"Cornet2" Phonostage (discontinued)
The Cornet2 vacuum tube phonostage uses all-tube zero-feedback gain stages, passive equalization,
and output current sink-loaded cathode followers. This topology provides very clean and dynamic low
noise amplification and low output impedance, able to drive any interconnects or even a passive
linestage. Construction is solid and sonics are superb, easily competing with units many times its cost.
Components are of the highest quality, no corners were cut in this design. The Cornet2 is very
accommodating to tube rolling so you can tune sonics to your taste.
Expert DIYers can build this preamplifier themselves. The half-kit
version will cost you approximately $750 in raw parts (this ain't no discount design).
Use parts from your existing stock or upgrade to exotic and other boutique parts. The
universal type power transformer accomodate worldwide operation. Construction is enhanced by the
clever circuit board design, which houses all components except for the power transformer, practically
eliminating costly wiring errors.
Read actual customer testimonials. Or select online posts,
Completed Circuit Board
- All vacuum tube signal path
- Pure Class A single-ended amplifier stages
- No feedback
- Passive equalization
- Cathode follower outputs
- Vacuum tube B+ rectification
- DC heaters
- Single box design
|Input Impedance||47k ohm|
|Output Impedance||1k ohm|
|RIAA Response||+/-1dB from 25Hz to 25kHz|
|Bandwidth||15Hz to 30kHz|
|SNR||72dB ref 5mV A-weighted|
|Size||7.25" x 11.65" (PCB)|
|Input Voltage||100V, 110V, 120V, 200V, 220V, 240V|
|Tubes||12AX7 (ECC83) x 2, 12AU7 (ECC82) x 1, 5Y3 x 1||
"... this little phono stage completely trounced my sub-mini phono preamp ... The phono preamp was
extremely quiet with my vintage Grado 8MR cartridge (not MC) ... This is not a vintage-sounding phono preamp.
While it sounds pleasant and definately tube-based, it has resolution, soundstaging, and speed that no vintage
design I know of can match. The sound is coherent, well balanced, and detailed. The critical midrange is warm
without bloom, the bass solid and visceral when called for, the highs smooth." - Kevin Kennedy
The Cornet not only sounds superb, it has impeccable measurements too. Below is the 1kHz square wave
performance, which demonstrates excellent equalization correction. Distortion is so low it is difficult to
measure, but is mainly second-order in nature.
- The Cornet PC Board arrived in the mail today. Inspection reveals this board is the best DIY project
board that I have ever seen! Good Job!
- Well, after a two month long wait for some backordered parts to arrive, the Cornet is completed, up and running.
In a word: WOOOOOOOOOW!!! Even though it was still "cold," it sounded great
and surpassed my wildest expectations! ... It is more extended, quicker and pleasant to listen to than any "sand"
preamp that I've heard. I got some JAN tubes from Stu (Sylvania 5Y3, Phillips 12AX7s and G.E. 12AU7) and they
match the preamp superbly. This is, without doubt, the best phono stage that I've heard under $1000.00 and is the
best $400 I've ever spent in audio!
- The Cornet is sounding great and has broken in nicely ... very smooth and refined.
- Your Cornet coupled with my Teres and AKSA power amp brought out the best in this recording. All I can say is WOW.
Anyone that says vinyl is weak on bass has not heard this album [Love Stinks]. Ergo, the Cornet is up to the task of
great bass reproduction. The second compliment I can pay to the Cornet is very nice HF extension. I have not played
a CD in over eight weeks now and am reluctant to do so. The Cornet plays the highs so sweet and smoothly. Album after
album spins with no listener fatigue!
- I think this unit [Cornet] is as good as you can get for the money. It took a few hours for everything to
settle in (a bit bloated in the mids for the first few records) but once it had the dynamics were wonderful. The bass
seemed suprisingly tight and pronounced for a tubed stage. Overall very quiet ... I can't imaging how good the Trumpet
must be if this is what you get for 1/3 the price.
- [Cornet] sounds very nice, not tubelike, just clean and neutral. Chimes have the right shimmer. Piano plunks
correctly. Annie Lennox of the Eurythmics, WOW! Imaging is much better than I expected. Tranny does run warm,
other than that I think this is a fine piece of gear. Very detailed, does saxophone without shrillness/stridency and
sounds natural. NICELY laid out. WAY easier to build than the tube active crossover I scratch built recently.
Considering the parts are larger and easier to handle, I would say the build was MUCH easier than the XM9L Marchand kit.
You have developed a great kit!
