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Tube Preamp Advice - Rogue, Schiit, and Vincent

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A used Aesthetix Calypso. 


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On 6/23/2020 at 7:24 PM, davide256 said:

As best I can tell from the Freya's description, it appears to be a hybrid tube pre with solid state elements. Which is going to dilute the whole

tube experience.

 

The main asset of a pure tube pre-amp is its distortion products are second order harmonics, so that the distortion is easy on the ear, not fatiguing

like the odd order distortion of solid state components.

 

The main disadvantage of many  tube pre-amps is being euphonic, they unnaturally accent harmonics in certain regions. Which means your music

starts to fall into like/dislike camps depending upon whether the accent is pleasing for that piece or strange. I much prefer having the tube pleasantness

without the euphonics, so that you don't find yourself ignoring good music disadvantaged by euphonic coloration. And I like solid state transient

response which is difficult to get from traditional tube designs but exemplary with the Berning RF amplification circuit design of the Microzotl 2.

This TAS review may be helpful.

 

https://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/david-berning-microzotl20-personal-amplifier/

 

The power input of the MZ2 is a 2.5mm DC jack input on the back. The stock SMPS is 3.3A, 12V. Note that you can also use the MZ2

as a 1w amplifier... but I don't recommend this until you have a good hefty LPS (>6A) for the PS.

 

XLR is a balanced cable and if you were spending more on a pre-amp you could get electronics good enough to gain an advantage, Under $2k

its going to be just a marketing feature to sway those who buy based on check sheets. At least thats what I ran into several years ago when shopping

tube gear

 

 

 

 

Thanks so much for the well written, clear and insightful reply.  It makes sense to me.  I’m in discussions now with Nicholas at Linear Tube Audio to purchase the MZ2.  The LTA LPS says it’s for devices requiring 12V and up to 3 amps.  Do I understand you correctly that such specs are ok for preamp use (my primary usage) but not enough to use as an amp?  My current speakers are not efficient enough for the MZ2, but one day I hope to try the Zu Dirty Weekend which LTA says will work.  I still can’t wrap my mind around 1 watt doing anything!?

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9 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

That's the old one, not the present model.


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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9 hours ago, firedog said:

That's the old one, not the present model.

 

Nevermind, I was thinking of a different youtube link.


No electron left behind...

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10 hours ago, DancingSea said:

 

Thanks so much for the well written, clear and insightful reply.  It makes sense to me.  I’m in discussions now with Nicholas at Linear Tube Audio to purchase the MZ2.  The LTA LPS says it’s for devices requiring 12V and up to 3 amps.  Do I understand you correctly that such specs are ok for preamp use (my primary usage) but not enough to use as an amp?  My current speakers are not efficient enough for the MZ2, but one day I hope to try the Zu Dirty Weekend which LTA says will work.  I still can’t wrap my mind around 1 watt doing anything!?

I've used SoTM SPS500, HDPlex200W and lastly the Uptone Audio JS-2 to power the MZ2. The first 2 were improvements over a stock power supply but for use past 12 on the volume dial with speakers they weren't that clean, didn't provide enough volume powering inefficient Magnepan 1.7's. Using a JS2 I'm comfortably

powering the 1.7's now at about 2 on a volume dial which has a max volume position at 4 in a 12x12 room. It won't do for massive orchestra war horses or loud rock

but I'm biding my time, the 1 watt I get from it outperforms the amplifier sections I've had before for clarity, which were a 60 watt Bryston B60 integrated,

a 50 watt Prima Luna Premium integrated and a 100 watt musical concepts modded Hafler DH200.  Eventually I will shell out for something in the class of

a Pass XA25 but the space heater nature of class A in a 12x12 room has me looking for a cooler running but equal quality amplifier.

 

If planning to use just for preamp or headphones the LTA LPS should do just fine, the current draw is just not that high and the unit won't "run out of steam"

past 12 on the volume knob which is what I experienced with their SMPS

 

 


Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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8 hours ago, AudioDoctor said:

 

Nevermind, I was thinking of a different youtube link.

