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"Cornet2" Phonostage ($129 kit/2) Order now!

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, #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6.

Click for a larger image
Completed Cornet2


Completed Circuit Board

Features

  • 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

Specifications

Gain+44dB
Input Impedance47k ohm
Output Impedance1k ohm
RIAA Response+/-1dB from 25Hz to 25kHz
Bandwidth15Hz to 30kHz
Distortion0.02% @1kHz
SNR72dB ref 5mV A-weighted
Overload250mV @1kHz
PhaseNormal
Size7.25" x 11.65" (PCB)
Weight7 lbs
Power35W
Input Voltage100V, 110V, 120V, 200V, 220V, 240V
Tubes12AX7 (ECC83) x 2, 12AU7 (ECC82) x 1, 5Y3 x 1

Reviewer Excerpts

"... 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

Measurements

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.

Square wave response and residual distortion

Downloads


Customer Testimonials

  • 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 sing now!
  • 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.