Summary: The received differs a bit from the photo as shown - the cooling rings on the tubes are not silver, they are anodized black and the serial number is on a sticker. All cosmetic. The performance is very good. I have a Yamaha P-850 and Sonus Blue / Gold Cartridge that now sound better than new!!!
Summary: My experience with the project tube box S has been a real pleasure. I own the project carbon debut turntable (with the upgraded platter, which I highly recommend) and have a Grado Prestige Red 1 mm cartridge instead of the Ortophon red...which is a good mm cartridge. The tube box sounded great out of the box but, I replaced the 12ax-7 tube with a matched set of Telefunken tubes and picked a pair of Grounded Brass Tube Crowns from MapleShade audio (about $82 for the pair)...
Summary: I recently upgraded my system to an NAD 757 Receiver, Synchrony 1 speakers and a VPI Turntable with a Ortofon 2M Black cartridge. I mention all this because I think the total system will impact which pre amp is best for your system. I had an NAD PP2 pre amp for several years and felt maybe that was the last weak link in my system so I upgraded to the Pro-Ject Tube Box S using Crutchfield gift credits from buying the Synchrony speakers. Yeah Crutchfield!
Pros: Warm Tube sound..looks cool and is well made.
Summary: My phono is an AT-LP120 USB with an AT-120E cartridge wearing an AT125LC microline stylus, and I also use a record weight. This phono with those changes sounded really good using its internal pre-amp, or so I thought. But then I noticed certain selections of certain albums had piano notes that 'clanked' in my ears and high notes occassionaly gave my ears the sensation of fingernails scraping a blackboard.
Summary: Sorry Mr. Port, I am not sure what tubey magic is. When I find out I will let you know and we can compare notes. I like the way my turntable sounds with this as opposed to the phono stage in my Pioneer sc-25. Certainly the price could have been more thus making it a worthwhile buy. All kidding aside and with due deference to better records. I do like this product.
Summary: A good sounding phono preamp. I'm not sure it's as "tubey" sounding as I would like, but it's definitely an improvement over my NAD preamp. It's also a nice looking piece of equipment to display next to the turntable.
Summary: This product does what it is designed for ...a phono pre-amplifier. I am now able to reach previously unattainable volumes with the direct connection of my Pro-ject turntable to my Harmon Kardon amplifier. My only disappointment is that he tubes do not glow with that warm yellow candle light. Brilliant product which I never tire to explain to my friends what that little box with the bright blue indicator LED, sitting next to my turntable does.