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Thread: Radford Revival "The PreAmp"

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 294
    I'm Edward.

    Default Radford Revival "The PreAmp"

    So following the thread I started a few weeks ago on a recommended pre-amp I have been trailing the Radford Revival Preamp - and I have to say that it is just simply awesome. Far in excess of what I was hoping for.


    I have had a Radford STA25 for many years so am very used to the sweet mellow full range transparent sound of this design.


    About 3 years ago Will at Radford Revival built me one of his Revival STA25 units which proved to even much better than the original unit I had (dating from the 60s I guess). So from this pedigree I asked Will for his ideas on a preamp, a few days later his prototype arrived which took all of 5 minutes to get plugged in.


    Here are some of the notes I made back to Will. If anything, now two or so weeks after I wrote to Will, the experience is even better.


    Clean, precise, very focused (= great sound stage), able to resolve very fine detail. Fantastic 'speed' - as you said "punchy" - but more specifically excellent attack and decay.


    The sound is highly coherent - nothing is left behind struggling to catch up. Bass, mid and treble form a wonderful whole.


    Super smooth sound - the preamp adds nothing (so far as I can hear) simply opens the window to the sound without any feel of holding it back. Almost like well trained horses taken off their reins and allowed to gallop freely.


    Listening as I type - the micro-detail simply flowing through. Complex music with layers easily resolved resulting in a holographic image. Zero fatigue. A roller-coaster ride. Organic.

    Every time I experience such a step change in how the music can flow I can't imagine what further improvements are possible but almost always surprised. And now I very much feel that I will not be able to experience such a further huge step change - certainly as far as a preamp is concerned. In a couple of weeks time I will get to try out in my system an Audio Note preamp - it will be interesting to see the difference. If the Audio Note is up to the standard of the Radford I really ought not hear a difference.


    The only negative on the Radford preamp is that it is so revealing of poorly miked and mastered music that I'm even more aware of some of the crud I have collected over the years.


    Ed
    Source: Win10 server, Win10 Mini-ITX Renderer running JRiver
    DAC / Preamp: Perreaux DP32
    Amp: Radford Revival STA25, TubeHunter Class D IRS2092
    Speakers:, Kudos Cardea C2 (ex Westlover), Acoustic Research 8BX (modded)
    Power Conditioner: ISOtek Qube 1kw
    Currently resting: Chevron Paradox NDF16 DAC, Radford Revival Prototype preamp, Paul Baldwin 405C amp, Arcam 290P, Sony TA-VA8ES, PMC LB1 Signature, Micromega MyDac

  2. #2
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 72,183
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

    Default

    Nice one, Edward. Will's a top bloke and his designs are superb in every way. Enjoy!

    Oh, some pics would be nice!

    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  3. #3
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 1,374
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    yes thanks ed for writing up. always good to read about beautiful pre amps and what they can do

    look forward to some pics maybe
    modwright 36.5 DM /MSB s200 , / Marantz sa8005/bel canto 3.5, vbs , bel canto fm1
    sonos, . dct300/ /isotek sigmas /rfc/chord epic cabling/Kimber select/ proac studio 125

  4. #4
    Join Date: Apr 2015

    Location: Central Virginia

    Posts: 558
    I'm Russell.

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    I'm jealous!

    And the theory that if two preamps are near perfect, they should sound the same, sure sounds like solid logic. But in practice, it rarely plays out, (in my experience anyway) somehow they always have some character of their own, two versions of perfect. I can't wait to hear what your notes are on that comparison! I completely get your analogy of unbridled horses.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 1,374
    I'm Phil.

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    had lots of good pre amps and they all sounded different ! some are delicious and keep you up late at night and some are just too clinical in my experience
    modwright 36.5 DM /MSB s200 , / Marantz sa8005/bel canto 3.5, vbs , bel canto fm1
    sonos, . dct300/ /isotek sigmas /rfc/chord epic cabling/Kimber select/ proac studio 125

  6. #6
    Join Date: Dec 2015

    Location: vancouver

    Posts: 642
    I'm danilo.

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    Then there is the No preamp at all...beyond an attenuator device (of your choice) solution.
    My audio bits: Thorens / diy phono, CD/dvd player(s), diy pre, F6, Tannoy Golds in my boxes / my xovers, and of course all strung together with basic diy Wires
    Lots of Cd's, yet more audio files, a couple of hundred semi worn Lps.

