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Parks Audio Budgie vs Pro-Ject Tube Box S

Discussion in 'New Gear - Performance' started by bjlefebvre, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Got a little cash to spend and was mulling a change in my pre-amp. I currently have a Tube Box II, which I like, but am intrigued by the capacity switching options that the the Audio Budgie and Pro-JEct Tube Box S both offer. Other points I'm pondering is that the PAB, unlike the Tube Box S, is full-on tube, while the Tube Box S has a dedicated MC input in case I ever decide to go that route (My daily driver is a Nagaoka MP-300, my toolbox includes a Dynavector and a Grado Black/8MZ).

    So I have specific questions I'd like to ask if anyone has used/heard both the PAB and the Tube Box:

    1) Does the PAB capacity switching offer any improvements for a Nagaoka cart? I see recommendations for Grado and HOMC carts, but nothing for Nagaoka.

    2) How does a dedicated tube amp sound different from a hybrid such as a Tube Box? Don't get into a general "tubes vs ss" debate (as per forum rules), just tell me HOW they're different. I've read opinions that the PAB is "more detailed" but "less musical" than the Tube Box - does anyone here have same opinion?

    3) How easy/worthwhile is tube swapping on the PAB? I know that 12ax7s are plentiful and can be had at decent prices. How about the 6982s?

    Thanks for any thoughts.
     

     

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  2. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I don't think it's possible to generalize about phono preamp topology sound quality usefully enough to be worthwhile in terms of choosing between units. Gotta listen, over time is best, IMO. I prefer the SUT route for MC, fwiw.
     
  3. AvFan

    AvFan AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I certainly like the flexible loading of the Budgie phono preamp. Just a note, it uses 6922s or their variants. I just started trying new tubes including Amperex 7308s and Amperex PQ 6922s. The jury is still out but both sound better to me than the EH 6922s provided with the preamp.
     
  4. gballarino

    gballarino New Member

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    What did you decide in the end? did you get the PAB? I am getting my feet wet in the world of vinyl, about to buy my first turntable ever, and I'm researching pre amps... narrowed down to PAB and Project Tube Box DS. I will be connecting it to a n Ortofon 2M Blue cartridge. Unlike you, I am more of a neophyte and should admit I don't have specific questions. General advise, your experience, and your review of whichever end up buying would help me. (just that :naughty: !). Thanks!
     
  5. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I went with the PAB. The sound was a little more detailed than the Pro-Ject and the loading options are awesome. I put in a pair of Amprex 6922s and the sound in my system was a tad bit fuller, which I liked. It doesn't have the MC option that the Pro-Ject had, but that meant I had to buy an SUT for moving coil carts. It was more money, but using an SUT sounds better than the Pro-Ject's MC side. The PAB is also all-tube, where the Pro-Ject uses SS in the op-amp, if that’s something you’re concerned about. The only real advantage I’d give the Pro-Ject is its small footprint and the fact that the RCA connects are in the back - the PAB is slightly chunkier and the connects are on the top back, meaning you will see the cables. And note the Pro-Ject still sounds good, and the DS might sound better than the Tube-Box S I had. But between the Tube-Box S and the PAB, I preferred the latter sonically.
     
  6. gballarino

    gballarino New Member

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    Now if I understood correctly, Ortofon 2M blue uses moving magnets, not coils. Therefore a SUT should not be necessary with a PAB?
     

     

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  7. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Correct.
     
  8. ajward549

    ajward549 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    @bjlefebvre, did you go with the original budgie or the budgie hybrid? based on the thread above it seems the original. I'm about to make the same move, it's been another month since your post, still happy with the PAB?
     
  9. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    @ajward549 I have the original, not the hybrid. I still really like it- it will take pretty much whatever MM cart you throw at it, it's flexible and sounds great. But I'm in the final, trouble-shooting stage of a DIY phono amp I made myself, which has all the same options as the Budgie but comes in a wood/aluminum chassis I built. I'm hoping to fix the problem it's having (it won't come out of "standby" mode), and If it comes out sounding as good as the Budgie, I may put the Budgie up on Barter Town. We'll see.
     
  10. ajward549

    ajward549 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Very cool! I’m not confident enough in my solder skills to tackle DIY. If the Budgie needs a new home though let me know. I have a WTB up now!
     
  11. dosmalo

    dosmalo T-Totaled Subscriber

    Did you purchase the Parks Audio SUT to compliment the Budgie?
     

     

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  12. bjlefebvre

    bjlefebvre AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I had a Denon 320 SUT, so didn't get the Parks one.
     

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