preamp. This would instantly take the music to the next level, and it’s what these records deserve.
The Nobsound Little Bear T7 Vacumn Tube Phono MM Turntable Preamp is a great addition to your sound system. Its appearance might not convey plenty of sophistication, but its performance is a very different story.
Here’s a detailed review of what you can expect from the Little Bear.
Fine Sound Quality for Vintage Turntables
If you played a Coltrane record, a Clapton memorable solo, or a Beatles tune, you’d definitely notice the mellow enhancement of every little nuance. With a signal to noise ratio exceeding 85 dB and often reaching 96 dB, this preamp translates the music as it was intended to be heard.
It has a wide dynamic range and picks up plenty of details. The output sound is generally rich and wholesome, as long as you stick with the lower gain.
Amplification at an Affordable Price
The Nobsound Little Bear preamp isn’t much of a looker, and its box clearly cuts more than a few ends to remain an economic alternative to the fancier devices. It sells for under $60, which is way below its peers, that often cross the $150 mark.
This makes the Little Bear a perfect option for fine sound enthusiasts who lack the funding to purchase pricey stuff. Its performance isn’t cheap at all, and it easily matches the big bill items.
If you have a bit of surplus cash after purchasing this preamp, investing in a pair of high-quality speakers would probably be good too. They would portray the warm nuanced tones beautifully.
- Dimensions: 80×116×28 mm
- Weight: the item weight is 0.24 Kg, while shipping weight is 0.55 kg
- Tubes: 2 x 6J1 tubes
- Signal to Noise Ratio: > 85dB, mostly 96 db
- Power range output: approx. 0.2 W
- Input impedance: 50K
- Output impedance: 100K
The best thing about the Nobsound Little Bear is its sound quality, which matches closely high-end preamps like the Rega Phono Mini A2D. Admittedly, the Rega has a lot more glam compared to the Little Bear, but the warm clean sound is almost a tie between the two of them.
Preamps aren’t always obedient magnifiers faithful to the original signal. Some of them distort the tunes, especially at the lower and higher frequencies. Then, there’s the annoying noise that comes from the electronic limitations of these amps.
Luckily, this one is as quiet as they get. Especially if you take the manufacturer’s advice and connect it to a ground. Also, it helps a lot to select the Low-Gain instead of the pre-selected High-Gain.
There’s a third recommendation, and that is to keep the Little Bear away from strong signals, like smartphones. In our day and age, that would be a bit hard to pull-off. But you might want to minimize the usage of Bluetooth, WIFI, or other high-frequency extras.
The Little Bear doesn’t need much work to put together. Plus, it’s also quite easy to connect to the rest of your sound system. This is not a situation I come across too often, and I always appreciate a no-hassle device.
If all the previous perks aren’t sufficient to make this preamp a catch, the considerate price tag would definitely add to its appeal.
I like devices that give form the same attention as function. Sound systems are a treat to the senses, and caring a tad more for design isn’t asking for too much, right.
That’s why I had a few reservations about this preamp. It could certainly benefit from some cosmetics, even though that would drive its price up a notch.
The build is also rather flimsy, and when you open up the box, you’d find that the board doesn’t sit too well inside the frame. This isn’t such a huge deal though, as you can tape it or screw it in place easily.
Finally, you should note that the Little Bear works with MM turntables only. You can’t use it all with MC turntables.
What Customer Reviews Say
The Nobsound Little Bear T7 Preamp has a fair fan base and around 267 reviews on Amazon. Of these, around 55% gave it a five-star rating, while 14% went for a single star. This would have been cautionary if we didn’t look at the four-star rating, which is about 17%.
The majority of the customers find this preamp a wonderful purchase. There were some useful tips too from avid users, such as opening the device and selecting Low Gain. Simply changing the gain from 40 dB to 35 dB seems to do wonders for the sound quality.
Another valuable piece of advice was to leave the preamp ON for at least 10 minutes before playing anything at all. It seems to need this ‘break-in’ time to shake off the noise and stuttering.
An interesting review started with slight concerns about the manufacturer’s recommendation to ground the Little Bear. It ended, however, with enthusiastic raving about its performance with a vintage turntable.
The price is mentioned quite a lot within the reviews, and it’s always in highly positive terms. Owning a preamp with such a remarkable performance often comes with a hefty tag, and hence, the clear welcoming of this budget buy.
The Nobsound Little Bear T7 Vacuum Tube Phono MM Turntable Preamp is quite an interesting device. It’s simple, affordable, a bit flimsy, but offers a grand performance. Pair it with a well-crafted turntable and a fine set of speakers, and you’ll hear some seriously good music.
It’s worth noting that there’s another Bear preamp, that takes care of the looks matter. That would be the Nobsound Little Bear T11 6N2/12AX7 Phono Turntable Preamplifier is all glam and charisma. It gives all the perks of the T7, but it comes at more than triple the price!