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Thread: WTD maybe: best of all worlds pre amp

  1. #21
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,140
    I'm Lawrence.

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    Back to basics: why do you need an equaliser?

    Maybe this would do?

    https://pinkfishmedia.net/forum/thre...ntrols.232066/

  2. #22
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 288
    I'm Ian.

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    I have some very nasty room induced boom circa 100hz. The equaliser tames it. It is a pro audio dn410, 5 bands of fully adjustable parametric
    Eq a channel and very transparent. Using REW I can target the offending frequencies. It is far far more precise than tone controls
    Last edited by Mr.Ian; 22-09-2019 at 10:13.

  3. #23
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,140
    I'm Lawrence.

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    Furry muff, unless you don't have a computer only source then you can't use DSP in the digital domain there.

    If you were heading down the M1 you're welcome to have a listen to my Xiang Sheng. If there's one thing it's not missing it's transparency and detail, in fact it's the best I've heard. A DCB1 came close, but it lacked the holographic imaging and soundstage I get from this. Of course YMMV.

    It also has high and low impedance outputs and the bass control has removed a slight resonance I was getting.

  4. #24
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 288
    I'm Ian.

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    That's a generous offer, but London is a tad too far. I didnt think about this pre amp at one stage but was put off by a less than glowing repair report I saw on line, it implied to me that the build quality was poor and they needed local fettling, which I suspect you have done. I will try to find it when I have a minute. But if you think better than a dcb1 it might be worth the effort

  5. #25
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 9,762
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ian View Post
    That's a generous offer, but London is a tad too far. I didnt think about this pre amp at one stage but was put off by a less than glowing repair report I saw on line, it implied to me that the build quality was poor and they needed local fettling, which I suspect you have done. I will try to find it when I have a minute. But if you think better than a dcb1 it might be worth the effort
    Depends on the DCB1 you're using id suggest.

    Your DCB1, if it's my first one, is not as good as the one I use now. Better choices made in important resistor locations, better choices made all over actually, and also running at 1.2A rather than the 200mA I think that one is?

    Unless the one compared to the XS was of this spec, I wouldn't read anything into the comparison personally.

    Also, if the XS is a Valve pre, I'd bet my house that distortion figures are higher with the XS than with a DCB1, so it's highly unlikely that it's more transparent in ultimate terms.

    Not trying to piss on anyone's choices of kit, but facts are facts.

    You may actually prefer the XS depending on what you like listening to. Harmonics are very pleasant on the ear and I understand that, as I enjoy them myself.

    Whatever you choose will be the right choice in the end.
    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

  6. #26
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 4,010
    I'm Tom.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    Depends on the DCB1 you're using id suggest.

    Your DCB1, if it's my first one, is not as good as the one I use now. Better choices made in important resistor locations, better choices made all over actually, and also running at 1.2A rather than the 200mA I think that one is?

    Unless the one compared to the XS was of this spec, I wouldn't read anything into the comparison personally.

    Also, if the XS is a Valve pre, I'd bet my house that distortion figures are higher with the XS than with a DCB1, so it's highly unlikely that it's more transparent in ultimate terms.

    Not trying to piss on anyone's choices of kit, but facts are facts.

    You may actually prefer the XS depending on what you like listening to. Harmonics are very pleasant on the ear and I understand that, as I enjoy them myself.

    Whatever you choose will be the right choice in the end.

    I have to say Ollie it's a bit of a stretch to say that any transistor-based buffer however well implemented is automatically more transparent than any valve preamp. Different kinds of devices have different kinds of distortion as I'm sure you are aware, a tiny amount of odd-order distortion as generally put out by solid state devices has been shown to be far more impactful on the ear than relatively larger amounts of even-order distortion (most of it octaves) typically seen in a typical valve environment.

    A buffer such as the B1 may measure fairly well and obviously that can be improved through particular attention to implementation, but it's not a given that it will sound better in all circumstances, particularly where there is insufficient gain in the system. Similar applies to passive devices which may suit high-gain situations but which often fall flat and lacking in energy where sources and power amps are expecting the gain normally provided by a fully active preamp.

