The Eastern Electric Minimax Preamp

The minimax preamp has got to be one of the all time best buys in hi-fi. Very well made and with a simple circuit featuring very short leads, this preamp sounds superb, has a ton of drive for amps that require it, and is a tube rollers dream come true. Mine has been in near daily use for ten years now.

This little beauty takes a huge range of tubes in the buffer and gain stage. Any 12AU7 or the many variants can be used in the gain stage, including: ECC82, 6189, 5814, 5814A, 6680, and 5963. The cathode follower can take all of those tubes plus: 6414, 12AV7, 5965, 5695, 7062=E180CC, 6085=E80Cc, and 6211. As if that wasn’t enough, there are rectifier tube choices to be made (6X4, 6202, and EZ90), and this preamp really responds to rectifier changes.

I’ve found my recipe for success to be a Tung Sol 6X4, a Valvo goldpin E80CC, and a GE labeled Mullard 12AU7. Delicious!

The minimax features three inputs and two outputs, so you can run a variety of sources and easily biamp or integrate a subwoofer.

After almost 10 years of use, this baby is still going strong and sounds better than ever. I've found my favorite rectifier to be a white label Tung Sol that I believe is from the 1950's, with a Valvo e80cc in the central slot. That e80cc makes a big step up in tangible sound. The last spot is usually a Bugle Boy but I've like a Mullard there too. 10 years is a long time in audio. The Minimax preamp has seen so many pieces of gear come and go while it alone has stayed, and worked flawlessly. Highest recommendation.