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Thread: WTD maybe: best of all worlds pre amp

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  1. #1
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 467
    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: 10,156
    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!

  3. #3
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 467
    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: 10,156
    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.

  5. #5
    Join Date: Aug 2009

    Location: Staffordshire, England

    Posts: 28,058
    I'm Martin.

    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
    I'd rethink the whole system.

    Or just stop using balanced connection?

    If you decide to sell your Black Tulip let me know.
    Current Lash Up:

    *Oppo BDT-101CI* Nelson Pass DCB1 / Krell KSA100 mkII * JM Lab Electra 926 *


    'You fool! To think that your ape-brain could contain the full knowledge of the Krell!'

  6. #6
    Join Date: Sep 2013

    Location: North Island New Zealand

    Posts: 1,687
    I'm Chris.

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    If you view your source equipment as having the audio you actually need, then anything in -between
    to your power amp that changes that audio is detracting. Your source equipment should have
    sufficient ability to not be upset by an attenuator.

    I would deal with attenuation firstly - to get the best possible transfer, and I think you know
    the direction I would advise.

    With a good basis of attenuation be it balanced or unbalanced you then can properly assess your requirements.
    I would also study the schematics for your power amps to see if sensitivity can be improved

  7. #7
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,637
    I'm Phil.

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    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, ice power amps /onkyo sacd, modwright jolida dac
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]bel canto pre 3 vbs bc ref s500 marantz sa8005, black ice dsd dac and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands

  8. #8
    Join Date: Mar 2009

    Location: Nottingham

    Posts: 467
    I'm Ian.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by hifinutt View Post
    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.
    Hi Phil

    sorry for the delay in replying, the PRe3 looks possible spec wise, albeit over budget but it makes sense to try Alan's suggestion below before I explore anything further.

    Ian

  9. #9
    Join Date: Sep 2009

    Location: west mids, UK

    Posts: 2,637
    I'm Phil.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr.Ian View Post
    Hi Phil

    sorry for the delay in replying, the PRe3 looks possible spec wise, albeit over budget but it makes sense to try Alan's suggestion below before I explore anything further.

    Ian
    thanks ian , yes sounded pretty fine with the msb but thats got now so on an integrated amp bender !!
    1]bel canto pre 3 vbs, ice power amps /onkyo sacd, modwright jolida dac
    sonos, . tannoy eaton legacy 2]bel canto pre 3 vbs bc ref s500 marantz sa8005, black ice dsd dac and RFC impulse ta`us , track audio stands

  10. #10
    Join Date: Jun 2015

    Location: London/Durham

    Posts: 3,991
    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

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