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Thread: WTD maybe: best of all worlds pre amp

  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 288
    I'm Ian.

    Default WTD maybe: best of all worlds pre amp

    Since selling my John Wood pre/power combo I have been trying to find a pre amp that delivers on every front but doesnt cost an arm and a leg. Its a challenge, especially when it needs to drive a pro-audio equaliser with a 10k input.

    Right now I have;

    DCB1 turbo
    looks great and sounds fantastic. Smooth with loads and loads of detail. but I am maximing out the volume. I need more gain.

    Philips Back Tulip AH380
    dates from 1979, drives the equaliser with ease and has loads of gain. This sounds really dynamic, loads of PRAT. The detail is there too but compared with the DCB1 its a tad grainy and coarse. Toying with some cap upgrades which I am told will help - but I am not sure it will get to the smoothness of the DCB1

    Toft LBPA5
    rare as hens teeth, made by the legendary Malcom Toft, once the CD is padded down this is somewhere between the above 2 and in many ways a good step in the right direction but in direct comparisons the sound has slighly less body and details plus a mild shrillness on some tracks.

    In the past I have tried a range of valve pre-amps but from memory they seemed to gloss over the detail, create a nice sound but having listened to the above I want to hear the detail too.

    I am guessing that I could probable get close to 1500 if I sold all three of the above pre amps but I like them all in their own individual ways so am thinking is there another way?

    I need to marry detail, clarity, PRAT and warmth for under 500, best of all worlds means cheap too

    • stand alone 10-20db gain stage for the DCB1 that will drive a 10k load?
    • a different pre - chinese, vintage, other?

  2. #2
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 9,791
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ian View Post
    Since selling my John Wood pre/power combo I have been trying to find a pre amp that delivers on every front but doesnt cost an arm and a leg. Its a challenge, especially when it needs to drive a pro-audio equaliser with a 10k input.

    Right now I have;

    DCB1 turbo
    looks great and sounds fantastic. Smooth with loads and loads of detail. but I am maximing out the volume. I need more gain.

    Philips Back Tulip AH380
    dates from 1979, drives the equaliser with ease and has loads of gain. This sounds really dynamic, loads of PRAT. The detail is there too but compared with the DCB1 its a tad grainy and coarse. Toying with some cap upgrades which I am told will help - but I am not sure it will get to the smoothness of the DCB1

    Toft LBPA5
    rare as hens teeth, made by the legendary Malcom Toft, once the CD is padded down this is somewhere between the above 2 and in many ways a good step in the right direction but in direct comparisons the sound has slighly less body and details plus a mild shrillness on some tracks.

    In the past I have tried a range of valve pre-amps but from memory they seemed to gloss over the detail, create a nice sound but having listened to the above I want to hear the detail too.

    I am guessing that I could probable get close to 1500 if I sold all three of the above pre amps but I like them all in their own individual ways so am thinking is there another way?

    I need to marry detail, clarity, PRAT and warmth for under 500, best of all worlds means cheap too

    • stand alone 10-20db gain stage for the DCB1 that will drive a 10k load?
    • a different pre - chinese, vintage, other?
    Maxing out the volume on the DCB1? What source are you using!
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK6 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage
    Digital: Orchard Audio PecanPi with JRiver
    Preamplifier: DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator or Neurochrome Differential Preamp
    Amplification: Neurochrome Modulus 686
    Cables: SPOTFIRE Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Mordaunt Short Performance 880

    Price List For SPOTFIRE Cables here:https://bit.ly/2Uxiv3j

    Alternative reading: http://www.audioaddictsforum.com

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 288
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    Maxing out the volume on the DCB1? What source are you using!
    I know I know, its not a usual occurrence, direct to my balanced input power amps its brilliant but thats not how i am using it now.

    It isnt what comes before it but rather what comes after it, a pro audio equaliser with balanced 10k inputs. Artificially increasing the input impedance to get the bass back cost 10db and splitting the single ended signal to balanced cost another 12db ? the power amps take a balanced input so no conversion gain. The power amps are looking for 2.5 volts.

    I did try to find a dspeaker dual core and see how that fared, i had one before but sold it get rid of the ADC/DAC conversion. Using it fully digital was a pain. Have ads running for one on some forums but nothing yet

  4. #4
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 9,791
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ian View Post
    I know I know, its not a usual occurrence, direct to my balanced input power amps its brilliant but thats not how i am using it now.

    It isnt what comes before it but rather what comes after it, a pro audio equaliser with balanced 10k inputs. Artificially increasing the input impedance to get the bass back cost 10db and splitting the single ended signal to balanced cost another 12db ? the power amps take a balanced input so no conversion gain. The power amps are looking for 2.5 volts.

    I did try to find a dspeaker dual core and see how that fared, i had one before but sold it get rid of the ADC/DAC conversion. Using it fully digital was a pain. Have ads running for one on some forums but nothing yet
    Seems a shame to have an amplifier setup that's going to Rob you of the DCB1. However, I hope you sort it out.

    SQ245134 (or whatever the numbers are) uses a BPBP with balanced connections. If you can find him on another forum, it may be worth seeing what he has to say.

