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Holo Audio Serene Preamplifier


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Figured it'd be worth starting a thread on this given as there doesn't seem to be one at the moment.

The Holo Serene preamp is now available
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Links:
Wildism: https://www.facebook.com/wildismaudiohk/
Magna: https://magnahifi.com/holo-audio-serene-l1-balanced-discrete-pre-amplifier/
Kitsune: Not yet posted

Specs:
 

INPUTS:
3x Single Ended RCA (Cinch)

Largest Value 12Vpp (4.25Vrms)
Impedance 3.9 KOhm
2x Balanced  XLR

Largest Value 24Vpp (8.5Vrms)
Impedance 7.8 KOhm
OUTPUTS
1x Single Ended RCA (Cinch)

Largest Value 16Vpp (5.65Vrms)
Output Impedance 33 Ohm
2x Balanced Output XLR

Largest Value 32Vpp (11.3Vrms)
Output Impedance 66 Ohm

WEIGHT    9 kg
DIMENSIONS    430 × 260 × 55 mm

Measured performance:
Third party measurements here:
 https://www.l7audiolab.com/f/measurements-of-holoaudio-serene-preamplifierpre-retail/
Key specs:
>120dB SINAD (2nd and 3rd harmonics both below -145dB)
>140dB Dynamic range

Features:
XLR-1 outputs can also be used as a 3 watt @ 32 ohm headphone amplifier (apparently holo will later be releasing a dedicated full-size headphone amplifier unit as well)
- Relay controlled volume adjustment in 1dB steps
- Chassis is the same as spring 2 / may and will stack perfectly if you have those (additionally the remote control works for both the serene and the spring 2 / may DACs)
- Fully discrete 8 channel amplification, with one module for buffering and one for amplification on each channel (two channels, balanced, with two modules each, so 8 modules total).
- All outputs driven simultaneously

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https://youtube.com/goldensound

Roon -> HQPlayer -> SMS200 Ultra/SPS500 -> Holo Audio May (Wildism Edition) -> Holo Audio Serene (Wildism Edition) -> Benchmark AHB2 -> Hifiman Susvara

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Hmm..  updating from my Spring 2 to May or purchasing a Serene. That's the question. *scratching head*

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon or Stylus) --> Euphony EP (NUC7CJYH: Roon Bridge or NAA or StylusEP) --> Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (I2S) -->

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon) --> WS 2019 Core (i7-8700: HQPlayer, JPLAY Femto, Roon Bridge, MinorityClean) / Matrix Audio Element H --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (USB) --> B & M Prime 6

Synology DS 112+ (LMS) --> pi3B+/HifiBerry Digi + Pro (PiCorePlayer) --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (SPDIF) -->  

bedroom: pi3/DigiOne (RoPieee) --> S.M.S.L M500 --> KRK Rokit 5 or AKG 712 Pro

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7 minutes ago, Holzohr said:

Hmm..  updating from my Spring 2 to May or purchasing a Serene. That's the question. *scratching head*

Personally i'd say go for the may. What preamp are you using atm?

https://youtube.com/goldensound

Roon -> HQPlayer -> SMS200 Ultra/SPS500 -> Holo Audio May (Wildism Edition) -> Holo Audio Serene (Wildism Edition) -> Benchmark AHB2 -> Hifiman Susvara

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12 minutes ago, Holzohr said:

Hmm..  updating from my Spring 2 to May or purchasing a Serene. That's the question. *scratching head*

Don't you go into your B&M Prime 6 with digital volume control from the HQPlayer? The 4.1 Vrms output should be enough. See measurements: https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-holo-audio-may-probably-the-best-discrete-r2r-dac.10161/

 

Grigg Audio Solutions Owner

StreamFidelitys Setup

Sonus Faber Amati Futura | T + A M10 | T + A SDV 3100 HV | fis Audio PC | HFX RipNAS Solid V4 | GigaWatt PC2-EVO + | Solidsteel HJ-3 / HY-A

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2 minutes ago, StreamFidelity said:

Don't you go into your B&M Prime 6 with digital volume control from the HQPlayer? The 4.1 Vrms output should be enough. See measurements: https://www.audio “science” review/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-holo-audio-may-probably-the-best-discrete-r2r-dac.10161/

 

 

Yes, exactly. The volume input knobs of my Primes are set to minimum. No need to turn them up.

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon or Stylus) --> Euphony EP (NUC7CJYH: Roon Bridge or NAA or StylusEP) --> Matrix Audio X-SPDIF 2 --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (I2S) -->

Euphony (NUC7DNKE: Roon) --> WS 2019 Core (i7-8700: HQPlayer, JPLAY Femto, Roon Bridge, MinorityClean) / Matrix Audio Element H --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (USB) --> B & M Prime 6

Synology DS 112+ (LMS) --> pi3B+/HifiBerry Digi + Pro (PiCorePlayer) --> Matrix Audio X-Sabre Pro (MQA) (SPDIF) -->  

bedroom: pi3/DigiOne (RoPieee) --> S.M.S.L M500 --> KRK Rokit 5 or AKG 712 Pro

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6 minutes ago, John Hughes said:

I have a Holo May and love it.  The Serenity looks amazing, though I'm not sure I would find it worth the $$$ in my system. I wish it had a great phono stage at that price :)

You know there are no great phonostages that are included with a preamplifier. They are all separates, costing thousands of dollars.  You may get a good one, but not great. 

 

(none of this is true 😁

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That is true for mid-level preamps!  I have heard what a great active preamp can bring to a system.  I'd give my left nut for this: 

http://www.shindo-laboratory.co.jp/English/Giscours.html

 

But alas, that is not to be.  I'll wait to hear what your reviews have to say :)  I've been designing my system around not needing a preamp.  I'd have to get a lot of goodness to add something like the Serenity with all those circuits and cables etc to my minimal path.  

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  • 4 weeks later...

Two things I am curious about though, (maybe @Bimmer100 might be able to shed some light on these? Figured it'd be better to post here as i'm sure others may want to know as well)

1) Can the serene do balanced to single ended conversion safely? I know this isn't the case for all preamps (and of course you can't do it with a passive adapter without risking damage to your DAC/Source)

2) The XLR-1 and XLR-2 outputs have fairly different specs, with XLR-1 having 3 ohm output impedance and XLR-2 having 40 ohm output impedance. What is the difference between these two outputs? And for a single-amp system is one preferable to the other?
(Additionally, can we use one of the XLR outputs and the RCA output simultaneously without sacrificing CMRR on the balanced? I'm guessing maybe XLR-1 is a separate circuit to XLR-2/RCA?)

 

https://youtube.com/goldensound

Roon -> HQPlayer -> SMS200 Ultra/SPS500 -> Holo Audio May (Wildism Edition) -> Holo Audio Serene (Wildism Edition) -> Benchmark AHB2 -> Hifiman Susvara

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Also, seems that the initial specs Magna had listed have changed both on there and on Kitsune.

Max output voltage is now higher, higher input impedance, lower output impedance, so that's pretty nice!
No manual available yet so will probably have to wait to find out more but it looks like an absolutely stellar device!
 

https://youtube.com/goldensound

Roon -> HQPlayer -> SMS200 Ultra/SPS500 -> Holo Audio May (Wildism Edition) -> Holo Audio Serene (Wildism Edition) -> Benchmark AHB2 -> Hifiman Susvara

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