Bugle2 - Phono Preamp PCB-Kit
For the serious DIYer, Bugle2 is now available only as a blank PCB (printed circuit board) as shown in the photo. You will have to purchase all other components to complete assembly. For a fully assembled version, check out the new Bugle3.
Originally available as a Kickstarter project, the Bugle2 is a simple phono preamp with very good sound quality and is comparable to far more expensive units. It employs a second-generation circuit topology that uses low noise audio opamps implementing passive-split equalization filters and a low output impedance.
Gain can be set for 40dB (moving magnet, >2mV), 50dB (Denon, 1.5mV), or 60dB (moving coil, <1mV).
- 40 / 50 / 60 dB gain (1kHz)
- 47k / 680 / 100 ohm input impedance
- 330 ohm output impedance
- +/-0.5dB RIAA accuracy (30Hz to 30kHz)
- 10Hz to 1000kHz bandwidth (-3dB)
- 82dBA signal-to-noise (ref 5mV)
- 5 x 3 x 1 inches
- 120V to 240V operation
- "I just finished up my build of your Bugle2 using a PCB that I purchased from you. Having read some of your blogs, I know that you have largely gotten out of the kit market, so I wanted to personally let you know just how much I appreciate that you made the Bugle2 PCB available for builders. The phono stage sounds just like you intended - great! I'm listening to the Bugle2 right now playing through my custom built single-ended triode tube amplifier and Sennheiser HD 650 headphones. Many thanks for all the effort you put into the design. I'm looking forward to enjoying it for many years to come."
- "The Bugle2 is the only sub-1k phono I’ve used that eliminates the midband harshness from my moving coils. It makes things much more relaxing to listen to. The other phono stages I have sound a bit more detailed, but it comes at a cost of ear fatigue. I can’t listen to them as long without my ears getting worn out."
- "Bugle2 has been received, plugged in and working and sounding great! My first real phono stage, thank you!"
- "Had just a few minutes this morning to fire it up. Fantastic. Very musical. Have had many pieces over the years this piece out performs it's price level many times over."
- "I just wanted to say kudos to you and your staff for the Bugle2. This is like adding C4 to my system. It sounds truly amazing!"
- "As you are well aware, this Bugle2 is absolutely out of this word f**king perfection!!! My tube based system has always needed a kick, and this is it! My Primalunas and ATCs are giving me the experience I have been longing for! Thank you so very much! I will be back to try Cornet3 unless you release something else closer to what I can afford. I am a customer for life! That trumpet sounds like a serious, serious piece of gear! I cannot thank you enough, my vinyl has never given me this experience!! ... Oh and my Dr wants to thank you due to weeks of future insomnia, I won't be going to sleep anytime soon! I'm sure you get buckets of compliments, but I am a very picky person, I had huge expectations regardless of the cost because of the high praise and awesome design. I know less can be more. My system is extremely revealing, and I'm getting nothing, and i mean nothing, but all the goodies. Zero noise, just pure harmony and synergy in my system. Thank you thank you thank you. And best of luck to you and all your future designs! I cannot wait to see what you next! "
- "I was lucky enough to receive a Bugle2 as Christmas present last year. Now I have finally got it assembled and wow; what a difference from my Old NAD PP-2. Just wanted to let you know that I am really, really happy with the product. What a difference in sound; everything is so more transparent now."
- "Bugle2 arrived yesterday! It replaced a cheap Behringer PP400. I was expecting improved sound (which I got) but was not expecting the huge decrease in surface noise or playback distortion (sibilance) that came along with the improved sound (more clarity, better/tighter bass, less distorted treble). I had been getting ready to replace my cartridge and stylus (Shure M97xe) as well as upgrade to a better record cleaning system, but you've just saved me several hundred $$$. What manner of wizardry is this??? Consider me a very satisfied customer."
- "It's plugged in now and...wow. I didn't know my system could sound this huge and punchy. Everything is so well balanced, I've got the tone controls back at flat, with just a little extra bass. I'm in awe. You've got a happy customer. Thanks for all the help troubleshooting too!"
- "The change in audio quality was so dramatic from my Cambridge audio preamp. I am so happy with your product. I knew it was going to be special, but you really blew my mind."
