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Preamps - Analysis and Reviews


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6 hours ago, pkane2001 said:


Absolutely, I agree with most of your points. I have my own biases about what 'good' sounds like.

 

I disagree with the "if it sounds 'good' to me that's all I need, I don't care if my idea of good sound is different from others" attitude. I believe that 'real' sounds good, and anything that differs from that is wrong. Music-loving audiophiles should recalibrate their ears as often as is possible. One should do that by listening to as much live, unamplified music as is practicable. If one keeps reminding one's self what the real thing sounds like, one is less likely to go off the rails. If you find that you prefer overly bright highs, and boomy bass, you should at least know that's not what real music sounds like, even if you believe that's what real music should sound like!

George

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7 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

 

I disagree with the "if it sounds 'good' to me that's all I need, I don't care if my idea of good sound is different from others" attitude. I believe that 'real' sounds good, and anything that differs from that is wrong. Music-loving audiophiles should recalibrate their ears as often as is possible. One should do that by listening to as much live, unamplified music as is practicable. If one keeps reminding one's self what the real thing sounds like, one is less likely to go off the rails. If you find that you prefer overly bright highs, and boomy bass, you should at least know that's not what real music sounds like, even if you believe that's what real music should sound like!

 

I agree with your sentiment about the need to hear live, unamplified music. I live not far from NY city and go to various live performances and concert halls at every opportunity. I also play the piano, and its sound has been one of my main measuring sticks for tuning my system. 

 

But, I also think that whether or not you know what 'unamplified music' or the 'real thing' sounds like, you will not be able to get that from a large number of recordings, no matter what you do to your system. If you are trying to tune each recording to sound like what you think it should sound like, you'll wind up chasing your tail. Some recordings will sound better, some worse with every adjustment. The only reasonably achievable goal is to try to faithfully reproduce what was recorded. That's about as good as your system can possibly get and no more.

 

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3 hours ago, gmgraves said:

 

I disagree with the "if it sounds 'good' to me that's all I need, I don't care if my idea of good sound is different from others" attitude. I believe that 'real' sounds good, and anything that differs from that is wrong. Music-loving audiophiles should recalibrate their ears as often as is possible. One should do that by listening to as much live, unamplified music as is practicable. If one keeps reminding one's self what the real thing sounds like, one is less likely to go off the rails. If you find that you prefer overly bright highs, and boomy bass, you should at least know that's not what real music sounds like, even if you believe that's what real music should sound like!

 

I feel obligated to respond to statements that suggest what someone should or should not do with regard to music appreciation.  No offence intended but prescriptions of superiority tend to be blind.  I know you are trying to prove a point, and that is the more live music that can be appreciated the more one is grounded in instruments as they are performed, which is what the recording is attempting to reproduce.  I also feel obligated to qualify and I don't like doing this, but it's statements like this that require it lest a judgement is made.  In my youth I toured with the Dead multiple years and during those years I didn't tour I saw many shows.  I still probably go to 20-30 live music events a year.  I subscribe to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and attended over 10 events there last year.  I see as much jazz as I possibly can as that's probably my favorite genre.  Lastly, my son and I play guitar, my daughter plays piano.  I am constantly reminded of what the real thing sounds like.

 

All that said, if someone likes their music with more treble and less bass because they prefer the clarity of high frequency sound then what's wrong with that?  Or what if someone likes cranking deep bass even when it distorts.  They aren't any less of a music lover than I am.  Are they accurately reproducing the sound the musician intended?  Maybe it doesn't matter.  It also depends how the musician likes to mix their recording.  Would it be ok to tell a musician not to use so much bass when that's how they envision their song?  It's a battle the engineers have with musicians all the time.  Personally I think the musicians should let their creation be theirs.  The engineered version may sell better but it isn't the artist's intent.  So should real music be what the artist intends or the engineer intends?

 

2 hours ago, pkane2001 said:

 

I agree with your sentiment about the need to hear live, unamplified music. I live not far from NY city and go to various live performances and concert halls at every opportunity. I also play the piano, and its sound has been one of my main measuring sticks for tuning my system. 

 

But, I also think that whether or not you know what 'unamplified music' or the 'real thing' sounds like, you will not be able to get that from a large number of recordings, no matter what you do to your system. If you are trying to tune each recording to sound like what you think it should sound like, you'll wind up chasing your tail. Some recordings will sound better, some worse with every adjustment. The only reasonably achievable goal is to try to faithfully reproduce what was recorded. That's about as good as your system can possibly get and no more.

 

 

I agree for the most part and faithfully reproducing what was recorded is admirable in effort.  The only problem with this is that all home stereo equipment colors the music to a certain degree.  The Beatles used B&W speakers at Abbey Road and I believe Abbey Road still uses them.  Does that mean we should all buy B&W speakers so that we are closest to the sound as it was recorded, or at least how the engineers heard it in the studio?  Of course not.  If you go and listen to 10 different speakers you'll hear a recording in 10 different ways.  Elimination of as much noise in your system paths as possible allows you to hear as much of the recording as possible.  Beyond the elimination of what wasn't in the recording to begin with you are tuning your music with your components.  The example of an equalizer is an extreme effort of tone or frequency control.  My personal preference is to leave it flat because as you said, you're chasing your tail.  DSP is similar in some respects and I agree with it if done right as it can help compensate for room anomalies, but you're better off fixing the room itself.

Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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9 minutes ago, Ralf11 said:

By that 'real' do you mean only wooden instruments?

 

brass instruments came later and required some rustic metallurgy.

 

or only acoustic instruments?

 

or just excluding synthesizers, but allowing electrically amplified instruments?

 

or??

 

Exactly 

Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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14 hours ago, Ralf11 said:

By that 'real' do you mean only wooden instruments?

