Serenade phono amplifier Hello, thank you for your interest in my amp. I
have been working on this same circuit for over ten years and am therefore
very familiar with it's design and sound. In my experience that means from
dead neutral sound to very colored (rich old tube sound). I have built and
listened to hundreds of variations over the years. I was a music major in
college and took four years of Zoltan Kodaly ear training so it is
something I love to do. In my experience the better your system is, the more
neutral you want the phono stage to be. If your system is 1980's solid
state, then you want a more colored tone. There is not really one perfect
unit. The only caveat to that is the quality of the parts used. More
expensive parts sound better in any system. The point is I can build a unit
just for you! Below is a link where you can read the full, product of the
year review by the Absolute Sound Magazine.hono stages are very special to me. I have a large
record collection and never made the switch to digital. I had a field day when
everyone was selling their record to Goodwill. $1 each. I fear these good old
days are over as others are discovering the magic of vinyl. I have been building
phono amps for many years and have tried many and built many others. My favorite
is to use tubes for the amplification. The main downfall of this
approach is that tubes can be noisy. Phono amps multiply the signal many times
over. Much more than other types of amps. Noise is multiplied as well. So what
is the solution? I have found that there are a few ways of making an all tube
phono stage quiet.
I started with a commercially available board. I used a
combination of Mundorf Evo, and Wima capacitors, 1% film resistors. All traces on the board are made of Silver for detail
and power. All tube sockets are Gold plated for trouble free service. All parts
are hand selected to insure a large soundstage. Transformer is a custom
made shielded Torrid,
which can run on 120/230/240 volts. It has that you are there quality.
I have been making this amplifier circuit for over ten
years. I have a 100% customer satisfaction rating for over 12 years on both Audiogon and Ebay. I am a top customer with Paypal as
well. As you can see I have changed to a new board and custom, hand made power
supply which maximizes the design. It is more quiet and with more bass than
ever. The Serenade Amplifer is equal to amps that cost much, much more. Please
read the reviews.
HOW CAN THIS AMP BE ANY GOOD AT THIS LOW
I have used parts from suppliers all over
the world. Included are parts from Japan, Germany, China, and USA to keep cost down. I have used a standard chassis instead of
paying hundreds for a custom job with printing. This allows me to buy superior
parts and still keep cost down. You will not find this unit anywhere else. It
may be the best deal in the audio business.
- custom Torrid shielded transformer for quiet operation
- 120/230/240 Volt
- RIAA circuit built in (radio industry association of America
- computer designed power supply
- 4X 12AX7
- Wima/Mundorf film capacitors.
- 1% resistors
- best sounding unit around
Here are the latest customer reviews:
Just wanted to let you know I received the unit
in great shape. I am leaving in the morning on vacation and won/t get to
listen much until I get back. From what I have listened so far, all I can
say is awesome, awesome, awesome. I will just rotate my Moving coil
cartridges. I have some older preamps for MM. Other cartridge I have is Low
output moving coil Grado Sonata. Haven/t tried it yet. Thanks for
everything. Don/t know what brand of tubes are in it, but they sound
excellent to me. David.
Here is another one.
I changed the setting back to M C @ 100 ohms after trying a higher setting,I
took the sot out of the configuration, I warmed the amp up with one side of Bach
and then I played my reference album, Dark side of the moon.
HOLY MOTHER OF GOD this would equal the most discerning systems at any cost,
the separation and darkness of the sound stage just blew my mind I am not
changing the cartridge, it could use a little more mv output to be perfect but
it is not worth the effort as this turntable is a bear to change. Thank you for
leading me away from the H O M C, I did buy the denon 103 r and I am going to
install that on a Thorens 160 that is being refurbished and up graded with
todays technology or possibly a VPI classic if I can get the right price on that
and sneak it into the house so my wife doesn't see it.
At any rate I could not be happier with this very fine pre amp you would be hard
pressed to find one that functions as flawless at any price. It is a great
product and you are a absolute pleasure to deal with.
I will send you the tracking # when I go to the post office, but now It is
Here is another review just received:
Douglas Robert Hounsell
Fri, Oct 17, 2014 at 2:25 PM
To: Tom Kenny
Good afternoon Tom,
The preamp is here and I must say I am quite impressed with the
build quality and construction of piece. First rate and it looks
great in the rack. However looks aside after plumbing it up into
system the real proof of your Phono pre with the balanced outs is
what really matters to me! After listening to a MFSL Rolling
Stones “Let it Bleed” I was quite pleased, then on to Stealy Dans
“Aja” I was rapidly becoming an Aural Thrills Audio fan big time.
The punch combined with a subtle smoothness is magnificent. Lower
register notes on piano are outrageous clean, tight and dominate.
I am fully aware how difficult it can be to accomplish this as I
worked my tail off with Leon Russell’s engineer one evening
getting this very thing “right” at a show I produced and
engineered some years ago. Thank you for your devotion to what
matters in your craft. Perfection takes its toil on the less
passionate but their always will be folks like me that understand
and appreciate folks like you. Now on to the Beach Boys “Pet
[Quoted text hidden]
Yes I received the pre amp in good condition and I sent you a response on Ebay
for your product.
I set it up and it sounds great! I've invested in an affordable LP vinyl washing
system, and with a modified vac system, my record collection has been given new
The Marantz SR8001 amp and Technics SP15 turntable/Grado cartridge are sounding
really clean with your phono stage.
