Are you enjoying the nostalgic beats and sounds from turntables? Yes, they may seem vintage, old-school, and outdated but turntables remain revolutionary in giving a sentimental sound that brings the spirit of the music that touches not only the ears but the heart and soul as well.
Turntables have a “needle” or phono cartridge that amplifies the audio signal. However, this signal, though already amplified by the needle, is still so weak that it needs extra amplification to get the standard line level. This is where amplifiers work. They amplify, increase, or intensify the signal, thus making music loud.
In today’s technological world, amplifiers, receivers, and other A/V components often do not have features that enable phono cartridges to work. Some even have poor-quality circuitry that delivers a disappointingly below average performance.
Two options can solve the issue. Either of the two may or may not work for you. The first option is to purchase a turntable that has phono cartridge built in it. That one could cost you more than a thousand bucks. The other option, which is preferred by countless individuals, is to buy a stand-alone phono preamplifier that could cost less.
Phono preamplifiers, also known as phono stage or turntable preamp, work significantly in turning small signals into powerful ones. A phono preamp is mainly utilized with turntables, amplifiers, and speakers.
From the vinyl to the phono cartridge, then to the preamp, next to the amplifier, then out to the speaker. It, in layman’s term, converts the phono signal (the low signal level that came from the turntable’s needle) into a line level signal, which is popularly recognized as AUX, a signal level that is strong enough to reach our ears.
Talking about phono preamps, the Pro-Ject Tube Box S is an excellent choice of phono preamplifier that has been a buzz among music lovers and turntable fans.
- The Pro-Ject Tube Box S is a versatile preamp.
- This phono preamp uses ECC83 (12AX7) vacuum tube, best for low-level audio amplification.
- It has three adjustable gain levels.
- It has a switchable subsonic filter that runs -12 dB at 20 kHz
- Available in beautiful black or classic silver finish for aesthetics.
- Small, compact structure with dimensions 103 x 74 x 104 mm and weighs not more than a kilo.
- An audiophile-grade preamp polypropylene capacitors with WIMA technology.
- It boasts precise RIAA equalization.
- With all the mentioned beautiful features, the Pro-Ject Tube Box S Phono Preamp has a price that you would not expect it to have.
- This phono preamp has two or dual-mono configurations.
- Clean design with the power switch on front and inputs and outputs organized at the back.
- The color and compact design of this phono preamp make it perfect for turntables of all sorts of models regardless if it is old or new.
- The valves are replaceable. Replacement parts are available in online stores and in other audiovisual component stores.
- This preamp gives a certain kind of warmth thus create a soothing, authentic, and flamboyant sound.
- It may be small and light, but the materials used in this product are highly durable.
- This is a fantastic phono preamplifier for the money.
- The switchable subsonic filter allows the amplifier to maintain balance and prevent rumbling for tone lower than 20 Hz.
- This preamp unveils sensitive audio sounds that make the music surprisingly broad and smooth.
- This preamp does not have a knob, torque, or dial that works as a standby button. The switch installed in the front is actually for on and off only.
- The power cord is somewhat short. The preamp is preferably operated near outlets.
The Pro-Ject Tube Box S Phono Preamplifier has an impressive performance, unique operability, and beautiful design. Not to mention, it is budget-friendly compared to another phono preamps available in the market.
The design of this phono preamp is remarkable. The external frame has a bright finish that is versatile for old or new turntables. The controls, inputs, and outputs are firmly established. The operability is extraordinary. It delivers low signals to high amplification which makes the music broad and astounding.
The vacuum tubes, together with other essential features (the subsonic filter, gain levels, and mono configurations) all work in sync. Other phono preamps with the lesser or equal features of the Pro-Ject Tube Box S Phono Preamplifier have higher prices.
Some have reported that this phono preamp gives a “humming” sound. Technically, the said sound is actually due to some wiring in the turntables that needs adjustment.
The Bellari VP130 Tube Phono Preamplifier is a great option if you want a premium preamp that works excellently. This preamp has a beautiful shiny vintage red finish, curved edges, and intuitive controls.
It features RIAA equalization, switchable filters for rumbling effects for low-level sounds below 20 Hz, a switch for mute, and output for headphones with level control. It weighs approximately 2 lbs. (not exceeding a kilo), and has a compact structure with dimensions 6” x 2.5” x 5.4” (WxHxD).
It also has a LED light power indicator. The price though is somewhat higher than the Pro-Ject Tube Box S Phono Preamp but sure it is worth buying!
The Pro-Ject Tube Box S Phono Preamplifier is highly recommended for purists who want to feel the soul of the music. This preamp will make you drift away through every jam.
As a phono preamplifier, Pro-Ject Tube Box S Preamp sure does what it should. That said, the capabilities are limited, unlike other luxury preamps that can do more due to higher specs and added pieces.
However, you must remember that preamps work relatively with the turntable (including the vinyl and cartridges), amplifier, and external speaker.
Hence, the quality of the preamp would become discreet or unnoticeable if any of these connective utilities is of poor quality. Owning a high-end phono preamp would suggest that you might as well use high-quality turntables, amplifiers, and output speakers.