Pro-Ject Tube Box DS2 Phono Preamplifier Tubes 'N Vinyl

Tubes 'N Vinyl

As valves-vs-transistors perfectly parallels the analogue-vs-digital dichotomy, it seems logical that tube phono stages would better complement LPs than solid-state. This is not to say I'm an absolutist: my entry-level reference phono stage is the tubeless-yet-magnificent MoFi UltraPhono [HFN Mar '20]. As for the rest, I prefer the bloom or warmth associated with valves, rightly or wrongly. (See the review of the Vinnie Rossi L2i-SE, p48, for a practical testing of this belief.) My work requires phono stages at assorted price points, to address the needs of a reviewer who insists on assessing products in context, eg, a £700 moving-coil through a £7000 phono stage is an unlikely pairing. And all of mine are valve.

Pro-Ject's Tube Box DS2 has seen sterling service in my system for over a year, long before I knew I would review it. Next is the astonishing EAR PhonoBox [HFN Dec '19], tied with the similarly-priced EAT E-Glo Petit (£1200-£1500 depending on accessories). I keep both because while the PhonoBox includes fixed MM/MC gain and loading the EAT E-Glo Petit [HFN Feb '19] has adjustments on a par with the Pro-Ject Tube Box DS2. For ultimate testing? I stay with the flagship EAT E-Glo which eschews any semiconductors in its signal path in favour of four ECC83s and two ECC88s – it's among the best phono stages I've ever used.

Pro-Ject Audio Systems
Supplied by: Henley Audio Ltd, UK
01235 511166