- "Wow, Great Product! This thing sounds amazing. No hum, no crackle ever! Quick response and great customer service. I will definitely leave a great review and recommend this product."
- "Designing a great sounding phono preamplifier is a challenge for most engineers. Jim has hit the ball out of the park with the bugle2 and at a budget price. It is not even broken in yet, but it equals the sound of my $4000 tube phono preamp. I have tried it in both my audio systems and it is the Divine."
- "Just received and installed my Bugle2 Phono Preamp. After listening to a few LP sides I have to say that your Bugle is well worth blowing! Imaging/sound source placement is excellent, the music is clear, effortless to listen to and involving. In my home, I have never heard records play so well and, if the recording is decent, with such enjoyment for the listener. My hobby is sound recording, and I feel I know what good stereo sound reproduction should be. You have designed and produced a winner, and at a bargain price! Needless to say, your product only confirms my opinion that CD sucks, and usually obviously. Keep up the good work, spread the word, and accept my thanks and appreciation. A very satisfied customer from Down Under."
- "Just finished the Bugle 2 Phono Preamp kit. Great instructions, easy build. All I can say is WOW! Tremendous improvement over the phono stage in my Perrreaux preamp, which is no slouch. The whole sound stage is bigger, the bass tighter and deeper, the highs are cyrstal clear. The imaging is like none I have ever heard, just beautiful. Playing Hearts' Dreamboat Annie, the sound is almost 3 dimensional, and Nancy sounds like she is in the room. Also, the circuit is incredibly quiet. Thanks for an outstanding piece of electronics at a very affordible price. To any looking to upgrade your sound, you gotta give this serious consideration. Believe me, it sounds like a far more expensive phono preamp."
- "It was late but I got to listen to a few albums before turning in. Right from the first notes, I could hear the improvement over my Parasound unit. The smoothness of the mids and highs while adding inner detail. The increased balance in the presentation of vocals and instruments, tonal variation and controlled bass. Wow! What a wonderful upgrade to my system. I am looking forward to re-discovering my vinyl collection."
- "I was using a ROTEL preamp from the 90's that weighs about 20 times the weight of the Bugle 2. I am shocked at the beautiful sound I am getting out of this Bugle 2 and the fact that it weighs so little. I've never been instantly satisfied with an item. From the first note I could hear a sort of punch I don't think I've ever heard before."
- "I hooked up your Bugle2 a couple of hours ago and started spinning some vinyl. Holy hell, Jim, his little phono preamp you sent me has no earthly reason to sound as fine as it does — right out of the box! It is far superior to my Jolida JD phono preamp (which has RF interference that has defied resolution) and when I re-oriented the cables in my rack, it is dead quiet. It has a lot of punch and quickness to the sound and excellent extension both low and high. I had no expectations for such a modestly-price phono preamp, but I am just floored at what I am hearing as I send you this note. I can not fathom a better bargain in the sphere of high-end audio than this little gem. Thanks a million for your well-recognized genius at making such wonderful gear."
- "I got the Bugle 2 yesterday and listened to a few records, wow. It completely blows away my NAD PP-2e and sounds way better than the phono stage in my Rega Mira, both of which I am getting rid of."
- "I have to say, I am impressed. The bugle is dead quiet, even when I crank the channel gain and headphone volume all the way up. I also noticed that I can hear very very clearly differences when changing the weight on my cartridges. I can now have peace of mind and know that I can properly record my stuff without noise and other annoying stuff."
- "Received the Bugle2 this morning in the post. Have installed it and am now listening to Neil Young Live at Massey Hall 1971. The sound is unbelievable. Just like being there."
- "I am so very pleased with my recent purchase of the Bugle2. It is a brilliant piece of equipment!"
- "Received the Bugle2 and have it running in my system. Just wanted to tell you how impressed I am with your Piccolo2 head amp and now the Bugle2. These components should be considered the standard to which other phono stages should be compared, regardless of price. They are intelligently designed and simple to use and modify. Well done! If they ever make an Audio Gear Hall of Fame, you have my vote!"
