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markcasazza's picture
Last seen: 6 months 1 week ago
Joined: Jun 11 2022 - 5:01pm
Absolute newbie with almost no budget - equipment advice request

I am just getting back into vinyl. I picked up a JVC turntable a few months back and I am acquiring my records mostly at estate sales and antique stores. I am using my old Teac AG-V3020 receiver/amp. I need speakers and plan to get some vintage speakers again at estate sales and antique stores. My short list includes Klipsch, Acoustic Research, Advent, Cerwin Vega, JBL, and Kenwood. I love the sound of my Grundig tube radio and I want that same warm tube sound in my system, but I don't have much budget.

My first question is if there is any value in these hybrid amps that use 4 tubes in the preamp circuit with a solid state power amp. The Dayton Audio HTA100BT is an example of one of these. Are they worth anything or should I wait till I can get something better, what would that be staying under $600. I tried a cheap Chinese tube phono preamp and returned it as it did nothing for the sound.

Yes, I restrain my spending in this hobby. My primary hobby is astronomy and astro-photography. For the next 10 years that is where most of my spare change goes. You can see my work at


hoytis's picture
Last seen: 2 weeks 1 day ago
Joined: May 19 2021 - 10:37am
In my experience, if you want

In my experience, if you want a noticeable tube sound you have to go all in and get a complete tube amplifier. A tube here and there as buffers or on pre outputs help to warm things up but it's difficult to discern, as you found out. Find the speakers first. Many vintage speakers are pretty high on the sensitivity scale and easy to power. Then find the right amp to power them. If I had $600 I would be keeping an eye at those estate sales (or looking on Craigslist, Reverb or Ebay) for decent older integrated tube amp. Lots can be had for under $600...Fischer, Bogen, Heathkit...then pick up a reasonable phono stage (Schiit Mani, Pro-Ject Box, etc) to send a strong, clean signal.

You could go separates and find a vintage tube power amp and pick up a new passive preamp (attenuator) for volume control, which are inexpensive. Still need a phono stage though. This is my set up and love it. Super open and warm.

Or maybe you can find a cheap active preamp with a phono stage included.

Hope you find what you need. You're right on the precipice of another hobby rabbit hole :)

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