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First impressions, Yaqin MS-22B Tube Phono Preamp.

Right out of the gate, I was impressed by the value represented by this preamp. My main reference point is the nearly three years I spent with the Hagerman Cornet 2, built for me by inmate anumber1 (Al Gallacher). The Hagerman cost 3X what the Yaqin cost and this was just in parts.
Few specs are available for the $159 MS-22B, but listening in my system indicates gain in the same range as the Cornet, or around 40 dB.
Feeding the MS-22B was an ADC XLM MKII cartridge mounted on an Infinity Black Widow arm.
The unit uses a pair of 12AX7 tubes, so there is a whole world of fine NOS possibles out there to play with. I stuck with the stock Chinese tubes to begin with and will shortly switch to a pair of Mullards.
The Yaqin offers a clean, neutral presentation with fine HF detail. Percussive attack and decay is spot on. Where the Yaqin lags behind the Cornet is in midrange quality. It lacks the almost organic quality the Hagerman so richly provides.
At first I thought the Yaqin was a bit light in the bass, but as it broke in, the bottom end came around. If there is low bass there, this pre will reveal it. If not it won't. No fake bass (i.e. upper bass hump) here.
After about 10 days listening, I have to say this has become my recommended phono preamp in the under $200 category and it will compete with most $500 pres I've heard.
About the only caveat I can find is the stories of QC problems with Yaqin gear. But so far, this one has been flawless.

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  Atma-Sphere Music Systems, Inc.  

Topic - First impressions, Yaqin MS-22B Tube Phono Preamp. - Opus 104 15:19:01 03/03/11 (20)


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