- "My package arrived Friday. I spent most of Saturday rediscovering some of my favorite vinyl. I am not a technical expert when it comes to the nuances of audio, but I do know what I like. This little Bugle2 absolutely crushes my previous phono amp which I paid around the same price for. I hooked it up to my Music Hall MMF-5.1se and was astonished by the extended range from highs to lows. Vocals are so present in the room that it's almost eerie. That's something I am really going to enjoy getting used to. I could go on and on, but I really need to get back to my listening chair."
- "I gotta say, this is a huge step over my Onkyo RIAA capabilities and even better than my buddies Rega fono IMO. Clearer, more presence, just overall sounds amazing. I don’t say it often, but this was an awesome little pickup."
- "I purchased a Bugle2 during the Kickstarter campaign. It sounds amazing, and easily walks over every other phono stage I own."
- "What have you done? I plugged in the Bugle 2 tonight and put on a favorite LP ... I literally had shivers down my spine as the vocals came through the speakers. There is so much magic in that little translucent plastic box!"
- "Things arrived Monday well packed - thanks again. I assembled it over the last few days and I wanted to provide you with feedback. I am so thoroughly impressed with the Bugle2! It went together nicely, the directions were easy to follow and very detailed. But the sound. I am absolutely floored by it's performance."
- "Just to let you know I received the Bugle2 yesterday. Plugged it in, played it and compared against my Project Phono Box. The Bugle2 was much more musical, clear, transparent with a much wider dynamic range. The music sounded so much more melodious and sweet. Thank you for building such a wonderful product!"
- "Just started to use it yesterday. You promised me it will sound 10X better than my NAD 2 phonostage. Well, you were all wrong! It is 100X better. WOW! All of the sudden the contrabass has notes and not one long whooo, it is so detailed! It is like leaving the traffic jam out to the open."
- "Just received it today and all I can say is WOW! Bypassing my Onkyo AVR and using the Bugle2 essentially transforms my 30 year old basic Technics turntable into a wonderful sounding system. I will eventually get a Music Hall 5.1 and then I am sure the sound will be enhanced even more. Now I got the vinyl bug."
- "Jim, I received it, plugged it in, and love it. No hum. Great choice of opamp. That particular one is very open and detailed. The Bugle2 is fast and agile but no edge. Very dynamic but smooth and liquid at the same time. Treats noise as a triviality such that it does not distract. Still there but somehow sent to the edges. Very detailed, too. So many pluses and not one negative. There really is no competition against this little thing. This is with no break-in time, right out of the box."
- "Many thanks Jim for the Bugle2 kit which arrived today. I've built it up and must congratulate you on producing such an exceptional phonostage design. I like the nice touches like using the inductors in the power supply, the sensible layout and components, but most of all, I like the sound that this phonostage is capable of delivering. It comprehensively betters my previous EAR 834 phonostage and is easily on par with the inbuilt high quality Albarry stage."
- "Bugle2 is up and running. Tremendous presence on my middle-brow system. Now I have to get a better DAC for my CDs so it can compete!"
- "It's completely awesome, but you probably know that already."
- "Just reporting in that I just successfully completed my Bugle2 build! Your instructions were great and I just took my time and after soldering the first side of resistors I got my groove on and my soldering skills started to kick back in. And low and behold it just worked correctly the first time I fired it up! It sounds absolutely fantastic. Very quiet. Very extended frequency response. Thank you so much for giving this gift to DIY audiophiles."
- "I just hooked up the Bugle2 and it is a considerable improvement from my old stage."
- "I received my Bugle2 kickstarter phono this week and it is fabulous, represents terrific value and so far matches well with my Denon 301 II cart."
- "This little thing truly rocks! As soon as the needle went down, I knew I had something special. I'm getting gobs of gain and a very coherent, upfront presentation (compared to my tubed phono stage). You have earned all the kudos and huzzahs for good reason and it's no wonder the Kickstarter project was oversubscribed."
- "It's a GREAT product and slays the much more expensive Sutherland, easily!"
- "Just a note to say how impressed I am with my Bugle2. It's super-quiet ... quieter than my EAR 834P. It also seems to do a great job of passing on what's happening upstream ... I've been tweaking the tracking weight and suspension on my turntable, and the differences associated with each change are very easy to hear, which leads me to believe the Bugle2 is very transparent."