Thank you for your excellent workmanship.
Received the amp and plugged it in to the CD input of my Yamaha A-S700 amp. I
have a Yaquin MC-100B that’s been modified by a tech in Australia and a pair of
Sonus Faber Concertinos, but all unfortunately still in storage.
I am listening to some Australian country music, the hairs on the back of my
neck are standing up - I’ve honestly never heard it sound so clear, present and
Can’t wait to spend some quality time with your preamp. Maybe I’ll just plug the
headphones in and kick back for a couple hours….
Thanking you, sir.
Picked it up this afternoon. I've attached a picture of the phono
section opened that Tom sent me while it was still on his bench.
I'll do more pics and the power section later. I have to say, even
not being broken in at all, the sound is really impressive and a
perfect match for the rest of my set up. Running analog direct, the
level of detail, the air around each instrument, the extension, the
tightness of the bass, the depth of the sound stage, all are
incredible. It was a real bargain at the price I paid, too. All I
need now is an Emission Labs 274B and time to break it in.
Now that I'm getting a few hundred hours on the caps and other
components, it's time for a bit more of a review and a few more
First, Tom at ATA was great to work with. He answered all my
questions and helped me make decisions on a completely custom,
hand-built, phono stage. As you can see in the first pic, the
signal path consists of Mundorf S/O as the output coupling, along
with Sonicaps and silver mica caps in the passive RIAA section,
with Mills resistors. Electrolytics are used only for the radio
frequency filtering, which is outside the signal path. Everything
except the Mundorfs are part of the standard 100 dollar upgrade
(normal price for the stage is 899, 999 for the upgraded version).
Those ran an extra 200 on top of the upgrade. I also decided to go
with a choke input on the 274B rectified power supply, and a
linear power supply instead of a switching after talking to Tom
about the pros and cons of each. I'm also now running his
recommended Amperex 12AX7s, which I really like. Into this, I'm
running an Empire 2x8 fitted with a Rega arm that's been heavily
upgraded and a Shelter 501 Mk II cart using a Baerwald (sp?)
alignment for Rega arms. The phono IC comes from the Cardas DIN to
custom solid silver cables w/ WBTs, and out from the pre via a
custom cable that's a single silver and a single copper 28 ga. OCC
strand twisted together w/ DH Labs RCAs and cotton insulators.
That feeds out into my Pio SC-05 and out via analog direct into my
Mackie's then to my RTi12s @ 850 wpc. So that's the setup.
The sound is very balanced, with many good qualities, and no bad
ones that I can hear. The sound stage is quite wide and deep, and
instruments have a very nice space, but they sound neither big nor
pinpoint. Instead, instruments sound life-sized. Vocals have a
good weight to them, and it's very easy to count the number of
singers when multiple vocalists come in. A good example of this is
the 2nd track on Jackson Brown's Running On Empty, where there's a
close harmony between 3 male vocalists. On my old Parasound, I
thought it was a weird mix where Jackson's voice was spread all
the way across the sound stage. After hooking up the Aural Thrills
Audio stage, I was able to discern that it was actually 3
different vocalists in close harmony, with Jackson mixed center,
and one voice mixed into the left channel, and one into the right.
Female vocals also receive very good treatment. Ella and Aretha
are even more engaging than ever. It's especially fun picking out
which vocalists have good mic technique, and which one's tend to
lean into and away from the mic while singing. Cymbals ring for a
ridiculously long time through even the densest tracks, and have
plenty of that brassy shine to them that you hear if you strike a
cymbal yourself. It's even easy to discern where on the cymbal
it's being played, down to how far from the bell the drummer is
striking it, and exactly which type it is (ride, china, etc.).
Drums have amazing slam, with a deep, tight bass. I find myself
listening to Rolling Stone Under Cover just to listen to the
drums. Also easy to hear is the ring of the drum head after being
hit, as well as the transient from the strike. Bass guitars and
bass violas, whether plucked or bowed, sound fantastic. Deep, lots
of overtones, just like they're in the room. Acoustic guitars (and
all wood-bodied instruments) again sound very realistic. Picking
out a small bodied acoustic, or a dreadnought, etc., all are quite
readily distinguishable. Violins and other stringed classical
instruments have a very slight sweetness to them, but again, the
wood of the body is clearly distinguishable especially during solo
passages, but also during denser passages. Horns all have their
own proper sound, and the breath of the player can easily be heard
when wind or reed instruments are present. It's especially fun to
listen to pieces with both flutes and piccolos present, since the
tonal differences are so readily apparent. Finally, piano pieces
sound excellent, right down to the hammer striking the strings. So
in short, this pre wasn't cheap, but it's an excellent value. I
can't wait to see how it sound after another 200 hours.
Vacuum Tube Complement
4 x 12Ax7
3 x 12AX7
1 pair single-ended RCA
1 pair single-ended RCA
1 pair single-ended RCA
Gain (Total 60dB)
Frequency Response +0 -1 dB
10Hz – 50kHz
Maximum Output Voltage <1% THD
Cartridge load impedance
Variable: 100Ω, 500Ω, 470Ω, 1.2k 1.8k
Minimum Recommended Cartridge Output
Signal to Noise Ratio
> 50dB (20 Hz – 20 kHz)
Dimensions W x D x H
21x 12x 3.5″
14 lbs packed
Factory Direct Price
$999.99 with free
S/H in US