 

brass instruments came later and required some rustic metallurgy.

 

or only acoustic instruments?

 

or just excluding synthesizers, but allowing electrically amplified instruments?

 

or??

For "calibration" purposes, acoustic instruments. Where did you get the idea that we were talking about wooden instruments?

George

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  • 1 year later...
3 hours ago, luisma said:

Old post but @Johnseye 1yr later u still living with the ls28? Looking for a preamp currently, just came back from rmaf and need some guidance on what to purchase 

 

Absolutely.  I would buy it again.  I haven't heard anything else within the past year that I liked better at the price point.

Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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Thanks, I am considering the MP-3 because of the balanced connections, which won't be making much of a difference compared with the RCA connections anyway, we'll see, I will post when I get to try something.

 

I asked mainly because I have seen your comments in many of the posts / topics I follow and most of the time (if not all the time) these make sense ..... :) 

 

Cheers 

 

 

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1 hour ago, luisma said:

Thanks, I am considering the MP-3 because of the balanced connections, which won't be making much of a difference compared with the RCA connections anyway, we'll see, I will post when I get to try something.

 

I asked mainly because I have seen your comments in many of the posts / topics I follow and most of the time (if not all the time) these make sense ..... :) 

 

Cheers 

 

 

 

While the dimensionality and soundstage of the MP-3 was impressive it sounded a bit shallow compared to the LS28.  I listened to both of these pre's side by side for over a month.  I had other people compare the two as well.  Atmasphere has a lot to offer but you should listen to both.  Have you auditioned the MP-3?

Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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Not yet, the thing at hand is I am planning to purchase the MA1 power tube amp and I have heard of "brand synergy", of course this doesn't mean the LS28 won't sound better with the MA1 than the MP-3

I noticed the Persona speakers on your system, last Friday I heard the Persona B (little Bookshelf) at RMAF, that speaker was one of the few  it impressed me the most from the entire show, of course there were many better but for the size and price the sound was amazing, they were also showcasing their Anthem's  SS preamp and amp with it 

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On 9/22/2017 at 10:21 PM, mourip said:

 

That has been my experience also. I have done it both ways and many times. I found that a separate active preamp improves over using the output stage of most DACs. Usually the benefits are increased dynamics and a more convincing soundstage. Perhaps it is the dedicated power supply or better impedance matching.

 

It is also possible that the keyword here is "quality ?

Could not agree more with both of you. A friend of mine and I have tried DAC direct to amps with at least six different DAC's and noen were even close to being capable of the quality of sound we received with a "quality" preamp in the mix. We've also been to many demos at shows, national, and local and seen the same thing happen. I'm sure there may be some DAC's that work well directly to the amps but the only times I thought I experienced that was with mega dollar DAC's and amps. 

 

JC

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3 hours ago, NOMBEDES said:

I would like to thank @Johnseye for the original post.  Very informative and helpful.

 

You're welcome. Glad it was useful. 

 

Everyone please feel free to share your own preamp experiences here. The more feedback about various pre's the better. 

Digital chain: Synology DS1815+ -> Modified Buffalo switch-> SOtM sNH-10G-> Custom Audiolinux server (sCLK-EX modified motherboard, Mutec REF 10)-> EtherRegen-> AL NUC NA (sCLK-EX modified)->  Holo Spring L3 -> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H, JL Fathom sub

Power: Paul Hynes SR7, Uptone LPS-1.2, sPS-500, Topaz 91001-31 Isolation Transformer

Analog chain: VPI Prime with Ortofon Quintet Black cart -> Simaudio Neo 310LP-> Audio Research LS28-> Benchmark AHB2 -> Paradigm Persona 9H

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Did you happen to audition the LS27?  I'm curious how it compares to the 28 because I don't notice the huge soundstage effect mentioned.  The LS27 throws a very detailed stage.  Last fall I crashed a MN Audio Society tour of ARC's factory.  It was cool as heck.  I was't as thrilled about the reproduction of their fancy gear in their sound room but a month later an LS27 was in my system.  It was as high as I could swing on the used market and I enjoy the heck out of it, as I type this.

 

Consequently, I also crashed an Atma-Sphere demo at the MN Audio Society a year earlier.  Ralph brought in an MP3 and some amps, and a box full of records to play on the society's Magnepans.  He rambled on for two hours picking out and playing music and talking about different things hi-fi as well as how he started out as a budding audiophile to turning it into Amta-Sphere.  They guy is really down to earth and has a lot of interesting stories and opinions to share.  Yes, he did the, yank a tube in the middle of a song, trick.  And put it back in without a hitch.

It was cool to see the MP3 throw a convincing soundstage in a huge room full of people.

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I wish I could compares pre amps. Or maybe not since endless comparing can make me greedy. Always wanting the next best. However I just bought a pre amp and a set of mono power amps. Without comparing it to any others. Comparing is nice but when you cannot afford new, you don't get the option of comparing it.

 

 

[br]

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  I need to upgrade the stack of preamps I have in the attic. None of mine bring anything except distortion, non-linearity, and noise. Plus channel matching with some. 

  May be my solid state and tube units are just not clean enough. Happy for now with what I have. 

 

2012 Mac Mini, i5 - 2.5 GHz, 16 GB RAM. SSD,  PM/PV software, Focusrite Clarett 4Pre 4 channel interface. Daysequerra M4.0X Broadcast monitor., My_Ref Evolution rev a , Klipsch La Scala II, Blue Sky Sub 12

Clarett used as ADC for vinyl rips.

Corning Optical Thunderbolt cable used to connect computer to 4Pre. Dac fed by iFi iPower and Noise Trapper isolation transformer. 

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