 

FWIW, I have read and watched perhaps every review in existence for the Freya+.  It’s universally praised and often phrased that it holds it’s own against any tube preamp under $5000, particularly if the tubes are upgraded.  Darko, New Record Day, and Thomas & Stereo have all done detailed YouTube reviews on the Freya+.  I do hold the whole audio industry review machine with a degree of skepticism, it’s hardly Consumer Reports.

 

The Linear Tube Audio line also gets universal high praise. 

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1 minute ago, DancingSea said:

 

FWIW, I have read and watched perhaps every review in existence for the Freya+.  It’s universally praised and often phrased that it holds it’s own against any tube preamp under $5000, particularly if the tubes are upgraded.  Darko, New Record Day, and Thomas & Stereo have all done detailed YouTube reviews on the Freya+.  I do hold the whole audio industry review machine with a degree of skepticism, it’s hardly Consumer Reports.

 

The Linear Tube Audio line also gets universal high praise. 

 

Yes, LTA gets gushed over by everyone that hears it.


No electron left behind...

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9 hours ago, davide256 said:

I've used SoTM SPS500, HDPlex200W and lastly the Uptone Audio JS-2 to power the MZ2. The first 2 were improvements over a stock power supply but for use past 12 on the volume dial with speakers they weren't that clean, didn't provide enough volume powering inefficient Magnepan 1.7's. Using a JS2 I'm comfortably

powering the 1.7's now at about 2 on a volume dial which has a max volume position at 4 in a 12x12 room. It won't do for massive orchestra war horses or loud rock

but I'm biding my time, the 1 watt I get from it outperforms the amplifier sections I've had before for clarity, which were a 60 watt Bryston B60 integrated,

a 50 watt Prima Luna Premium integrated and a 100 watt musical concepts modded Hafler DH200.  Eventually I will shell out for something in the class of

a Pass XA25 but the space heater nature of class A in a 12x12 room has me looking for a cooler running but equal quality amplifier.

 

If planning to use just for preamp or headphones the LTA LPS should do just fine, the current draw is just not that high and the unit won't "run out of steam"

past 12 on the volume knob which is what I experienced with their SMPS

 

 

 

Do you use your MZ2 as a preamp?  The LTA website says the ZOTL technology, as an amp, because there’s no transformer, can make the sound appear to have less warmth, body and weight. I realize the rationale is that the haze from the transformer creates an impure type of warmth, body and weight.  But will adding the MZ2 as a preamp to my system make the sound more lean?

 

Is your MZ2 lacking warmth, body and weight compared to your old PrimaLuna and Conrad Johnson?  The less “warmth, body and weight” part makes me nervous 😬 

 

Thanks.

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Unless I missed it, you haven’t said why you want to put a preamp between your DAC and your power amplifier.  Are you trying to change your SQ in some way?  I know the Junior has a knob on the front - is it not a volume control?
 

You might want to invest $58 in a Nobsound balanced zero gain “preamp” from Douk Audio before putting a lot more money into something you may not need. It has a decent Alps volume pot and 2 sets of ins & outs (XLR and RCA).  I think it’s a great little item when you need a volume control stage and nothing else.  Some reviews say a buffer stage like this improves  SQ, although I haven’t found this to be the case with any system I’ve ever had.

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1 hour ago, DancingSea said:

I do hold the whole audio industry review machine with a degree of skepticism, it’s hardly Consumer Reports.

I love it :~)


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11 hours ago, DancingSea said:


Best I can tell, after 30 years of reading reviews, all audiophile gear is always great, and always punches above its weight class.  There have been no exceptions to that universal truth 😂

It is true and also the more expensive the equipment is the better the review.....


Current:  JRiver 24 on Win 10 PC (AMD Ryzen 5 2600 with 32 GB RAM) or Daphile on an I5-2500K with 16 GB RAM

DAC - TEAC UD-501 DAC 

Pre-amp - Audio Research SP-16

Amplification - PS Audio S300

Speakers: Wharfedale Linton Heritage

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Looked up the tube spec for the 12AU7 and note the B+ max voltage was 250V. With the devices having a 12V DC input, there are three methods to achieve a higher voltage.

ifi uses an DC DC switcher.

