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Phono Stages up to £499



Project Phono Box E

The Phono Box E is a starter MM stage, it’s available in either black or white casing and is a very good first step into phono stages, being ideal for entry level turntables. It comes with a plug top power supply to keep noise to a minimum (although in exceptionally high noise locations we would recommend one of the models below with metal case work, for their improved screening).


Project Phono Box E MM phono stage: £50.00

         



Project Phono Box MM

The Phono Box MM is a moving magnet only phono stage from Project. It’s housed in a very small metal case which provides good shielding, and has an external wall wart type power supply, both of which help keep noise to a minimum. Inside it uses surface mount components (see picture below) to keep the signal paths very short and a dual mono layout for good channel separation.



Project Phono Box MM phono stage: £60.00



Rega Fono Mini A2D

The Fono Mini A2D is the latest version of the classic Rega budget phono stage and is ideal for all budget turntables. This new design incorporates an analogue to digital convertor and USB output, so it can be used directly into your computer for making recordings, or conventionally into your hifi system via the phono sockets. Unlike many other USB phono stages a level control is provided so you can set the optimum output level for making the best of your LP recordings - the quality of which really surprised me at this price level by sounding vibrant, well detailed and tonally nicely balanced.

Inside it’s very neatly constructed, in the above picture the power supply is at the bottom left, the phono sections at the top left and the Burr Brown analogue to digital convertor is just behind the USB-B connector on the right (the shiny silver box), with the level control below it.


It comes in a nicely extruded black aluminium case and is very well made in the UK as you’d expect from this vinyl specialist company. Power comes from an external mains supply (included) to ensure noise is kept low and the main unit measures a diminutive 11cm x 10cm x 3cm.


Rega Fono Mini A2D MM phono stage with line and USB output £89.00


Edwards Audio Apprentice Phono stage

The Apprentice is the new entry level phono stage from Edwards Audio which combines quite remarkable performance and very a affordable price tag. Designed and manufactured entirely in the UK this diminutive box contains an exceptionally short signal path (thanks to the surface mount design) and an external power supply to keep noise to a minimum. Much like its larger and dearer brothers (detailed below) it has a sound that is very well resolved but never tiring or difficult to listen to, and has quickly established itself as our reference phono stage for under a hundred pounds.


Edwards Audio Apprentice MM phono stage: £89.95


Project Phono Box  

The Phono Box III is an evolution of a classic budget phono stage, perfect for use with budget turntables and systems. Unusually for this type of design it can be used with both MM and MC cartridges via a rear mounted switch. It is powered by an external plug top power supply (included) to help reduce noise and is available with either silver or black front panels.


Project Phono Box  Mk3 MM & MC phono stage: £89.00


Edwards Audio Apprentice MC

The Edwards Audio Apprentice MC phono stage is derived from the Edwards Audio MM1 and uses a similar circuit topology with passive treble and active bass equalisation. Unusually at this price level it uses a second stage amplifier to buffer the equalisation network and ensure a low output impedance, whilst the MC gain uses a third separate op-amp.


Housed in a tiny case with attractive acrylic fascia and 5mm machined aluminium trim, it has a convenient MM/MC switch on the front. A regulated ‘wall wart’ power supply helps keep the box small and noise low.


This is an excellent phono stage that is perfect for the audiophile on a budget.


Edwards Audio Apprentice MC MM & MC phono stage: £179.95



Rega Fono MM mk3

The Fono MM is the latest all new stand alone phono stage from Rega (which confusingly has the same name as its predecessor). It is housed in the new look Rega aluminium casework and measures a diminutive 18cm wide, 14cm deep and 4.5cm tall. Inside surface mount components are used to ensure a very short signal path, polyester capacitors are used in the signal path and polyproplyene are used in the EQ network. An external ‘wall wart’ power supply/transformer helps keep noise to an absolute minimum.


Rega Fono MM mk3 phono stage: £198.00

Rega Fono MC

The Fono MC is a new MC (only) phono stage which features polyproplyene capacitors throughout the RIAA and signal coupling, with a discrete FET input and a MUSE op amp. Dip switches on the rear allow adjustment of gain, load and capacitance. More details will follow asap.


Rega Fono MC phono stage: £248.00

Edwards Audio MM1 mk2


The MM1 is a fantastic moving magnet phono stage, and whilst its set at a very reasonable price it contains design elements you wouldn’t normally see at this price, including features such as a dual rail power supply, ensuring that it has tremendous headroom. The power supply is incorporated inside the box, rather than external - the reason is that this allows fitment of a Linear supply which is sonically far superior to a Switch mode supply (as found in almost all plug top power supplies). The sound is very musical and enjoyable and ranks as one of our all time favourite budget phono stages. It is also one of the most stylish looking stages we’ve seen and quite diminutive at just 11.5cms wide. Please see the pictures of the MC1, below, to see what the new case design looks like.


-Edwards Audio MM1 mk2 MM phono stage: £299.95


Creek OBH-15mk2

      

The OBH-15mk2 phono stage is MM and MC switchable phono stage housed in a neat aluminium case. It is well specified, with various adjustments possible via DIP switches on the underside of the unit, including a switchable IEC roll off (rumble filter), adjustable gain, capacitance and load (the latter just for MC cartridges naturally). A separate plug top power supply is supplied which keeps it compact and reduces noise. A choice of Silver or Black fascia is available.


Creek OBH-15mk2 MM & MC phono stage: £300.00


Pro-Ject Tube Box S


The Tube Box S features a pair of ECC83 triodes as the output stage (one per channel) of this MM and MC compatible phono stage. Underneath there are small switches for impedance, capacitance and gain, making it easy to match to most cartridges available. A separate plug top power supply is supplied which keeps it compact and reduces noise. A choice of Silver or Black fascia is available.


Pro-Ject Tube Box S MM & MC phono stage: £309.00



Pro-Ject Tube Box DS

Like the Tube Box S featured above, the DS features a pair of ECC83 triodes as the output stage (one per channel) of this MM and MC compatible phono stage. On the front is the rotary control for loading of MC cartridges and on the rear is a selection of jumpers enabling adjustment of capacitance, gain and rumble filter.


A separate plug top power supply is supplied which keeps it compact and reduces noise. A choice of Silver or Black fascia is available.


Pro-Ject Tube Box DS MM & MC phono stage: £399.00

Edwards Audio MC1 MK2 phono stage

The MC1 Mk2 is a new one box phono stage from Edwards Audio. It can be used with both MM and MC cartridge, changed via internal jumpers to keep the optimum signal path, along with adjustments for loading capacitance. Internally the parts specification is very impressive, there’s a gold plated circuit board, carefully selected resistors and capacitors and an over sized power supply.


This is a very quiet design with incredibly accurate RIAA response that falls within 0.25dB across the audio range, and uses their hybrid EQ network with passive treble and active bass equalisation. Externally the casework brings a new look to the Edwards Audio range, an attractive machined black aluminium fascia with inset backlit acrylic fascia gives it an appearance, that like its sound, is well beyond what the price tag suggests.


Edwards Audio MC1 mk2 MM & MC phono stage: £399.95

Phono Stages over £500



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