    For my ears I have pretty much always found a good (and I emphasise good - there are many so-so preamps around that don't do much more than adding switch capability + a bit of extra noise) will run rings round any passive, an in general also sound better than an active, zero gain buffer. The exceptions I have experienced are limited to relatively few cases where there have been high output sources, high sensitivity power amps, or both, where any kind of gain at all causes a problem - in this case I've generally found (as indeed you have) that an active buffer like the ones from Pass or Burson is an improvement over a straight passive of whatever kind (TVC, stepped attenuator, film pot, LDR - I've owned all of these at various times).

    But many power amps are designed with sensitivity that expects an amplified signal; sources vary enormously in their characteristics; people need different cable lengths, have balanced or other complex switching requirements. A good active preamp is designed to cope with these scenarios, maintaining the musical integrity of the signal, ensuring that impedance issues are managed, that levels can be in the optimum range, that bandwith is maintained without drop off over switching arrangements or cable distances. It follows therefore that the simplistic, dogmatic view .. 'the best preamp is a straight piece of wire with attenuation' .. turns out to be something of an over-simplification.

    As with everything Ollie, there are no absolutes or panaceas in audio, and I would suggest that your assertion 'facts are facts' in this context is a bit misleading.
    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

  7. #27
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 9,762
    I'm Oliver.

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    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    I have to say Ollie it's a bit of a stretch to say that any transistor-based buffer however well implemented is automatically more transparent than any valve preamp. Different kinds of devices have different kinds of distortion as I'm sure you are aware, a tiny amount of odd-order distortion as generally put out by solid state devices has been shown to be far more impactful on the ear than relatively larger amounts of even-order distortion (most of it octaves) typically seen in a typical valve environment.

    A buffer such as the B1 may measure fairly well and obviously that can be improved through particular attention to implementation, but it's not a given that it will sound better in all circumstances, particularly where there is insufficient gain in the system. Similar applies to passive devices which may suit high-gain situations but which often fall flat and lacking in energy where sources and power amps are expecting the gain normally provided by a fully active preamp.

    For my ears I have pretty much always found a good (and I emphasise good - there are many so-so preamps around that don't do much more than adding switch capability + a bit of extra noise) will run rings round any passive, an in general also sound better than an active, zero gain buffer. The exceptions I have experienced are limited to relatively few cases where there have been high output sources, high sensitivity power amps, or both, where any kind of gain at all causes a problem - in this case I've generally found (as indeed you have) that an active buffer like the ones from Pass or Burson is an improvement over a straight passive of whatever kind (TVC, stepped attenuator, film pot, LDR - I've owned all of these at various times).

    But many power amps are designed with sensitivity that expects an amplified signal; sources vary enormously in their characteristics; people need different cable lengths, have balanced or other complex switching requirements. A good active preamp is designed to cope with these scenarios, maintaining the musical integrity of the signal, ensuring that impedance issues are managed, that levels can be in the optimum range, that bandwith is maintained without drop off over switching arrangements or cable distances. It follows therefore that the simplistic, dogmatic view .. 'the best preamp is a straight piece of wire with attenuation' .. turns out to be something of an over-simplification.

    As with everything Ollie, there are no absolutes or panaceas in audio, and I would suggest that your assertion 'facts are facts' in this context is a bit misleading.
    Tom,

    Just to be clear I'm not talking about "sonic preferences" or how good something sounds in someone's opinion. I am merely saying that when you choose valves over Transistor based products at the level the DCB1 operates, you are not doing so for transparency, you doing so for personal preference.

    Claiming the XS had more transparency than a DCB1, even in its standard construction just inst possible due to the distortion and noise floor when using valves. That's been my experience and is routinely the case when measured.

    In terms of transparency, distortion and SINAD, Valve kit does not outperform Transistors.

