Violin - MM / MC Vacuum Tube Phono Preamp
The Violin is a top-shelf phonostage with numerous features and microprocessor controlled pushbutton operation. It has two inputs, one for MM and one for MC cartridges. The MC input has variable loading, gain, and polarity. Both inputs can be set for mono. The vacuum tube gain section provides four different EQ settings to accommodate all LP microgroove frequency responses.
- 44dB gain MM / 54dBm 60dB, 63dB, 65dB MC (1kHz)
- 47k ohm input impedance MM / 955, 305, 170, 122, 84, 70, 59, 52 MC
- 600 ohm output impedance
- +/-0.5dB RIAA accuracy (20Hz to 20kHz)
- 6Hz to 500kHz bandwidth (-3dB)
- 82dBA signal-to-noise (ref 5mV) MM / 74dBa MC (ref 0.5mV)
- 17 x 8 x 5 inches
- 120V/240V operation 35W
- 12AX7 x 2, 12AU7 x 2, 5AR4 x 1
- "I have been using a Cornet for ten years which I got in a kit form, and built it in a deluxe tweaked out version. Have compared that souped-up Cornet to other phono stages, and every time the Cornet came out to be more dynamic, more musical, quieter, and the list goes on. The comparisons included an esoteric, fabulous sounding (and very expensive) LC phono stage (which shall remain unnamed); all of my friends found that the Cornet sounded pretty much its equal in every aspect. In addition, the Cornet was way more dynamic. Another phono I care to mention was the RCA phono that I built; all silver wire, point-to-point wiring, and an oversized regulated power supply. I expected that to sound better than the Cornet in every aspect. In comparison, the Cornet was quieter. The two had very different EQs, I was swapping them to play records with different EQs. And the RCA phono was not better than the Cornet, the two were on the same ground, same musicality. The Cornet had the advantage of better dynamics and bottom end. To my surprise, on the long run the Cornet turned out to be the more dependable one! After 10 years of harsh Hawaiian climate, the PCB is still pristine, and it has been working dependably, never a single glitch. In comparison, the PTP wired RCA phono has broken a long time ago. I'm writing this down for those people who do not trust circuit boards. I still do not trust PCBs in general - but I do trust Jim's boards absolutely! He uses thick boards which have proven to be reliable. The Cornet's board still looks brand new, while other (even the major!) brands show major deformations during this time on this climate. While in an amp PTP wiring is preferable, in a phono stage I found PTP to be inferior both in noise level and in musicality to Jim's meticulously designed boards. I thought I'm going to live happily forever with the Cornet, and never find another phono to replace it. I was listening to the Cornet, and then swapped the Violin in for the direct comparison. I was expecting improvement - but only a slight one. What I got was a whole new level of presentation. The most shocking at first was the soundstage. It opened up to such a degree in every direction, beyond the speakers, that in comparison the Cornet sounded almost monophonic. The second shock came at the dynamic peaks. Listening at the same volume, the Violin has at least 12-18dB perceived dynamic headroom over the Cornet! (Please make sure your amps and your speakers can handle it! This is not a joke, a fair warning! ; ) Where the Cornet's dynamic peaks ended, that was just the beginning for the Violin. And as I described, the Cornet is not a slouch either. I did expect a night and day difference between the Violin and an average phono - but to hear such a difference between an otherwise great sounding phono and the Violin is nothing short of a miracle. And it gets even better! You can choose the EQ on the Violin!!! I enjoy my British and French albums fully with just a push of a button on the fly. You can also choose gain, and much more - with just a push of a button! Well - buttons... Generally, those circuitry takes away from the sound quality. However, Jim has done the impossible: implemented it without compromising sound quality. In addition, I love the looks! Also, had numerous positive comments about how the Violin looks. Absolutely gorgeous. Thank you, Jim for this fabulous phono stage! For those, who are out there looking for their dream phono stage: it's the Violin! You just want to listen to your entire record collection and will forget about the stereo components and the constant upgrade itch. Pure music. And even if it had twice the price tag, it would still be a steal! It sounds that good."