Hi, Your thoughts are noted and always welcome. Yes I would agree on a technical level about the no NFB. No global would be a better description. Passive equalization was a goal as I tried versions with the RIAA equalization in a NFB loop and felt it compromised the sound. I did try lots of tubes in the circuit and finally settled on the JJ ECC83S gold pins as they provided the low noise level I was after. Most others that were supposed to be quiet were worse, sometimes much worse. Builder beware. I actually did use a regulated supply in one prototype (with LR8s) and the difference was so slight (under 0.5db) that it didn't merit using it. The project was conceived as a diy one and I deliberately tried not to over complicate it for that reason. The actual power supply evolved over several iterations in a 24 month period to be a "best value" one and while simple in appearance is quite effective. In this project the layout and grounding are the things to watch out for. The have a major influence on the noise level. Using input transformers was really the only way to keep complexity down and maintain the low noise levels. I tried several other approaches and all added either more noise or a lot of components. I used Lundhal transformers, but others are certainly fine. They all have what I would call a flavor and if you build one of these preamps you should use ones you like. In operation the preamp is very quiet. One is presently in use at a high end audio dealer to demo turntables. His first comment to me was that he thought it was not functioning when he first turnrd it on as there was no noise. Putting the stylus to the vinyl changed that thought quickly. The preamp is suitable for most of the high output MC cartridges without a transformer and has more than average gain (about 45dbv). I normally use a Dynavector 10X5 (on the MM input) and have used others with as little as 1.5mv output. I use a Benz on the MC inputs.
I thank everyone for their input and in a few cases inspiration for designing this preamp. I nearly gave up a year ago when I couldn't get it as quiet as I felt necessary.