    It's not a stretch to claim that at all. My transistor amplifier has distortion levels below 0.0005% thd (IIIRC)

    Show me any proper valve kit that can claim to equal or improve on that and then I'll accept any argument against my claim.
    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

  8. #28
    Join Date: Feb 2010

    Location: Berkshire, UK

    Posts: 4,010
    I'm Tom.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    Tom,

    Just to be clear I'm not talking about "sonic preferences" or how good something sounds in someone's opinion. I am merely saying that when you choose valves over Transistor based products at the level the DCB1 operates, you are not doing so for transparency, you doing so for personal preference.

    Claiming the XS had more transparency than a DCB1, even in its standard construction just inst possible due to the distortion and noise floor when using valves. That's been my experience and is routinely the case when measured.

    In terms of transparency, distortion and SINAD, Valve kit does not outperform Transistors.

    It's not a stretch to claim that at all. My transistor amplifier has distortion levels below 0.0005% thd (IIIRC)

    Show me any proper valve kit that can claim to equal or improve on that and then I'll accept any argument against my claim.
    It all depends Ollie, if you read my post, on what the nature of that distortion is - even or odd - and how it's achieved (eg, gobs of global feedback).

    The particular rabbit hole you are jumping down was well explored in the 1970s, just as the transistor age was getting into its stride. The Japanese in particular got into competitions on how low they could get distortion figures - and many amps of the time produced to this goal thoroughly underwhelm today. A classic case is actually the Radford Zero Distortion range. Conscious that his valve amps were being outclassed in the distortion wars of the time, old Arthur produced the solid state ZD range - ZD for zero distortion, that is, distortion that was close to the measurable limits of the equipment of the day. (Given that Arthur's other business was making lab equipment, he knew what he was taking on).

    The specs of the ZD range are impressive even today - this for the ZD100:



    But it didn't sell well, even to the studios he once dominated where engineers were supposedly seeking 'transparency' and Radford returned to valves for his final (successful) valve amp, the TT100, an evolution of the STA100 I used to own, with a solid state front end which was easier to maintain than the old one.

    I didn't have you down as a measurebator given your penchant for subjective opinions ... in my view measurement is absolutely essential for amplifier designers or builders, or in a repair workshop, ensuring things are operating up to spec, but no more than a general indicator (at best) of a piece of equipment's real world performance.
    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. #29
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 9,762
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by montesquieu View Post
    It all depends Ollie, if you read my post, on what the nature of that distortion is - even or odd - and how it's achieved (eg, gobs of global feedback).

    The particular rabbit hole you are jumping down was well explored in the 1970s, just as the transistor age was getting into its stride. The Japanese in particular got into competitions on how low they could get distortion figures - and many amps of the time produced to this goal thoroughly underwhelm today. A classic case is actually the Radford Zero Distortion range. Conscious that his valve amps were being outclassed in the distortion wars of the time, old Arthur produced the solid state ZD range - ZD for zero distortion, that is, distortion that was close to the measurable limits of the equipment of the day. (Given that Arthur's other business was making lab equipment, he knew what he was taking on).

    The specs of the ZD range are impressive even today - this for the ZD100:



    But it didn't sell well, even to the studios he once dominated where engineers were supposedly seeking 'transparency' and Radford returned to valves for his final (successful) valve amp, the TT100, an evolution of the STA100 I used to own, with a solid state front end which was easier to maintain than the old one.

    I didn't have you down as a measurebator given your penchant for subjective opinions ... in my view measurement is absolutely essential for amplifier designers or builders, or in a repair workshop, ensuring things are operating up to spec, but no more than a general indicator (at best) of a piece of equipment's real world performance.
    No, I'm not a measurbator but it does have its uses.

    I don't disagree BTW about your comments, and yes, in real life things often shouldn't sound great, but do and vice versa.

    As I said, whatever the OP picks, it will be right for him
    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

  10. #30
    Join Date: Jan 2013

    Location: Bristol

    Posts: 5,815
    I'm Justin.

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    I've gotta say I am glad you have ditched the EAR, Tom. After a short initial positive feeling with the EAR 868PL I owned I soon grew to realise it wasn't that great. What it lacked was any degree of liveliness and engagement. It was just a bit bland when it really boiled down to it. For my tastes, anyway.

    The Audiopax system I head in Rio was anything but bland. Lively, engaging and high resolution for sure.

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