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TigerScent

... budget Phono pre-amps...possible mods, ideas

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Hey thar y'all....

I purchased a TC-750, initially as a 'quick-fix' for a phono pre-amp -- needed 'yesterday'...

I was/am still considering the DIY Hagerman: Cornet2 ( http://www.hagtech.com/cornet2.html ) or Bugle....; or the Yaquin 22b valve one ( http://www.china-highend-hifi.com/prod01123412422621345223121.htm ); and some other one from Boozehound labs... ( http://diyaudioprojects.com/Solid/JFET-Phono-Preamplifier-Kit/ )

***...does anyone have any suggestions/feedback on any of the above-mentioned, or know of other value/quality ratio phono stage preamps likely to blow ur sox off ???

I am about to embark on an educational/discovery journey, and open up the TC-750 and view the insides and perform a series of 'operations' in an endeavour to 'enhance this product, (which has had mixed budget/performance type reviews from various sources).

What I am thinking of doing, is

1. hardwiring intput RCA leads (Belden with s/solder and silver rca) that go to the amp directly into the phono pre-amp, and just have external RCA's on the rear, that connect with the TT.

2. removing/enhancing leaded solder connexions to a significant degree and replacing with Mundorf Supreme silver lead free solder, AND/OR in instances where there are sensitive circuits involved, using WBT silver leaded solder alternatively.

3. identifying any sub-standard caps (uses Hermei :)) and replacing them with better ones.... ie: Nichicon Muse and/or Elna Silmic II etc... :P (and possibly better resistors with tighter tolerance specs etc)

...any further ideas, anyone???

Edited by TigerScent

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Since you still require a preamp for your ME550, you should seek out an ME25 or ME15 preamp. These are fitted with very high quality phono stages.

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Not perhaps quite what you are asking about, but you could consider this as a DIY alternative to modding.

Here is what one owner had to say about this amp

Reinforcing your point on the Genera being Great Brit hifi I "upgraded" a Cambridge Audio 640P with better electrolytics and op-amps. It was better than the stock version, although I might have made different choices on the parts had I been on this forum back then. The Genera is on a different plane. It is clearer, more musical and honest hi-fi, and it uses under 1/4 of the part count.

Here is a link to my review of my build and burn-in.

Not perhaps the cheapest option, but very good VFM IMO vis a vis the expense and uncertainty of part swapping.

(Not that I don't do that too :) ) and yes I have also owned the TCC phono pre.

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Guest Muon

I have one of the Boozhound kits, but am yet to put it together (waiting of other parts), so can't comment except that I have read some interesting things about it on the net.

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Since you still require a preamp for your ME550, you should seek out an ME25 or ME15 preamp. These are fitted with very high quality phono stages.

Thanks ZB..., however, the ME550 is intended for a private listening area; ... this phono-preamp is for my main & surround AMP, which is an NAD T773, and has no phono-preamp... Apparantly the TC-750 outperforms the NAD PP2/3 stock..., however, I still want to go further with it...

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I have one of the Boozhound kits, but am yet to put it together (waiting of other parts), so can't comment except that I have read some interesting things about it on the net.

...hey df, ... yeah, I read some pretty good reports about it..., I would use Mundorf Supreme silver (9.5% silver) lead free on it, and if you 'must' have leaded solder, the WBT silver (4%) leaded solder is hard to beat..., ie: euctectic too... german made/quality. You can order these in 'per metre' lengths on ebay...

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Not perhaps quite what you are asking about, but you could consider this as a DIY alternative to modding.

Here is what one owner had to say about this amp

Here is a link to my review of my build and burn-in.

Not perhaps the cheapest option, but very good VFM IMO vis a vis the expense and uncertainty of part swapping.

(Not that I don't do that too :) ) and yes I have also owned the TCC phono pre.

Thanks oph, It does look like a decent unit...

...I have already almost finished majority of mods to the TC-750...., interesting to see how it goes...I have been leaning towards one of the others though ?!?..., and the one you mentioned I have not heard of yet..., until now...

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Has anyone else had any further experience with any of the phono pre-amps mentioned??? or any other options ???

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Since you still require a preamp for your ME550, you should seek out an ME25 or ME15 preamp. These are fitted with very high quality phono stages.

...in addition ZB, the modded Rega Planar 3, I am using currently (and intend to continue) with my NAD T773; however, the other scenario involving the ME 550 and (needed) pre-amp, I intend on using with the 'slate' version of the Rega Planar 3 style 'custom' TT I am going to construct ... I think it will all make a pretty smooth match, the ME 550 system.... (Im keeping my eye out in trade-in sections of Hi-Fi & Salvo stores now, for an ME 15 or 25 since you mentioned it...)

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Guest Muon
...hey df, ... yeah, I read some pretty good reports about it..., I would use Mundorf Supreme silver (9.5% silver) lead free on it, and if you 'must' have leaded solder, the WBT silver (4%) leaded solder is hard to beat..., ie: euctectic too... german made/quality. You can order these in 'per metre' lengths on ebay...
What sort of melting point does it have? I have tried a couple of lead free ones and not liked them....

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What sort of melting point does it have? I have tried a couple of lead free ones and not liked them....

The Mundorf Supreme Silver lead free: Melting Point - 290C/554F

The WBT Silver with lead: Melting Point - 180°C/356°F

I tend to use the Mundorf for things like capacitors, resistors, some diodes, connections, interconnects (excels in these)

...and the WBT for IC's, transistors etc...

