It’s a good phono stage, but it needs more enthusiasm for the task
It boasts a subtle performance
Needs more get up and go, fiddly adjustments, instructions aren’t the clearest
Ah, valves. How we like their delicacy, sonic warmth and the way they light up. At first glance, then, it would seem that Pro-ject has aimed its stylish and weighty Tubebox SE directly at people like us.
As well as possessing MM to MC switching, this phono amp allows you to make fine adjustments to compensate for cartridge loading. The adjusters are on the rear and are very fiddly, using tiny bridging bars.
There's also a subsonic filter, which helps to eliminate rumble and other troublesome deep frequencies.
In use, the Tubebox SE produces an impressively wide soundstage that makes full use of stereo imaging, and is nicely detailed. There's a real openness to the sound, too.
With all styles, the Tubebox supplies a well-balanced performance that incorporates a sweet, fluid midrange. Dynamics are handled well, and subtlety and delicacy – vital when playing Carmina Burana – is really welcome.
More after the break
But for all its delicacy and openness, it needs more get up and go to cross the line between ‘good' and ‘great'. It's a safe listen, but that's not enough to earn five stars.