    I nearly bought a BPBP. Supposedly supreme like the DCB1.
    Analogue: Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 MK6 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Bigbottle Jfet MC Valve Phonostage
    Digital: Orchard Audio PecanPi with JRiver
    Preamplifier: DCB1 with Khozmo 48 Step Series Attenuator or Neurochrome Differential Preamp
    Amplification: Neurochrome Modulus 686
    Cables: SPOTFIRE Speaker Cable & SPOTFIRE IC Cables & SPOTFIRE Tonearm cable
    Speakers: Mordaunt Short Performance 880

    Price List For SPOTFIRE Cables here:https://bit.ly/2Uxiv3j

    Alternative reading: http://www.audioaddictsforum.com

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,397
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    Have a look at the bel canto pre 3 I am selling , it has an organic sound and pretty detailed but not clinical.some folks use them with etc active. I am not sure of the technical match but it worked beautifully with my msb .firebottle made the psu for it.
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs /, /rotel cd/ bel canto fm1
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]arcam a75 marantz sa8005 jolida modwright dac and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands

  6. #6
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,157
    I'm Lawrence.

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    Xiang Sheng 728A, loving my new one. It's got a few quirks but once you find your way round them it's great.

    Sent from my POT-LX1 using Tapatalk

  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2012

    Location: The Black Country

    Posts: 5,097
    I'm Alan.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ian View Post
    ...... especially when it needs to drive a pro-audio equaliser with a 10k input.
    From my point of view it would be a lot cheaper and more effective to have your equaliser modified to raise the input impedance.
    I am sure it would be a very simple job as the inputs will without doubt be an op-amp circuit.

    I can take a look at it if you wish but not right away. You could then dispense with the attenuators and keep the DCB1 in circuit.

  8. #8
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 4,020
    I'm Tom.

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    I recently ordered a Model 5 preamp (fourth generation) from Audiopax in Brazil. I tried quite a few preamps, valve and solid state, when I was seeking to replace my EAR 912 phono pre - and this was streets ahead of anything else I had a go with even with a pricier sticker. Mine will be a custom new build from the manufacturer (fully balanced construction, the only custom option left now that previous 'SE' enhancements have been rolled into the main product') but there are a few around second-hand. I recently heard that Greg at g-point audio sold one for 1600 which is an excellent price for one of these.

    There has been one kicking around for a few years being sold by a chap in Scotland, that's the one I demo'd, that particular one was very early (from 2004) and when I had it it was a bit flaky in operation (kept cutting out) and had a noisy power supply. (Perhaps the seller has fixed it by now). But what I heard from it when it was working seriously impressed, to my mind bettering the ten grand EAR 912 as a linestage (of course the EAR's main thing is its phono capability). And that was the first generation model.

    Anyway - worth looking out for one as a possibility. My view on it was that it has all the immediacy and transparency attributes of a decent passive solution, but with all the drive and spatial dimensionality of a good valve pre - truly the best of both worlds, and in my view an instant cure to anyone hooked on the passive cult.

    I currently have its big brother, the L50, in my system, on loan pending delivery of the Model 5 and it really is an exceptional bit of gear. A few write-ups online.



    EDIT oops read this wrong I thought you were looking to spend 1500 which is not impossible for a s/h one of these, at 500 it's probably not in the running.
    Main: Speakers 'RFC' Tannoy Canterburys / custom crossovers with Tannoy ST50 supertweeters; Amp - Silvercore 833C monoblocks; preamp TBA watch this space; Vinyl: Schopper'd Thorens TD124 MkII + Ikeda IT345-CR1 9 inch and Ikeda IT-407 12 inch tonearms; Cartridges Stereo - Miyajima Madake, Miyajima Takumi, Ikeda 9TT, vintage Ortofon SPU GM and SPU Gold; Mono - Miyajimas - Zero 0.7, Premium 1.0, Miyajima/Edison '78' 4.0 conical, and Shure M44 strapped for mono with several Expert Stylus conicals for different eras of 78s; Phono stage Allnic H7000V used with Miyajima ETR-Mono and ETR-Stereo SUTs; Digital: Audio Note CDT2/II transport, heavily enhanced AN DAC based on kit but aspiring to DAC5 spec.

    Study: Speakers - Tannoy DC6; Amp: Marantz PM-4; Digital: CDP Sony CDP-X3000ES & Arcam rBlink; Vinyl: Garrard 401 with AT 1503 MkI broadcast arm, Ortofon SPU Classic GM, Ortofon 2-15k SUT and Puresound Tenuto platter mat

  9. #9
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 288
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Firebottle View Post
    From my point of view it would be a lot cheaper and more effective to have your equaliser modified to raise the input impedance.
    I am sure it would be a very simple job as the inputs will without doubt be an op-amp circuit.

    I can take a look at it if you wish but not right away. You could then dispense with the attenuators and keep the DCB1 in circuit.
    Hi Alan many thanks for your input. I know we have chatted about this before but I guess I thought the solution would always give the same voltage drop. I am now thinking it may mght be worth while bringing the key bits to you and seeing if you can sort it. Will drop you a message on Monday

  10. #10
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 288
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    Re model 5. Your views and input are much appreciated. If I can't solve the problem at 500 then I may have to sell and spend more

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