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Guest Muon

I think I would prefer working with the WTB...

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I think I would prefer working with the WTB...

...the WBT is admired because of its excellent flow characteristics...

however, the Mundorf also flows quite well, doesnt take much to get it going, however, it does have a 'frosty' finish...

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I have one of the Boozhound kits, but am yet to put it together (waiting of other parts), so can't comment except that I have read some interesting things about it on the net.

It looks quite impressive, seems to be superior to the Hagerman Bugle, however, the Cornet2 looks pretty good...I dont think Ill bother with the bugle, either its Cornet2 or Boozehound, ... although, no-one has commented on the Yaquin, nor the Hagerman products/kits-its thier 'half-kits' that seem to be pretty good value...

Edited by TigerScent

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Guest Muon

One of the guys on Lenco Heaven compared it to the Bugle and the Yaqin 12B I think...with good caps I think he preferred the jfet one, but then I don't think the Yaqin was modded to any extent.

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...Nichicon Muse caps are used in the Boozhound kits...Im quite impressed with those...I put them in a NAD 7150 and 2150 (with silver solder), and the difference is quite noticable....

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One of the guys on Lenco Heaven compared it to the Bugle and the Yaqin 12B I think...with good caps I think he preferred the jfet one, but then I don't think the Yaqin was modded to any extent.

yeah, I remember reading something like that months ago..., that is the article that made me seriously consider the Boozhound..., however the Bugle and Yaquin come up with good feedback generally as well...

Now that I have had the TC-750, I dont think the bugle will be enough of a 'step-up'...., and I will have to consider the other 2 options I mentioned...I might just give the Yaquin a miss..., there is so much more you can do with DIY, and then not need to 'mod' it later on...at least not too much....

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Well, the Yaqin would have very ordinary parts used in it, so noticeable gain in SQ would result from replacing some of those and tube rolling.

I was going to assemble the Boozhound's one as is, but thought better of it as I don't want to be re-soldering connections to the Jfets many times over. Instead I'm going to get some better caps and replace some of the more important resistors with Z-foils from Texas for the initial build.

I guess it will no longer be a 100 buck stage by that time :)

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Well, the Yaqin would have very ordinary parts used in it, so noticeable gain in SQ would result from replacing some of those and tube rolling.

I was going to assemble the Boozhound's one as is, but thought better of it as I don't want to be re-soldering connections to the Jfets many times over. Instead I'm going to get some better caps and replace some of the more important resistors with Z-foils from Texas for the initial build.

I guess it will no longer be a 100 buck stage by that time :)

I can fully understand that..., that is one reason I like the 'half-kits' from Hagerman....

Edited by TigerScent

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...seems like I will have to build 'both' really... one SS (Boozhound) and one Valve (Cornet2)... appears as though its come down to these 2 as preferred options, considering excellent and consistent feedback...esp. with regards to Cornet2 from Hagerman...

Another good thing about half-kits, is that with expensive designs (or plans), you can order parts and complete in stages..., offsetting initial large outlays of $$$

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...with regards to boozhounds jFet, the diy forum review http://diyaudioprojects.com/Solid/JFET-Phono-Preamplifier-Kit/ on this, shows a 'over-sized' case with a myriad of batteries inside. I would much prefer to used a more streamlined battery system (or rechargeable) than have to replace dozens of batteries at one time. I would also over and above this, prefer to use a smooth/regulated power supply...or make one, with several large smoothing capacitors...who wants to muck around with batteries etc..., when you can have stable smooth dc with regulation and/or additional smoothing caps....

...a smaller compact case would be nicer too...

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For what it's worth, I took my Yaqin 12B over to ophool's house a few months back to make a comparison to his Genera. My 12B has had a bunch of mods in its life and working from memory I think I'd upgraded the tubes, caps and rewired it before the comparison.

Result: I preferred the Genera. It wasn't a case of the Genera being awesome and Yaqin crap - they both offer similar performance but the Genera had a performance edge when the music got complicated.

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For what it's worth, I took my Yaqin 12B over to ophool's house a few months back to make a comparison to his Genera. My 12B has had a bunch of mods in its life and working from memory I think I'd upgraded the tubes, caps and rewired it before the comparison.

Result: I preferred the Genera. It wasn't a case of the Genera being awesome and Yaqin crap - they both offer similar performance but the Genera had a performance edge when the music got complicated.

hmmm, thanks..., yes, that is one more reason to cross Yaquin off the list..., and another tick for Genera...

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hmmm, thanks..., yes, that is one more reason to cross Yaquin off the list..., and another tick for Genera...

Not really. The only way to tell which phono preamp is best is for YOU to try it out. Other people's opinions are just that.

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Not really. The only way to tell which phono preamp is best is for YOU to try it out. Other people's opinions are just that.

...yes, true, however, until I 'can' try one out....it is good to take note of comments/reviews, and what the overall consensus is after a series of reviews..., the Yaquin has had good reviews, but seems to be eclipsed by the likes of the jFet boozhound and Cornet2 by all accounts..., and although it is 'overly' described as 'good', quite a few owners (not all) have some minor 'nagging' criticism of it..., so, for now, that is all l can go by, until, as you say, I can try it for myself...which by the way, I always 'prefer' to do...

...if I cannot hear it on my system or key parts of it, I like to see an a/b/c comparison using the 'same' system (similar to mine)..., which is the next best thing

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