Rolls Bellari VP129 Preamplifiers

Bellari VP129

Rolls/Bellari VP129 Tube Phono Stage

  • RIAA Equalization
  • All tube circuitry
  • Switchable Rumble Filter
  • Mute Switch
  • Headphone Output with variable Level control
  • Steel Chassis

  • User Reviews (7)

    Showing 1-7 of 7  
    ArmyDicked   AudioPhile [Jul 15, 2017]

    When my Mechanic told me I needed a VALVE JOB, I told him Mullard 12AUX7s sound sweet for being modern stuff, but give me a NOS Telefunken, Madza or (British made) Mullard any day of the week!!! That's when he hit me in the face with the shop towel and sneered NO, the O-T-H-E-R kind---the one that makes me laugh and you cry!!! Ooooh I moaned!!!

    I'm a Roller, not a Holy or a Spliff Roller---aTUBE Roller. Solid state is the only way to go if BASS, Drums, Horns & acoustic Guitars matter to you. You want valves on your PhonoAmp because I said so. If I must explain myself ,think ATTENUATION. My Mondail Design Acurus RL 11& Acurus A150 are bright and Analytical enough without slapping more solid state into the signal path. The Bellari VP129 mellows this down a notch making female voices such as Beth Frazier (Cocteau Twins), Souxie (&The Banches) and modern female singers such as Adele, Amy Winehouse & Patrisha Barber lifelike. This is the finest sub $500.00 outboard phonoAmp you can buy and I've lived in both heaven (Audio Alchemy) and down in the projects (Sumiko, that is...).

    NEGATIVES: I adore HUMMING BIRDS and Linda Lovelace for her HUMMING skills but I don't like it when my audio equipment HUMS!!! The wall wart supplied with the Bellari is way, way too small and is the cause of the humming---I called Rolls and the suggested I upgraded to a bigger p/s and problem solved.

    The second POSSIBLE "Deal Killer" is that the VP129 was designed for MM Cartridges O-N-L-Y. So if you have a stellar Koetzu low power MC,that you want to run, you S.O.L., Cowboy!!! Do what I did---dust off your HighComp Denon DL160 Cartridge and give that old MFSL Love Forever changes (45rpm) a spin ,[A Review of this brilliant MFSL LP is in the works]. FYI, Rolls Corp has released the new Bellari VP130 with the bigger P/S.



    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    r-l-b   Audio Enthusiast [Nov 03, 2008]
    Strength:

    Great xl-sound
    No listening fatigue
    Great Looks
    Brings out all the emotions in the music
    The Headphone amp is a bonus


    Weakness:

    The tube that comes along is a bit harsh
    The power supply is a bit tacky
    The gain is a bit low

    I had some great expectations to this Riaa even though it is modestly priced.
    These expectations were fully cashed in by this little red wonder
    I have used Riias - built in - and externals ranging from the cheapest 50 usd to expensive custom built +2000 usd Riaas - but none! none of these Riaas have filled the room with this vast amount of musical enjoyment and harmonic space
    It may not be over-analytic or super-well-defined but is has this way of making you want to put on another Record and another and .. - in other words I could listen to it all day and all night with no fatigue.

    I have tried it with Denon DL 103 with Beyer MC step up transformers and with Ortofon SPU Gold with JS MC step up transformers and with Ortofon OM30 Super MM as well as Denon High output MCs - I performs like an angel


    My Bellari is the VP130 -

    Customer Service

    Great service - fast shipping

    Similar Products Used: Project and Vincent - + custom built Riaas - built in Riaa
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    starguygwb   Audio Enthusiast [Jul 17, 2007]
    Strength:

    Good value for the money, warm mid's, nice soundstage stability, headphone, bass

    Weakness:

    none yet

    For me this is a step up. I owned a Music Hall MMF 2.1 table and a Parasound phono pre-amp. I bought those to get my feet wet again after a directdrive table slowly left me playing cd's only. Loved the newer belt tables, so quiet. But stepped up to a Marantz table and the VP129. Now I know with the new table I might be not able to judge between the VP129 and the table, but I will say they both bring much more bass, sweetness in the midrange and a better image stability.
    I do leave mine on all the time, so its a matter of letting the rest of the equipment warm up for about an hour or so. I am wondering what other reviewers were saying about the different tubes. I would like to know where to buy them, or try some.

    Similar Products Used: parasound
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    kmulkey   AudioPhile [Oct 07, 2006]
    Strength:

    Great sound

    Weakness:

    None for me

    This is my first outboard phone preamp. I am very satisfied with this unit. The sound is solid, not too bright yet the highs are still crisp.
    I do have one question for current VP-129 owners. Are there any issues with leaving this powered on all the time? I do exactly that with the rest of my electronics but I didn't know if the tube would burn out easier/sooner if you left it on. Thanks in advance.

    Similar Products Used: N/A
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    shadyave   Audio Enthusiast [Mar 14, 2006]
    Strength:

    Tube sound.
    Output level adjustment.
    Solid construction.
    Reasonable price.

    Weakness:

    An on/off switch for power would be easier than connecting and disconnecting the power supply for everyday use.

    I purchased the Bellari to match a switch I made to a tube amplifier (Jolida). Previously I used a NAD PP-2 phono pre-amp, which was a decent performer. The Bellari is a clear improvement on several grounds however. The sound is certainly more warm and round, less bright than the NAD PP-2.

