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Bellari VP130 Tube Phono Preamp

October 14, 2011

I first admired this little item at my favorite record store – the Electric Fetus in Minneapolis. The Fetus uses this as a headphone amp at their vinyl listening station.  I bet I noticed it 5 years ago and lusted after it ever since – just based on how cool it looked.  But it was not a priority (until now).

In the old day’s most integrated amps and receivers had a built in phono preamp, but today it is rare.  A phono preamplifier amplifies the tiny electrical signals generated by the phono cartridge in response to movements of the stylus when dragged through the grooves of a vinyl record.  Typically, the phono preamplifier has a reverse EQ curve as dictated in modern vinyl recordings by the RIAA (see they don’t just sue single moms who pirate MP3s) and referred to as the RIAA equalization curve.  Long and short – if you have a record player you are likely going to need a phono preamp to get it to play through your system.

For the last several years I have used a very functional and cost effective Audio-Technica AT-PEQ3.  But the beauty of analog vs. digital is that the more effort (and money) you put into your vinyl listening the more you will be rewarded.  I felt it was time to upgrade this important component.

In addition to this little gadgets looks, what appealed to me was its all tube circuity and it reputation as a phono preamp that had a lot of personality.  I sampled the Project Phono Box II and the NAD PP3 – both were outstanding upgrades to what I was using.  But the Bellari just had more flavor.  It has an amazing bottom end and everything from drums, to bass, to sax, to electric guitar just sounds fat – that succulent tube sound that just can’t be beat.  I am just on day one with this thing, but it has made my vinyl sing at a whole new level.  It is wonderful to hear your old albums for the first time again.

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From → Audio, Spending

2 Comments
  1. Renae Klunk permalink

    i usually use an external headphone amp for convenience.-

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  1. Audio by Van Alstine – Fet Valve Phono Section (Prototype) | Axl's Catch Groove

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