Can use the diode cap triangle method

Vibrator.

Interesting concept which these pres use...


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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1 hour ago, One and a half said:

Looked up the tube spec for the 12AU7 and note the B+ max voltage was 250V. With the devices having a 12V DC input, there are three methods to achieve a higher voltage.

ifi uses an DC DC switcher.

Can use the diode cap triangle method

Vibrator.

Interesting concept which these pres use...

Another way of doing it..

https://diyaudioprojects.com/Tubes/12AX7_Preamp/


How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 28-06-2020

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17 minutes ago, sandyk said:

There's some good techniques used to reduce EMI, the chokes can be metal enclosed and the switching IC may not need a heatsink. 

Still prefer to drive B+ from the mains direct, 600V electros are common now.


AS Profile Equipment List        Say NO to MQA

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I've been corresponding with Linear Tube Audio about the MZ2.  Very nice folks.   They explained that the ZOTL technology is designed to add more resolution, clarity, air, and textural detail.  By doing this, it can appear that warmth, body and weight are reduced.  My quest for a tube preamp has been largely in an effort to increase warmth, body and weight and get a way from yet more resolution.  In that light, while I'm certain LTA products are exceptional, I've moved the Freya+ back to the top of the list.  The Rogue RP-1 remains, along with the Vincent SA32.  But I think it's going to be the Freya+, though I realize it's not an old school buttery tube preamp either.

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Have you ever thought of using DSP to get the effect you want? DSP software give you lots of possibilities and you can dial in the amout of the various effects you want. There are audio plugins that do all the kind of things you seem to be interested in. 


Main listening (small home office):

Main setup: Surge protector +_iFi  AC iPurifiers >Isol-8 Mini sub Axis Power Conditioning+Isolation>CAPS IV Pipeline Server + Sonore 12V PS>RPi4 (dietpi)>Kii Control>Audiolense DRC>Kii Three >GIK Room Treatments.
 

Secondary Listening: (1) CAPS Pipeline>Matrix Element i Streamer/DAC (XLR)>Schiit Freya>Kii Three .(2) CAPS>ifi iDAC SPDIF>Kii Control.

Bedroom: SBTouch to Cambridge Soundworks Desktop Setup. Living Room/Kitchen: RB Pi 3B+ running RoPieee to a pair of Morel Hogtalare. 

All absolute statements about audio are false :)

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15 hours ago, firedog said:

Have you ever thought of using DSP to get the effect you want? DSP software give you lots of possibilities and you can dial in the amout of the various effects you want. There are audio plugins that do all the kind of things you seem to be interested in. 

 

I use HQPlayer with Roon.  But I think tubes bring something computers can't.  At least I've convinced myself of that.

 

Has anyone tried Musical Paradise?

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10 hours ago, Forehaven said:

I have the MZ2 preamp, and demoed the Freya, the LTA was by far for me the more accurate and musical enjoyment.  Just my .02 ;)

 

Thanks for the feedback.  Was the LTA lean, or lacking in body and weight compared to the Freya?  And was it the Freya+, or the original Freya?  Thanks!

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It was the original Freya.  and yes and yes to body and weight.  As well, it wasn't as resolving.  And now that I recall also that it was very susceptible to microphonics after try various tubes.  For the money though, it's pretty decent.  


Ryzen 7 2700 PC Server, NUC7CJYH w. 4G Apacer RAM as Renderer/LPS 1.2 - IsoRegen/LPS-1/.2 - Singxer SU-1/LPS1.2 - Holo Spring Level 3 DAC - LTA MicroZOTL MZ2 - Modwright KWA 150 Signature Amp - Tidal Audio Piano's.  

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1 hour ago, Forehaven said:

It was the original Freya.  and yes and yes to body and weight.  As well, it wasn't as resolving.  And now that I recall also that it was very susceptible to microphonics after try various tubes.  For the money though, it's pretty decent.  

 

Every report states the new Freya is significantly better in every way than the original. The two shouldn't even be compared. 


No electron left behind...

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