    On my system, it has slightly less punchy bass, but the mid-range and high end are more natural sounding. Another benefit of the Bellari for my system was the ability to adjust the output. This means one can turn up the pre-amp rather than having to up the volume on the amp nearly as much as I used to. Users should bear in mind this phono pre-amp is geared towards moving magnet cartidges. One might be able to use a high output moving coil of 2.5 or more by adjusting the output level. I am still using the now extinct Shure V15VxMR which has an output of 3mv and the output level is dialed at about half-way.

    I listen mostly to classical, piano, jazz, world music, and other acoustic music. Here the tube sound is a definite enhancement. I am not sure that rock sounds any better with the Bellari than with the NAD. I would also note, that mono recordings seem more lively and defined on the Bellari than on the NAD.

    As with the previous reviewer, I have tried some other tubes. The best result has been with a 60's vintage Mullard which has made a significant improvement on the stock tube. If you have access to some 12AX7 tubes, it would be worth trying out a few to see what sounds best. The Bellari has a some other bells and whistles thrown in like a rumble switch, headphone jack, headphone volume control, and mute switch. I would have prefered to have one of these buttons be an on/off switch.

    I believe it was rated a Class B recommended phono pre-amp in Stereophile Magazine in 2006; at 250 dollars, it is about 90% less than the cost of some other Class B phono pre-amps.

    In short, the Bellari sounded great right out of the box, and met or exceeded all my expectations. It is an inexpensive yet high quality first step into tube sound.

    Similar Products Used: NAD PP2
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    KitR   Audio Enthusiast [Feb 04, 2006]
    Strength:

    Overall balance of sound and surprising amount of detail. Amenable to tube rolling. VERY quiet too. My value rating reflects the street price.

    Weakness:

    Requires a bit of patience to get the best out of it.

    I find myself in agreement with most of what Analoguer says except at first I found it not as "tubey" as expected. A certain lack of warmth one might say. Then I got wind of the term "tube rolling" where you put another make of tube in. I settled upon the Electro-Harmonix 12AX7EH. Initially not to too impressed with that either but after about 2 weeks I suddenly realized this thing was "cooking on Gas" as the expression goes: tubey in spades! One area which did surprise me was the bass. It goes quite deep and is very articulate. The highs have a sweet and unrolled quality about them and my record collection is getting a lot more use than I expected! Midrange? This thing is tubed! Can't beat tubes for that! For the money I paid for it, this is a steal; at the street price of $150-200 is very good value for money. If you need an outboard Vinyl pre-unit you won't do better for the money. It also has a good Headphone input too. Won't blow your ears off, but my Sennheisers seemed to like it: I did too! Michael Fremer gave this unit one of his most enthusiastic reviews in I've seen in Stereophile(Feb 2006), and by his standards it's cheap s--t!

    Similar Products Used: NAD PP1
    OVERALL
    RATING
    4
    VALUE
    RATING
    4
    Analoguer   Audio Enthusiast [Jan 31, 2005]
    Strength:

    Musical realism. Warm,well balanced sound. Clean and quiet - even with a Grado!

    Weakness:

    Not as 3-dimensional in terms of soundstage depth as I was expecting. Not really enough gain for Low-output Moving Coil cartridges.

    Sadly, the phono inputs on my Musical Fidelity "The Preamp"('company's 1st product) gave out last year leaving me with just my SACD/CD player and 500 records sitting idly by. After a few months I decided I'd like to see how tubes sound - but the prices and - on ebay - age were off-putting until one of these came up on ebay. The more I looked at it the more attractive it seemed. This one came up foolishly auctioned in the pro-audio section and nobody else bid on it. Vinyl in rotation again! I was expecting it to be a bit noisy through my aux input but it was almost as quiet as the original MF inputs which Tony Michaelson(MF's founder), when personally mod'ing my preamp for US operation, measured the outputs @ -95db for MM and -90db for MC(back in '83!). Plenty of detail - nothing appeared to be missing and the soundstage expanded out even more than before(I'm using Maggies). Initially sound didn't seem as warm as I was expecting - until the tube had warmed up of course! To my surprise, the bass seemed to go deeper than before and I was particularly struck by the feeling I was in the space with the performers and hearing REAL instruments playing even more than before(the Maggies again). I was particularly struck by how this little baby seems to LOVE drum kits! Ginger Baker, Mitch Mitchell and Jon Hiseman sound fantastic: every little detail clear as a bell! I also discovered that Noel Redding was a MUCH better bass player than I had thought(and I've seen him live with Jimi!). Lots of little things like that. I'm busy re-recording old my old jogging tapes and enjoying anew my record collection! It also has a variable output, which now that I'd just got a Dynavector 10X5, is very useful since the 10X has half the output of my old Grado. A wee bit noisier with it though. I found the VP129 to be only slightly inferior to a Pro-ject Tube Phono Box in terms of depth in the soundstage and perhaps a little less tubey; but not $350-400 worth! Got a excellent headphone input too. I think even @ the full MSRP of $200 it's a positive bargain. At the price I paid, an audio-steal! Buy one!

    Similar Products Used: none - always used internal phono stages
    OVERALL
    RATING
    5
    VALUE
    RATING
    5
    Showing 1-7 of 7  

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