Phono Stage: Cornet3 vs Eros 2 vs Parasound Hint6

Hi Everyone,The bottlehead sale as me thinking about a phono stage upgrade. 


My signal chain so far:

Fully upgraded KAB Technics 1200 

Mogami Wire

Kef LS50

Parasound Hint6 


The stock parasound is very good and I'm quite happy with it.  I wouldn't be thinking about an upgrade unless the sale was on.  I've built the Hagermann Bugle in the past and was really happy with it, so i threw the Cornet3 in the mix.  The circuit board is $60 and you source your own components -- not a bad deal. My end goal is a fully built out DIY audio signal path to the extent that makes sense.  


I think an upgraded EAR clone is nicer than a Cornet 3. I have about $600 in mine so it’s about three times the Cornet. I used the black board. The clone is very nice; can run with the big boys (I also have a Modwright PH9.0).

The Cornet is not quite up to the EAR but can be done for around $200, sans tubes. Not sure how I feel about the wall wart approach for tubes and it has been replaced by the Cornet 4.

I was tempted to do the Eros but in the end I went with the clone.

Already built I would go with a Darlington Labs MP-7, IMO the best value for MM under $1k.

Cornet 3 on top, EAR clone on bottom.


Have you looked into modding the Bugle at all?  Op amps, power supply, key resistors and caps can make quite an improvement.  The Cornet 3 is actually on my radar if I ever build another phono stage, but honestly the modded Bugle 3  sings quite nicely with my FrankenNag 500. 

What cart are you running?


I have the at440mla.  I’m generally happy with the hint6 stock phono stage.  Bottle head is appealing though - I built a crack headphone amp and was impressed.  

The EAR seems interesting. I could find any links to the board.  Seems like you source the board from eBay?

I built and use the Eros 2 from Bottlehead with a Rega P6 with Ortofon 2M Bronze cartridge. I have been very happy with this setup. I really like Bottlehead gear. Bottlehead provides extremely good instructions for building their kits and help with troubleshooting is amply available through their forums. Most of all, I like how Bottlehead equipment sounds. Count me a Bottlehead fan boy. Most of my main system is Bottlehead. 

I built a Bottlehead Eros 2 with Sowter 1990 mounted on the chassis. I've built many Bottlehead kits over the past 20+ years. I like the great support a Mom and Pop shop like Bottlehead provides. Plus, as you know, having built the kit it's much easier to tweek it yourself. I use the Eros 2 with a VPI prime with a Soundsmith Zephyr MIMC Star. If this tells you anything, the turntable, arm and cartridge cost a lot more than the Eros 2 does.