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Tortuga Audio Preamps


Axiom05
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I am looking for opinions/user experiences with Tortuga Audio passive preamps. Does anyone own one or has anyone tried one under their 30 day return policy? TIA

Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments, Sonore opticalModule (X2)

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If your setup can handle a passive preamp, it's VERY hard to beat. I've had mine just over a year, and have been more than happy. It does not suffer the negatives that most people associate with passives. It is absolutely transparent, as dynamic as anything I've heard, and allows for incredible imaging and sense of depth. If you don't need a preamp to help with those attributes, then the Tortuga might be for you.

 

Check out Audio Circle for more info and owners.

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I don't run a preamp in my system but if I ever need to these would be top of the list.

 

At the last two RMAF (Rocky Mtn Audiofest) events, I have spoken directly to the owner. Really a nice guy so probably be good about honoring the 30 return policy.

 

The one thing about these preamps if you are not aware is that they need to be placed relatively close to your amps. Obviously, I have no knowledge of your set-up so no idea if this is an issue or not but thought I would throw it out there.

Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux box (i7-9700, 8 cores, 16GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber optic > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber optic > fitlet2 (Linux Mint - HQP NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP via Roon client, DSP with HQP convolution engine, Intel NUC (Roon server)

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The one thing about these preamps if you are not aware is that they need to be placed relatively close to your amps. Obviously, I have no knowledge of your set-up so no idea if this is an issue or not but thought I would throw it out there.

 

This is not an issue as my current preamp is connected to my amps using a 1 meter balanced cable. However, I am curious as to the reason you make this comment.

Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments, Sonore opticalModule (X2)

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This is not an issue as my current preamp is connected to my amps using a 1 meter balanced cable. However, I am curious as to the reason you make this comment.

 

I honestly don't know why this is from a technical standpoint, just it is something to consider.

 

In my setup, I run 15 ft. XLR cables between by DAC/Preamp (i.e. digital volume control w/ DAC) into my amps. In talking to a guy that I know and trust on the technical side, he mentioned that if I were to include the Tortuga preamps in my system, it MIGHT be a problem.

 

In my discussions with the Tortuga owner at RMAF last year, I asked him about it and he said it is something that needs to be considered. It is NOT problem in most cases where the preamp & amps are close together like yours but in cases like mine where there is considerable distance (15 ft or longer), it COULD be an issue.

 

Sorry, not trying to throw in confusion. As I mentioned, these would be my first choice if I ever need a preamp. The solution for me would be to locate the Tortuga preamps next to my amps (vs next to my DAC).

Eric


Ubuntu Studio Linux box (i7-9700, 8 cores, 16GB RAM, Intel X520-DA1 NIC, HQP Desktop) > fiber optic > MikroTik CRS305-1G-4S+ > fiber optic > fitlet2 (Linux Mint - HQP NAA) > T+A DAC8 DSD > Rogue Audio DragoN > Klipsch La Scala — digital volume control with HQP via Roon client, DSP with HQP convolution engine, Intel NUC (Roon server)

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The reason passives need to be close to the amp is parallel capacitance of the cable. You end up electrically with the equivalent circuit of having a capacitor in parallel with the output impedance on the passive. With enough capacitance you will get a high frequency roll off approaching 6 db per octave. So 10 meters of a given cable will have 10 times the parallel capacitance of 1 meter. It will begin to roll off the treble at one tenth the frequency that a one meter cable would. So keep those cables short.

 

Two meters is about the most that will work well, and only with the right match of components. One meter is usually fine though if possible get it down to 1/2 meter between the passive and amp input.

 

The Tortuga has a bit more output impedance than I would like to see at some settings though with a short cable it should be fine. Low output impedance also reduces the effect of parallel cable capacitance. Picking a cable with low capacitance will be helpful as well for a bit better performance.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I honestly don't know why this is from a technical standpoint, just it is something to consider.

 

In my setup, I run 15 ft. XLR cables between by DAC/Preamp (i.e. digital volume control w/ DAC) into my amps. In talking to a guy that I know and trust on the technical side, he mentioned that if I were to include the Tortuga preamps in my system, it MIGHT be a problem.

 

In my discussions with the Tortuga owner at RMAF last year, I asked him about it and he said it is something that needs to be considered. It is NOT problem in most cases where the preamp & amps are close together like yours but in cases like mine where there is considerable distance (15 ft or longer), it COULD be an issue.

 

Sorry, not trying to throw in confusion. As I mentioned, these would be my first choice if I ever need a preamp. The solution for me would be to locate the Tortuga preamps next to my amps (vs next to my DAC).