- Sorry to bug you, but WOW! I thought it [Cornet] would be absolutely unlistenable without break-in. I was very
wrong. I'm hearing details, attacks, decays and bass I've never heard from this LP. I've put a couple more hours on it
today and rolled seom 12AU7s. A NOS RCA clear-top side-getter was very good, but I'm now using an Amperex Holland Bugle
Boy and it's superb. Just listened to som E. Power Biggs organ, brass and percussion pieces and the clarity and focus
from top to bottom is amazing.
- What a delightful phono pre!
- Today I finally got to fire up the Cornet ... I had to tell you how AMAZING the improvement was.
- The moment I put the cartridge down to play some Count Basie and some John COltrane I knew this was it. The
Cornet took on a new life form. It is truly a remarkable phono preamp. Lots of air around the instruments, tonal
quality is unbelievable.
- What amazed me was how different the old 78's sound with correct equalization [Monogram].
- Built the Cornet2 a couple Sundays ago. You should change the name to 'Slamatronics 2000'. Thank you.
- Just to say thanks for an excellent product. I've now got it up and running and it does sound very
impressive. Ok, so I've gone over the top with components; Kiwames, PIO and silver mica caps, but what the
he**. To say I'm happy is an understatement.
- This is a great kit by the way! I have not done much DIY stuff before, and what I have done has been point to point
wired, so your half kit is a welcome "upgrade".
- I am still loving my Cornet II. The upgrade was shocking.
- We used the original Cornet in a very nice nightclub we did an install in - and were nominated for an
international award for the sound by Club Systems International. It was Tonic in Charlotte. Yours are the
only tube preamps I have ever used that don't get "mushy" when used with a large system - in this case about
28Kw. Every person that played on them said it was so good it was distracting to them. We had an unfortunate
accident that broke some tubes so while they were out people would ask what was wrong and where did the magic
go? Just thought you might like to know.
- I would like to say a big thanks for your excellent work on Cornet. This is a professionaly considered
engineering job without doubt!
- It is nice to be so satisfied with my gear again. Your Cornet2 is pissing my Wife off because I am able
to sit in my chair playing records through my headphones for hours this weekend instead of the honey do list.
Thanks Much! It has been a long time since I was so enthralled with my record collection.
- Hello Jim, Thank you so much for designing such a beautiful circuit board/circuit, and for compiling a DIY
project that someone like me can complete with minimal knowledge. My Cornet 2 is done and sounds absolutely stellar!
Great match with my Grado Master and TNT.
- I still love how good your Cornet2 sounds compared to everything I have owned and sold. For 600 dollars it
is the steal of the century and much much more.
- I'm writing to show my gratitude on the quality of your Cornet2 kit. The board layout was a joy to work
with. It's almost impossible to make an error on where each part goes. In the manual, you said that this kit
should only be attempted by skill technicians. I pleasantly disagree. The Cornet2 kit is only my second DIY
kit ever attempted. The Cornet2 built was no more difficult than the Bugle kit I'd built prior. Both kits
worked first time power was connected; there were no bugs to clear up. May I suggest you reword that in your
manual. Cornet2 is too good to pass up for people otherwise with basic electronics skills like myself who may
be scared off. Regarding performance of the Cornet2, I'm very impressed. After listening to the Cornet2 for
one hour, I got up from my chair to make a pot of coffee. When I returned, just for fun I switched back to the
Bugle. Something became obviously wrong with the music. It sounded flat, lacked dynamics, and two dimensional.
Connected back the Cornet2, I was floored on the performance difference between the two. The Cornet2 sounds
much more organic, dynamic, and full of texture. The vocal sounds full bodied and has soul, bass is very well
controlled and has real good treble extension. I'm using inexpensive JJ tubes, and the kit hasn't broken in
yet. It's hard to believe it will sound better weeks to come. I believe you're not charging enough for a kit
of this caliber. I am nearly finished with my Castanet built and holding my breath in anticipation for another
sonic surprise, positively, of course. Keep up the good work.
- Just bought a Cornet 2 from a fellow inmate at the vinyl asylum. I thought the little Bellari I had was
pretty good; boy was I missing a lot. This thing is unbelievable. I have a pair of Maggies (SMGa) - they sure
- Playing a record for the very first time, my expectations were high. But still, the clarity, warmth, punch
and richness coming out of the speakers got me dumbfounded. I never knew my humble speakers could produce such
magic! It's a night and day difference from my flat and sterile CDs.
- I just wanted to say thank you!!! I already own the Cornet 2 and I fall in love with it again and again.
My Cornet2 delivers music directly to DIY C3M/300B SE followed by high efficency wideband speakers. All I can
say: it touches my soul. Thanks a million for all the work you have done, giving music lovers the possibility
to enjoy music the way i do. For me Cornet2 is invaluable. Greetings from Berlin.