  7. #7
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 294
    I'm Edward.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hifinutt View Post
    had lots of good pre amps and they all sounded different ! some are delicious and keep you up late at night and some are just too clinical in my experience

    Spot on. Your description of delicious is how I describe some of the sounds I hear from different systems. The Radford preamp certainly does it (other words like velvety, scrumptious, mouthwatering, sweet - that's enough food words - come to mind).

    And yes many systems are simply too clinical as you say. Having been to several shows recently (Munich was the last) I was shocked how different systems sounded. I went to Munich with a couple of mates and almost without fail we walked into rooms and had the same experience. Thumbs up or thumbs down. In some rooms the sound was simply too 'edgy' and sharp - we looked at each other and walked straight out. In other rooms we were immediately struck by the musicality of the system and stayed for a long time. Listening to Mutter (Rammstein) on the Avantagarde massive horn speakers was a joy.

    When I get some time over the next few days I will try and experiment of switching round the various preamps I have here (Radford, Cambridge Audio, Tisbury and an ancient Musical Fidelity) and be super critical of what I hear.

    In a few days I am due to pick up some minty Celestion A3s to try (and probably buy). I hope they don't simply overwhelm the rooms I have for listening. I have already warned my partner that they are massive (well I said 'slightly bigger' than the PMCs I currently use).
    Source: Win10 server, Win10 Mini-ITX Renderer running JRiver
    DAC / Preamp: Perreaux DP32
    Amp: Radford Revival STA25, TubeHunter Class D IRS2092
    Speakers:, Kudos Cardea C2 (ex Westlover), Acoustic Research 8BX (modded)
    Power Conditioner: ISOtek Qube 1kw
    Currently resting: Chevron Paradox NDF16 DAC, Radford Revival Prototype preamp, Paul Baldwin 405C amp, Arcam 290P, Sony TA-VA8ES, PMC LB1 Signature, Micromega MyDac

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 294
    I'm Edward.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by danilo View Post
    Then there is the No preamp at all...beyond an attenuator device (of your choice) solution.
    Exactly. In fact I was chatting with Steve Moores (Will's dad) and this is precisely the point he made. That is the primary aim of the Radford Preamp - to get out of the way.
    Source: Win10 server, Win10 Mini-ITX Renderer running JRiver
    DAC / Preamp: Perreaux DP32
    Amp: Radford Revival STA25, TubeHunter Class D IRS2092
    Speakers:, Kudos Cardea C2 (ex Westlover), Acoustic Research 8BX (modded)
    Power Conditioner: ISOtek Qube 1kw
    Currently resting: Chevron Paradox NDF16 DAC, Radford Revival Prototype preamp, Paul Baldwin 405C amp, Arcam 290P, Sony TA-VA8ES, PMC LB1 Signature, Micromega MyDac

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jan 2008

    Location: Wrexham, North Wales, UK

    Posts: 72,183
    I'm AudioAl'sArbiterForPISHANTO.

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    Marco.
    http://www.thestainedglasscompany.com

    "A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and gets to bed at night, and in between he does what he wants to do" -- Milan Kundera.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Mar 2017

    Location: London N2

    Posts: 294
    I'm Edward.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Marco View Post




    Marco.

    Fully agreed. Here we go....

    Top shelf: Radford Prototype Preamp (already seen in another thread). Murdoch Box. Linear power supply for DAC. Chevron non oversampling DAC.

    Bottom shelf: Radford Revival STA25. Fanlesss JRiver renderer based on MiniITX mobo and Streacom case. Baldwin 405 clone amp. Baldwin custom speaker switch box.



    Not seen in this picture is an ISOTek Qube supplying power to all these units and a server in another room connected via Ethernet. Oh and a bunch of other amps, turntables, CD players etc - all of which not currently being used.
    Source: Win10 server, Win10 Mini-ITX Renderer running JRiver
    DAC / Preamp: Perreaux DP32
    Amp: Radford Revival STA25, TubeHunter Class D IRS2092
    Speakers:, Kudos Cardea C2 (ex Westlover), Acoustic Research 8BX (modded)
    Power Conditioner: ISOtek Qube 1kw
    Currently resting: Chevron Paradox NDF16 DAC, Radford Revival Prototype preamp, Paul Baldwin 405C amp, Arcam 290P, Sony TA-VA8ES, PMC LB1 Signature, Micromega MyDac

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