I use an original Lightspeed and I am planing on eventually getting a Tortuga, great stuff. Since there is a remote, keeping the cables reasonably short should not be that difficult.
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The reason passives need to be close to the amp is parallel capacitance of the cable. You end up electrically with the equivalent circuit of having a capacitor in parallel with the output impedance on the passive. With enough capacitance you will get a high frequency roll off approaching 6 db per octave. So 10 meters of a given cable will have 10 times the parallel capacitance of 1 meter. It will begin to roll off the treble at one tenth the frequency that a one meter cable would. So keep those cables short.

 

Two meters is about the most that will work well, and only with the right match of components. One meter is usually fine though if possible get it down to 1/2 meter between the passive and amp input.

 

The Tortuga has a bit more output impedance than I would like to see at some settings though with a short cable it should be fine. Low output impedance also reduces the effect of parallel cable capacitance. Picking a cable with low capacitance will be helpful as well for a bit better performance.

 

+1

 

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An advantage of LDR based electronic volume controls is that they a) can be remote controlled b) the device can be right in the circuit minimizing inductance. People find them to have a pleasing sound. I have not compared the Tortuga with the Lightspeed. These will often be used as the volume control in an actual preamp, much like a stepped attenuator.

 

The main competitor to the LDR devices is the MUSES:

MUSES72320,MUSES72320V (18V Operation 2-Channel Electronic Volume) | MUSES Official Website

High End Audio Products for Music Lovers

6moons audio reviews: ASUS Xonar Essence One Muses Edition

 

Some knowledgable people I know prefer the MUSES to the LDR. One can combine a buffer board e.g. B-1 with a MUSES or LDR to make a proper preamp, well save for input selection...

 

In the case of DACs which have good output buffers, you might only need an attenuator for volume control into your amp. Actually since I don't change the volume that much I just use the digital volume control in HQPlayer, and send my DAC straight to my amp, which has a jFet input stage :shrug:

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If length can be a problem, just try a TVC preamp, like Promitheus (advantage : adaptative impedance), Django or MusicFirst (more expensive). I own 2 promitheus for my system : 1 pair of mono blocks for my front speakers (cable length : 4m/12ft) and 1 for my rear speakers (8m/25ft). Absolutely perfect (can be used also unbalanced to balanced and vice versa).

Roon / audio-linux / dual PC / I2s FGPA Dac / analog tube processor / analog tube crossover / active speakers / dual subs / absorption+massive diffusion / ugly cat in the room

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The reason passives need to be close to the amp is parallel capacitance of the cable. You end up electrically with the equivalent circuit of having a capacitor in parallel with the output impedance on the passive. With enough capacitance you will get a high frequency roll off approaching 6 db per octave. So 10 meters of a given cable will have 10 times the parallel capacitance of 1 meter. It will begin to roll off the treble at one tenth the frequency that a one meter cable would. So keep those cables short.

 

Two meters is about the most that will work well, and only with the right match of components. One meter is usually fine though if possible get it down to 1/2 meter between the passive and amp input.

 

The Tortuga has a bit more output impedance than I would like to see at some settings though with a short cable it should be fine. Low output impedance also reduces the effect of parallel cable capacitance. Picking a cable with low capacitance will be helpful as well for a bit better performance.

 

Thanks for this. Effectively, is this any different from directly connecting your DAC to your amp(s)?

Auralic Aries G2, Ayre QX-5 Twenty, Ayre KX-5 Twenty, Ayre VX-5 Twenty, Revel Ultima Studio2, Iconoclast speaker cables & interconnects, RealTraps acoustic treatments, Sonore opticalModule (X2)

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Thanks for this. Effectively, is this any different from directly connecting your DAC to your amp(s)?

 

I have been using mine for about 6 months and am very happy with it. I got it when I sold my Vega DAC for an Yggy and needed/wanted to have remote volume control. One nice feature is that it has 5 adjustable impedance settings so that you can tailor it to your system. Uses an Apple remote and has balance adjustment. Once you have it configured you can pretty much forget it.

 

Sonics are very neutral. Much better than any built in Alps pot.

 

BTW. According to the web site there are no differences in sonics between the expensive version, the standard version or the kit.

 

Give it a try.

 

PS. If you sign up for their newsletter before you actually place your order you will get a 10% discount.


"Don't Believe Everything You Think"

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Thanks for this. Effectively, is this any different from directly connecting your DAC to your amp(s)?

Yes it is different. Most DACs have such low output impedance that cable lengths of several meters is no problem. 150 ohms or less versus 5000 to 8000 ohms.

 

Sent from my Nexus 6P using Computer Audiophile mobile app

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Considering amplification, could be a voltage amplifier, but also can be a current amplifier. V = IR or R = V/I so increasing output current decreases impedance (this is a simplified way to understand it). A DAC with an output buffer will have decreased impedance. As long as the DAC can supply sufficient current, the extra impedance caused by the LDR device is not a problem.

 

(Tortuga uses a "light dependent resistor" LDR)

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