Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Bellari Phono Tube Preamp

I really, really want one of these.

Doesn't this just look cool? Really, it's one of those things that literally jumps out at you. This is a Bellari Phono Preamp. It's extremely cheap as far as preamps go (less than $250), which are horribly expensive, and only cement the notion that hi-fi audio is a game for the idle rich. This also happens to be a tube amp.

The most coveted amplifiers for your stereo system (with turntable, of course) are those with vacuum tubes. Tubes give a warmer, deeper sound to your music, and they happen to look really cool as well. Check out some of the higher-priced models, with stacks of vacuum tubes glowing brightly. For the music lover, a good tube amp is essential in bringing out the most of the sound from your stacks of vinyl. Music, like all things in creation, shares a fractal dimension - the trick is to be able to dig deep enough to pull out all of the sound.

So that's the next item for my growing stereo system. I've been searching around for a good tube amp, and the name Bellari keeps popping up. It's received the highest praise from audio reviewers like Stereophonic Magazine, as well as our beloved, local Needle Doctor. And who can resist Fire Engine Red? More bonus points for having the tube pop out of the top. Far too many tube amps are dull to look at, usually no more than a metal box. The models with actual tubes sticking out for the world to see typically cost more than my college education.

The vinyl revival has opened up the audiophile market to a degree it hasn't seen in a generation. Since the rise of compact discs and digital music, this was a small scene, mostly those with money to burn. You could spend $5,000 or $10,000 easily, once you've pieced everything together. There needs to be a push towards that lower end, without sacrificing quality. Pretty much the only turntables available for under $300 are cheap, lousy plastic toys, more disposable garbage for the birds to gorge themselves on. And let me tell ya, the difference between the $100 plastic Newmark Portable and the $300 Project Debut III is stunning.

Power to the People, I say! For the rest of us normal people - you know, the ones about to be hit by The Great Depression II, Brought to you by George W. Bush - we need some quality audiophile gear that won't send us to the poor house. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on this little fire truck.

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