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The Bugle2 is a second generation DIY kit phono preamplifier for vinyl playback. Read more

Honolulu, HI Hardware
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Funded!

This project was successfully funded on March 10, 2013.

The Bugle2 is a second generation DIY kit phono preamplifier for vinyl playback.

Honolulu, HI Hardware
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About this project

What is it?

The Bugle2 is a DIY kit for those of you who know how to solder and build electronic projects.  It plugs in-between your turntable and audio system (linestage or integrated amplifier) providing the requisite gain and equalization for vinyl playback.  It can be built with gains of either 40dB or 60dB, accommodating both moving magnet or moving coil cartridges.  The second generation circuit design is an improvement to my popular Bugle phonograph preamplifier. 

Completed Bugle2 (funded case is transparent)
Completed Bugle2 (funded case is transparent)

The wall type power supply is universal and runs from 100V to 240V, so the Bugle2 can be used anywhere in the world.

Universal power supply
Universal power supply

Who needs it?

Anyone who plays vinyl LP records and wants better sound.  I also highly recommend a decent turntable to pair with it (such as the U-Turn).  You will be amazed at how good vinyl can sound. 

Why Kickstarter?

The cost of getting custom cases is high.  I have calculated break-even costs to be 113 kits, without postage.  After adding postage and about $10 margin per kit I came up with the $16,000 minimum pledge value to fund this project.  You get a great product and I am safely launched into the marketplace. 

Who am I?

I've been designing audio circuitry and products for the past 30 years (along with video, radio, telephone, test equipment, computers, etc.).  You can see other products and company information at my websites www.hagtech.com and www.haglabs.com

Video Narration

The reason why we listen to vinyl records is not just because it is fun (and cool), but also because it has the potential for absolutely fantastic sound reproduction.  Hi, I'm Jim Hagerman and I design audio equipment. The re-surging popularity of spinning vinyl has brought with it a plethora of new equipment.  Some of it fantastic.  Some of it junk.  Ok, so maybe you don't own a turntable like this one.  But if you do care about quality and good sound you probably have something like this, which was first available right here on kickstarter.


However, that's just part of the story.  You need special electronics to go with it, specifically a phono preamp.  And that's where I come in.  My company has been designing and selling phono preamps for well over a decade now, some achieving critical acclaim and costing thousands of dollars.  And that's what this kickstarter project is all about.  I want to introduce a new phono preamp that raises the benchmark for performance on a budget.   World-class sonics at a very competitive price point.  How am I going to do that? I started by basing the design on the original Bugle, a preamp of which I've sold thousands.  It was successful because of a very good circuit topology with judicious choice of components.  In simple terms, it delivered.  The circuit was not the typical one you find on google or in textbooks.  No, this design took it to the next level with a number of circuit tricks, which I won't go into detail here. And I've improved on it!  The updated design comes with an AC power supply so you don't have to run on batteries.  It employs better filtering and uses more modern and linear audio opamps.  The result is a cleaner, lower distortion, and quieter phono preamp.  It sounds really good.  Is it as good as this one? Heck no!  But in terms of performance per dollar, this is the probably the best you're going to find.  And it is a perfect match for those 200 to 1000 dollar turntables.  


In order to minimize price, I'm going to offer this preamp as a DIY kit.  Do the work yourself and save some cash.  It's also a lot of fun.  Of course, you can also buy it completely assembled and tested, ready to go.  As you can see the circuit board has been designed using only through hole components, no surface mount, making it easier for the typical electronic DIYer.  The board has been made to fit perfectly into this nice OEM case.  It's really not that hard to build.  The secrets are all contained within the circuit board itself.  All you have to do is install the components into their proper place and solder.  I've taken care of everything else. 

One of things I want to do, and this is why I'm on kickstarter, is to purchase the enclosure in clear plastic, so that you can see your handiwork when finished.  I've got quotes and have worked with this company before, so I am confident of a beautiful result.  However, it takes a good chunk of money just to cover the minimum quantity for such customization, and I am asking you kickstarters to get us to that point.  The kit comes complete with everything you need except solder and tools.  The design is fully tweaked and no adjustments are required.  Performance is guaranteed. 

I invite you to upgrade your audio system.  Even if you don't already have a turntable or LP collection, this project is a great place to start.  You'll be happy with this phono preamp for many years to come.

Risks and challenges

There are only two risks I can think of. One is that the company that quoted me pricing for a custom molding using clear plastic changes their mind and says "Oh, we made a mistake, the color can't be clear". But I see that as very unlikely. The other risk is that I get way too many orders to fill in a timely fashion, or that some of the parts I need run out of stock. That would delay some shipments.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    7 backers

    Sticker with HAL logo.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $100 or more

    127 backers

    The DIY kit, includes all the parts you need to build it yourself.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    103 backers

    A complete, fully assembled and tested Bugle2.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $500 or more

    9 backers

    The "Elite" version, fully assembled. This is what happens when you throw expensive audiophile parts at it. Same circuit topology, but enclosed in an extruded aluminum housing with aluminum front and rear panels, Vampire gold/teflon RCA jacks, RelCaps, and Vishay mil-grade resistors. This is a true reference quality unit with no compromises.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (30 days)