Tube Phone Preamp for Mu-So.. is it worth it?

Hello, I recently bought a Project Essential III turntable and connect it to my Mu-So 1st edition via a fiber digital cable. The sound quality is very good but somehow it doesn’t match what I remember from analogue connections of past. I know sound via Vinyl and analogue is a personal choice, so my question isn’t is it “better”…

But, has anyone connected a valve phono preamp to a Mu-So and noticed a significant difference in sound that that they prefer? I am thinking about the Project Tube Box S2

This would have a cable from the Turntable bypassing the built-in preamp to fiber and then going to the Preamp above and then to the 3.5mm jack of the Naim. I know this isn’t the most ideal physical connection.

It probably would be too much to ask if anyone has tried this specific valve preamp, but any valve phono preamp advice or experience between turntable and Mu-So would be interesting to hear (also recommendations for alternative valve preamps are welcome)


Question - can a Muso accept an analogue input?

I believe so, via the 3.5mm line-in jack. Can anyone confirm this?

That’s right, the 3.5mm socket can take an analogue input.

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Wouldn’t you be better off selling the turntable and buy a Rega 1 Plus

The Tube Box is £300+

Hi iv actually got the ds version of the tube phono and it is very good… I was gonna use it with my at the time supernait 2 but it wasn’t compatible so I bought a stageline… But it has a nice sound and dynamics… Very good for the cash punches above its price

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Thanks for your reply. I already have a turntable with a phono preamp. It has a preamp built in that has a fiber optic cable direct to the Mu-So. My question is whether there is a significant difference in sound if I were to instead use a high quality valve phono preamp? I am trying to recreate the sound I knew from older HiFi’s before everything was so digital.

Basically, I already have a great digital set up. I stream from Spotify Connect and it sounds great for the most past. But I want my vinyl albums to sound different, not the same. I am wondering if I can recapture that sound via a valve preamp

Thanks Thescotsman, really appreciate your experience here. Do you notice a significant difference using it? The DS version is a bit above my budget, so I hope the S2 also sounds as good.

It’ll sound v good u can pick up used as well for a good price… I thought it was a good phono and wouldv used it if it was compatible I don’t think there was much difference to what Ur looking at getting ull b v happy with it I reckon enjoy :grin:

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It would be worth trying the line out from the Turntable rather than the optical out and see if this sounds more like you want it to.

Just get a 2xRCA to 3.5mm cable to connect between the Turntable and Muso line input and set the switch on the side of the box under the Turntable to Line Out.

Thanks for your reply James_n, unfortunately the turntable only has a phono preamp for the digital out, the analogue out still needs to go through a preamp. I tried this and you could barely hear it on the Mu-so

Is it not this one - the Project Essential III digital with this box on the bottom ?

That is indeed it James_n. I connected a brand new RCA to 3.5mm cable and toggled the switch. Perhaps I had it wrong in my head. Is that switch just for the RCA out and switches between the built-in preamp and no preamp? (I though it switched between the digital output and RCA output)

If you put the switch to line out, it should work into the muso analogue input.

The switch sets the output that goes to the two RCA sockets. Set to Phono Out and you can use an amplifier with a built in phono stage - no equalisation or amplification is performed at the Turntable.Set to Line Out and you can use any other input on the amplifier - in this case the Turntable is doing the RIAA equalisation and amplification to feed a line level input (eg Aux, Tuner etc)

For your setup, using the Muso line level input, it needs to be set to Line Out.

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Thanks James_n, I have it working via the analogue cable now.

Good news - does it sound more to your liking now ?

Actually, it sounds slightly flatter than via fiber. Makes me wonder whether a valve preamp will provide a more pleasant sound

Well at least you’ve tried it. I’m wondering if you’re expecting a bit too much from the setup and that spending more on the valve phono stage won’t give you what you want.
If you really want to get more from your vinyl playback then something like this from Rega (The System One) could be just the ticket ?


Another thought, reading some online reviews the Essential lll is described as having an MDF platter with an upgrade of an acrylic platter. The reviews seem to agree that this moves the sound to compare with a Rega P1. Perhaps your dealer would let you try the alternative platter.